The Charlotte News

Monday, April 7, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Communist radio this date promised a peaceful welcome home to all Communist prisoners of war, even if they claimed to have renounced Communism, as the Communists knew that their statements had not been made of their own free will during their captivity. The broadcast appeared to be an attempt to suggest a possible compromise with the U.N. command regarding voluntary repatriation of prisoners. A spokesman for the U.N. command indicated that it had no comment. The negotiations on the issue had been temporarily suspended to allow negotiators to develop new avenues for potential agreement.

The two subcommittees meeting on the other major issues, truce supervision and instructions to the belligerent governments engaged in the war, met only for a few minutes, with each side restating their positions on the issues. The major remaining issues in those two subcommittees were whether Russia would be allowed to be nominated by the Communists as a neutral nation to inspect ports of entry and other facilities during the truce, and whether the Communists would be allowed to repair their airfields during the armistice.

U.N. warplanes were grounded by rain and clouds this date, making life miserable for ground troops. The previous day, Sabre jets had destroyed four MIG-15s and probably destroyed two, while damaging eight, in three battles over Northwest Korea.

Patrols of each side skirmished lightly on Monday morning, amid the mud.

According to the French Volunteer Battalion in Korea, a French patrol, moving through a Korean village in no-man's land, had seen a suspicious-looking gourd, and upon closer inspection, saw that it had a time-fuse protruding from one side and a release ring on the other. The French infantrymen detached the instrument and sent it back to the Ninth Explosive Disposal Squad of the U.S. Ordnance Corps, who, after due caution, pulled the ring, producing a paper on which was scribbled, "Boum!" Underneath it were the words, in French, meaning, "Boo! Here I Am! Greetings from Mao Tse Tung!"

A Senate Labor subcommittee headed by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, was starting this date to take up the civil rights issue afresh, with hearings scheduled regarding the establishment of a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission with power to enforce its rulings in matters of employment discrimination. The President had issued an executive order the prior December, creating a committee whose function was to assure that there would be no discrimination in hiring by firms contracting with the Government, as had been the case under the temporary FEPC set up by FDR during the war, pursuant to the war powers act. The compulsory FEPC proposal had been the most controversial of the civil rights proposals among the Southern Democrats in the Congress. Senator Humphrey had proposed the progressive civil rights plank in the Democratic platform at the national convention in 1948.

It was reported unofficially that the Senate Judiciary Committee had voted unanimously this date to hold confirmation hearings on the President's appointment of Attorney General-designate James McGranery. The fact of the hearing suggested that it might be weeks before the confirmation vote would occur.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi announced that he had prepared legislation to restore the powers of the FBI to investigate misconduct in the Treasury Department, the investigation of which had been moved the previous year by legislation to the Secret Service. The proposal was in the wake of Judge McGranery having stated that he would turn over investigation of government corruption to the FBI.

In New York, fired corruption investigator Newbold Morris stated, in an interview with ABC radio the previous night, that he would take his report personally to the White House, in the hope that the President would read it. Mr. Morris had been fired the previous Thursday by former Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, shortly before the latter's resignation was announced by the President. Mr. Morris stated that he believed that the President still believed in what he had wanted to do as investigator. He said that the President had shown enthusiasm for both his mission and the methods which he had intended to use to ferret out misconduct in the government.

Nathan Feinsinger, chairman of the Wage Stabilization Board, met with top United Steelworkers Union officials this date, in a last-ditch effort to avert a walkout of about 650,000 members of the union the following day. An aide to Mr. Feinsinger said that he had concluded the morning session with the union leaders and would meet later in the day with industry officials. He had met during the weekend with both sides, and came away saying that there had been "gradual progress" toward a "better understanding" of each side's problems. Furnaces in the large steel mills were being cooled in preparation for a shutdown. In Pittsburgh and other steel towns, the hope to avert the strike was waning. Steelworkers were retaining their cash, as merchants were reporting an Easter week buying slump, with Easter the following Sunday. Meanwhile, Philip Murray, head of the Steelworkers Union, intended to address this night the nation via radio, in response to an address the prior night by Benjamin Fairless, head of U.S. Steel Corp.

The Communications Workers of America announced this day the walkout of 67,250 Bell Telephone System employees, including 15,500 Western Electric employees, throughout the nation, in 43 states. Efforts at negotiation throughout the night between the company and Federal mediators had failed to reach a resolution of the dispute.

One local in Louisville had not received strike instructions because of the strike of Western Union employees, and so had been delayed in posting pickets.

Thus far, Southern Bell's telephone services in North Carolina remained normal. No picket lines had been formed in front of any of the exchange buildings in the state and all Southern Bell employees had reported for work as usual. The striking union only represented 126 Western Electric employees in the state, spread across 17 towns and cities.

The Supreme Court upheld 6 to 3, in Stroble v. California, 343 U.S. 181, the conviction of a Los Angeles grandfather sentenced to death in the sex-slaying of a six-year old girl, who was strangled, stabbed and beaten to death on November 14, 1949, and her body hidden behind a backyard incinerator. The defendant had challenged the constitutionality of the conviction as violating due process for alleged prejudicial pre-trial publicity encouraged by the prosecutor, that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at his post-conviction sanity hearing, and that his confession had been coerced. Justice Tom Clark delivered the majority opinion of the Court. Justice Felix Frankfurter dissented on the basis that the pre-trial publicity had so infected the process as to deny the defendant a fair trial and favored remand for further findings regarding the coercion of the confession. Justice William O. Douglas provided a separate dissent, joined by Justice Hugo Black, in which he favored reversal for the fact of coercion of the confession by blows and kicks administerd by the police, and which the trial court had found was extracted by "physical abuse or psychological torture or a combination of the two", but had ruled that subsequent confessions which were not the result of such abuse had served to cleanse the taint from the earlier confessions.

In Raleigh, gubernatorial candidate Hubert Olive criticized members of the State Utilities Commission for preparing to grant rate increases to Duke Power and the Carolina Telephone & Telegraph Co. The chairman of the Commission had stated the previous day that Judge Olive's charges were "political propaganda" and that he was engaging in guesswork in the charge that the Commission was about to raise the rates of the telephone company. Judge Olive challenged the chairman this date to prove that anything he had said in his statement was untrue. He had claimed on February 28 that the head of the Commission and two of its other members were open supporters of his chief gubernatorial opponent, William B. Umstead, and that the latter's law firm had represented Duke Power along with other public utilities and the big tobacco companies, and was a registered lobbyist for Duke during the 1949 General Assembly. Mr. Umstead had indicated in response that he had no statement yet.

In Indianapolis, a preacher, who was chairman of the Marion County Crime Commission, captured a suspected prowler with his son's water pistol. He had seen a man standing in his front yard and obtained a flashlight and the water pistol, went outside, turned on the light and informed the prowler not to run. The man was held on a preliminary charge of larceny.

A new Gallup poll appears, which showed that even before the President had made his announcement not to run again, Senator Estes Kefauver had overtaken him in popularity among Democratic voters, making it the first time during the President's term that any other Democrat had surpassed him in popularity as a presidential candidate. The poll had just completed a nationwide survey on the eve of the President's announcement on March 29, indicating that Senator Kefauver was the preference of 33 percent of Democrats, while the President polled only 32 percent. When Truman supporters had been asked who their second preference would be, the majority stated Senator Kefauver. Vice-President Alben Barkley was a distant third, with eight percent, followed by Senator Richard Russell, with seven percent. Eventual nominee, Governor Adlai Stevenson, polled only two percent, coming in last among the named preferences. The story notes that whether or not Senator Kefauver would continue to be the preference of rank-and-file Democrats remained to be seen.

The Comic Dictionary entry for the date defines "Horse Sense" as "[s]omething a horse has that keeps him from betting on people."

Speaking of which, we congratulate the University of Virginia basketball team in 2019 for its N.C.A.A. championship, a fight well won, even if by nip-and-tuck scores, not the first time that has occurred, or the first time that controversy has enveloped the closing moments of a game, as with the semifinal one-point victory of Virginia over Auburn on Saturday, after the missed call of a double-dribble by a Virginia player with only 2.6 seconds remaining, leading to the ensuing Auburn foul on a three-point shot and Virginia's player making all three free throws to effect the final score, with less than a second remaining. Basketball is basketball and those are the bounces.

We also congratulate UNC, and especially their three seniors, on a very good, well-played season and four-year careers, even if disappointing in the end, the way most schools have to conclude most seasons, as there is only one national champion each year. The previous three teams successively had a Final Four appearance which barely missed a national championship, a national championship the following year, and an appearance in the final 32 teams last year, reaching the final 16 this year, not a bad four-year run. Teamwork gets you there, as it did Virginia—Sanity Clause or not.

We recommend to all college players that they follow the example of Virginia and place more emphasis on academics than athletics, and far less emphasis on basketball shoes. They are, at the end of the day, just an old pair of sneakers, bound soon for the garbage can. Why pay $100 or more for them when they are worth about $5 and made typically by cheap, slave labor in foreign lands? They do not make you jump higher and farther. Only muscle, favorable genes and development can enable that, youngster. If it were otherwise, the ad-writers who make up these silly cartoons would be the highest jumpers in the world. Far better, in the end, to jump higher and further in the classroom than on the court in any event. Basketball is not an end in itself, but only a recreational pursuit, when maintained in its proper perspective. If you are going to have the special privilege of being admitted to a very good school, you should have the decency to stay four years and graduate, not turn tail for big time money and glitz and glamour and fast-talking hucksters regarding the pro game, especially after only a year, leaving in the lurch the school and program which gave you the opportunity of a lifetime to get a good education. Sorry, but for those who do, we find nothing but a degree of contempt. And most who do after only a year are rarely heard from again as having any great impact in the pros, bloated dreams of greatness and money, fast cars and fast women, notwithstanding.

And speaking of points and bounces, whether that Life cover of this date had anything to do with some of the content of this program, strictly for DeSoto dealers, we don't know.

On the editorial page, "Clean-Up Prospects Seem Dim" finds that substantial improvement appeared unlikely in rooting out corruption in the Government under Attorney General-designate James McGranery over that which had preceded when Attorney General J. Howard McGrath headed the Justice Department. Even though the effort of Judge McGranery would be sincere, assuming his confirmation by the Senate, it would still be a matter of the Department investigating itself, as the Department was the area which had been revealed to have most of the problems. Moreover, the FBI, which was to be assigned to do the investigation by Judge McGranery, had no authority to investigate the IRB, under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department, whose investigatory arm was the Secret Service.

The FBI had the full confidence of Congress and so would be a less controversial investigator than had been Newbold Morris during his brief tenure. But in the meantime, Judge McGranery was going to be given much the same treatment by Congress, it appeared, as suffered by Mr. Morris, in digging into his past and his prosecution of the Amerasia case when he was assistant Attorney General, in conducting, what Senator McCarthy had termed, a "whitewash".

With the Justice Department ultimately investigating itself, and it being naïve to assume that Judge McGranery would not defer to the President and the Democratic Party as the political campaign intensified, it concludes that it was a "sorry, sordid mess." It favors appointment of an independent and authoritative body instead to do the job of investigation of corruption in the Government.

"A Trojan Horse Heads for Dixie" tells of liberal former Senator Claude Pepper of Florida having recently indicated that he was supporting Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, a conservative, for the Democratic nomination, despite the fact that the two differed on most matters of domestic policy, from expansion of the Federal Government to the Fair Employment Practices Commission. The piece indicates that it had also become aware that a leading newspaper in the state, identified with the Administration, was also going to provide its support for Senator Russell.

It suggests that in so doing, these liberal interests hoped that by infiltrating the Russell organization, they could keep the Southerners in line at the convention, in the hope of nominating a liberal such as Governor Adlai Stevenson, with Senator Russell possibly in the second spot to placate the Dixiecrat element.

It suggests that Senator Pepper was actually preparing to stab Senator Russell in the back. It adds that it would believe the indicated newspaper's support for the Senator when it saw it. But if this bit of chicanery wound up in Senator Russell being the vice-presidential nominee to Governor Stevenson, it could result in the Democratic ticket being formidable in November.

"The Truth Will Out" tells of news commentator Elmer Davis having stated, the previous fall, that a great weakness of the American press was its tendency to quote a person even though the reporter knew that what the individual was saying was nonsense, that the tendency germinated from the desire to be impartial and the lack of time to verify the accuracy of statements.

The piece points out that Senator Taft had stated at least three things of late which were untrue, as pointed out by Robert Roth, columnist for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. The first statement was that he had always won every time he had run, while, in fact, he had lost in his first two attempts at the Republican nomination, in 1940 and in 1948, and had been defeated in his bid for re-election to the Ohio State Senate in 1932, winding up fifth in a field of six. The second statement was that he had been re-elected in 1950 by the largest majority ever provided a candidate for the Senate in Ohio, while, in fact, three other Ohio Senators had achieved larger majorities in being re-elected, two in 1928, and one again in 1934. The third misstatement was in advance of the New Hampshire primary, when Senator Taft claimed that General Eisenhower's supporters had chosen that primary as the testing ground for the General's candidacy when they could have entered many others but had not. In fact they had at the time already entered the New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania primaries.

It concludes that while it expected a lot of misinformation during a campaign, it did not expect it from "Mr. Integrity".

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "'Men of Distinction'", tells of a story out of Oregon regarding six teenage boys and girls who had gone for a late night joy ride and, after the car failed to make a curve, four having died by drowning and two having been seriously injured. One of the survivors had informed the state police that beer and whiskey had been in the car and all of them had been drinking. The piece suggests that this was a portrait of yet another group for whom the liquor industry would not be able to bid any longer.

Drew Pearson discusses what had happened behind the scenes of the steel dispute as between former Defense Mobilizer, Charles E. Wilson, Economic Stabilizer Roger Putnam and Price Administrator Ellis Arnall, leading to the present impasse and imminent strike, set to begin the following day. Whereas the former Economic Stabilizer Eric Johnston had worked closely with the Wage Stabilization Board chairman to achieve a balance between wage and price increases to avoid inflation, the new dispute appeared to have erupted out of a series of tragic errors. First, the WSB had recommended the 17.5-cent per hour wage increase, plus other benefits which made the entire package worth 26 cents per hour, triggering the steel industry demand for a substantial increase in prices of $12 per ton, whereas existing control laws only permitted about two dollars per ton in increase. Nathan Feinsinger, the WSB chairman, had informed Mr. Johnston recently that he had been in touch with Mr. Wilson and Mr. Putnam in advance of the wage recommendation. But, in fact, their coordination had been haphazard.

Mr. Wilson, Mr. Feinsinger, and Mr. Putnam had agreed in advance that the steelworkers were entitled to a 16-cent package increase, a fact of which the leaders of the Steelworkers Union were aware, and so had responded with surprise and immediate acceptance of the eventual 26-cent recommendation. At the time of this recommendation, there was no consultation with Mr. Arnall, and apparently no concern regarding the potential increase in the steel prices.

At the same time, Benjamin Fairless, head of U.S. Steel, invited Mr. Putnam to meet with the Iron and Steel Institute in New York, whereupon Mr. Putnam suggested to Mr. Wilson that he come with him, at which point Mr. Fairless asked Mr. Wilson to come to New York. Meanwhile, Mr. Putnam had indicated that he did not want to meet with the steel moguls until Mr. Wilson arrived, whereupon Mr. Wilson got to New York ahead of Mr. Putnam and attended the meeting without Mr. Putnam being present, the latter being oblivious to the fact. When Mr. Putnam found out later, he was upset because his job was to control inflation and because during the meeting, Mr. Wilson had been persuaded by the steel industry to allow raising of prices. Mr. Putnam wanted to consult with the President in Key West, whereupon Mr. Wilson phoned the President and then informed Mr. Putnam that the President wanted to see Mr. Wilson, but not Mr. Putnam, causing Mr. Putnam to be even more upset.

After the meeting between Mr. Wilson and the President, the President was convinced initially that the recommended wage increase was too high, leading Mr. Wilson to announce the same thing, prompting anger from United Steelworkers president Philip Murray, who called the President and gave him an earful. Shortly afterward, the President returned from his vacation. But by then matters were hopelessly entangled, after Mr. Wilson had informed the steel industry privately that the wage increase was too high, while telling the public that the wage increase had to be tied to a price increase. Mr. Putnam and Mr. Arnall were of the opinion that because of high profits in the steel industry, there should not be any substantial price increase beyond that permitted by price control laws.

The President summoned all three men and his assistant, John Steelman, and briefly chastised Mr. Wilson for having let the steel industry know that he would allow a price increase without first bargaining. He also directed Mr. Wilson to tell the steel companies that he was reversing that position, which Mr. Wilson refused to do, before later the same day tendering his resignation.

James Marlow tells of Attorney General-designate James McGranery, a Federal Judge, having stated that he did not know yet whether there was corruption in government to be investigated, but that he would let FBI director J. Edgar Hoover perform that investigation. Mr. Hoover, indicates Mr. Marlow, had the confidence of the public and the Congress, and were the Republicans to win the presidency in 1952, would probably be the only principal in the executive branch to retain his position, having originally been appointed by a Republican President, Calvin Coolidge, in the 1920's—the same year that UNC won its first and only mythical national championship in basketball.

Yet, Mr. Hoover would be assigned the task of investigating Judge McGranery before undertaking investigation of corruption in the Government, and Judge McGranery would be Mr. Hoover's boss in the event he eventually was confirmed by the Senate. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Cmmittee, Pat McCarran of Nevada, at odds with the Truman Administration, was angry about the way his old friend, former Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, had been treated in being forced to resign the previous week after firing newly appointed corruption investigator, Newbold Morris.

Senator McCarran had asked Mr. Hoover for a full report on Judge McGranery, and other members of the Senate, notably Senator McCarthy, wanted to quiz him regarding his direction of the prosecution of the Amerasia case in 1945 when he had been assistant Attorney General, regarding whether he had been soft on reputed Communists having illegal access to government secrets during the war, by dismissing most of the cases and letting the others go with a fine.

If Judge McGranery was confirmed, then Mr. Hoover could begin his investigation. But not much would be said about that investigation while it was proceeding, as the FBI never disclosed the results of its investigations. They would turn over the information they collected to the Attorney General and he would have the duty then to act and to make any public statements which he found prudent.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of observers now believing that there were 3 to 2 odds that a truce could be effected in the near future in Korea, whereas just a few weeks earlier, the odds were the reverse. The reason for the optimism was the hints by the Communists that they would accept a compromise on the prisoner exchange issue, possibly re-characterizing the U.N. prisoners who did not want to be repatriated as "refugees", thereby saving face. That remained a shaky foundation on which to base optimism.

In the meantime, there was a dispute within the military between the Air Force and the Army and Navy as to the continued deployment of U.S. forces in Korea in the event of an armistice. The Air Force believed that there should be an orderly withdrawal of the bulk of U.S. forces, to relieve the Air Force in providing air cover and the continued use of about one-third of the country's air strength in Korea, which had little strategic value in itself in the event of general war. The Air Force argued that to defend South Korea on the ground would turn it into a kind of American colonial dependency, which in the long run was impossible to accomplish. The Air Force needed its air complement in Europe to provide cover for the six American divisions there in the event of Soviet aggression and for fighter protection of the new strategic bases being built in North Africa and elsewhere, as well as defense of the U.S., itself.

The Army, by contrast, favored gradual withdrawal of American forces from Korea over a long period after the truce would be negotiated, with only slight withdrawal shortly afterward. The Navy supported that view. Their argument was that rapid withdrawal would open the way for renewed Communist aggression and that Korea provided a good training ground for Army troops under near-battle conditions. Rapid withdrawal would mean the return to the U.S. of some six divisions, resulting in a probable public clamor to release them from military service, with the result that Congress would likely begin reducing Army appropriations.

The Alsops posit that what was actually at issue in the matter was whether the Air Force would become the chief instrument of American policy in Asia, as the Air Force had always desired, and that conflicting with the Army and Navy in the old struggle for pride and position among the military services.

A letter writer from New York exhorts the public to donate blood for the men in Korea and suggests a slogan, "Give Your Expendable Blood to Save an Unexpendable American."

A letter writer from Davidson thanks the newspaper for mentioning his name as a candidate for Mecklenburg County Commissioner, but wonders how the reporter concluded that he had no telephone when another reporter had called him the previous week at the funeral home where he lived. He adds that he would send along a photograph, as he had waited for the newspaper's photographers to photograph him, as he had explained to the reporter, but they had never shown up.

A letter from department store head William Thalhimer, Sr., in Richmond, indicates that his friends had sent him News reporter Mack Bell's article of March 11 regarding a comparison of Richmond's cultural activities with those of Charlotte, and he had appreciated the piece.

He indicates that Thalhimer's was the largest department store in Richmond and had made many contributions to the city's cultural, civic and sociological progress. He informs that his grandfather, William, had started the business in 1842 as a civic-minded merchant and that his five sons, two of whom had been involved in the business since shortly after the Civil War, had followed his example. He had started in the business in 1905 and had been engaged in numerous civic activities, which he suggests would take pages to recount. Irving May had been his associate in the business since 1922, and for the previous four years, his two sons, William and Charles, had also been in the business as the fourth generation of the family.

He does not say so, but he was apparently irritated by the fact that Mr. Bell had been informed that the major department store in Richmond, insofar as contributing to the cultural progress of that city, was instead Miller & Rhodes, with no mention of Thalhimer's.

A letter writer from Norfolk indicates that he had recently visited Charlotte and been provided excellent hospitality by Mayor Victor Shaw, thanks the Mayor and the city.

A letter writer from Efland indicates his desire that the nation elect the Reverend Billy Graham as President, and adds that he would be pleased to succeed him in the presidency, would promise to keep the U.S. in the "straight and narrow way", stopping war, the ABC liquor stores, keeping down taxes while building more good roads, schools and telephone lines, and generally "help to make America great."

Whatever you say…

At least he had the civility not to add gratuitously, "again".

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