The Charlotte News

Monday, September 22, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Richard Nixon would deliver a 30-minute address via radio and television to the American people the following evening regarding his personal finances, with special attention to the $18,000 slush fund established by supporters in the wake of his 1950 Senate victory. The decision had come after Senator Nixon, in Portland, Ore., had a 15-minute telephone conversation with General Eisenhower the previous night. When asked by a reporter whether the announcement meant that he was staying on the ticket, the Senator replied that he was continuing his tour and that it would be determined within the ensuing 48 hours whether he would remain on the ticket. He said that he intended to lay before the American people "all the facts concerning the fund which was used for political purposes, and in an unprecedented action" would lay before the American people his entire personal financial history from the time he had entered political life in 1946.

The Senator's special train was originally scheduled to continue into Washington state with Senator Harry Cain speaking in Senator Nixon's stead, but the Senator's press secretary, James Bassett, subsequently indicated that the schedule had been changed so that Senator Nixon would continue the itinerary where possible, probably sometime on Wednesday, in Montana, and that Washington state would be visited later, prior to the election.

It appeared that General Eisenhower was prepared to retain Senator Nixon on the ticket, provided he would come "as clean as a hound's tooth" regarding his financial matters. But the General's press secretary, James Hagerty, said that he could not say whether the General had reached any decision on the matter. He said that neither Governor Dewey nor Senator Taft had been consulted directly by the General before talking to Senator Nixon the previous night. Senator Taft was expected to be on the platform when General Eisenhower delivered a major address this night on foreign policy in Cincinnati. Senator Fred Seaton of Nebraska, one of the General's advisers, had previously talked to Senator Nixon in Portland about the issue.

RNC Chairman Arthur Summerfield announced this date the purchase of more than $75,000 worth of radio and television time for Senator Nixon to explain his finances, indicating that the bill would be paid by the RNC and the Republican Senatorial and Congressional campaign committees. The broadcast would air at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, to be carried on television by NBC and on radio by CBS and the Mutual networks.

Be sure and set your alarm clocks, as it will ultimately prove to be one of the more remembered addresses in modern American political history. If you get bored during it, maybe you can play a game of chess. If no one is around, challenge your dog.

Newspapers began inquiring into the handling of campaign funds on behalf of Governor Stevenson, with the Chicago Daily News running a story that the Governor's aides had maintained a list of more than 1,000 business corporations and state suppliers who had been solicited for campaign and expense funds. The Chicago Tribune had run a story on Sunday which said that "money raised in Illinois as a 'personal fund' for Governor Stevenson in his bid for his second term as governor" was being used to pay for his campaign for the presidency, as admitted the previous night. It quoted on the point Donald Forsythe, former downstate campaign manager for the Governor while he had been running for a second term, but Mr. Forsythe could not be reached for further comment. The Governor was campaigning in New York and was not available immediately for comment. The Tribune had said that the Governor had diverged from his announced intention to turn the funds raised for his gubernatorial campaign over to the state Democratic central committee, and also commented that much of the campaign fund had been raised "through pressure on state employees".

Governor Stevenson said this date, in an address to be delivered to the AFL convention in New York, that the Taft-Hartley labor law had to be repealed because it was "spiteful" and had become a symbol of "dissension and bitterness". He also denied a claim made by General Eisenhower in his speech before the AFL convention the prior week that the Governor favored compulsory arbitration of labor disputes. The Governor indicated that the General had said he was against compulsory arbitration but appeared to support the present law which compelled workers to continue working under court injunction for 80 days pursuant to contract terms which they had rejected, and that there was no greater compulsion than that.

General Eisenhower, halfway through his Midwestern whistle-stop tour, was planning another such trip from Michigan to the West Coast in early October, according to Mr. Hagerty. That trip would go through 12 states in 10 days, by train, plane and automobile. Wisconsin would be on the itinerary, where the re-election bid of Senator Joseph McCarthy had stirred controversy, along with whether the General would lend support to the Senator.

The President's itinerary for the campaign through 24 states, was announced this date. He would depart on Saturday night for a 15-day whistle-stop tour which would last through October 11, with a speech in Harlem on civil rights that date. The President would not speak in all of the 24 states and there would be no late-night talks or talks on Sundays from the train. He would speak at the Shasta Dam in the Central Valley of California and make major addresses at Spokane, Seattle and Tacoma in Washington. His first major speech would occur at Chester, Montana, at the ground-breaking ceremonies for the New Tiber Dam the following Tuesday, after traveling through North Dakota. Another major speech would occur at the dedication of the Hungry Horse Dam in western Montana, near Kalispell, the following Wednesday.

In Korea, allied troops, advancing behind tanks, recaptured an eastern front hill, lost in a predawn battle to a North Korean battalion, following 15 hours of continuous fighting. An allied regimental officer was quoted in a story as saying that heavy casualties had been suffered by the allies in the battle for "Old Baldy Hill" the previous weekend. Division officers estimated that 590 enemy Chinese had been killed and 679 wounded in the battle. An expected counter-attack on Sunday had not materialized, leading to speculation that the Chinese had run out of ammunition and had to bring up more.

In the air war, Sabre jets battled with enemy MIG-15s twice, damaging four of the enemy planes, while the allied jets flew protective cover for other planes attacking a locomotive works and rail tunnels. The previous day, Sabres had shot down four MIGs, probably destroyed one other, and damaged six, bringing the total bag for September to 51. Top jet ace in the war, Major Frederick Blease, indicated that he had not used any new gimmick on his plane. It had been speculated, based on a recent Washington announcement that a new device would soon be used in Korea to increase the number of MIG kills, that it had been deployed, explaining the record number of kills during this month. A top Air Force spokesman had indicated that a "new gimmick" was in the theater, but would not confirm or deny whether it was yet being used. Major Blease also said that he did not know whether Russian pilots were being used in the air war over Korea, but that about six months earlier, the Communists had killed one of their own pilots to prevent his capture, after he had bailed out of his plane over water, at which point the other MIGs strafed him before he could be reached by an allied rescue helicopter.

Investigators of a House Judiciary subcommittee were looking at formerly secret FBI files this date to determine whether they warranted an expanded investigation of the Justice Department, which might lead to testimony from Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark regarding his prior tenure as Attorney General, between 1945 and 1949. Justice Clark had supposedly ordered the FBI to turn over the files, concerning the 1946 Kansas City vote fraud case, to the Justice Department in 1947, where they had been held for two years. Former Assistant Attorney General Lamar Caudle had testified to the subcommittee that he had ordered the preliminary FBI investigation into the election fraud case, but then recommended that it go no further, though hindsight had convinced him that it should have continued. According to one Republican member of the subcommittee, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had told him that Attorney General Clark had ordered the files sent to his office while Mr. Hoover was on vacation, and that Mr. Hoover had received them back in 1949 following the appointment of Mr. Clark to the Supreme Court. Mr. Hoover had stated that it was the first time during his tenure that files had been taken from the FBI and held in that manner. The ranking members of the subcommittee had sought review of the files. The election dispute regarded the 1946 Congressional primary election in which Enos Axtell, supported by the President, had defeated incumbent Representative Roger Slaughter, though Mr. Axtell had lost to the Republican in the general election.

They might also wish to hear from other members of the Supreme Court, who had come to the White House to listen to the deciding game of the 1946 World Series.

House investigators stated this date that they were asking the IRB to explain why most of the top jobs in the reorganization of the Bureau were being filled without competitive civil service examinations, limited to only 26 positions, while more than 80 percent were being filled from within the service itself by direct appointment of Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder and IRB Commissioner John Dunlap.

Samuel Lubell, author of The Future of American Politics and of a Saturday Evening Post story regarding Charlotte, tells of a fairly strong shift in Democratic support of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman to General Eisenhower in 14 farm counties and 16 large cities, with the exception of the cities in Texas and Florida, which he had visited since the conventions. The trend was away from the Democrats in the farm belt, which gave President Truman his 1948 victory, with 25 percent of those he had interviewed ready to change their vote to the General, and about a fifth of those in the middle-class precincts within the cities indicating such a change, while only about one of every 10 or 12 so indicated in the working-class precincts. Blacks were not showing any such defection. Most of the change was from resentment to the draft and other effects caused by the Korean War, including inflation, rising costs of living, higher taxes and too much Government spending, with corruption well down the list of concerns. The chief concern favoring the Democrats was voter recollection of the Depression during the Hoover years. Indicative of the ambivalence was the opinion of one voter who had said that the present Administration "stinks" with corruption but that he had gone six years without a job in the Depression years and did not want to see a repeat of those times.

The News announces a $25 bond as a prize to each of the two best letters on why people should register and vote, one to be awarded to an adult and the other to a student in grades one through twelve. The News was sponsoring a Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign in the city and county. Letters could be no more than 200 words long.

Here is our entry: Register and vote, because America cannot stand 22 more years of Richard Nixon in a prominent role in American politics. If you don't, you will regret it.

That should be the winner, Mr. Robinson—that is, if there is any perspicacity within the minds of the judges, the presence of which, however, given the editorials in the newspaper during the past nine months, including this date, we seriously have to doubt, especially when juxtaposed to the newspaper's general lack of bias in political matters prior to the change of ownership and publisher in 1947. And we may have read your front page and editorial page for longer and more assiduously than any other reader in your newspaper's history.

On the editorial page, "Nixon Seeks To Repair the Damage" comments on the television and radio broadcast to come the following evening from Senator Nixon, seeking to lay before the public his financial affairs, centering around the $18,000 slush fund collected by supporters after his successful 1950 Senate campaign, to supplement his $2,500 Senate expense allowance, on the rationale that a Senator from a state as large as California had expenses exceeding that allowance. The decision to make the address to the American people had been determined after a brief telephonic conference between General Eisenhower and the Senator the prior night.

The Senator hoped to persuade the people that his motives had been honorable and that those who had contributed up to $500 apiece to the fund had never asked him for favors or had any intention to do so.

It comments that it was not yet certain whether this address would satisfy General Eisenhower's demand that the Senator must be as "clean as a hound's tooth" in regard to his finances. But it was clear that the matter had been a definite setback to the campaign, which had as a central theme the attack on Democrats in the Administration for corruption and influence-peddling.

It concludes that voters should reserve final judgment on the matter until all the facts were in, despite Senator Nixon having shown "incredibly bad judgment in accepting what amounts to a subsidy from a group of wealthy supporters." It finds, however, that whether that lapse of judgment would prove too much of a liability for the campaign remained a matter for the General to decide.

You did not seem to take such a liberal and forgiving point of view toward, for instance, the President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan, when his name came up in Congressional hearings a few years earlier, suggesting the General's greasing of access to the White House in exchange for four freezers, worth considerably less than $18,000. We do not recall your saying that it was up to the President to determine whether General Vaughan should be fired. But, we suppose, the fate of Senator Nixon, running only to become the second most powerful person in the land, to a potential President who would take office at age 62, amid some rumors of questionable health, should be left only to the head of the ticket and should in no wise be of concern to the voters.

No, you are certainly not a Republican newspaper. Why, you're every bit as independent of mind and editorial bias as the Charlotte Observer.

A squib appears at the base of this piece, which says: "We're still waiting for some headline writer to refer to the Nixon story as 'Poor Richard's Almanac'."

Don't you worry. That one will dog "Poor Richard" for the rest of his political career, among other already-coined and well-deserved nicknames.

"Congressmen Use Influence, Too" indicates that former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the tax and criminal divisions at different points, Lamar Caudle, had told of Senator Clyde Hoey and Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina having used a degree of influence on the Justice Department. In the case of Senator Hoey, arguing that his client should not be prosecuted criminally, it had occurred prior to his becoming a Senator, representing a lumber dealer as a private attorney. But, at the time when Mr. Hoey spoke directly to Attorney General Tom Clark in 1944 regarding the matter, he had been nominated for the Senate seat, a nomination which was tantamount to election in the one-party state. Thus, it concludes, it was known that he would soon be a member of the Senate. In the case of Mr. Doughton, he had argued to the Justice Department that facts did not support charges against an old friend.

While it was normal for members of Congress to feel a measure of responsibility to protect their constituents against unwarranted Federal prosecution, it regards it as a misplaced sense of duty, as it was the job of grand juries and the courts to determine such matters. Congressional committees had a tendency to look the other way when the conduct of their colleagues came into question. It wonders whether it would happen again.

But the fact of the matter is that criminal defense attorneys always seek an audience with the prosecutor in an effort to head off criminal prosecution of their client, when known prior to the prosecution, or to obtain dismissals or lenient treatment once charges are filed. That is their job. Thus, the only pertinent question regarding Senator Hoey was whether he should have taken such a case, knowing he was about to become a Senator, not whether, as an attorney, he should have sought favor for his client from the Attorney General.

"The Dutchman Meets His Match" finds Judge Matthew Abruzzo of Brooklyn meriting praise for getting mystery man Henry Grunewald to talk before a grand jury. Mr. Grunewald had indicated through his attorneys that his doctors stated that he had an irregular heartbeat which could compromise his health were he forced to appear. The judge, however, had indicated that he wanted Mr. Grunewald present, either voluntarily or through a body attachment if necessary, whereupon Mr. Grunewald appeared and spoke freely to the grand jury. It suggests that Congressional investigators confronted with the same reticence of a witness might profit from the judge's example.

"For Home Folks and Tourists Alike" tells of Bill Sharpe having been waging a campaign by letter and through The State magazine, of which was editor, to convince the Highway Commission or some other State agency to mark adequately the streams, gaps, flats, gorges and other geographical features of the state. Many such features were unidentified by road signs, and while every such point of interest in the state could not be identified, there were hundreds or thousands of such spots which ought to be, adding to the pleasure of living and traveling in the state and serving as an attraction to thousands of tourists. It points out such examples as Cowee Gap and Bridal Veil Falls, not identified by signs at the side of the road.

Drew Pearson tells of Governor Stevenson having complained recently about a one-party press and the fact that 75 percent of the newspapers were against the Democrats. Mr. Pearson finds him to have a good point and admits that he, himself, may have been partly responsible for the lopsided newspaper coverage, as the various revelations of corruption during the Truman Administration had provided political fodder for the Republicans. He quickly adds, however, that his own reportage contained items involving corruption of a number of Republicans as well, such as the kickback schemes of former Congressmen Parnell Thomas of New Jersey and Walter Brehm of Ohio, as well as the lobbying efforts of Senator Owen Brewster which had led to his defeat in the recent primary in Maine, the $10,000 fee paid to Senator McCarthy by the Lustron Corporation ostensibly for preparation of a small booklet on housing, and the tax finagling of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire. Mr. Pearson says that he would do his best to be fair to both sides and perform equal digging regarding both parties and candidates.

To that end, he indicates, he had found that one member of the Stevenson campaign, the assistant treasurer of the DNC, had been something of an influence-peddler, and had also dug into whether General Eisenhower had used influence to pay only capital-gains tax rates on the proceeds from his book, Crusade in Europe.

The member of the Stevenson campaign had received a fee of $1,000 in 1950 from a Los Angeles organization for obtaining a ruling change of the Veterans Administration to permit the organization to charge a 1.5 percent fee for securing and administering loans on housing projects. There had been nothing illegal about the matter, but influence had been used.

The General had been paid a million dollars for his book, on which normally he would have paid income taxes of about 77 percent, but wound up paying only 25 percent at the capital gains rate. He had obtained the tax ruling legally, but a certain amount of influence probably had been utilized. The General had called a Treasury Department official and claimed that because he was a soldier and not a writer, the sale of his writings was a capital investment from his own experience, resulting in approval of the tax treatment. Congress, however, later moved to prevent anyone else from obtaining similar treatment in making a so-called "Eisenhower amendment" to the 1950 tax law, providing that anyone selling a book or other artistic work had to be taxed at the full income tax rate. As a result, General Omar Bradley, chairman of the joint chiefs, had to pay normal tax rates on the proceeds earned from his memoir.

Stewart Alsop, in Dubuque, Ia., tells of taking an informal poll in Dubuque and St. Paul, Minn., to sample opinion on the presidential election, in response to criticism that newspapermen in 1948 had not gotten out to see what the voters really thought, with the consequence that the polls had been wrong in predicting the outcome of that election. He and Walter Ritter of the St. Paul Pioneer Dispatch had gone about the two cities and the nearby countryside to find out what the people thought, with the result that roughly 92 percent of the people either refused to say who they would support in the campaign or did not know, and the remaining eight percent generally favoring General Eisenhower. He provides several anecdotal responses, such as that of a farmer who said that he believed he would keep it to himself as to how he would vote, just as he was keeping to himself how he had voted in 1948, going on to say that he had heard both General Eisenhower's and Governor Stevenson's farm speeches and that they "had a lot to say".

The Governor suffered from identification with President Truman, who was repeatedly described as not being big enough for the job. Most of the Midwestern farmers seemed not to have any heroes at all in politics, most replying that they did not support Senator Taft, with one fat man in a truck remarking, "Jackasses have been running the government for the last 20 years." He said that he had voted for the President in 1948 and had still not made up his mind regarding who he would support in 1952.

Mr. Alsop concludes that he could not determine from this informal poll of one day's duration what the American voter was thinking, but he had gotten the impression that the Midwestern farmer was possessed of a feeling of puzzled resentment regarding the Korean War and many other things, and that the number of people who had not made up their mind on the election was greater than generally supposed. The informal poll did serve to suggest how independent of mind the average voters of the country were, even if sometimes uninformed, and how nice many ordinary Americans were, even in "fear-filled times".

Marquis Childs, on the Stevenson campaign train, tells of General Eisenhower's decided advantage in name and face recognition across the country over the previous decade, compared to that of Governor Stevenson, who remained largely unknown to the voters. The Governor was trying to make up that difference by trying to get voters to think, but the somewhat puzzled look which appeared on the faces of those who attended his speeches conveyed the impression that in such troubled times, people would rather not think.

In Hartford, Conn., the Governor had spoken on atomic energy, in a speech he had written himself, self-drafting being another trademark of the Governor which was unusual in modern times accustomed to speech writers. The speech contained little which was new regarding a prescription for peaceful control of atomic power, but in stressing the need to continue to press for realistic controls which the Soviets would eventually accept, the Governor reminded of the vacuum which existed in the face of an atomic arms race aimed at total mutual destruction.

Whether the Governor could continue to write his own speeches as the exigencies of the campaign pressed in on him was something that he was beginning to consider. Shortly before the beginning of the current tour, a staff member had walked into his private office at the Executive Mansion in Springfield one evening close to midnight, finding the Governor laboring over an article for the Atlantic Monthly, complaining that he could not get the wording right and might have to rewrite what he had already done. The assistant mildly protested that his time and energy should be devoted to the campaign rather than to an article for a limited circulation magazine, appealing to the upper-income bracket. But the protest did not appear to make much of an impression on the Governor, who continued to struggle to get the article just right.

Mr. Childs posits that a presidential campaign had to exploit mass communication to the fullest and hammer repeatedly on basic themes, lessons which the Governor and his staff were beginning to learn. The resources of the Stevenson campaign appeared ridiculously small compared to that of General Eisenhower. The Governor was amazed to find a few days earlier that his campaign headquarters staff had grown to 71. Originally, he had thought that the campaign could be run with a handful of associates and three or four secretaries.

He suggests that whether this handicap would prove too great for a generally unknown candidate to wage an effective appeal to the public, possessed of apathy and indifference to political issues, would be determined in the weeks ahead, while in the meantime, the campaign would be led by a "determined individual striving with a curious stubbornness to say what he believes and to say it his own way."

James Marlow indicates that Senator Nixon might not be in such a bad position regarding his $18,000 slush fund had Congress acted on the proposal of the President and Senator Wayne Morse the previous year to require members of Congress and all other Government employees receiving a salary of at least $9,000 or $10,000 per year to list in the public record any additional income or financial help they received. The proposed law would have carried a criminal penalty for violation. The President had proposed the legislation on September 27, 1951, in a message to Congress, and Senator Morse had been introducing the bill since 1947.

Congress, however, ignored the proposals while proceeding to investigate the executive branch regarding receipt of outside income for purposes of influence. At the same time the President had proposed the bill, a Senate subcommittee, of which Senator Nixon was a member, had been investigating charges of political influence on Government loans through the RFC.

Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado had called the President's message on the proposed bill "hogwash" and a "cheap political trick".

Senator Morse, however, had said that Congress, like Caesar's wife, should be above suspicion.

—Yeah, Bob, Caesar's wife. Don't you think Pat should be present with me tomorrow night?

—Good, Bob. Yeah. Good thinking. Right, well, one thing at a time. It has been a long time, after all, since a Vice-President became President other than through death. Van Buren, I think.

—No, Bob. We don't wish to think in those terms.

—I know you know people, Bob, but we just can't think in those terms. One thing at a time.

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