The Charlotte News

Monday, August 11, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via William C. Barnard, that allied fighter-bombers this date turned a big North Korean chemical plant into flaming ruins after a concentrated attack with high explosives and fire bombs. The Fifth Air Force said that 150 planes, including Marine fighter-bombers, had engaged in the attack.

Sabre jet pilots had probably destroyed one MIG-15 and damaged another in the eighth straight day of jet battles over North Korea, running the U.N. total for the eight days to 19 enemy jets destroyed, one probably destroyed and 20 damaged. Four Sabres had fought four MIGs in the day's battle.

In ground action, the U.S. Eighth Army communiqué stated that fighting had continued for a lonely outpost on "Siberia Hill", where enemy casualties through Sunday had been estimated at 225 killed and 250 wounded. U.N. warplanes flew more than 150 sorties against the hill, dropping napalm, rockets, bombs and issuing machine gun fire. There had been hand-to-hand combat several times since the enemy had first captured the hill and the Chinese had last recaptured it in the early morning hours of this date. A front-line battalion officer indicated that the enemy strategy appeared to be to make a quick thrust to win a hill and then quickly fortify it to make its recapture difficult and costly. Except for the western front, the rest of the battle line had been relatively quiet.

General Matthew Ridgway, supreme commander of NATO, had said to a news conference this date that the threat of war was still as great as ever and that there were serious weaknesses in the West's build-up to meet the threat. He said that there was doubt whether the Western allies could reach their 1952 goal of 50 divisions, 25 active and 25 in reserve, and 4,000 planes. He said he favored two years of military service, something the European nations were planning to discuss in Paris the following day, amid indications that they would likely adopt it. Belgium had already been beset by strikes in protest of its two-year draft term.

In Munich, a Czech refugee stated this date that John Hvasta, the American who had been imprisoned for 10 years as a spy in Czechoslovakia and reportedly had escaped the previous January 2, as just announced by the Czech Government the prior Friday, had in fact escaped with him and four other prisoners on that date. The six escapees had separated into two groups of three each at a river two miles from the prison and Mr. Hvasta had gone with the other group. They had planned to meet again, but never were able to locate one another afterward. The refugee expressed confidence that Mr. Hvasta had not been shot or recaptured, suggesting that he was probably hiding in some small village.

Two members of the House, Representatives Frank Karsten of Missouri and Melvin Price of Illinois, both Democrats, urged the President this date to call a special session of Congress for the purpose of tightening the price control law, but reported that they had gotten nothing definite from him as to whether he would do so. Some Democratic leaders were opposed to calling a special session, among them being Senator John Sparkman, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, though he indicated that he found the present law inadequate but opposed the special session because the Congress was in the middle of a campaign and he did not believe much could be accomplished. Price Stabilizer Ellis Arnall had urged the President to call a special session when he had tendered his resignation the previous Wednesday, but Economic Stabilizer Roger Putnam opposed it unless prices continued to climb at a rapid rate. Congressman Jacob Javits opposed it, along with a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Margaret Truman rode through the Russian zone of Germany to Berlin this date for a two-day visit as part of her European tour.

In Denver, General Eisenhower met with 35 American Indian tribes the previous day in Gallup, N.M., saying that he had thoroughly enjoyed their show. This date, he conferred with Republican farm leaders and a delegation of Southern supporters. During the weekend, the General had called for expansion of the Social Security program to cover an additional 14 million persons, and for increased old-age assistance grants.

The White House indicated this date that top Administration strategists would give Governor Stevenson a briefing the following day on the international and defense situation, when he came to visit with the President and attend a Cabinet luncheon. On hand for the conference with the Governor, in addition to the President, would be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Omar Bradley, director of the CIA, General Walter Bedell Smith, Mutual Security director Averell Harriman, Secretary of State Acheson, acting Defense Mobilizer Dr. John Steelman, and Jack Gorrie, chairman of the National Security Resources Board. After these meetings, the President and the Governor would talk privately.

A Gallup poll appears, the first national test of voter preference between General Eisenhower and Governor Stevenson, showing that General Eisenhower led 47 percent to 41 percent, with 12 percent undecided. In the generic preference, Republicans were narrowly favored over Democrats, 45 percent to 43 percent. Among the 12 percent of undecided voters, 48 percent said they leaned Republican while 46 percent said they leaned Democratic, while 6 percent remained undecided.

Near Oneida, N.Y., a man stopped his car on a county highway early the previous day, at which time a car driven by his daughter crashed into the rear of the car, and minutes later, a third car, driven by his son, crashed into the rear of his daughter's car. The father suffered chest injuries, but the son and daughter were unhurt.

In Salisbury, N.C., the town's most-arrested drunk and leading contender for the national title had added another public drunkenness conviction to his record of 204. His arrest record dated back to 1925 and he had received his fifth suspended sentence the prior Friday, estimating that he had spent about 17 years on the roads, all for drunkenness. He said that he had never stolen anything, cursed at anyone, lied about anything or fought anyone. Police officers corroborated the statement. He said that he did not hold a grudge against officers for arresting him and was glad that they picked him up because when he got drunk, he was liable to walk in front of a car or get killed some other way. He knew all of the officers in Rowan and Cabarrus Counties and did not know any of them to dislike him. In his Friday appearance, he had asked the judge to give him a suspended sentence until the weather got a little cooler, as it was too hot for a man of his age to be hammering rocks. The court acquiesced, giving him a 30-day suspended sentence on condition that he not be found guilty of being drunk in Rowan County for the ensuing two years. Later, in a restaurant, he had nervously spilled coffee and said that he had to give up drinking as it made him "right nervous after getting drunk."

Elizabeth Blair of The News, in Akron, O., tells of Jimmy Mooney, the local Soap Box Derby entrant, having placed seventh in the race the previous day, the second consecutive seventh-place finish for Charlotte's entrant in two consecutive years. The overall winner for the year, age 11, had hailed from Thomasboro, Ga., Jimmy's roommate at Derby Town for the previous four days. His racer had been dubbed "The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech". Jimmy had received a large round of applause from over 1,600 spectators at the banquet of champions the previous night, in tribute to his having raced with a banged up car, after he had wrecked into a picket fence beyond the finish line in the heat on Saturday. He received a tape recorder as a prize for his seventh-place finish. One entrant from Germany, representing 18,000 German racers, received great cheers from the whole crowd at both the race and the banquet which followed.

Edgar Bergen won the initial heat of the "Oil Can Derby", beating James Stewart and Joe E. Brown, who massaged imaginary oil into Mr. Bergen's shiny bald head.

On the editorial page, "A Good Day's Work" finds that the voters of Tennessee had done the nation a great favor by retiring aging Senator Kenneth McKellar, and electing as the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Congressman Albert Gore. It finds that with Senator McKellar out of the Senate, there would be greater fiscal responsibility and stability within the Congress. For as chairman of the key Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senator had been a stumbling block to reform, running the Committee as a dictator, holding vendettas against any Senator who crossed him. In his later years, the Senator's physical and mental lapses often caused the Committee to get far behind in its work. In 1952, for example, appropriations bills had been jammed up for months, finally having to be determined in a chaotic rush during the closing days of the session, such that none of the members understood how much money they had voted to spend or for what until after the session had adjourned.

It indicates that it was largely because of Senator McKellar that the seniority system had become known as the "senility system".

The victory of Congressman Gore had also been a blow to boss E. H. Crump of Memphis and his efforts to stage a comeback. "All in all, it was a good day's work in Tennessee."

"Our Senators' Voting Record" tell of Senators Clyde Hoey and Willis Smith of North Carolina having agreed with the Republicans on major issues more often than with the Administration, and that Senator Smith continued to be a little to the right of Senator Hoey. It provides the breakdown.

"Two Independent Candidates" indicates that the notion that Governor Stevenson was "Truman's man" had no basis in fact, that the President had jumped on the Stevenson bandwagon at the Democratic convention and that several times since the nomination, the Governor had indicated that he planned to run his own campaign insofar as the content of speeches and ideas, but would welcome the President's help.

In the Governor's two Chicago speeches, he expressed that where the Democrats had erred was in violating the public trust and, in his acceptance speech, had stated that a political leader, with the will to do so, could set his own house in order without his neighbors having to burn it down.

The piece concludes that the Governor was his own boss, and adds that despite suggestions that Governor Dewey was behind General Eisenhower, the General also was his own boss.

"Some Thoughts for Young Men and Women" tells of several occurrences having been recorded in one day of news, including that the Atomic Energy Commission had announced plans for an atomic power plant for large naval vessels, that the Commission was tapping new resources of uranium and making substantial progress in developing improved atomic weapons, and that the Secretary of Interior, Oscar Chapman, had told of the feasibility of developing a vast synthetic oil industry, capable of increasing the nation's oil reserve by many billions of barrels. It indicates that science was making wondrous, if awful, strides.

In the same day of news, there had been reported bayonet fighting in Korea, more deadlocks in the truce talks, and governments of rich countries drifting because of lack of political control or direction.

It suggests that the demand was for the scientist and the technician rather than for those who sought to resolve more pressing political and governmental problems posed by atomic and industrial progress. It hopes that young people of talent would consider thoughtfully the great need for more men and women who would help bring the antiquated political and economic systems closer in line with the revolutionary studies of science. It asserts that the ensuing half-century needed leaders who could control what science had accomplished, lays it down as a challenge for the young man and woman of 1952.

A piece from the Twin City Sentinel of Winston-Salem, titled "The Humiliation of It All", tells of a Winston-Salem man who had bought a dime's worth of seed for what he thought would produce running beans, with the result instead that bunch beans grew. The man then determined to sue the seed store for damages. He would not be content to receive his 10 cents back or to receive extra seed. He wanted payment for the back-breaking labor, for the poles he had erected, for the holes he had dug and the wire he had strung. He claimed to have suffered humiliation and mental anguish, and stated that his neighbors were laughing at him because he had told them that he was planting running beans.

The piece indicates that the man expected to collect a large sum from the seed merchant, despite having a yard full of succulent bunch beans.

Drew Pearson's staff, while Mr. Pearson was on vacation, discusses the issue faced by Governor Stevenson of relying enough on the President's support in the campaign so as not to alienate him, while not leaning too heavily on him and thus giving the appearance of being under his control, raising the specter of Boss Pendergast and corruption which had dogged the President. But the President had a strong following among labor, blacks and the big city voters and he knew how to campaign effectively. The President was chafing at the bit to get on the trail, and therein lay the issue for Governor Stevenson to resolve.

Some major American oil companies had agreed not to operate in competition with the British in the Middle East such that all companies pooled the petroleum in Venezuela, as revealed by the FTC's report, which Senator John Sparkman had urged the White House to publish. In the Middle East, for instance, Shell had gotten together with Gulf, the latter dominated by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh, to pool their control over 1.25 billion barrels of Kuwaiti oil over a 12-year period. The report also indicated that under the Anglo-Iranian-Jersey Standard-Socony contracts, the Anglo-Iranian Company turned over to the two American companies 1.3 billion barrels of Kuwaiti-Iranian oil over a 20-year contract period. Those contracts, according to the report, resulted in the division of production of Kuwait and Iran between the buyers and the sellers, and in effect, gave them mutual and continuing interest in that production over a period of many years.

The report indicated that Gulf had agreed not to sell its oil east of Suez in competition with the British-Dutch combine, and that Standard of New Jersey and Socony could sell not more than five percent east of Suez. Jersey Standard and Socony were to distribute their oil in Europe and North and West Africa, while Socony was to import its oil into the U.S. The three parties had thus agreed upon the markets into which the oil was to flow.

The report also had detailed the British-American-Dutch campaign to preach oil conservation at a time when increased international production threatened to depress world prices.

The Justice Department had called a special grand jury to probe allegations that the American oil companies might have violated the law by combining with the British and Dutch. It appeared doubtful, however, that the Sherman Antitrust Act was applicable, as the operations had taken place outside the U.S.

Alexander Heard, author of the recently published A Two-Party South? and professor of political science at UNC, writing in The Nation, tells of General Eisenhower's challenge to the Solid South, with the Republican convention having given the South "a healthy, klieg-lighted shove toward two-party politics." It was debatable whether the Republican ticket could carry Virginia, Florida, Texas, or perhaps Tennessee and North Carolina, or even Mississippi and South Carolina for the first time in a generation. The conditions under which the Republicans might win in the South had more significance for the future of American politics than any of the scattered Republican victories of the previous 75 years. The reaction to those facts by the Democrats would affect the course of Southern politics in 1952.

Professor Heard wrote the article as the Democratic convention was about to start, and thus before Governor Stevenson was drafted as the nominee. He suggests that no matter who the Democratic nominee would be, he would be found "unsatisfactory" by some Southern Democrats.

He notes that there were many "Souths", as many as there were states within the region.

No matter how hard General Eisenhower tried to appear as a partisan Republican, he could not conceal the fact that his prestige was primarily personal and not political, as the hero of the European war and more lately, supreme commander of NATO. Many Democrats believed they could vote for General Eisenhower. Another source of his strength was that people believed he could win. The General spoke confidently of carrying the South and his message appeared to fit the region. Southerners could agree on foreign and military policy, and on domestic issues, the General had shown himself to be to the right of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations.

The General could capitalize on dissatisfaction in the South with the current Administration. The Eisenhower Republicans claimed among their number many independents and converted Democrats. The notion which had proliferated before the convention that those persons should be shunned by the party was repudiated by the Republican convention. The national party had shown the intention and incentive to encourage a revitalization of Southern Republican leadership. Nothing was more essential for the development of the party beyond the fall election. Nothing also was more difficult. The Republicans had adopted a civil rights plank which was ambiguous regarding the FEPC, showing concern for the feelings of the Southern delegates and voters.

In 1948, President Truman had lost New York and Michigan by fewer votes than Henry Wallace, running on the Progressive Party ticket, had received. In 1952, New York would have 45 electoral votes and Michigan, 20. The position on the FEPC could sway those margins, based on the voters who had supported former Vice-President Wallace in 1948. In five other states in the East and Midwest, the Democratic and Republican totals had been separated by less than two percent of the major-party vote in 1948. Those states, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, would have 76 electoral votes in the coming election. That total therefore was 141 votes, whereas all eleven Deep South states had 128 votes. He posits that the Democrats could not ignore those calculations in drafting their platform or nominating their candidates.

He indicates that in 1948, the tide toward the President had shifted in its direction in the final two weeks of the campaign, and there would be the possibility of such shifts in public opinion again. But if trends meant anything, Senator Harry F. Byrd and his Virginia constituents appeared more likely than any other of the Southern states to support General Eisenhower. Virginia had the greatest Republican strength in the South in 1948, 41 percent, and the figure had been steadily rising since 1936. Much would depend on the attitude of Senator Byrd.

The belligerent stance of the North Carolina Democrats distinguished that state from Virginia. North Carolina had voted 32 percent Republican in 1948. Tennessee had voted 36 percent for Governor Dewey and also should be counted loyal to the Democrats in 1952, especially if Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver were on the ticket.

After Virginia, Florida and Texas were the most likely Southern states to support General Eisenhower in the election. Florida's Republican support had been steadily gaining since 1936, reaching 33 percent in 1948. That state's political attitudes were less deeply rooted in the tradition which bound together the other Southern states except Texas. Governor Allan Shivers of Texas had hinted that he might lead Democratic electors to vote for some candidate other than the national ticket. Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina had made clear that he was going to "raise a ruckus" at the convention and also might lead his state's electors to vote for General Eisenhower. The same processes might play out in Mississippi and perhaps Georgia.

He concludes that while it was still questionable whether General Eisenhower would be able to carry any Southern states, his candidacy would certainly increase Republican voting across the South, a result which would have a positive impact on bringing about a two-party system in the region.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the need for the presidential candidates to issue clear stands on civil rights, that the black vote in the Northern industrial states could determine the outcome of the election. Privately, the President had said that the black vote had given him his margin of victory in 1948, providing him with his slim majorities in Illinois, Ohio and California. According to black leaders, the feeling among blacks was even more strongly about the civil rights issue in 1952 than in 1948, and more blacks would go to the polls than ever before. There were more than three million black voters in the key Northern states, which could go either way, including more than half a million in New York, more than a third of a million in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and well over 200,000 each in Ohio, Michigan, California and Maryland.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the pre-convention manager of General Eisenhower's campaign, was urging the General to reverse his position on civil rights, the General having stated that he opposed a compulsory FEPC. Senator Lodge believed that the General could risk a public flipflop on this issue, that it was more important for him to shore up his support in the Northern industrial states than it was to try to achieve dubious victories in Southern states. The Lodge group of advisers believed that the Democrats had alienated many black voters with the nomination of Senator John Sparkman as the vice-presidential candidate. It appeared that the General was considering taking Senator Lodge's advice.

Senator Nixon, the vice-presidential nominee, would also have to do a flipflop, as he had voted with Southern Democrats against the compulsory FEPC which had been sponsored by Senators Hubert Humphrey and Irving Ives, joining Senator Lister Hill of Alabama in opposition to the bill in committee. He had also opposed efforts to make it easier to bring about cloture of filibusters, commonly used to block civil rights legislation.

Governor Stevenson would have an easier time with civil rights than General Eisenhower, despite the presence of Senator Sparkman on the ticket. For the time being, the Governor had played down the civil rights issue, and many Southern leaders, such as Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, Senator Willis Robertson of Virginia, Governor Hugh White of Mississippi, and Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina had declared their support for Governor Stevenson, and the Democratic ticket would appear on the ballots of those previously somewhat doubtful Southern states.

With the South thus taken care of, Governor Stevenson was in a position to make a speech firmly favoring Federal civil rights legislation and interpreting the civil rights plank of the platform as being stronger than the 1948 plank. Some advisers of the Governor were urging him to do so. But it would have been easier, posit the Alsops, had the liberals at the Chicago convention not "gone a trifle mad", having made an issue of seating of the Virginia and Louisiana delegations regarding their refusal to take the loyalty pledge, and having spoken of Governor Stevenson as a "Northern Dixiecrat", picturing Senator Sparkman as "a sort of Simon Legree".

Governor Stevenson had encouraged the nomination of Senator Sparkman, whom he admired for his generally liberal record. It made it much easier for the Republicans to characterize any strong civil rights stand by the Governor as mere cynical vote-hunting. Such could hurt the Governor with black voters.

Under those circumstances, they conclude, it was possible that the best strategy for both candidates would be to say what they really thought. "And being the kind of men they are, it is also possible that this is precisely what they will do."

Robert C. Ruark tells of World War II landing craft builder Andrew Higgins of New Orleans, who had just died on August 1, having been a heavy drinker and heavy cusser, who was constantly having feuds with his sons involved in his businesses. After the war, he had begun producing prefabricated houses but Mr. Ruark does not know what became of that project. Mr. Higgins had gone broke numerous times, and while his "Higgins boat" became as much a part of the fighting vocabulary as "jeep" during the war, some of the boats were not so good at first, having had their bottoms ripped off. He liked to do things fast. He improved their quality, however, as the war continued.

The last time Mr. Ruark had seen him was outside New Orleans six years earlier, when he saw him drink the better part of a quart of bourbon while never blinking, cussing out one of his sons for not preparing blueprints in a timely fashion and then abruptly switching to discussion of the labor unions.

Mr. Ruark concludes: "I don't know whether he was a good man or a bad man or how much mark he left on the world. But he was a tough old boy and all male-man and there aren't too many of his like left. I hope there's bourbon where he's stationed, and boats or something for his restless brain and heavy hands to build."

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