The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 2, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the issue of the Communists' demand for Russia as a so-called neutral inspection nation during the truce would return to the subcommittee of negotiators, after the staff officers had been unable to make any headway. It would be the first time that the subcommittee had addressed the Russian issue. They had last met on January 27, to consider the issue of whether the Communists would be allowed to rebuild airfields during the truce. Allied staff officers told the Communists this date that the negotiators at any level for the U.N. would not accept Russia as such a neutral nation. The staff officers had spent an hour this date arguing over what term would be used to designate Korea in armistice documents, the Communists insisting on only the designation "Chosen", while the allies insisted that it would be regarded as both "Chosen" and "Han Kuk", that only legal terms would be used for both sides within the document. "Chosen" had been the official Japanese designation for Korea during its 50-year occupation of the peninsula.

U.S. Sabre jets destroyed one enemy MIG-15 and damaged two others among a group of enemy fighters who showed little desire this date to fight after the losses of the previous day, which now totaled 10 enemy jets shot down, three probably destroyed and 12 damaged.

In ground action, the allies reported only two Communist probes and scattered patrol skirmishes along the battlefront on Wednesday morning. Counter-attacking allied troops the previous night and early this date had repulsed about 1,500 Communist Chinese troops who struck at U.N. lines on the western front, four miles from the Panmunjom truce conference site.

In Paris, General Eisenhower stated, in his first annual report on NATO, that the U.S. needed to continue its support of European rearmament, but also needed to get more results for the money being expended and that the U.S. could not continue indefinitely to be the primary source of munitions for the entire free world. He delivered a 750-word excerpt from the 12,000-word report via international television and radio transmissions across the country.

The steel industry this date announced that it would start negotiating with the United Steelworkers Union the following day, principally regarding the issue of the Wage Stabilization Board's recommendation for a wage hike which would necessitate, according to the industry, a substantial rise in the price of steel, up to $12 per ton. The Government had maintained that under existing price controls, the most which could be allowed was two dollars per ton.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that the nation's telegraph and telephone systems were preparing for a threatened series of strikes to start this midnight, as approximately 30,000 Western Union employees were set to leave their jobs across the country over a wage dispute in which the union was demanding a 16-cent per hour wage increase and reduction of hours from 48 to 40 per week, without reduction in pay, estimated to cost, in all, 50 cents per hour per worker.

In the Nebraska and Wisconsin presidential primaries the previous day, Senator Taft had won victories, pushing him back into the forefront of the fight for the Republican nomination, though still only running even with General Eisenhower in the contest for delegates to the convention in July. Senator Taft had garnered more write-in votes than the General in Nebraska, offsetting his loss to the General in New Hampshire on March 11 and, to some extent, the General's 39 percent of the vote by write-ins in Minnesota. The Senator won 24 of 30 convention delegates in Wisconsin, where write-ins were not allowed, and the General was not on the ballot. The Senator, however, did not obtain 50 percent of the vote, as had the General in New Hampshire. Governor Earl Warren and former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen, together, polled more votes than did Senator Taft. The remaining six delegates were pledged to Governor Warren, but would go to General Eisenhower if the Governor dropped out of the race. Governor Stassen, who had promised the General half of his delegates, wound up getting none. In Nebraska, none of the Republican delegates were committed but it was likely that Senator Taft would obtain at least 16 of 18 votes at the convention.

On the Democratic side, Senator Estes Kefauver won in Wisconsin by 180,000 votes over his nearest competitor, and also beat Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma in the Nebraska primary. Senator Kefauver picked up 28 delegates in Wisconsin and the Nebraska delegates were not committed for the conventions, though it appeared likely the two candidates would split, with five each.

Attorney General J. Howard McGrath spoke with the President for 15 minutes this date and left the White House declining comment on reports that his resignation was imminent. Mr. McGrath had indicated Monday to a House subcommittee investigating the tax scandals that he had not yet decided whether he would answer the questionnaire propounded by Government clean-up man Newbold Morris, regarding outside income and overall income, sent to all high Government officials. Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder was also said to have objections to the questionnaire.

Tom Fesperman and Dick Young of the News tell of the City Council reacting to the proposed changes to Charlotte's intra-city bus operations, with a straight 10-cent fare and a five-cent surcharge for travel between two zones to be established, by indicating that it would require a lot of study and discussion before approval. Putting forward the proposal, Charlotte Transit Lines, Inc., a new bus company, headed by L. A. Love & Associates, was seeking transfer of the bus franchise from Duke Power Co. The piece by Mr. Young provides the details, should you be interested in riding the buses in 1952.

On the editorial page, "McGrath Should Go" finds that Newbold Morris had thus far been unimpressive as a Government clean-up man, having begun by calling members of Congress names after they had questioned him about his and his law firm's association with the Government-surplus oil tankers deal and the transshipment of oil on two such tankers, purchased by a Nationalist Chinese company represented by the Morris law firm, to Communist China during the months preceding the start of the Korean War.

But it finds that when compared to the Attorney General, J. Howard McGrath, Mr. Morris appeared pure. A few weeks earlier, Mr. McGrath had suggested that attacks upon him were an attack on his national origin and religion, Irish and Catholic, respectively. It suggests that the matters for which he had been criticized stemmed from his activity as a member of the Democratic Party and the Truman Administration, which remained accountable for his actions.

When Mr. Morris had been sworn in, the Attorney General promised his complete cooperation with him, and the President had ordered the entire executive branch to give him top priority to requests he made. But when he had asked all top Government employees to fill out a questionnaire regarding outside income and overall income, the Attorney General had balked, stating the prior Monday before a House subcommittee investigating the tax scandals that he did not know whether he would fill out the questionnaire.

It finds that the request had been reasonable and that the Attorney General had therefore responded unreasonably. It suggests that if the President wanted to show his continuing desire for an actual clean-up, then he should fire Mr. McGrath.

"On with the Runway" tells of the airport runway extension having cleared its last legal hurdle the previous day when owners of adjacent land received compensation for the taking by eminent domain. It had resulted from the persistence of local officials and Federal money, as the Air National Guard needed the extension for jet fighters to land safely. The airport would be safer as a result and would now accommodate jet airliners, presently being developed. With more air traffic coming to the city, business and industry would be stimulated in the region. It warns Atlanta that Charlotte was hot on its heels.

"Charlotte's Traffic Court" refers to a piece on the page by News reporter Donald MacDonald regarding Charlotte's traffic court, showing that it measured up to the standards adopted by the American Bar Association for such courts. It did not meet ABA specifications for integration into the state judicial system, but that was not the fault of the local court and would require considerable reorganization of the State court system.

It urges re-establishment of a separate traffic court as had been established the previous summer on Wednesday afternoons, when most city businesses closed, and on Saturday mornings, but then abandoned after a few weeks because City Jail cases took first priority and there was not enough promotion of the concept. It reminds that as the downtown parking situation became worse, the court would be increasingly clogged with petty cases, pointing up the need again for adequate parking facilities.

"Move over Scribes, Here's Jimmy Byrnes" again remarks on the controversy surrounding William Hillman's book comprised of the President's letters, interviews and diary entries, Mr. President, in which the President claimed to have read a letter he had drafted, dated January 5, 1946, in the presence of now-South Carolina Governor James Byrnes, criticizing his alleged softness on the Soviets when he was Secretary of State between mid-1945 and early 1947, and the denial of same by Governor Byrnes, that he had never seen the letter or been apprised of its contents until it was published recently in Mr. President. The Governor had promised a full article on this topic, and the piece wonders why it required a full article to refute, that his statement in denial appeared sufficient. The article was to appear the following month in an unnamed magazine. (On the second page of the article, Governor Byrnes quips that he was at least thankful that the President had not included an imaginary reply by the Governor to the imaginary letter. The President, perhaps, might need to contact the Bonehead Club of Dallas regarding Governor Byrnes. The doggie in the hazy photograph, incidentally, is Whiskers. Ye Fala?)

Mr. Hillman intended a response, by way of revision of the book, stressing that the letter had not been mailed or telephoned by the President, but was read directly to Mr. Byrnes in person.

The piece finds the letter insignificant in the first place and hardly worth the attention it was getting. It suggests that becoming involved in politics appeared to be a better route to a writing career than joining a newspaper.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, titled "South Surprises Even Its Own People", provides some examples of industrial growth in the South, such as there being 3,000 manufacturing concerns with a million dollars or more investment in Southern operations, chemical plants valued at a billion dollars having been built in the previous three years, 60 large paper and pulp mills operating with a daily capacity of 25,000 tons, and 2.1 billion dollars worth of textiles the previous year manufactured by workers earning 1.2 billion dollars. The figures had come from the Southern Association of Science & Industry, a non-profit, non-political organization whose membership included 170 businesses and 13 universities. It had quoted leading industrialists who had visited the South as saying that the section might become the industrial heart of the entire nation in years to come.

Donald MacDonald of The News, as indicated in the above editorial, looks at the Charlotte traffic court and its general compliance with ABA standards for courts of first instance, indicating that the City Recorder's Court heard 10 to 15 misdemeanor or felony traffic cases daily six days per week. If you have a special interest in Charlotte traffic court in 1952 or the 15 ABA standards for such courts at the time, you may read it. To give a flavor, one of the noted improvements in the process was the addition by the local Solicitor of a blackboard to the courtroom for diagramming traffic cases.

Candidly, we would just as soon have a few letters to the editor and a Herblock cartoon in that space. There is something unsettling about opening an editorial page and finding there nothing of rest for the eyes amid unremitting print, even if they managed to inject a very small picture of Senator Styles Bridges in association with the Alsops' column. There is no need, as some other newspapers do, to put news on the editorial page as filler, or puzzles, or standard comics, or the rest of that type of fare. But also don't fill the whole thing up with reading material. One needs something amusing on which to ponder in between bites.

Drew Pearson tells of White House appointments secretary Matt Connelly having injected politics into the question of a truce in Korea when he provided advice in the form of a handwritten note sent to the Pentagon, which read: "I wish to God this thing wouldn't drag out until November in the interest of the party." It was the first time anyone had, in writing, put a political label on the Korean peace talks, though DNC chairman Frank McKinney had hinted in Key West that if peace came to Korea, the President would not run. Following the statement, Secretary of State Acheson had phoned the President and expressed concern that Mr. McKinney's statement would give the Communists a cue to hold out for further concessions. That was why the President had quickly denied this statement the following day.

At about the same time, U.N. supreme commander in Korea, General Matthew Ridgway, was upset over a truce concession suggested by Washington which would have eliminated Pyongyang as a port of entry to be inspected during a truce. But the truce negotiators had been ordered to make no more concessions and so it appeared that General Ridgway would get his way on the matter, despite Mr. Connelly's interference.

A precedent set in the Senate the previous week, leading to oil lobbyists helping to direct Senate debate on tidelands oil, would follow the Senators for months to come. Educational leaders and schoolteachers who wanted the amendment passed to give tidelands oil royalties to schools and colleges rather than to just three states, were demanding the right to sit on the Senate floor alongside the oil lobbyists. Never in the history of the country had there been two lobbyists permitted to sit on the Senate floor and coach debate. There had been only a few Senators on the floor when Senator Spessard Holland of Florida made the unusual request, and, he ventures, there would have been greater objection with more Senators present. Once, during the Hoover Administration, Senator Hiram Bingham of Connecticut had allowed a lobbyist for the Connecticut Manufacturers Association to sit in on secret tariff committee hearings, for which he was officially reprimanded by a vote of the entire Senate and subsequently defeated for re-election.

William Howard Taft III, son of Senator Robert Taft, had gone to work for the Marshall Plan administration as chief of the industry and tourism office in Dublin, Ireland, with the job of stimulating industry and tourist trade in that region. He had left the job in late August, 1951, but returned to Government service as a consultant to Rear Admiral Louis Strauss, then making a special procurement study for the Secretary of Defense. Mr. Taft had departed the Pentagon in late February, 1952, only a couple of days after it was leaked that he was receiving $40 per day. He had not made out any pay vouchers to the Pentagon and it was unlikely that he would, given the upcoming elections.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the testimony of Senator Styles Bridges before the House Internal Revenue subcommittee the previous week having suggested the conclusion that the Senator ought consult a memory expert regarding his efforts on behalf of a Baltimore liquor speculator who had been delinquent in taxes. Detailed records of the Senator's telephone conversations and other contacts with IRB officials showed that the Senator had demonstrated a deep and lasting interest in the matter and yet his memory appeared dim, having asserted 34 times that he did not recall, another 15 times that he did not know, and another 14 times that he had no recollection, plus another 22 times of similar inability either to remember or to testify.

They suggest that another witness demonstrating an equivalent inability to testify before, for instance, the McCarran committee would likely face serious repercussions.

The Senator's efforts on behalf of the liquor speculator had come to light only by accident and it was likely there were other similar records of government officials buried away in files. Members of Congress were able to bring quite a lot of pressure to bear on such situations, more so than lobbyists or five-percenters. Yet, no one had taken a serious look at this problem. The executive branch was fearful of being too curious about Congress, and Congress was never enthusiastic about investigating itself.

If, however, newly appointed corruption investigator Newbold Morris had his way, and received, as promised, the support of the President, an inquiry into Congressional behavior of this type might be in the offing.

Marquis Childs finds the President's decision not to run again to have been wise, having come through the ordeal of seven years in office with remarkable good fortune, especially at the age of 68. To try to last another four years, assuming he could avoid ignominious defeat, would have been "the height of folly". He had shown great political adeptness in addressing the matter, as among the 5,000 diners at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner where he made the announcement, only a few had any advance notice of his intentions. Not even members of his Cabinet were aware of it in advance.

Mr. Childs finds that he was playing politics in his speech, which he enjoyed and at which he was quite skilled. Governor Adlai Stevenson was seated nearby and, despite having been offered the President's support for the nomination on two occasions, had thus far spurned it. Mr. Childs thinks it was unlikely that he would be convinced to do otherwise, though pressures were already mounting for him to do so.

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