The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 7, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that the Korean truce talks had sunk to an all-time low this date after the Communists rejected the allied proposal for a package to break the deadlocks in the negotiations. An allied spokesman said that there was nothing left to discuss, as each side said that the next move was up to the other. The U.N. command proposed an indefinite recess of the talks, but the full delegations would again meet the following day at the insistence of the Communists. Negotiators ended the secrecy of the talks which had prevailed since April 28 when the allies had proposed the package deal, and General Matthew Ridgway, supreme commander of U.N. forces, announced that the terms of the package, a virtual ultimatum, were that the U.N. command would return 70,000 of the 132,000 captured Chinese and North Korean prisoners in exchange for the 12,000 allied troops held as prisoners by the Communists, that the Communists would be permitted to build and repair North Korean airfields during the course of an armistice, and that the Communists would drop their nomination of Russia as a "neutral nation" to inspect the armistice. General Ridgway said that the position was one from which the U.N. could not and would not retreat. The Communists had turned down the package offer the prior Friday and submitted a counter-offer, which had been rejected by the allies, proposing that the Communists would receive 132,000 prisoners in exchange for the 12,000 U.N. prisoners and would accept the other two points of the allied plan. The problem was voluntary repatriation, that a poll taken by the U.N. of the prisoners they held had shown that only 70,000 of the prisoners wished to be repatriated.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials in Washington had described as "fair" and "final" the package proposal and that there would be no further concessions. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Foster indicated that while the U.S. considered the offer final, it would be willing to discuss with the Communists the details. He would not indicate specifically what the alternatives might be should the Communists finally reject the proposal, although indicating, in response to a question, that a naval blockade of the Chinese coast and an attack on the Chinese mainland might be among the alternatives discussed. Secretary of State Acheson had said earlier that he believed the proposals were "fair and reasonable" and that anyone who wished to bring about a truce would accept them. He said that the proposals were made with the full support of the U.S. Government.

Allied warplanes hit two enemy rail lines in 340 places the previous day in North Korea and were attacking the supply lines again this date.

In the ground war, an allied patrol fought for two hours early on Wednesday with Communist Chinese troops west of Chorwon on the western front, while other tank-supported raiders destroyed four enemy bunkers near Kumhwa on the central front. Thirteen other bunkers were reported closed by guns from the U.S. cruiser Manchester, supported by the destroyer Evans in round-the-clock bombardment of the eastern end of the battle line.

In Paris, the French Cabinet this date decided to make General Alphonse Juin a marshal of France, with a seven-star rating. He was the inspector-general of the French Army and commander of central Europe land forces under NATO, and would thus outrank his new boss, four-star General Ridgway, set to become NATO supreme commander, succeeding General Eisenhower on June 1.

Air Force chief of staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg, told Senators this date, in a written statement, that within two years, Russia would possess the means of launching a long-range atomic attack against the U.S. which could neutralize, unless countered, the country's ability to retaliate while seriously crippling certain key centers of industrial productivity. He joined other Pentagon top brass and civilian secretaries in protesting the House-approved cuts to defense spending from the proposed 52 billion to 46 billion dollars during the ensuing fiscal year. The statement said that the House restrictions would delay delivery of about 3,000 modern aircraft from the beginning of 1953 until the middle of 1954, by which point, according to all reasonable estimates, the nation would be at a point of grave danger. Because General Vandenberg was entering the hospital for surgery, the vice-chief of staff, General Nathan Twining, had read his statement to the subcommittee.

The head of the Wage Stabilization Board, Nathan Feinsinger, told the House Labor Committee this date that if Congress took away the WSB's power to recommend settlements in labor disputes, chaos would result in industry and serious strikes would be the consequence. Former Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson had told the Committee the previous day that he recommended stripping the WSB of its power to make recommended settlements and that it should be limited to a determination of whether union wage demands fell within stabilization policy. Mr. Feinsinger disputed Mr. Wilson's statement that the WSB recommendations on the steel dispute were unfair and beyond stabilization policy.

The policymaking committee of the United Steelworkers were planning to address the steel dispute in a closed session this date.

A union coalition directing the nationwide strike of about 90,000 oil workers delayed its decision this date on whether to resume work pending a meeting with the Wage Stabilization Board the following Tuesday.

In Las Vegas, another atomic blast from the Yucca Flats test area was observed in the predawn darkness this date. The blast lit up the city, 75 miles from the test area, and appeared as a "quick blink" in Los Angeles, 250 miles distant. No shock was felt and no sound was heard in Las Vegas. Eleven residents of Groom Mine, Nev., 20 miles northeast of the test area, had been moved away the previous night and would not be allowed to return until radiation monitoring reported the area safe. The Army indicated that no troops were to be used in the test this date. Another group of 1,500 soldiers was being prepared for an atomic maneuver sometime the following week.

Senator Estes Kefauver had won the Ohio primary the previous day, placing him in the lead among Democrats for delegates to the nominating convention in July. He had, however, also suffered his first primary defeat in Florida, to Senator Richard Russell, who won a narrow victory in the first and only Southern primary in which Senator Kefauver was entered, though that primary chose no delegates, with a subsequent primary of May 27 to be held for that purpose. Senator Kefauver had won in the major cities while Senator Russell had been strong in the rural areas. Prior to the Ohio primary, Averell Harriman led the delegate count with 96 1/2, to Senator Kefauver's 91 1/2, but Senator Kefauver was set to take probably 25 of the 31 delegates from Ohio. Senator Spessard Holland had won renomination overwhelmingly against his opponent in Florida.

On the Republican side, it was likely that Senator Taft would capture all 56 of the Ohio delegates in his home state, as General Eisenhower was not on the ballot and write-in votes were not allowed. The General, prior to the primary, was leading in the Associated Press tabulation of delegate votes, 284 to 281.

The FBI reported the arrest of five men in connection with the robbery of $50,000 from the Leaksville, N.C., Bank and Trust Company on April 17. Three of the men were charged with conspiring to rob the bank and the two others were charged with being accessories after the fact. Two other men were also being held in Durham regarding the bank robbery, but no charges had been filed.

North Carolina's Attorney General, Harry McMullan, indicated in Asheville this date that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions had "seriously undermined" the power of state and Federal courts to punish criminals. He was speaking on the topic of "abuses of habeas corpus", indicating that it had become nearly impossible to bring to an end a criminal prosecution when the defendant was in a position to take advantage of the "legal loopholes and dilatory tactics" which had been made available to him by the majority of the Supreme Court, which, he said, included such outstanding "Liberals" as Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, and the deceased Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge, both of whom had died in 1949. He complained of the "endless procession of trials, appeals, applications for certiorari, coram nobis and habeas corpus, over and over again", causing shock among the public as "cruel murderers and other capital felonies" went unpunished. He believed it was causing respect to be lost for the state courts and the Federal courts. He suggested that if the trend continued, good citizens would be encouraged not to depend any longer on the courts to avenge the crimes committed against them.

Sounds like you're encouraging vigilante action through the back gate.

On an inside page appears the ninth and last in the series of articles by Dr. W. C. Alvarez, titled "How To Live with Your Heart Condition".

A new series on blood pressure would begin the following day. Don't miss it, fatso. Your limited future may depend on it.

On the editorial page, "The State Stands Indicted" indicates that ten years earlier a special committee appointed by then-Governor J. Melville Broughton, in response to a series of articles by former News reporter, the late Tom Jimison, who had voluntarily entered Morganton State Hospital as a patient for a year between 1940 and 1941, had issued a stinging report on the conditions at Morganton, with recommendations for improvements, especially regarding the number of staff physicians and personnel in attendance. Ten years later, the state had done much to improve the treatment of adult mental patients, but remained behind in development of facilities and training for mentally deficient children.

The previous week, Governor Kerr Scott and the State Hospitals Board of Control had been criticized by the Bureau of Educational Research & Service of UNC, following a study of the facilities for children, indicating that "if the State of North Carolina is to discharge its obligation to those whose minds have not developed normally, a great deal remains to be done…" Many hundreds of mentally deficient children were unable to gain admission to the Caswell Training School because of a shortage of facilities for children. The report urged immediate construction of a new training school, along with other recommendations shifting the emphasis from mere custodial care to constructive treatment and training, as had been recommended ten years earlier by the blue-ribbon panel regarding Morganton.

It suggests that such children had lived in the "darkness of neglect" for too long and that the 1953 General Assembly should provide adequate facilities and trained personnel to give the state's mentally deficient children a chance in the world.

"Once Again VEPCO Is Stymied" tells of the newspaper having supported the notion that Virginia Electric & Power Company be permitted to build a dam at Roanoke Rapids as long as it would be permitted to operate in conjunction with other dams of the entire river basin project. Secretary of Interior Oscar Chapman had taken exception to private development of the dam, despite the Federal Power Commission having authorized it and the Court of Appeals having upheld the FPC's ruling. Now, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the case and VEPCO had elected to stop work until the ruling was handed down.

Mr. Chapman contended that Congress had, in 1944, approved in principle a comprehensive development program for the Roanoke River basin, including 11 dams, one of which would be at Roanoke Rapids. It had appropriated money for only two of those dams, but Mr. Chapman remained hopeful, complaining that if private power companies were permitted to develop the best sites, the Federal Government would be left only to build the dams that were not economically feasible.

The piece sees the matter as larger, whether the Congress, by simply approving the program in principle, could forever block private projects in that area, finds that Congress should not have such power.

As indicated, the following year, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 6 to 3, would uphold the Court of Appeals ruling, while recognizing the standing of Secretary Chapman to contest the matter, with Justice Felix Frankfurter delivering the opinion of the Court.

"Another Award for a Great Newspaper" tells of one journalist present at a meeting of North Carolina newspaper publishers in Chapel Hill, after hearing Ben Reese, for many years the managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, recite a long list of campaigns which his paper had waged successfully against crime and corrupt government, having stated sardonically that it was a good thing that the Post-Dispatch had been on the job or otherwise there might have been some corrupt politicians in Missouri.

It suggests that the quip showed how hard it was to clean up government, as there were always other little men lurking in the shadows waiting to move in and take over the moment the focus was withdrawn from the particular scandal in issue.

It wishes to point out that the Post-Dispatch had recently won its fifth Pulitzer Prize, for which it congratulates the newspaper, this one for its exposé of the corruption at the IRB, most of the reporting having been done by Ted Link, assisted considerably by its Washington staff and editorial writers. It finds it perhaps the finest example of journalistic public service the nation had witnessed in many years.

It quotes from Joseph Pulitzer's masthead for the Post-Dispatch, never to tolerate injustice or corruption and always to fight demagogues of all parties while never belonging to a party and always opposing privileged classes and public plunderers, never lacking sympathy for the poor and always remaining devoted to the public welfare. The piece finds that the newspaper had lived up to its creed.

"The Decorous Tape Recorder" remarks on the refusal of Senator William Benton to testify at a pretrial hearing in the defamation case brought against Senator Benton by Senator Joseph McCarthy for Senator Benton's statements that Senator McCarthy had committed perjury in his claims of Communists in the Government, Senator Benton specifically having waived his Senatorial immunity so that Senator McCarthy could bring the suit. Senator Benton had refused to testify on the basis that Senator McCarthy wanted to tape record the testimony and Senator Benton wanted to limit it to the normal stenographic record.

The piece thinks that a tape recorder did not violate "judicial decorum", as suggested by Senator Benton, but was useful to record faithfully the words of the declarant, just as the journalist and others used it to obtain accurate reporting. The actual reason for Senator Benton not wanting the recorder present, it ventures, was that Senator McCarthy would seek to use it as a vehicle for making speeches, as suggested by Senator Benton's attorney. It hopes that the U.S. District Court hearing the case would decide the issue quickly, as the main issue, the determination of truthfulness by either of the two Senators, was important to the people.

A piece from the Tarboro Southerner, titled "Farm Missionaries", tells of the U.S. and the Western nations having been sending religious and medical missionaries to foreign lands for many generations, combating ancient and harmful superstitions while instilling some of the public health practices of the West. Those missionaries had been immobilized in Russian satellites, including China. Now being added to this cadre of missionaries were the agricultural envoys of good will, who were teaching modern methods of soil conservation, without much hope of financial reward, in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. Such missionaries could contribute greatly to the well-being of other peoples by teaching them to increase their food supplies.

Drew Pearson tells of some Administration leaders seeking to end the steel dispute, with the steel mills running again, by providing a moderate price increase to the industry to compensate for a wage increase. Several members of the Cabinet had long favored such a plan, especially Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett and aide John Steelman, who was the acting Defense Mobilizer and had once favored a $5 per ton price increase, as had former Defense Mobilizer Charles E. Wilson. Each move in that direction, however, had run up against the opposition of Price administrator Ellis Arnall, who was adamant about holding the line at no more than a $3 per ton increase, the limit under present price control laws, believing that any greater increase would wreck the economy. He had threatened to quit if a price increase beyond that point were granted, ending further discussion of the matter. He was backed up by his immediate superior, Economic Stabilizer Roger Putnam. Mr. Arnall had produced figures showing that the increase recommended by the Wage Stabilization Board could be implemented out of the high steel industry profits after taxes, and would result in only 60 cents per ton less than its record-breaking profits of the previous year.

Initially, after the Court of Appeals had overturned the District Court's ruling regarding an injunction of the seizure of the steel industry, the Justice Department wanted to obtain an injunction to order the steelworkers back to work, following their immediate strike after the District Court ruling. Philip Murray, however, responding to the President's pleas, had ordered the steelworkers back to work following the Court of Appeals ruling and the workers had complied.

The President had asked acting Attorney General Philip Perlman to submit a report regarding how the Taft-Hartley Act could be used if necessary in the steel dispute. He notes that originally, the President had been leery of using his "inherent" executive powers to seize the steel industry.

Pete McKnight, editor of The News, writing from Paris, on the way home from his trip to the Middle East, finds it the most beautiful, glamorous, exciting, and one of the most expensive cities he had seen during his trip. He had lost a day and a half for being sick during the stay in Paris but had seen enough to create a strong desire to return someday, as he also wished to return to Lisbon and Rome.

He had departed Israel on April 23 aboard BOAC, after two hours of red tape during departure. They had flown directly to Rome with perfect visibility, even at 16,000 feet, spending most of the time therefore looking out the window at the blue Mediterranean, the rugged mountains of southern Greece, and the "adroitly-terraced farms" of southern Italy. He especially enjoyed the approach to Rome. He spent one night, as he had on his trip to the Middle East, with his brother John McKnight, and though there was no time for sightseeing, had taken a tour of some of the more obscure nightspots, listening to small bands playing American jazz numbers, which appeared to dominate both the radio and nightclubs in most of the countries in which they had stopped.

A solid bank of clouds prevented viewing the Swiss Alps as they passed over them in a TWA Constellation, going to Zürich, where it was cold and rainy upon arrival, confining the passengers to the terminal, where they examined the Swiss-made merchandise on display. Mr. McKnight had spent a good many minutes gazing at a "gorgeous, statuesque blonde" as she studied a timetable, considering her to be a "perfect Swiss beauty—clean, fresh, healthy", until he heard her speak in a "twangy Brooklyn accent", at which point he turned his attention elsewhere.

What are yous, a snob, Southern boy?

Next they arrived in Paris and found the customs agents to be the least inquisitive of the lot. He saw the city initially from the window of the bus as it made its way through heavy traffic, and then joined his previous traveling companion, Don Shoemaker, editor of the Asheville Citizen, who, having departed Tel Aviv a day earlier, was already registered at the California Hotel.

His next installment would consist of some impressions of Paris.

Marquis Childs suggests that the voters of Maine were witnessing what might be the first attempt at coming into political office by clinging to "political petticoats" as opposed to the traditional coattail-clinging. Senator Owen Brewster was standing for re-election, facing a tough primary opponent in Governor Frederick Payne. Senator Brewster was repeatedly seeking to cast himself as seeing eye-to-eye with his colleague, Senator Margaret Chase Smith. The latter was saying nothing, but their records showed that they were quite different in their positions.

Two years earlier, Senator Brewster had sought to undercut Senator Smith when she made her "declaration of conscience" on the Senate floor, denouncing the smear tactics of Senator McCarthy. Old guard Republicans descended upon her, particularly from the Taft faction, and subsequently Senator Brewster defended Senator McCarthy and his tactics at a meeting of the RNC. Yet, at the end of a recent campaign speech, when asked about Senator McCarthy and Senator Smith, Senator Brewster had replied that whenever the party had to choose between the two, they had chosen to support Senator Smith.

Senator Smith's friends believed that Senator Brewster, with the help of Idaho's Senator Herman Welker, had developed a strategy to get Senator McCarthy out of a recent embarrassing situation, arising when the Senate had been required to vote on whether it would support the committee investigating Senator McCarthy, Senator Brewster and Senator Welker having made the whole thing appear trivial and unimportant, in the course of which Iowa's Senator Bourke Hickenlooper had challenged Senator Smith's position, denouncing McCarthyism, as being hypersensitive.

Mr. Childs posits that it was likely Senator Smith would maintain a neutral attitude throughout the primary, seeing no need to enter a factional quarrel between Senator Brewster and the Governor.

The fact that Senator Brewster had been involved as a mysterious figure in several Congressional investigations, for instance the Howard Hughes-Pan Am case, regarding the contest for exclusive overseas routes with TWA, with Senator Brewster receiving free flights from Pan Am and favoring Pan Am in that contest, gave cause for concern that he might be vulnerable in the coming primary, despite the Governor not running a strong race. More recently, the Senator had been involved with Henry Grunewald, the fixer who was now being cited for contempt by the House. The Senator had appeared before the House tax investigating committee to explain that a $10,000 transaction with Mr. Grunewald had been arranged to help two Republicans in their primary contests, a violation of Republican rules laid down by the Republican campaign committee, of which Senator Brewster was chairman. In addition, despite the efforts to the contrary of Senator Brewster to support Senator Taft for the GOP nomination, the Maine delegation was sending nine delegates to the convention for General Eisenhower, five for Senator Taft and two uncommitted but leaning to the General. This latter fact, Mr. Childs suggests, might be a portent of the waning political fortunes of Senator Brewster.

A letter writer from Pinehurst responds to a letter of April 30, agreeing with the previous writer regarding the criticism of an editorial, "North Carolina Senators Accent the Negative". He had almost written at the same time a letter criticizing the editorial, indicating that Senator Willis Smith had been supported by The News over Frank Porter Graham for the Democratic nomination for the Senate in 1950 on the basis that Senator Graham had been nullifying the vote of Senator Clyde Hoey on most issues during the previous year that Senator Graham had sat as interim Senator, and that Mr. Smith would likely vote in line with Senator Hoey. He indicates that the newspaper had editorially advocated a strong two-party system for the South and he knew of no one who disagreed with that stance. He believes, however, that both North Carolina Senators would vote consistently for the interests of wealth and in derogation of legislation for the "great unorganized mass of voters", no matter how beneficial a particular bill might be. He cites their votes against the RFC as a case in point.

A letter writer wonders why the County Board of Commissioners had brought in an out-of-state expert to perform the revaluation of property in the county, but then reviewed the valuations by means of a local board, who, by the former reasoning, would necessarily lack the requisite qualifications for that assessment. She thinks that there was no point in hiring outside personnel while electing local people who did not know what they were doing and who forgot that they were servants of the people.

A letter writer from Pittsboro comments on the May 1 editorial page, including the editorial, "A Fact the GOP Should Face", the column by the Alsops regarding what General Eisenhower might say when he returned home, and a letter from a man who asserted that he was a life-long Democrat but would vote for General Eisenhower if he were nominated by the Republicans. He finds the column by the Alsops to be the most important of the three items, indicating that the Democrats had left him "high and dry", early in the first term of FDR, relegating him to the choice of either a compromise with his convictions to vote for Democrats since that time or to become an independent, which he had elected to do, trying to vote and act since that time "intelligently". He finds that what the General would say when he returned home would be of little consequence if he were already assured the nomination. Senator Taft, by contrast, was already on record on all of the controversial issues, as were virtually all of the other candidates in the race for both parties. He says that he was not against General Eisenhower, but did not know enough about his political and economic views to form an opinion. He finds that Senator Taft and Senator Paul Douglas, a Democrat, both acted in public life as they stated their convictions to be, a combination which counted insofar as his appraisal of public servants. He indicates that he would, in consequence, be willing to trust the fate of the nation to either one.

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