The Charlotte News

Friday, May 9, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. ground commander, General James Van Fleet, had stated that he would use force if necessary soon to free Brig. General Francis Dodd from the Communist prisoners of war who had taken him hostage at the Koje Island prison camp in Korea two days earlier. He indicated that General Dodd was no longer the commander of the prison and that he had ordered an investigation of the incident. It was not clear whether General Dodd would be returned to his command after he was free. Command was given to Brig. General Charles Colson in the meantime. General Van Fleet indicated that he would never give in to the prisoners' "unreasonable" demands for special privileges in return for the General. For the present, the U.N. command had not been able to ascertain in which building or tent General Dodd was being held among the several housing some 80,000 Communist prisoners.

Meanwhile, General Dodd's wife awaited word on his release from her home in San Antonio, as also were the General's aging parents in Tallahassee.

Price Stabilizer Ellis Arnall stated this date, in a letter to the Senate and House banking committees, that Congress ought change the Capehart Amendment quickly to prevent unwarranted price increases of food and other cost-of-living items, indicating that, otherwise, he would be required to boost ceilings on prices because of a court decision that the amendment applied to all distributors. Theretofore, he had been operating on the assumption that it applied only to processors and manufacturers of goods and sellers of services. The amendment permitted ceilings to be raised by adding all increased costs through the previous July 26 to prices which existed prior to the Korean War.

The Senate passed and sent to the President two bills increasing veterans' benefits by about 200 million dollars per year, designed to meet cost-of-living increases since the compensation rates had last been changed. One of the bills provided a 15 percent increase in service-connected compensation for veterans of all wars who were more than 50 percent disabled, and a 5 percent increase for those with less than a 50 percent disability.

A Senate investigator showed photographs of canceled checks to the Senate Agriculture Committee which indicated that the former head of the Justice Department's criminal division, Alex Campbell, had received checks totaling $2,800, which were then deposited in the account of the one-time special assistant to the head of the Production and Marketing Administration, Jack Cowart, while the latter was working for the Government. Mr. Cowart had been recently convicted of illegally accepting fees from a private firm while employed by the Government, albeit not involving the same money to which the Senate investigator had referred. Mr. Campbell had asked for permission to testify to show that he had been used in the situation. Committee member Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana interrupted the testimony at one point to call Mr. Cowart a "crook".

Senator John Williams of Delaware indicated that Harry Gross, the former head of a multi-million dollar per year betting ring in New York, had filed no final income tax returns for the years 1949 and 1950. During the prior three years before that, he had reported a total net income of only slightly more than $25,000, with a tax liability of $3,300. Yet, the IRB had never investigated Mr. Gross until after the recent exposure of his widespread corruption. Mr. Gross was presently serving a 12-year prison term and was testifying in the New York trial of several police officers accused of accepting bribes from him to ignore the gambling operations.

Senator Taft, replying to the written message to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee delivered by General Eisenhower the previous day that the House-approved cut of foreign aid by a billion dollars would seriously impair the aid program for Western Europe and potentially endanger U.S. security, stated that even a cut of two billion dollars from the 7.9 billion sought for the following fiscal year would not endanger the security of the country.

The Committee was taking testimony on the issue of the cuts, scheduled to hear in executive session this date Secretary of State Acheson, Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley, chief of Naval operations, Admiral William Fechteler, and acting chief of staff of the Air Force, General Nathan Twining, while the chief of staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg, was in the hospital. Senator Harry F. Byrd of the Committee indicated that the bill might be ready for full Senate debate by Monday.

In Atlanta at a grade crossing, a passenger train hit a school bus loaded with 35 high school girls, injuring 17 of them, some perhaps critically.

In Leaksville, N.C., the FBI reported the name of the second gunman it was seeking in the Leaksville bank robbery of April 17, in which the two robbers had escaped with $50,000. The other gunman had already been arrested and about half the money recovered the previous day, after which that gunman had confessed his participation in the robbery and identified the second gunman.

The prospects of ending the nine-day old oil refinery workers strike were not good as the scarcity of high-octane aviation fuel continued to be the most serious effect of the strike.

In Charlotte, the operations of Eastern Air Lines at the airport would be drastically reduced as of the following morning because of the acute shortage of aviation fuel. Eight flights serving Charlotte would be canceled on the order of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, head of Eastern. The entire Eastern system would cancel 32 flights completely and cancel four others on segments of their routes. It provides the schedule of such flights should your travel plans be affected by them.

In the News straw poll in the Democratic gubernatorial race, William B. Umstead, the eventual winner, had received 62.5 percent support, while his primary opponent, Judge Hubert Olive, had received 33.5 percent, the remaining 4 percent going to Manley Dunaway. It provides some of the anecdotal remarks provided by some of the respondents.

In Cleveland, O., local masseurs indicated that their business had increased from office workers who suddenly became big outdoorsmen on weekends.

On page 12-A, the second installment of the series by Dr. W. C. Alvarez, titled "How To Live with Your Blood Pressure", appears. Perhaps a more apropos title would have been, "How To Live without Your Blood Pressure".

On the editorial page, "Now It's Up to the Reds" finds that the U.N. had, despite being couched otherwise, given what amounted to an ultimatum to the Communists either to accept the offered three-point proposal or continue with the war or the current military stalemate. The primary point of disagreement was whether the U.N. would repatriate 70,000 of the 132,000 prisoners in exchange for the 12,000 held by the Communists, or would, as the Communists were demanding, return all 132,000 prisoners despite only 70,000 expressing their desire for voluntary repatriation.

If the Communists chose to renew the fighting, then they risked having the U.N. impose a naval blockade on China and the potential for direct attacks on the Chinese mainland, both of which were being considered as feasible alternatives by the Pentagon. A year earlier, when General MacArthur had been favoring such action, the U.N. lacked the forces to carry it out successfully, whereas presently they presumably had them available. There was also the issue of needing a firm moral position on which to base such action in the face of world opinion, and the three-point proposal, which appeared quite reasonable, afforded that basis. The British had already endorsed the plan.

It concludes that the choice between war and peace was now up to the Communists and that if they carefully considered the risks attendant continuation of the war, they would have to choose peace.

"Do Labor Courts Offer an Answer?" tells of the oil dispute proceeding in a parallel course to the steel dispute, as the two sides in each case had been negotiating before breaking off discussions, after postponing strikes since the previous fall. Finally, the oil workers had struck, and while arrangements had been made to move along petroleum necessary for national defense, the nation's supply of oil was growing dangerously low. The oil workers had refused the request of the Wage Stabilization Board for them to return to work, and next the matter might proceed to the President for action, as it had with the steel dispute.

It finds it another example of big business and big labor in an essential industry failing to agree through collective bargaining, winding up with the President potentially being the final arbiter. It was unlikely that the President would seize the oil industry and it was also unlikely that an appeal for settlement would have any greater effect than had his appeal regarding the steel dispute. It posits that Taft-Hartley, which he had refused to implement in the steel dispute, might lend itself to prompt resolution of the oil dispute.

There had been little progress in Congress toward increasing the effectiveness of the nation's machinery for settling industrial disputes. It recommends the column of this date by Marquis Childs as providing a possible solution to the issue, that being compulsory arbitration effected through special labor courts set up to hear major disputes in essential industries.

"Let's Cut the Comedy" tells of a groom trying to get away with his bride from those giving chase, having cut across a traffic median, driven down the wrong side of the street, winding up on the sidewalk, spinning around and going again in the opposite direction. Fortunately, no one had been hurt and there had been little if any property damage. But it pointed out the potential danger and absurdity of the time-honored custom of chasing newly-married couples. Some months earlier, during one such chase, a collision had occurred and the young bride had to be hospitalized. It regards it as a "foolish" and "stupid" custom, and an anachronism in the supposedly enlightened age. It suggests that a few well-publicized arrests for reckless driving and speeding would have a salutary effect on eliminating the practice.

"Opening Door Policy" tells of Governor Adlai Stevenson the previous week, while visiting Oregon, having replied to the question whether or not he would accept a draft of the Democratic convention with a more complicated explanation than his "no comment" routine response to such questions since he had taken himself out of consideration for the nomination about a month earlier. He said on this occasion that he could not speculate about "hypothetical situations" but did not believe there had ever been a genuine draft movement of an unwilling person for the presidential nomination and doubted whether such a thing was possible. The piece suggests that the closed door regarding the nomination had at least been unlatched. "A good strong draft in the Windy City come July can probably blow it wide open."

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "No Law To Say No", tells of an Indian who had lived in the U.S. for nine years having returned to Calcutta to find his niece reading books such as the history of the Russian Revolution, the life of Lenin and the life of Stalin, available in Bengali for about a nickel at any bookstall. At the same time, he was unable to find books on prominent Americans such as George Washington or George Washington Carver, though he was offered Harold Lasky's American Democracy for about $3.75. He found the material he wanted at the local office of the United States Information Service for free, but doubted that his niece ever read it when he gave it to her, as free literature was suspected to be propaganda.

A. R. Palit had related the anecdote in Freedom & Union, pointing out the need for cheap reprints of democratic writings in the East. Copyright laws and currency difficulties might make such a project appear impossible, but if American enterprise wanted to accomplish it, it could. It suggests support of such an endeavor by such organizations as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, as the American story needed to have a hearing in those regions. It suggests that there was no law of nature which said that the Russians alone had the wherewithal to capture the minds of doubtful men.

Drew Pearson tells of General Eisenhower having determined not to rebuff the support of the oil men of Texas, as had Wendell Willkie in 1940. The latter, while touring Texas during the campaign, had been advised to be especially nice to wealthy oil man Roy Cullen, but when Mr. Willkie met him in Dallas, he had casually shaken hands and paid him no special attention. Afterward, when told that he had slighted Mr. Cullen, Mr. Willkie replied that when someone came along who had not been a success at anything else and suddenly was able to obtain oil out of the ground, they immediately considered themselves an expert on everything from "politics to petticoats". General Eisenhower, however, had written to his chief supporter in Houston, Jack Porter, that he was in favor of tidelands oil rights passing back to the states from the Federal Government. It was, so far, the only domestic issue on which he had taken a clear stand. His position had been arranged by Sid Richardson, who had made a special trip to Paris to convince the General to do so, on the basis that it would win the support of Mr. Cullen.

Mr. Porter had been Mr. Cullen's henchman and political messenger in Washington to keep an eye on the preservation of the 27.5 percent oil depletion allowance, a tax boon to the oil men. Mr. Porter had contributed $5,000 to the campaign of Senator Joseph McCarthy when he entered Maryland to attack Senator Millard Tydings in the 1950 campaign against his Republican opponent. Senator Tydings had been a strong supporter of General Eisenhower's military policies, while Senator McCarthy had been a bitter opponent. Mr. Porter was also close to former Speaker of the House Joseph Martin, a backer of General MacArthur and no friend to General Eisenhower. Those were some of the things, suggests Mr. Pearson, of which the General was likely not aware when he had written the letter to Mr. Porter, with the salutation, "Dear Jack".

The General had known as early as fall, 1950, however, that if Mr. Porter were made Republican national committeeman from Texas, the General would be able to have the Texas delegation in 1952. He had even considered helping Mr. Porter obtain the job, but, in the end, Henry Zweiful obtained the committee post. The letter to Mr. Porter was likely to strengthen his position in Texas, a primary reason why it was sent. But political observers were taking it as an indication of the General's position on tidelands oil. The matter suggested, in the view of Mr. Pearson, "that a little political knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Marquis Childs suggests, as indicated in the above editorial, that the only remedy for preventing continued strikes in major industries, such as the railroads, steel and oil, would be to have compulsory arbitration, perhaps with a system of labor courts, as in Scandinavia, to administer it and make rulings. The problem with that system, he suggests, would be to remove the judges from the possible influence of pressure groups, which might be nearly impossible.

Such a proposal was being considered by those preparing memoranda for General Eisenhower on domestic issues, and the General would soon have to answer questions about what he proposed regarding the labor situation, shortly after the start of his campaign after June 2. He was expected to answer that there was a need for revision of labor legislation, but the ensuing question would be how he would go about it.

Senator Taft had joined the group of Republicans calling for impeachment of the President for seizing the steel industry, but the realist Republicans believed that the steel dispute would harm their chances in November rather than help them. They reasoned that the bitter quarrel over steel wages had caused labor to realign itself with the Democrats, after labor had shown signs of pulling away from their longtime allegiance.

Labor perhaps might join the bulk of public opinion, which stood against the seizure, and support the integrity of ownership under the private enterprise system. But the great issue of the uses and abuses of power could not be ducked.

Robert C. Ruark, in Houston, finds that the quest for oil in Texas, in such towns as Midland and Odessa, was akin to the gold rush of 1849. People from all over the country, including "third-generation rich kids" from Philadelphia, were trying their luck at seeking oil. Some of the farmers, as in the gold rush, had elected to continue to farm their land rather than trying to search for what was underneath it.

Cities were growing up around this oil boom, with schools, clinics and "even the curse of television" growing up as part of them. He found interdependence at work in Texas. He knew of a country doctor, for instance, who made $100,000 per year, and if he needed a rare blood-type, would just solicit it on the local radio station. He drove a Cadillac, but worked from six in the morning until midnight, just as his grandfather had.

"It is heartening country, and it is good country, and, apart from the meddlings of a few petty little men in elected office, it is still wonderful country. And I do not think that all the vainglorious stupidities of the people we choose to guide us can wreck it, in this year or the next 100 years."

A letter writer regards the story of the murder of a prominent Wilmington attorney in Charlotte in late March by a man asserting that the lawyer had stolen real property from his mother, when in fact the lawyer had been appointed as a trustee for the man's mother and, in that capacity, had sold two pieces of property to provide income for her during her life. The writer thinks that as the trial approached, it would turn on a question of whether the alleged murderer was legally sane or not at the time of the killing. The writer says that he was born in the same year as the lawyer, 1891, and had grown up a couple blocks from where he had lived, attended school with him throughout their educational careers, including at UNC, and that the claims that the lawyer was somehow "rascally" were not true, that he was a "fine, high-type gentleman and citizen".

A letter writer indicates that Mother's Day would be sad for those who had lost their mothers, as she had, the best friend she would ever have. She advises never to forget one's precious mother, "who never forgets you."

Well, there may be some mothers who forget their children, just as there are children who undoubtedly forget their mothers, and outside Harlem.

A letter writer from New York, a professor of history at CCNY, tells of many colleges and universities having established interdisciplinary studies across several departments to afford understanding of the geography, history, civilization, literature and the economic and political problems of various regions of the world, critical to an understanding of the complex nature of the modern world and reducing its stresses by realization of the interdependence of countries regarding these economic, strategic, cultural and psychological factors. He finds, however, that a dearth of study was being undertaken in any systematized manner regarding the North Atlantic area, despite it having been for the previous three years, and probably into the foreseeable future, the principal concern of the U.S. He suggests that the roots of a common history and civilization of that community, within the broader context of Western civilization, stretched as far back as the second half of the 17th century, while the 18th century had been the period of closest intellectual and social intercourse between Britain, North America and northwestern Europe. The economic interrelationship of the area and its best form of integration were of greater immediate interest. He finds this neglect of the area in such international studies to be strange.

A letter from the Mecklenburg County Democratic executive committee chairman thanks the newspaper for publishing the precinct map of Charlotte on May 2, says that the committee had distributed the maps to each precinct chairman for use in their files.

A letter writer from Pinehurst wonders how Ohio Congressman Walter Brehm, a Republican, still retained his seat in the House despite having been convicted previously of taking kickbacks from campaign contributions through a clerk in his office, and despite the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington having upheld the conviction, as reported April 24.

As Drew Pearson had pointed out in his column during the week, Congressman Brehm had chosen not to run again.

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