The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 31, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Sam Summerlin, that chief Communist negotiator, General Nam Il, contended this date that the killing of nine prisoners in incidents on Thursday and Friday in U.N. prison camps resulted from "obviously deliberate provocations designed to obstruct the outcome of the question on prisoners of war and to delay armistice proceedings" and "to prepare the ground for an extension of the war". The U.N. delegation replied that the exchange of prisoners could be underway were it not for Communist stubbornness. Chief Allied negotiator, Maj. General William Harrison, Jr., reminded General Nam that the Communists had suggested the screening process which had resulted in the objectionably low number of U.N. prisoners who desired repatriation. There was no progress on the voluntary repatriation issue, the only remaining sticking point preventing an armistice. The Communists demanded another session the next day, after this date's 35-minute session, and it was apparent to the U.N. command that they would demand daily sessions for the purpose of stringing out the negotiations.

In Paris, French police conducted a series of dawn raids on the Communist Party headquarters and offices throughout the country, seizing arms and ammunition in a number of cities. The Communist leaders apparently knew that the raid was imminent as they had burned most of their documents and reports in advance. The Interior Ministry said that six Communist organizations had been raided in Paris. Teargas squads had spearheaded the raid on the party's national headquarters, prompting the Communists to bar the doors of some offices, requiring that the police call in locksmiths or climb through windows to gain entry. The raids followed the arrest earlier in the week of France's leading Communist, Jacques Duclos, arrested along with hundreds of others in connection with the rioting of the previous Wednesday, designed to protest the agreements between France and West Germany.

In Berlin, Communist police seized a hamlet on the fringe of West Berlin and ordered its 43 families out of their homes, part of the Communist program to seal Berlin from the surrounding Russian zone of East Germany. The Hamlet was just inside the Eastern zone but administratively belonged to Spandau, in the British sector. The Russians also turned back Allied patrol cars on the Berlin-Helmstedt autobahn for the sixth straight day. Meanwhile, the Communists were stimulating a hate campaign against West Berlin through a Russian-controlled news agency, distributing a long article charging that West Berlin was "a base of agents and black marketeers" and that Communist police frequently had been attacked by "agents and saboteurs".

In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, leaders of the non-white population were planning a passive civil uprising against the government's apartheid and discriminatory race laws, to take place around June 26. The leaders met on the 42nd anniversary of the union to check over their final plans, which had as a goal national freedom. The chief of the campaign was a wealthy physician-farmer, Dr. James S. Moroka, president-general of the African National Congress. He indicated that the non-white peoples wanted to achieve cooperation with all on terms of equality. The ten million non-whites in the country outnumbered whites by four to one. They expected more than 10,000 volunteers to initiate the drive against the tightening Jim Crow legislation of Prime Minister Daniel F. Malan's nationalist government. The story indicates that conditions among the non-white population had never been very good but that there was also no general depression under the current government. The master-servant relationship in the country had been legalized in the 19th century, but the complaint against the current government was that it had widened the pattern, making it more severe while trying to ensure that it remained foolproof. Government and local authorities had been attempting for years to improve the health and economy of the non-whites, which included blacks, Indians, and those of mixed blood, but the projects had failed to get at the root of the problem. The non-whites, in addition to demanding equality of opportunity, wanted representation in Parliament at least equal to that of whites.

Memorial Day weekend traffic deaths reached 132 this date, half-way through the three-day holiday period, lasting from 6:00 p.m. Thursday through midnight Sunday. Another 56 persons, including 30 drowned, had thus far been killed in other types of accidents. The National Safety Council predicted that 310 persons would be killed in accidents through the weekend. In 1951, traffic deaths had numbered 84, but entailing only a one-day holiday. The 1951 national traffic toll had been 37,500, the highest in ten years. During the first four months of 1952, traffic deaths had totaled 10,650.

In North Carolina, the state primary election was taking place and despite generally cloudy weather, brisk voting was reported in most sections of the state, ranging from very heavy in High Point to light in Asheville and very light in Mecklenburg County. Heavy voting was reported in Wilmington despite the threat of rain. Voting was also heavy in Raleigh, where officials predicted possibly a record turnout.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of voter turnout in Mecklenburg falling below expectations. The Board of Elections chairman had predicted about 35,000 persons would cast ballots, but in the first six hours balloting was reportedly slow or about average.

Representative John Rankin of Mississippi sadly told a reporter that talent scouts for pet caterers had descended on the cotton belt to buy up mules, no longer needed for the presence on farms of tractors. They were being sold for dogfood at two cents per pound.

The story somehow fit the racist, xenophobic Mr. Rankin.

In London, actor-director Charles Laughton arrived from New York after a six-day delayed plane flight, his first plane having encountered engine trouble causing it to turn back 300 miles over the Atlantic, whereupon he caught a second plane, which then had to stop in Newfoundland for repairs. Upon his arrival, he asked what day it was.

In Prestwick, Scotland, Harvie Ward of Tarboro, N.C., prevented Frank Stranahan's bid for a third British Amateur Golf championship this date when he trounced the Toledo, Ohio, millionaire, "six and five", in the 36-hole all-American finals. Mr. Stranahan had won the event in 1948 and 1950, but had suffered several errant shots this date, missing almost half the fairways. Mr. Ward became the eleventh American to win the trophy since 1926. It was the third straight all-American final and the fourth in the previous six years. (Whoever wrote this silly story, incidentally, needed to take a new lesson in the English language. One must translate from Scottish golf argot to get through it. Stick to bogeys, birdies, eagles and par. Six and five? Presumably, that means by six strokes on the first 18 holes and five on the second.)

On the editorial page, "Grand Larceny in Texas" refers the reader to the column of Joseph Alsop this date, regarding that state's Republican convention seating a rump Taft delegation in place of the delegation voted by the clear majority of supporters of General Eisenhower. Drew Pearson's column of the previous day had described other like "thefts" in other states as well.

Dr. Alexander Heard, in his recently published book, A Two-Party South? had presented an unflattering picture of Southern Republicans and the club-like organizations they ran.

The analysis led to the conclusion that the Republican Party leaders in the South, with a few notable exceptions, did not wish to win elections because to do so would require running good candidates who would not permit the shenanigans of the party bosses, and the enlargement of the party organizations, which would also cost the bosses control. They would also have to quit the practice of selling themselves to presidential candidates and instead support the best vote-getter.

It suggests that the popular sentiment for General Eisenhower was threatening the rule of these GOP "emperors in the South" and that new leaders were emerging who were willing and able to inform the people and channel their energies into effective action against the existing system. It concludes that while the people's will had been thwarted in Texas, the handwriting was on the wall for those Southern Republican bosses intelligent enough to read it.

"Hamilton's Threat Has a Hollow Sound" tells of Klan Imperial Wizard Thomas L. Hamilton stating to a Klan rally in South Carolina that he was not guilty until proven so, though addressing only a small group of people because of the winnowing of Klan ranks in the wake of the campaign in recent months against the benighted organization in both North Carolina and South Carolina, involving local law enforcement and the FBI, growing out of the spate of floggings in 1951 and early 1952. The piece finds it ironic that the Wizard would avail himself of the presumption of innocence, as the Klan had never observed that presumption in its "kangaroo courts", but rather dragged victims, black and white, from their homes in the dead of night, ignoring their protests as the Klansmen meted out their cruel punishment behind a whip.

Unlike the Klan victims, Mr. Hamilton would receive all of the Constitutional protections due him under the law, in his trial for conspiracy to kidnap and assault. But he had added a threat calculated to intimidate witnesses when he said in his address to the Klansmen that any man who took the witness stand and lied about him would never be forgotten by him or by members of the Klan. It suggests that the threat would fail and that Mr. Hamilton would intimidate no one, that the trials in Wilmington and Whiteville recently had removed "the Klan's veil of mystery and exposed it for the miserable organization it is."

"The Seniority (Senility) System" tells of 600 Charlotte postal workers not being paid during the week because of the undemocratic committee seniority system of Congress, whereby the appropriations to pay the workers had been spent and no additional money appropriated because elderly Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had been too feeble for some time to hold hearings and too cantankerous to let anyone else take over as chairman. It suggests that the seniority system sometimes left a committee without a leader, other times with a poor leader, and never permitted the members of the committee to choose their own chairman. It cites some of the bad examples from the past, including that of former North Carolina Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, who had been opposed to the internationalist foreign policy of the Roosevelt Administration, but continued nevertheless as chairman of the powerful Military Affairs Committee based on his seniority.

"Steel Solution?" tells of Federal Judge Harold Medina having taken his court and forty lawyers from an involved antitrust trial to Ebbets Field, where they saw the Brooklyn Dodgers lose, 6-2, to the New York Giants. It suggests that the example should be followed by other jurists, notably Chief Justice Fred Vinson, who should take the United Steelworkers president, Philip Murray, and U.S. Steel president, Benjamin Fairless, both residents of Pittsburgh, to a game involving the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team deeper in the National League cellar than usual in 1952. It suggests that they might find an area of agreement and take the Court off the hook in the steel case.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Another Junket Finds Waste", tells of a Congressional committee headed by Representative Herbert Bonner of North Carolina finding waste in military spending and urging tightening up of the military unification act to bring about economy. But the information had come only after a 41-day trip around the world, most of it undertaken by air travel. The piece does not know how much the junket had cost, but finds it undoubtedly wasteful. Other committees had discovered the same basic facts about military waste without leaving Washington.

A piece from the Rocky Mount Telegram considers the June bug and an attempt by the editor of the Tampa Tribune to explain it to a questioner in the question and answer column, but then drifting far away from June bugs to other things recalled from earlier times in association with them, including tying a length of sewing thread to the hind leg of one and watching it fly itself to exhaustion, or other such high-jinks with various forms of fauna and flora abounding across the countryside, which it proceeds to list. It finds those things to go with June bugs as June bugs went with summer, just as ham gravy went with grits. It then provides Webster's definition of a June bug, being "any of several species of large brown melonthine beetles" in the Northern U.S., and the fig-eater in the South. The piece concludes that if that was all the June bug meant to the dictionary, it pities it.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman Ernest Bramblett of California, who kept his wife on his Government payroll because he could not trust others who might be Communist spies, but had overlooked in the process the fact that she had been on his payroll for five years, long before he had become worried about Communists and before their loyalty had become an issue. Mr. Pearson ventures that when the Congressman talked about security concerns, perhaps he was speaking of the family bank account, as she was receiving $8,500 a year, more than some FBI agents, and that, together, the couple had received over $126,000 during the Congressman's six years in office.

The wife of Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming hoped that he would be defeated for re-election because she was tired of politics. Mr. Pearson finds that if so, he would be sorely missed, as he was one of the most conscientious leaders in Congress.

The fate of the President's veto of the tidelands oil bill, giving the tidelands oil back to the states, hinged on only a few Senators, especially such Western Republicans as Zales Ecton of Montana, Arthur Watkins of Utah, and George Malone of Nevada, despite their constituencies being in inland states having nothing to gain from states obtaining control of the oil in their tidelands. Previously, those Senators had voted with the President, but also understood that the educational system within their states would benefit if the tidelands oil went to the states.

The first black delegation to a Democratic convention in North Carolina had been seated recently in New Hanover County, encompassing Wilmington. In Lenoir, N.C., 120 employees of the Bernhardt Furniture Co., both whites and blacks, pitched in to rebuild the home of a black preacher after it had burned down. The firm also donated furniture and the employees collected $150, while black schoolchildren raised another $14 to help the minister re-establish in his new home. Mr. Pearson suggests these two stories as something Moscow radio would never carry.

Joseph Alsop, in Mineral Wells, Tex., as indicated in the above editorial, again looks at the Republican state convention in Texas, finding that, with the approval of Senator Taft's personal representatives on the scene, the delegation to the national convention had been "stolen" on his behalf, "accomplished by a system of rigging, as grossly dishonest, as nakedly anti-democratic, as arrogantly careless of majority rule, as can be found in the long and sordid annals of American politics."

He cites a typical case out of Harris County, which encompassed the city of Houston, with 144 votes to the state convention, its county convention, by state law, supposed to determine the candidate for whom the 144 delegates would support. The state convention had ruled that "qualified voters" meant persons who were willing to sign a pledge of Republican allegiance, allowing the meetings to be open to independents or former Democrats desiring to become Republicans and ready to sign the pledge. The leader of the Taft supporters in Texas, national committeeman Henry Zweifel, had affirmed that position in a public statement before the meetings, urging independents and Democrats to attend. In doing so, he had not considered the groundswell of popular support for General Eisenhower in Texas, and the meetings were much better attended than even the Democratic meetings, with 22,000 people showing up, compared to past attendance by only a few hundred. The result had been the defeat of the pro-Taft leaders of the Republican Old Guard in the election, under the law and rules, by the pro-Eisenhower supporters to the county convention. The pro-Taft supporters then organized walkouts and rump precinct meetings.

The Harris County chairman, strongly supportive of Senator Taft, appointed a committee of five persons, composed of three pro-Taft Republicans and two pro-Eisenhower Republicans, to consider all of the contests, that committee finding that 146 pro-Eisenhower representatives had been elected to the county convention, that 19 pro-Taft representatives had also been elected, but that 69 places were in dispute. Thereafter, a pro-Eisenhower delegation was elected in the county to the state convention, after which the pro-Taft group walked out and selected their own slate of delegates, outside the law and rules, to send to the state convention. The only objection made to the pro-Eisenhower delegation was that some were former Democrats, though that had been within the recognized rules regarding the pledge.

But in the end, the Taft supporters were able to throw out the legally elected Eisenhower delegation from the county and seat only the rump delegation supporting Senator Taft. The following day, the hand-picked convention credentials committee confirmed the decision of the executive committee and the "fake delegation" were allowed to vote for themselves on the state convention floor.

Mr. Alsop had witnessed all of these proceedings in Harris County, and indicates that it was the sort of thing which had occurred all over the state, all encouraged by Taft managers, including former RNC chairman, Carroll Reece of Tennessee. When Mr. Alsop had asked the head of the rump minority how they were able to obtain the legal right to name the county's delegation, she had replied: "I just don't know. But we just seemed to, and anyway we're going right along with it."

Robert C. Ruark suggests that golf had to go for it causing too many ulcers and a tendency to strike children with the errant ball. He finds that taking the left arm stiffly back on the swing was contrary to all laws of human coordination, and if such were started with a child, he would wind up "left-handed, stuttering, and would probably attack his grandma with an ax someday." The whole purpose of the game was to get the husband out of the house, but it was not a sport which made one happy. He had never met a happy golfer. Even Sam Snead knew that if he had a momentary triumph, he might next hook the ball, slice it, top it or undercut it.

He finds golfers worse liars than fishermen or hunters, likely to cheat on themselves, even though it was hard to say what it proved. He finds that, with the exception of a "lovely lady named Peggy", most lady golfers took on the more abysmal characteristics of the sport, and off the fairway, displayed "a sort of grim-faced, spraddle-legged, flat-heeled, shiny-nosed, thick-ankled, tweed-skirtish approach to society." Men golfers, he found, were "a little too hearty and a bit flushed in the face, due to overexercise, bad temper and protracted dalliance in the locker room with the bourbon jug." Golfers, he observes, tended to favor bourbon over the more "delicate sauces".

He finds the game silly, as anyone who wanted to put a ball in a little hole would normally just walk up to the hole and drop it in. He concludes that someday soon, he hoped to take up tennis, "as an idiot's delight with polo to come."

"Myxomatosis", from Business Week, tells of a four-sided race between a virus of that name, a rabbit, a sheep, and a mosquito, having been developed by the wool men in Australia, with all four ingredients having been imported. The intended cycle was that the virus was carried by the mosquito to the rabbit burrows, and after they had succumbed, more grass remained for the sheep, leading to more production of wool. But the mosquitoes and the viruses produced at a more fecund rate than even the rabbits and so there was a danger of uncontrolled productivity. It asks what if the mosquitoes and the virus ran out of rabbits on which to prey, in which case they might turn on the sheep or on the wool men, themselves. "We itch to know."

A letter writer complains about the rearrangement of the Features Page of the newspaper, no longer appaharrisrently on the back page, but indicates that she still looked forward each day to reading the columns by the Rev. Herbert Spaugh, Tom Fesperman, Erich Brandeis, Earl Wilson and others.

A letter writer from Matthews thanks the newspaper for reprinting the address by Dr. Edward K. Graham, Jr., president of Woman's College in Greensboro, anent the need for revision of the college curriculum requirements in North Carolina for certification of teachers. She hopes it spawns a chain reaction.

A letter writer responds to a prior letter writer who had criticized a Charlotte hospital for refusing treatment to a patient until someone indicated financial responsibility for the patient. The writer knew of a similar instance involving a friend who had a miscarriage. When the hospital, however, discovered that she and her husband were wealthy, "the wheels began to roll". He cautions against such isolated examples, however, obscuring the good which the hospitals did.

A letter writer urges voting for Judge Hubert Olive in the gubernatorial primary this date, as he was against liquor. The writer, who remains nameless, believes the liquor stores were tempting the youth and that wives and mothers were the primary victims.

A letter writer complains that the county convention had deprived Republican candidates for Congress, governor and other state offices of any party support. He indicates that he would discuss the issues between Republicans and Democrats after the primary.

As long as the Republican party in the South, he ventures, was run by "political manipulators, professional politicians, job hunting sycophants, party riders, coat tail hangers on and their ilk who hibernate between national elections and enter political contests with the Democratic Party with spite candidates, the old gray beard ghost of one partyism will walk below the Potomac."

He does not conclude his letter, however, with his characteristic, "So it is." There must be something "isn't" about this one.

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