The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 2, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Chicago, in the Republican pre-convention delegate selection, the forces of Senator Taft had won a significant victory from those of General Eisenhower, by seating the Georgia delegation comprised of 17 Taft delegates, whereas the self-described "regular" delegation, which had represented that state since 1944, had lost out, with 14 Eisenhower supporters, only two Taft delegates and one uncommitted. The RNC had voted 62 to 39 in favor of the Taft delegation. The seating meant a net gain of 15 delegates for Senator Taft and a loss of 14 to General Eisenhower, whose supporters called the move "political trickery and double dealing". The losing delegation intended to appeal to the credentials committee and, if necessary, to the full convention. Each side had been afforded a half-hour to present their case and the committee then retired behind closed doors to make its decision.

When the dispute would be heard regarding Texas and Louisiana, each side would be provided an hour and a half of debate, pursuant to the request of the Eisenhower supporters. Next on the agenda, in addition to those two states, was a determination of the delegations being contested in Kansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. An 18-member Florida delegation, almost unanimously for Senator Taft, had been recognized unanimously by the RNC. The head of the delegation, however, indicated that they had never committed to any particular candidate.

Television, newsreel and still cameras were barred by the RNC, by a 60 to 40 vote, from the delegate selection process. Senator Taft denied influencing that decision, indicating that he had told RNC chairman Guy Gabrielson a few days earlier that whatever the committee decided was fine with him. He also indicated his belief that the message to the RNC the previous day from Governor Dewey, containing the words "I advise and direct", in advocating allowance of the television cameras, had won votes for the anti-television side.

In Whiteville, N.C., a third North Carolina delegate switched from General Eisenhower to Senator Taft, giving the Senator 14 of the 26 delegate votes to ten for General Eisenhower, with two remaining uncommitted.

The Senate Internal Investigating committee, chaired by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, charged this date that Owen Lattimore had been "a conscious articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy" and recommended perjury proceedings against the recognized Far East expert who had advised the State Department, and against John P. Davies, Jr., a State Department official. The report said that both had testified falsely during the Committee's hearings anent the Institute of Pacific Relations. Mr. Davies, in Bonn, Germany, denied the allegations. Future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, the lawyer representing Mr. Lattimore, said that the latter would issue a statement during the afternoon. The State Department had briefly suspended Mr. Davies the previous year but then had announced that he had been cleared and restored him to active duty.

A Senate investigating subcommittee, chaired by Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, proposed this date a tough new law to punish influence peddlers, receiving unanimous support by the seven-person subcommittee which had investigated influence peddling. The subcommittee included Senators Hubert Humphrey, John McClellan, Joseph McCarthy, Karl Mundt and Richard Nixon. Senator Hoey said that he did not expect passage in the current session. The bill provided for a two-year prison sentence and $5,000 in fines plus treble civil penalties, based on the amount of property or service involved. Senator Hoey cited the subcommittee's investigation of the sale of Government-surplus properties at the old Jefferson Barracks in Missouri through influence peddling as the final straw which prompted the proposed law.

A House committee, after six months of investigation of the spring, 1940 Katyn Forest massacre of 15,000 Polish officers, concluded that Russia had been responsible for the killings, and urged that the findings be forwarded to the U.N. for appropriate action by the General Assembly and before the world court. It also recommended that the President instruct the U.S. delegation to seek creation of an international commission to investigate other mass murders and crimes against humanity. The chairman of the special investigating committee indicated that at the next session of Congress, there should be serious consideration given to conduct of a similar probe into atrocities against allied troops in Korea, as there were striking similarities between what had happened to the Polish officers and that taking place in Korea. The Polish officers had their hands tied in a distinctive manner behind their backs and most of them had been shot in the head, the same technique used against Americans in Korea. Soviet officials claimed that the Polish officers had been released to join a Polish army prior to the killings.

The President, speaking at Bull Shoals Dam in Arkansas, opened the Democratic presidential campaign by criticizing the "special interests" and stating that the South owed its prosperity to the New and Fair Deals. He accused the private power interests, the AMA, and the "real estate lobby" of using the "lying slogan" of "socialism" to fight Administration efforts to help people. The President dedicated two hydroelectric dams during the trip, indicating that they were "symbols of the progress that has come to the South" under his and FDR's Administrations. Reporters found the speech reminiscent of his "give 'em hell" campaign of 1948.

The Defense Department reported this date the largest weekly increase in American casualties in the Korean War since the prior November 14, with 965, not broken down by category.

In Berlin, Communist police arrested this date three American Catholic priests and a German woman, an employee of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, and forced them into the Soviet zone at gunpoint. The U.S. Army demanded their immediate release, but they were still in custody by nightfall. They had been arrested within the American sector, bordering the Soviet sector.

On the editorial page, "Chug, Chug, Chug Goes the Steamroller" comments on the so-called Taft steamroller at work at the Chicago Republican convention. The Taft-dominated RNC had overridden the 3 to 2 recommendation of its special committee by banning television, radio or recorded accounts of its deliberations on disputed delegates. The same committee then voted to seat the strongly pro-Taft delegation from Florida. Senator Eugene Milliken of Colorado, one of the primary isolationists in the Republican Party, appointed himself chairman of the subcommittee drafting the foreign policy plank for the campaign. In addition to General MacArthur, a Taft supporter, as the deliverer of the keynote address, the list of other speakers included former President Hoover, Senators Styles Bridges, James Kem, Harry Cain and Joseph McCarthy, and former Secretary of War Pat Hurley, all of whom were backward-looking. No one on the list appeared progressive.

It concludes that such was to be anticipated, as Senator Taft had learned from his father, former President William Howard Taft, and his experience at the 1912 convention, engineered to effect his renomination over that of former President Theodore Roosevelt, leading to a party split, which resulted in Woodrow Wilson winning the election for the Democrats. It predicts, however, that when the steamroller reached the floor of the convention hall, and the television cameras picked it up for the American people to see, the sense of fair play would cause the tactics to backfire against Senator Taft, and, if he became the nominee, would, as in 1912, reverse itself and flatten the engineer.

We are not so sure that you need an engineer to conduct a steamroller, just a driver. Your title appears to have mixed you up a bit on the difference between a steamroller and a trolley, or maybe a steam engine.

"Big Brother Byrnes Knows Best" remarks on the comments made by Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina at the governors' conference in Houston, as reported the previous day, in which he proposed that the presidential electors in South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana would not be selected until after both national conventions nominated their respective candidates. He said that South Carolina's Democratic electors could vote for whom they pleased but hoped that they would retain their independence until the Republican nominee was chosen.

It finds this statement to suggest that the opinion of the voters in the state did not matter but that they would vote obediently for the Democratic electors, who, in turn, would vote for the candidate Governor Byrnes suggested. It finds the position to be a refinement of George Orwell's "Big Brother" technique set forth in 1984, whereby Governor Byrnes was watching over his little people and planning how to cast their vote for the presidency. It finds it a denial of the democratic ideal, demolishing the concept of the free ballot.

It indicates that had the Governor threatened to vote Republican, himself, and urged Southerners to do so in the event that the Democratic nominee was unacceptable, the piece would applaud him. It deplores, however, the undemocratic procedures he had advocated.

"Democracy Can't Win This Way" decries the fact that only 13,615 Democrats in Mecklenburg County had voted in the runoff primary for the State Supreme Court seat, between Judge William Bobbitt and Judge R. Hunt Parker the prior Saturday, won by the latter by about 3,000 votes. Judge Bobbitt had won in Mecklenburg by a margin of 12,500 to 1,100, and, therefore, had just a few more thousand persons voted out of the 11,000 additional voters who had turned out in the first primary, Judge Bobbitt would have won. The vote cast amounted to less than seven percent of the total population of the county.

A Duke University political scientist, Dr. Roma S. Cheek, had conducted a survey of 400,000 adults in Durham, Alamance, Guilford and Orange Counties and found that 63 percent of the eligible voters had not voted in the hotly contested 1950 runoff primary between incumbent interim Senator Frank Porter Graham and challenger Willis Smith, won by the latter. She found that of those not voting, 37 percent were generally indifferent, 21 percent had intended to vote but failed to show up, five percent had not believed in women voting, seven percent did not have sufficient legal residence, five percent had been ill, four percent lacked adequate information about the election, and another four percent were absent from the city at the time. Thus, while it was understandable that only 21 percent of the registered Democrats in the county had turned out to vote the prior Saturday, it did not minimize that which Dr. Cheek called the greatest threat to democracy, "internal weaknesses and failures".

"Congress Goes on a Spending Spree" tells of Congress, despite all the talk of economy, having sent up several spending measures in the last days before the pre-convention adjournment, with the House having voted to spend some 61 billion dollars, with 13 billion dollars still to go, and the Senate having passed some 15 billion dollars in spending bills, but with still a number of bills pending. In the rush to conclusion of business, regular procedures were abandoned and billions of dollars appropriated without sufficient debate. One house would vote one amount for appropriations and the other would vote for a higher or lower amount, with the difference to be worked out in conference.

It indicates that the newspaper had objected repeatedly to the President's spending, but he and the Budget Bureau plotted their moves coolly and calculatingly, in contrast to Congress, which, on the whole, had refused to equip itself with the machinery for handling appropriations reasonably. The result was that members of Congress voted blindly for or against the spending measures. It posits that sooner or later, the public would realize that the real spendthrifts in Washington were not in the Administration, but rather in the Congress, failing to exercise their restraint.

Ben Hibbs, in an editorial in the Saturday Evening Post, tells of the Republican Party appearing at times to be beset by a "suicidal tendency". In 1948, the Republicans had believed the election was a foregone conclusion and, in consequence, many failed to turn out on election day. In 1952, the party was split by its bitterest pre-convention fight since 1912, with a smear campaign orchestrated against General Eisenhower to obtain state delegations for Senator Taft. The atmosphere of the convention would determine whether these party rifts could be healed, depending on whether the convention gave each the equal chance they deserved to be nominated. But if the steamroller tactics continued on the part of Senator Taft, the Republicans would likely lose in November and be relegated to a minority party for many years to come.

The General had been labeled a Communist and had his patriotism and the religious beliefs of his parents questioned. Mr. Hibbs believes that the Senator had nothing to do with this smear campaign but that the damage to the Republican Party had been done.

The steamroller tactics in Texas and Louisiana and the fact that the Taft forces would largely control the convention machinery in Chicago could result in a perpetuation of these tactics, seeking to destroy a popular candidate, creating a breach in the party which could not be alleviated for years to come. He hopes that Senator Taft would renounce these tactics and indicate that he wanted the nomination only if fairly obtained. He also hopes that the Eisenhower forces would show restraint and not attempt the blitz tactics which had resulted in the nomination in 1940 of Wendell Wilkie at the Republican convention. He ventures that in the present troubled times, the presidency had to be determined honestly, without hysteria.

He indicates that the Post had stated in its May 3 issue that the General was the best suited candidate for the presidency and that if the nomination were made based on a fair referendum of Republican voters across the country, the General would win easily. He advocates, therefore, an open and honest convention in Chicago.

Drew Pearson tells of many State Department errors over time which made it amazing that it had been able to keep the country out of additional wars. The three latest errors involved the issuance of orders to customs officials, based on what turned out to be a false tip, regarding Owen Lattimore seeking to travel to a country behind the Iron Curtain, belying the chief press officer's statement that the Department did not take action on "fantasies or inanities"; the failure to do anything about the China lobby trying to buy, bribe and subvert American foreign policy on behalf of Formosa; and the failure to notify the British regarding the bombing of the reservoirs the previous week in North Korea.

He provides detail of why there was no notification of the British prior to the bombing, primarily because both the State and Defense Departments assumed that U.N. supreme commander, General Mark Clark, had informed the British. The oversight was not the fault of Secretary of State Acheson but rather the acting Secretary, David Bruce, who was in charge while Mr. Acheson was in London.

There was mixed opinion as to the legal necessity of notifying the British in advance. Former British Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison had, the prior September, made an agreement in Washington that if the truce negotiations broke down, the Chinese coast would be blockaded, among other things, and several targets, including the hydroelectric plants, would be bombed. Thus, if the truce talks had broken off, there was no need to notify the British. But opinion was mixed as to whether the truce talks had broken off or were just bogged down. The Foreign Secretary was of the belief that Britain was to be notified, regardless. The best way to avoid a problem would have been to have notified the British Minister of Defense.

The decision by General Clark to bomb the dams had been made on the basis that three weeks earlier he had become worried that the enemy was preparing to launch a new offensive, based on the recent increased activities of the enemy in trying to regain T-Bone Hill, including mustering 15,000 troops in the effort. General Clark had asked permission of the Joint Chiefs and they had approved the operation.

As soon as Secretary Acheson had learned of the lack of advance notification of the British, he bawled out Mr. Bruce and then arranged to talk with 200 British members of Parliament, explaining what had caused the problem.

Vic Reinemer, associate editor of The News, urges attendance during the summer of the outdoor drama in Boone, "Horn in the West", by Kermit Hunter, directed by Kai Jurgensen of UNC. It chronicled the fictional colonist Dr. Geoffrey Stuart, who became increasingly bitter at the justice system of the colony, unlike the British system to which he had been accustomed, moved west to the Watauga Valley and forged a new life with his family, eventually turning against the Crown after the British, together with Indians they had secretly armed and trained, attacked the settlement and killed his only son.

Mr. Reinemer suggests that some who attended the play came away finding analogies to the present-day corruption in Washington or to the high taxes in the country, but finds the overriding lesson of the presentation to be that freedom requires suffering and that a well-ordered society was not necessarily desirable, that the future belonged to those who heard the "horn in the West", which Daniel Boone had said sounded as "a steer's horn off of Grandfather Mountain". He concludes: "It is the voice of Freedom, more important than Peace."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the American air forces in Korea presently receiving massive reinforcements of jet fighters and fighter-bombers, to increase the overall strength by nearly 40 percent and the strength in jets by an even higher percentage. The increase was in response to corresponding reinforcement of the Communist air force in Manchuria. Until recently, the Communist air units in a position to participate in the Korean War were estimated to be comprised of a thousand jet fighters, but now at least 200, and more probably 300, new jet fighters had been added.

Moreover, the Russians, according to reports, were taking a more overt role in the air war, while other reports indicated that there would be an appointment of an overall Soviet air commander. The reinforcements, however, insofar as it was known, did not yet include jet fighter-bombers, which could turn the tide against the American forward airfields in the Seoul area. Heretofore, the Communist MIG jets were of a short-range variety and, as long as the airfields in North Korea were being steadily bombed, the enemy was unable to repair them fast enough to make use of them, requiring use of Manchurian airbases.

The Indian Ambassador to Peking had quoted a high Chinese Communist official as saying that "when the tigress has its paw in the trap, you do not let it go," implying that the Chinese Communists feared the U.S. and thought it wise to keep the country continuously involved in Korea, ruling out both a settlement of the war and intensification thereof. When the negotiations had broken down, the same Ambassador reported, paradoxically, that the Chinese were suggesting a compromise whereby the U.N. would retain the North Korean prisoners and repatriate all of the Chinese, who had voted 3 to 1 against repatriation. While principle dictated against any such settlement, the proposal did suggest that the Chinese were genuinely desirous of an end to the war.

They conclude that to predict the future in Korea, in Berlin or in several other places was foolhardy, but also that anyone who believed that there was no serious danger in Korea, in Britain or in several other places, was being "idiotically complacent". They find, therefore, the American air reinforcement justified, as it would reduce the danger, to the extent that it could be reduced by preparedness.

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