The Charlotte News

Friday, April 4, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Attorney General J. Howard McGrath had been forced to resign the previous day and the President had appointed in his stead Federal Judge James McGranery. Mr. McGrath bowed out, with a few tears, says the story, saying that he was paying "the penalty" for doing his duty as he saw it and recommended to his successor to bring asbestos pants along with him to the job. The abrupt change in the head of the Justice Department came in the wake of Mr. McGrath's sudden firing earlier in the week of Newbold Morris, appointed by Mr. McGrath on February 1 to be the ombudsman to clean up the Government. Mr. McGrath had served as campaign chairman in 1948 for the President, but the President was very calm in announcing to a press conference his "resignation".

At one point, it was believed that Mr. McGrath was in line for an appointment to the Supreme Court. Now, both he and Mr. Morris would likely be called back to testify further before the House Judiciary subcommittee investigating Government corruption. Mr. Morris indicated in a broadcast interview the previous night that he intended to tell the people how he had planned to clean up the government, in a speech the following week before the National Press Club. He said that he had found no interest in any department of the Federal Government or any desire to follow the President's order for cooperation by Government officials in the clean-up effort. He said he had not talked to the President or been invited to do so since his dismissal.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that the Committee would take its time in determining a recommendation on confirmation of Judge McGranery, and that he believed Mr. McGrath had been the victim of unfortunate circumstances and that his dismissal by the President was "unwarranted and unfair". He also said that he would extract a promise from Judge McGranery not to reappoint Mr. Morris as the corruption investigator.

Judge McGranery promised at a press conference that he would carry out his duties "forthrightly and honestly".

A story out of Washington refers to the three men as the "Three M's", provides brief biographies of each. All of it had occurred while Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was visiting, as Marilyn Monroe made the cover of Life for the first time—not on the cover of all editions, apparently—, and the same week that Congressman John F. Kennedy declared as a candidate for the Senate from Massachusetts, running to unseat Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., head of the Eisenhower-for-President movement.

The Government succeeded in obtaining new steel wage talks this date in its attempt to prevent the threatened strike of 700,000 steelworkers set for the next Wednesday. Negotiators for the "big six" steel firms and the United Steelworkers had agreed to meet in New York with the chairman of the Wage Stabilization Board, Nathan Feinsinger. A conference between the steel companies and union negotiators had collapsed the previous day, and the union then had mailed strike notices to the steel companies and union locals. The industry said it would resist a Government seizure and the union said it would fight against any attempt by the Government to obtain an injunction of the strike for 80 days under Taft-Hartley. The impasse in the dispute remained, that the Government refused to provide any special price increase beyond that allowed by existing price controls, about two dollars per ton, while the industry demanded a $12 per ton increase to compensate for the WSB's recommended 17.5 cents per hour wage increase and other benefits.

John Daly of The News tells of Edwin L. Jones of Charlotte, president of J. A. Jones Construction Company, being urged to the President as the new Defense Mobilizer to replace Charles E. Wilson, who had just resigned a week earlier. North Carolina Governor Kerr Scott had informed the newspaper that he was actively supporting Mr. Jones for the position, and his office confirmed that he had presented his name to the President as a desirable successor to the position. C. A. Fink of Salisbury, president of the North Carolina Federation of Labor, had indicated that business agents of the 13 unions comprising the AFL Building and Construction Trades Council in Charlotte had also formally urged the President to consider Mr. Jones.

In New York, the foreman of the jury which was trying gambling kingpin Frank Costello for contempt of the Senate was excused from service, indicating afterward that she had been accused of agreeing to accept a payoff, which she described as a ridiculous accusation. The Federal judge provided no explanation for her removal. She indicated that neither she nor her husband had been approached by anyone interested in the case and that she knew nothing about any purported payoff or attempt to do so. She was the second juror excused and a third was reported to be ill, making it doubtful that the trial could continue, just as the jury was beginning to deliberate this date. There were two alternates available, but the judge would first have to determine the health of the reportedly ill juror before deciding whether a mistrial had to be declared. It was Mr. Costello's second trial on the contempt citation issued the previous year by the Kefauver crime committee for his refusal to answer questions, the first jury having deadlocked 11 to 1 for conviction.

Small tornadoes hit Alabama and Louisiana this date, injuring four persons and causing heavy property damage, including at New Orleans and Mobile.

A new Gallup poll, on page 4-A, had found that interest was much greater in the 1952 presidential election than in 1948 and so voter turnout was expected to be higher.

On the editorial page, "Now for a Good Look at McGrath" finds that with the departure of Attorney General McGrath from the Government, following his firing of Newbold Morris, the air now might be cleared, as it might have been had there been a better appointment in the first instance by the Attorney General than Mr. Morris to investigate corruption.

The President's appointment of Judge McGranery, admired by both Northern and Southern Democrats and by Republicans, would likely have an ameliorative effect, even if there would be inevitable critics cropping up. He would, at least, likely be quickly confirmed by the Senate.

It indicates disgust and shame at the whole mess rather than anger, as the Attorney General's negative response to Mr. Morris's questionnaire and the refusal of Congress to provide him with subpoena powers had undermined his ability to conduct any thorough investigation and suggested "smug contempt" for the entire program of cleaning up the Government. It finds that the President had little weight any longer on matters of morality in government and that his influence toward a clean-up operation had been slight, if not negative.

But the President did usually give his subordinates a free hand, and it trusts that Judge McGranery, while not able to accomplish miracles, might restore integrity to the Justice Department, which it regards as being sorely needed.

"A Bill Which Could Have Been Great" looks at the tidelands oil dispute between the Federal Government and the four coastal states. Three times since 1947, the Supreme Court had held that the tidelands belonged to the Federal Government, but the previous year, the House had passed a bill to overrule those holdings, passing title of the tidelands to the individual states. The prior Wednesday, the Senate passed a similar bill by a vote of 50 to 35, and the two bills would now go to reconciliation.

Prior to the Senate vote, it had tabled the "oil for education" amendment proposed by Senator Lister Hill of Alabama and 17 other Senators, a proposal whereby a national council of twelve educators would be appointed to study the question of applying the funds derived from the oil to aid education in every state.

The piece regrets that the amendment was tabled. It had been criticized for being "socialistic", and, it ventures, if so, then the country had been socialistic since colonial times, for since then, a portion of public funding had been set aside for schools, including the land-grant colleges. Without the amendment, the bill would benefit only three or four states which abutted on the tidelands. The estimated profits would be at least 50 billion dollars.

It trusts that the President would veto the bill, and hopes that a future Congress would recognize the worth of Senator Hill's amendment.

"The All-Purpose Ovibos" tells of John Teal of McGill University in Canada having recently received permission to trap calf ovibodae on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Archipelago to which the animals had moved from Kentucky long earlier. Mr. Teal said that they were sometimes referred to as musk ox, but should not be, as they had no musk glands and were not related to oxen. Instead, according to Mr. Teal, they were halfway between a sheep and a cow and the meat was better than beef, the wool, the lightest and softest known, and the milk as good as cow's milk. They could also live all year on sparsely-grassed lands without attention.

They sounded so good that it urges the anthropologist to bring some of them to North Carolina, in which event, the editorialist would go back to the farm.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Two Standards", indicates that it had recently noted that Europe's retreat from freer trade had threatened indefinitely to postpone that area's economic recovery, hinder higher production for defense and delay Europe's independence from American aid. The trade practice of the U.S. was, it indicates, far from blameless, though it had preached removal of trade barriers in Europe and expansion of markets. Congress had imposed tariffs on certain items and had balked at efforts to repeal quota restrictions on imports of dairy products.

It urges that world economic health required elimination of trade barriers everywhere, on both sides of the ocean, and that to set two standards would cause penalties for all American taxpayers through prolonged and unnecessary foreign aid appropriations, ultimately designed to subsidize and protect a small group of domestic producers.

Drew Pearson indicates that not in the previous 20 years had there been so many Democratic hopefuls vying for the job of the presidency, and he provides a thumbnail sketch of each, including Vice-President Alben Barkley, House Speaker Sam Rayburn, Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, Governor Mennen Williams of Michigan, and eventual nominee Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

He describes Governor Stevenson as "able and courageous", handicapped by a divorce and the fact that he had testified for Alger Hiss—perhaps a central reason why General Eisenhower would have Senator Richard Nixon as his running mate.

Marquis Childs regards the steel dispute and its background. He points out that the total productive capacity of the nation had increased by nearly 50 percent during World War II, that steel capacity had been 61 million tons in 1939, rising to 91 million tons in 1946. Most economists had been predicting a depression at the end of the war. But those prophecies were confounded, as real national product had been expanded by 60 billion dollars per year since 1948, that three-year total, after adjustment for inflation, equating to nearly one-third of total production in 1939. Steel capacity was presently being expanded from 108 million tons to 120 million.

He attributes public confusion over the current steel wage dispute to the Administration's failure to provide a constructive and coordinated information program. A valid case could be made for the wage increase to enable steelworkers to catch up with wage increases in other industries, as the steelworkers did not have cost-of-living adjustment clauses in their contracts, as did, for instance, autoworkers. The Wage Stabilization Board, he suggests, had not placed sufficient emphasis on that fact.

The prevailing pattern throughout industry, therefore, made it unlikely that steel wage increases would provoke a round of demands for wage increase in other industries. He concludes that a reasonable compromise by the steel industry was not likely to destabilize the economy, as some prophets of doom were arguing.

Robert C. Ruark, who wrote his column before the firing by Attorney General McGrath of Newbold Morris and the forced resignation afterward of Mr. McGrath, indicates that he believed Mr. Morris had been a sucker in taking the job of investigating Government corruption, "because no expedient political gang is actually going to grant full powers of delousing" to a Republican in an election year.

After Mr. Morris had first been the subject of attack based on his law firm's representation of the Chinese Nationalist firm shipping oil, via war-surplus tankers purchased from the Government, to Communist China up to the time of the Korean War, he had then provided a questionnaire seeking information from top-level officials on outside income, prompting the Attorney General to indicate that he might not respond.

Mr. Ruark finds that the President and his Administration never really wanted an honest investigation, but only to make "a few righteous noises, trap a willing sucker as fall guy in the investigative end, and then let the whole smelly mess subside under the rubble of time and confusion." He suggests that it would so end unless Mr. McGrath tendered his resignation. He urges, in the meantime, that Mr. Morris come home to New York to tilt at "a few fresh windmills".

A letter writer from Pinehurst comments on the March 29 editorial, "Eisenhower and the Independents", finding that it had protested too strongly to warrant complete belief in its political independence. He finds that the newspaper was clearly an Eisenhower partisan in recommending that independent voters support General Eisenhower and no one else. He also thinks that the thesis explained therein of Bernard DeVoto, that independent voters should support Governor Stevenson and not General Eisenhower, was equally flawed in jumping the gun, as no nominations had yet occurred. He faults the newspaper for taking the stance that General Eisenhower should be elected, even before the Democratic nominee was known. He suggests to fellow independent voters that they wait and determine who the nominees would be and then examine the discussion of the issues, before rendering any decision.

A letter writer finds that editorial pages generally were against the New Deal and Fair Deal, while the financial and business sections of the newspapers were silently in favor of the programs. A recent survey by the Department of Commerce provided some startling figures, he says, about the "creeping socialism" of which the editorial pages warned. For instance, it showed that in 1950, American business, manufacturing, mining, railroads and other transportation, and electric and gas utilities had spent 14 billion dollars for new plants and equipment, more than the entire value of the same plants in 1931. Under the two successive Democratic Administrations, the actual value of finished goods produced in North Carolina had increased a little over 221 percent since 1929, and the number of manufacturing plants in the state had increased by 110 percent. He concludes that if that amounted to "creeping socialism", he would hope for another decade of the same.

A letter writer, director of special education in the Charlotte City Schools, thanks the newspaper for its Children's News section, providing opportunities for even first-graders to bridge the gap between school and the current events taking place in the community, that it would help put reading in its proper place in daily life, in a time when there was so much emphasis on radio and television as the source of information.

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