The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 9, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, having addressed the nation the previous night on his seizure of the steel industry in the national interest to avert a strike scheduled to start the previous midnight, sent a special message to Congress this date, offering to cooperate with the membership in establishing "specific terms and conditions" by law for Government operation of the seized mills, though stating that he did not believe immediate Congressional action was essential. The President stated in the message that he had seized the steel industry because he believed that to grant the price increases which it had demanded would have wrecked the economic stabilization program. The industry had sought a $12 per ton increase in prices to compensate for the Wage Stabilization Board's recommended wage and benefit increases, said in combination to equate to 26 cents per hour, whereas Government price controls would have allowed no more than two dollars per ton. He indicated that the only alternative courses were either to allow the steel industry to shut down, endangering national security, to grant the price increase, wrecking the economy, or to force the steelworkers to work without a contract, as they had been doing voluntarily since the beginning of the year. He stated that either alternative would have weakened the whole structure of national security and the national economy. He suggested that the same would be the case, should Congress desire to undertake either course.

Meanwhile, the steel industry was initiating court proceedings to seek to block the seizure.

Many of the major steel mills were closed and workers were claiming they were being locked out, because the Steelworkers Union had agreed to continue to work under the Government seizure. Some of the companies were taking the position that the situation first had to be clarified before they would make operating plans for the mills. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. said that it had notified the Government that it would operate its plants under the seizure order, insofar as it could safely do so. Republic Steel stated during court arguments on the seizure that it would resume operations on the next possible shift. U.S. Steel said it would resume operations beginning in the afternoon shift. The others of the "big six" steel companies had not yet made any announcement.

The Senate Banking Committee this date recessed its consideration of a bill to extend wage, price and other economic controls, with its chairman, Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, indicating that it would be a dreadful mistake to consider the bill during the steel dispute. The Committee would meet again eight days hence to determine whether to hold hearings. Senator Ralph Moody of Michigan, a member of the Committee, stated that the enemies of stabilization might try to use the steel plant seizure as a weapon to end the controls law, which he said would be a major mistake. Republican Senators John W. Bricker and Homer Capehart, members of the Committee, stated that the weeks ahead would give the wage and price controls laws their greatest test and prompt strong moves in Congress to end them. They would expire on June 30, without extension.

The Communications Workers Union, whose members had begun striking all across the country, ordered picket lines erected around all Bell Telephone Company installations. The union president said that 300,000 telephone workers would be impacted by the action. The union had not ordered a nationwide strike but only that the employees of Western Electric, a subsidiary of Bell, who were already on strike in 43 states set up the picket lines. The only states which would not be affected, he said would be Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Montana. Presently, 77,000 workers were on strike. The union was seeking wage increases of from 19 to 23 cents per hour. Telephone workers presently averaged $1.53 per hour in wages. The companies had offered an increase of ten cents per hour.

In Charlotte, the president of the union local indicated that picket lines would be set up in front of three Southern Bell buildings in Charlotte during the afternoon. He said that the work stoppage was local in nature and not directly connected with the nationwide Western Electric strike.

The House cited Henry Grunewald for contempt of Congress for his refusal to discuss his connections with large tax cases which had been the focus of Congressional investigations. The vote of the House was unanimous and there was little discussion of the resolution.

There was no denial yet from General Eisenhower's headquarters in Paris of a rumor from the "best available sources" that General Eisenhower had mailed a letter asking to be relieved as supreme commander of NATO. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., said, after having visited with the General in Paris, while on return via Shannon Airport in Ireland, that the statement could be true and that reporters could write it if they wanted, but he could neither confirm nor deny the report. Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett also refused comment. White House press secretary Joseph Short said that no request had been received of that type from the General.

Senator Taft had achieved an impressive victory in the Illinois Republican primary the previous day, winning 48 of 50 delegates to the convention, his greatest delegate victory to date. There was a possibility that two delegates who favored General Eisenhower might win in southern Illinois. The primary results were not binding on the delegates. The Senator beat out both General Eisenhower and Harold Stassen in the race, though the General was the object only of a write-in campaign, as his name was not on the ballot, and he came in third.

On the Democratic side, Senator Estes Kefauver, running unopposed in the primary, won handily, with a small number of write-in votes for Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. The Democratic organization, regardless, was expected to give the delegate vote to Governor Stevenson should he enter the race. He had run unopposed for the gubernatorial nomination. Senator Kefauver, in Los Angeles, said that he was gratified by the results, but that they did not provide a true comparison of Governor Stevenson's strength in that state, as the Governor had not given his approval to the write-in campaign.

The raw vote results, after two-thirds of the precincts had reported, are indicated for both primaries.

A Gallup poll of Republican voters appears, begun just after the New Hampshire and Minnesota primaries and completed just before the Wisconsin and Nebraska primaries, showing General Eisenhower polling 37 percent and Senator Taft, 34 percent. General MacArthur was third, followed by Governor Earl Warren of California. The poll taken just before the New Hampshire primary the previous month had shown Senator Taft leading by a point. The margin between the two had changed only slightly in comparison to a December poll, in terms of popularity among Republicans. The effect of the General's victory in New Hampshire and his strong write-in showing in Minnesota had been among independent voters, who showed a marked increase in support for the General.

At Camp Edwards, Mass., two Air Force planes from Otis Air Force Base collided in midair this date and all 12 men aboard were believed dead.

An earthquake, which shook desks and office buildings, hit Oklahoma and portions of Texas, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri this date, apparently having its epicenter in Oklahoma, in the vicinity of Oklahoma City, where it shook buildings for at least 30 seconds. The President's hometown of Independence, Mo., also felt the quake. There were no immediate reports of damage. One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in North America, it notes, had been epicentered in New Madrid, Mo., in 1811, changing the course of the Mississippi River and creating Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee—at which the President had casually made his announcement in October, 1945 that the atomic secret would not be shared with other nations, and that none had asked for it in any event.

In Hollywood, actor Gregory Peck, while carrying actress Ava Gardner over rough terrain on a studio back lot during the shooting of a movie scene, stumbled and tore ligaments in his left knee, spoiling the scene and halting production on the film pending his recovery, which was expected the following week.

News editor Pete McKnight was in Lisbon, en route to the Middle East, and this date sends his first installment of a series of articles regarding the trip, this one telling of the flight via Pan American Airlines across the Atlantic, which he found "about as eventful as a nap in an easy chair." He describes the smooth ride at 17,000 feet from Boston aboard the fully loaded 45-passenger Constellation airplane. They had first landed at Santa Maria in the Azores for a 45 minute refueling break. He provides a description of the airport, which was a relic of World War II. Pan American had served café leite, similar to café latte, which he enjoyed. He indicates that a "country boy" could not help but be impressed by the "trimness and efficiency" of the trans-Atlantic air and ground crews. They had been flying the route so often that it was mere routine.

News sports editor Bob Quincy interviews on the sports page World Series champion New York Yankees manager Casey Stengle and shortstop Phil Rizzuto, regarding their opinions on whether the Yankee uniform made ordinary players great.

On the editorial page, "The Steel Seizure" finds that the seizure of the steel industry by the Government was not, as critics were suggesting, the end of economic stabilization, collective bargaining or free enterprise. The seizure was essential to defense and the welfare of the nation, coming after months of fruitless negotiation. A strike in the steel industry would have seriously impaired defense capability during the Korean War and at a time when the country was trying to rearm Western Europe under the banner of NATO. A strike would have cost labor more in lost wages than would be offset by any wage increase and would have limited civilian allocation of steel. Thus, it concludes, it was clearly in the nation's welfare to seize the industry.

Now, the matter was headed into the courts. It seemingly had been forgotten, it suggests, that the Government had been running the railroads since the previous August, and yet free enterprise was still booming in the railroads, which were not being socialized. Clearly, the Government did not intend to remain in the steel business, and, in any event, Congress would prevent any such socialization over the long term.

It suggests that a resolution to the steel dispute might have been worked out had the Wage Stabilization Board recommended, instead of the 26-cent package increase in wages and benefits, only 16 cents, as it had originally proposed to do. But with things as they were, the President had no choice, and finds that he had provided a good speech on the matter the previous night. It concludes that it was time to put the Government back into its proper role as mediator and quickly resolve the dispute, and that it was also time for the Government to relinquish its technical control of the railroads.

"Tie It Up Better, Judge" comments on Judge Hubert Olive, running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against William Umstead, having characterized the campaign as being between "the people" and the "privileged", the latter including Duke Power Co., the State Utilities Commission, and most lobbyists. According to the Judge, three of the commissioners who supported Mr. Umstead, whose law firm represented Duke, which had sought two million dollars in annual rate increases from the Commission, were likely to grant those increases, having already granted rate increases to Tidewater Power Co. Judge Olive had also indicated that the commissioners would raise the telephone rates in the eastern part of the state.

It suggests that the fallacy of Judge Olive's argument was that Mr. Umstead necessarily had something to do with the rate increases, but had failed to give any supporting evidence for the contention. Many utility rate increases had been granted recently in the state. If utility rates were going up in a time of inflation, it did not mean that the commissioners were necessarily raising rates because of their support of Mr. Umstead and the representation by his law firm of one of the utilities whose rates were being increased. It recommends to Judge Olive that he tie together his argument better.

"For Human Betterment" finds worthy the goals of the North Carolina Conference for Social Service, which had concluded its annual meeting in Charlotte the previous day. The more people helped by the social workers, the fewer who would wind up in prisons or on the roads. The Conference was seeking legislation for enforcement of compulsory school attendance by use and supervision of truant officers. The average North Carolina prisoner had gone through the fifth grade and then dropped out. Social services sought improved living standards and better wages in both rural and urban areas, as well as restrictions on gambling and proper guardianship, to alleviate these issues truancy and criminality.

It concludes that the CSS, a lobby in the finest sense of the word, was deserving of thoughtful attention from the Legislature and that surely a state which had produced a Governor Aycock, known as the education Governor at the turn of the century, could forge ahead in educational and social fields, which were now seemingly being overlooked.

"This Barkley Lad" indicates that the Vice-President had been done an injustice for having been dismissed by the pundits as a serious potential candidate for the presidency because of his age being 74. He was one of the most affable citizens of the country, and while that did not necessarily qualify him for the presidency, the fact of his age did not disqualify him.

West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was 75 and age did not impact him. The previous Friday, he had tired out Western Allied officials who had been negotiating with him. Winston Churchill was 77 and looking forward to five more years as Prime Minister. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., the author, not his son, the Supreme Court Justice, had lived to be 85 and had not started writing his first work, Over the Tea Cups, until he was 79. He had stated that to be 70 years old sometimes made one more cheerful and hopeful than when 40.

So, it concludes that if Mr. Barkley felt like he was 74, he should go ahead and run for the presidency and, it concludes, "Phooey on the young fogies who hold a man's chronological age against him."

A piece from the State, titled "A Language Our Own", indicates some local North Carolina idioms and words which an outsider might have a hard time understanding, such as "sort o' shackling", "peart", "grossing" for "grousing", "reddin'" for "readying", "sass" for "sassafras", "barnin'", and so on. It offers no comment or suggestion, just cites the various neologisms and common usage of archaic words.

Drew Pearson had obtained a copy of the questionnaire propounded by Newbold Morris to top officials of the Government, which had been the source of consternation for Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, leading him to fire Mr. Morris, in turn having his resignation forced the same day by the President. The questionnaire was similar to that sent to Washington and New York police, and had been approved by the President. Most of the Cabinet members had been opposed to answering it, Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder having done so vigorously. Mr. McGrath had indicated to Congress that he might not answer it, just before his forced resignation.

He proceeds to provide details of the questionnaire, which was designed to determine the sources and amounts of outside income and overall income.

Marquis Childs suggests that the inability of the Administration to carry out even rudimentary policy meant that the country would go without a Government for nearly ten months before Inauguration Day on January 20, 1953. The Russians were showing definite signs of desiring a settlement of their major differences with the West and Western strength was eroding rapidly in both the Far East and Middle East. There were also concerns regarding the fate of Formosa and the Nationalist Chinese, as well as the fate of mankind vis-à-vis atomic weapons in the arms race.

Yet, despite these issues, the President appeared insouciant, seemingly to have come to the realization of the extent to which he had allowed things to slip. He had an opportunity the previous December to clean up the government, starting by firing Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder. But that would have meant firing two old friends and the President could not bring himself to do that. The trouble in the Justice Department had begun under Mr. McGrath's predecessor, now-Justice of the Supreme Court, Tom Clark, who had appointed the "weaklings and the corner cutters." Mr. McGrath had done nothing to remedy that situation.

Federal Judge James McGranery, appointed to replace Mr. McGrath, had a good reputation and he might be able to perform the necessary housecleaning. Reports had persisted of bribes and influence being exerted in the offices of the U.S. Attorneys in various parts of the country, similar to that which had been revealed in the IRB offices. If Mr. McGranery moved into the situation quickly, he might be able to do what was necessary.

James Marlow discusses the steel dispute, telling of the President having explained the previous night in his talk to the nation why he had seized the mills, in an effort to engage in appeal to public opinion against the steel industry. He approved of the union's wage demands and condemned the industry's demands for an increase in prices to compensate for the Wage Stabilization Board's recommended wage increases, on the basis that the industry was making huge profits.

In response, the companies indicated that they would fight the seizure in the courts, ultimately bound for the Supreme Court—which would take up the matter on an emergent basis.

The President had said that he had seized the plants to prevent a strike against the nation's welfare in time of war. The courts would have to determine what was in the nation's welfare and whether that justified the seizure. The President had authorized the Secretary of Commerce, Charles Sawyer, not only to seize the plants but also to prescribe the terms and conditions of employment, allowing Mr. Sawyer to raise wages in accordance with the WSB recommendations. Mr. Sawyer said that he would not raise wages until a settlement occurred in the dispute. Mr. Marlow suggests that if that determination changed, however, the industry could be facing an accomplished fact of higher wages at the point eventually when the companies got the plants back.

A letter writer discusses what he views as the "unfair and impossible terms" of the Workmen's Compensation Act, known to thousands of industrial workers as the "Cabbage Cutter". It was administered by the State Industrial Commission, which had authority, in the event of a dispute, to award or deny compensation in accordance with the Act. He goes on to provide detail, indicating that the law provided practically nothing to injured workers.

A letter from George Peabody, for the Philippine Association, reminds that this date was the tenth anniversary of the fall of Bataan and that in that intervening decade, the Philippines, after the war and the subsequent grant of independence by the U.S., had now become the "Showcase of Democracy". He points out that at the start of the Korean War, 10,000 Filipinos had volunteered to join the U.S. in fighting the Communist invaders.

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