The Charlotte News
Wednesday, September 24, 1952
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General Eisenhower's press secretary James Hagerty had announced that Senator William Knowland of California and Governor Sherman Adams of New Hampshire, the General's chief of staff, had talked by phone this date to RNC chairman Arthur Summerfield in Cleveland, and had arranged a meeting between Senator Nixon and General Eisenhower, to occur in Wheeling, W. Va., this night for an expected decision to retain the Senator on the Republican ticket. The Senator, meanwhile, had traveled to Missoula, Mont., to continue his campaign tour, following his national television and radio broadcast speech the prior night, defending his use of the $18,000 fund provided by wealthy Californians for his political expenses. The Senator was scheduled to fly from Missoula to Wheeling this evening, where the General was scheduled to make a speech. The General, after hearing the Senator's address, had reportedly indicated that he wanted to retain Mr. Nixon on the ticket, saying that he had done a "courageous" thing. The vice-chairman of the RNC, Walter Hallanan, had said that the favorable response to the broadcast had been terrific. He said that most people had said that they believed the Senator now added greater strength to the ticket than before, and that it would be fatal to remove him.
Telegrams had flooded Washington Republican headquarters this date in favor of retaining Senator Nixon on the ticket, with RNC officials indicating that of the first 4,000 of 20,000 telegrams received, only 21 had suggested that he be removed. Both Republicans and Democrats from all over the country had responded.
RNC members were overwhelmingly in support of retaining the Senator, with the Associated Press finding that scores of replies had been received from the 138-member body calling for his retention. It cites samples of the responses. RNC Chairman Arthur Summerfield said that he believed the matter had "backfired" on the Democrats and would prove to be "the turning point of the campaign".
In Durham, Mrs. W. P. Few, the Republican national committeewoman for North Carolina and widow of Duke University's first president, stated that she gave the Senator a vote of confidence after hearing his explanation the previous night, and had received hundreds of calls supporting him. She believed that the trouble was an error in judgment and that he had cleared himself in the public's view.
Democratic Representative Pat Sutton of Tennessee predicted the previous night that Senator Nixon would be prosecuted for income tax evasion after the November elections. He said that the $18,000 fund should have been reported on his income tax and that it was legally and morally wrong to have failed to do so, even if the receipt, itself, of the fund was allowable.
Governor Stevenson said this date that he would not reveal the names of those who had contributed to or received money from a special cash fund which he had set up to supplement the pay of some Illinois State officials who were appointed. Senator Nixon and several other Republicans had demanded that the Governor reveal the details of the fund. The Governor told campaign workers that he had established the fund because certain public servants had given up positions in private enterprise at three times their public salaries and that uniform salary scales adopted by most states were not satisfactory or practical. He said that he had difficulty after being elected Governor in 1948 in finding competent men for public service.
Former Assistant Attorney General Lamar Caudle again testified before the House subcommittee investigating the Justice Department, saying this date that former Attorney General J. Howard McGrath had once told him that he knew "enough about the White House to blow it so high, the force of gravity would never bring it back to earth." He also said that Mr. McGrath had told him that he had been fired the prior November because of "a White House clique", and that the same group had been after Mr. McGrath, who was fired the previous April. Mr. Caudle claimed that the President now agreed that his ouster was unjust, but the White House later denied that was the case. He said that he and his wife had paid $900 more than the normal price for a mink coat, which had come under scrutiny previously before the House committee investigating tax scandals and frustrated prosecutions of tax cases. He said that he had accepted a $5,000 commission for the sale of an airplane only after receiving full approval from Mr. McGrath, who had full knowledge that the buyer was a Kansas City businessman who had two close friends involved in a Brooklyn tax fraud case.
The Defense Department identified 88 new Korean War battle casualties, of whom 19 had been killed, 65 wounded and two were missing, plus two injured in non-battle related accidents.
In Milwaukee, a family had lost four children during the previous nine days to a sudden attack of polio, occurring after they had taken a drive in the country with seven of their eight children.
Samuel Lubell, in the third in a series of articles regarding grassroots reactions to the candidates in the presidential race, tells of the most expressed angry reaction to the current Administration being concern over the draft of young men for the Korean War, causing more of the defection among traditional Democrats than any other issue, save inflation. The resentment was strongest among farmers, possibly because it left farm family members to shoulder a heavier burden of farm labor when young men were drafted off the farm. Even in the strongest New Deal neighborhoods in the cities, mention of the Korean War was apt to cause explosive emotional outbursts. One man in St. Paul, Minn., told him that he had voted for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman but had enough of the Democrats, that he had a son in Korea and did not understand why, or what the country was getting from the war. That was a sentiment echoed by many, feeling that the war was unnecessary and bungled. Some parents believed the war was being continued deliberately to maintain prosperity and avoid another depression.
Television personality Betty
Furness, during a visit in Charlotte, urged all Americans who were
qualified to vote to do so, supporting the Charlotte get-out-
the-vote campaign. Ms. Furness, who advertised Westinghouse
appliances on the Westinghouse "Studio One"
On the editorial page, "Nixon's Report to the Nation" finds that Senator Nixon had undoubtedly convinced millions of Americans the previous night in his speech that he had intended no wrong in using his fund of more than $18,000 for political expenses. It finds that he was "a personable young man, with a flair for the dramatic and just the right mixture of bravado and humility for the mass American audience", and that "despite his lapses into sheer melodrama", his report had been "an effective and compelling argument that he be left on the Republican ticket." It presumes that he would be.
It indicates that unless there was some tangible evidence to the contrary, fair-minded Americans would accept the explanation of his motives in accepting and using the special fund, and assurance that the donors to it did not expect and had not received any special consideration as a quid pro quo for the gift. It finds that true, it indicates, despite the fact that the tax attorney who had established the fund, Dana Smith, had explained to reporters earlier that the money had been raised "to enable Dick to do a selling job to the American people in behalf of private enterprise and integrity in government … [as Governor Earl] Warren has too much the social point of view for the people behind Dick. We couldn't go for Warren, but Dick did just what we wanted him to do."
It finds that the Senator had admitted that taking the money was wrong, though saying it was not illegal, and asserts that as a point to be emphasized. It indicates that the column had already stated that the Senator had shown bad judgment in accepting the fund and reaffirms that belief.
It urges that if members of Congress did not make enough money to meet expenses, they should be paid more, that no member should accept gifts or favors from constituents or anyone else which might compromise the member's integrity and independence. It suggests that the case of Senator Nixon showed the need for a law requiring all Federal employees in policy-making positions to report outside income, as had been proposed by both the President and Senator Wayne Morse. It again advocates passage of such a measure in the next Congress.
As to the piece finding that Senator Nixon had admitted that his taking the fund was wrong, we are not so sure that, amid some of the double-talk which would become his tricky trademark through the years ahead, he actually said that. That which he said was:
I'm sure that you have read the charge and you've heard that I, Senator Nixon, took $18,000 from a group of my supporters.
The problem with the thing, ultimately, is that acceptance of substantial gifts while engaged in public service makes the beneficiary, by dint of human nature, more likely to accede to the wishes and desires of the benefactor, assuming that the benefactor was known to the beneficiary, thus making the public servant inevitably subservient first to the benefactor before the ordinary constituent unable to afford more than $10. Thus, the key thing left out by Senator Nixon from his analysis of the propriety of the fund was whether the contributors remained anonymous. Plainly, Mr. Smith, as the organizer of the fund, did not, and so the Senator was susceptible to taking cues on how to vote on certain legislation from him, even if the participants in the fund remained nameless behind the shield of a trustee. And if they did not, the additional problems become obvious, as further explored below by Drew Pearson. Mr. Smith's above-quoted explanation from the piece as to why the Senator was preferable to Governor Warren appears as the tale-teller of the story, the reason for inherent impropriety of such a fund.
And, of course, the availability of such slush funds to Mr. Nixon through time, such that he knew later, in early 1973, without the need for much intervening thought or inquiry, where his staff could "get a million dollars", would become his undoing finally, with dedicated investigative journalism tracing the hush-money paid to the Watergate burglars through C.R.E.E.P. serving to loosen the linchpins which held the wheels in place to provide the motivation to the various layers of that which became known collectively as "Watergate"—perhaps figuratively enticing as an attractive nuisance to the unmerry pranksters whose duty it was primarily to plug leaks, for the fact of it being, following a Pearson-Ruark melding from this date's columns, a sidewise turned merry-go-round, or, from the back pages of the fair's midway, communicating the centrifugal gravity of the situation, the Roundup
"A Historic Day in Charlotte" suggests that it was far better to live history than merely read about it or have a teacher lecture upon it, and so urges everyone to go out and greet General Eisenhower upon his arrival in Charlotte on Friday. It indicates that the city would be honored by the visit, just as it would be were Governor Stevenson to come to town. It urges pulling out all the stops and showing that the city was gracious and friendly to such visiting dignitaries.
"Insurance for the Taxpayer" tells of the County School Board during the week having authorized the superintendent to arrange for a survey of the needs of the County school program, to determine how the County's share of a proposed 7.5 million dollar bond issue would be spent. Years earlier, the City School Board had employed a nationally known consulting fund to plan its postwar building program, and bond money spent since the war had been allocated in accordance with the population of the city thus predicted. The County had not had such expert guidance, with the result that there was a shortage of facilities in the area southeast of the city. It urges the superintendent of the County schools to retain the same consultants who had worked with the City schools, so that they could provide proper counsel on the trends in population growth in the community and locate new schools accordingly.
"How Not To Handle Witnesses" tells of Representative Olin Teague of Texas the previous year, in heading an investigation of veterans' usage of the G.I. Bill, having indicated to witnesses at the outset of hearings that they had the Constitutional privilege to remain silent and refuse to answer the committee's questions if the answer would incriminate them, and that they had the right to consult with lawyers in determining whether they should exercise that privilege. By stark contrast, Richard Arens, the staff director of the Internal Security subcommittee headed by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, had asked a witness where he had gotten the idea that he had the right to counsel before an investigating subcommittee and that the witness's refusal to answer a question was on peril of being prosecuted, tried and convicted for contempt.
The piece finds the approach of Mr. Teague to be reasonable and appropriate, and that the McCarran subcommittee might benefit by following the example, thereby improving public relations and perceptions of that subcommittee's work in ferreting out Communism in the country.
A piece of from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Wham", tells of an attorney in Columbia, Mo., having provided the political retort of the week when he said that instead of giving the prize-winning ham from the Boone County Fair to the President, as had been the case for the previous five years, the ham this year would be sent to General Eisenhower, because, according to the attorney, "President Truman has been eating high on the hog long enough." The piece wants to pin a blue ribbon on the attorney.
We think he's something of a
Drew Pearson tells of the background of Senator Nixon and how he achieved the second spot on the Republican ticket. As a resident of Whittier, California, he had come to know a car salesman, Paul Hoffman, who later became the president of Studebaker and then the head administrator of the Marshall Plan. The previous winter, Mr. Hoffman had become one of the three top advisers to General Eisenhower and headed the Citizens for Eisenhower Committee. Prior to the Republican convention, the leading Eisenhower supporters were seeking to obtain the powerful California delegation's support for the General, seeking to wean it away from Governor Earl Warren. Senator Nixon was approached by Mr. Hoffman to find out how that might be done, even suggesting that Senator Nixon might enter the race for the presidency in the California primary. But the Senator, not wanting to upset Governor Warren or Congressman Tom Werdel, who had already been tapped by the Old Guard Republicans to run against the Governor, declined. Instead, he suggested that he would become a delegate to the convention and seek from within the delegation to win over Eisenhower support on the second ballot.
To that end, the Senator sent out
25,000 letters to registered Republican voters asking them who their
choice would be for the presidency if Governor Warren turned out not to be the
nominee of the party. Mr. Pearson suggests that the mailing cost
for these letters might have been picked up by the fund established by the
Senator Nixon came to the convention with the tacit understanding of Mr. Hoffman that he would do his best to get the California delegation swayed toward General Eisenhower, in return for which, he would be given favorable consideration for the vice-presidential nomination. At the convention, Senator Nixon did more than just keep his word, but also had literally grabbed the microphone away from Senator William Knowland during the debate over seating the Georgia delegation and had gotten the California delegation to vote for the Eisenhower position in the debate over the Langlie amendment to the convention rules. Thus, after the General had been nominated, Mr. Hoffman kept his word and recommended him for the second spot on the ticket, which found support from Governor Dewey. That support, plus the Senator's record on Alger Hiss and the plan to stress Governor Stevenson's trial deposition given in favor of Mr. Hiss's moral character, convinced the General that Mr. Nixon was the right choice—this synopsis of the reasoning appearing a little flawed, in that Governor Stevenson was nominated only after the Republican convention, and was considered a dark horse for the draft nomination prior to the convention, given his consistent rejection of party entreaties, including that of the President since the prior January, for him to throw his reluctant hat finally into the ring.
Mr. Pearson indicates that one
danger which a Senator risked in accepting money from outsiders for
expenses was that some of those benefactors might have contracts with
the Government and the Senator might make representations to the
Government on their behalf, which would be against the Corrupt
Practices Act, subjecting the violator to criminal penalties. He
indicates that some of the contributors to the Nixon fund did have
Government contracts. K. T. Norris, president of the Norris Stamping
Co., had a contract with the Defense Department for making shells and
cartridges, estimated at around 25 million dollars. Earl Adams was an
attorney for Guy Atkinson, a builder with large Government contracts.
Norman Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Los
Senator Nixon had voted consistently for tidelands oil being returned to the states, and would have probably done so regardless of whether Mr. Chandler had contributed to his fund, as predominant California sentiment supported that position. But a Senator could not afford to have his vote appear suspicious, especially when he was running for the vice-presidency. It was also possible that the Senator might make representations at the Defense Department regarding the Norris Stamping Co., not knowing that Mr. Norris had contributed to his fund, causing a violation of the Corrupt Practices Act. The Act required a member of Congress to register the names of his contributors with the clerk of the House, but in the case of Senator Nixon, the fund was established only after he became a Senator. Their names had never been made public, with the consequence that Californians were unable to judge who might have influence over Senator Nixon's vote, at least until the press had brought out the facts.
Marquis Childs finds that it was hard to assess the damage done to the Republican campaign by the revelation that Senator Nixon had benefited from the $18,000 private fund established for him by wealthy California contributors, but it had placed the vice-presidential candidate under a major handicap in his efforts to denounce corruption and influence-peddling in government. The Senator had cast himself in the role of Sir Galahad, and in so doing, had to remain above suspicion.
While the Senator had said that the fund was appropriate, it nevertheless ran counter to the image conveyed of the candidate that he had no outside income.
Rumors had persisted for some time about other Senators who benefited directly or indirectly from individuals with a stake in legislation or needing something fixed in Washington, and investigations by the Congress tended to stop short of implicating their own. Mr. Childs indicates that he had been told by a Republican Senator that one of his Republican colleagues had squirreled away nearly $200,000 in cash in a strong box, but that it would be hard to prove without the power to subpoena testimony regarding the fact. Reports had long circulated regarding a Democratic Senator with close connections to the airlines and steamship companies, related to his affluence.
At the beginning of the 82nd Congress, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon had introduced a bill requiring members of Congress to disclose all amounts and sources of income, with criminal penalties for failure to do so. A year earlier, the Senator had urged his colleagues to take action, but the Rules Committee had pigeonholed the bill and no action had been taken. Senator Morse had indicated that he had to meet a deficiency of more than $15,000 per year in his income, which he met by means of paid lectures and some writing. But not every Senator had his skill on the platform or the energy to get around the country.
There were some Senators who were independently wealthy, such as Senators Taft, Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, William Benton of Connecticut, James Murray of Montana, and Herbert Lehman of New York. But others, such as Senator Nixon, had no such resources upon which to rely to supplement their $12,500 yearly salary and $2,500 tax-free expense allowance, plus $60,000 for office staff salaries and expenses. To the ordinary citizen, that amount appeared large. The proposal of Senator Morse, if passed and strictly enforced, would help to avoid influence money being paid to Senators and Congressmen. The club spirit, however, which abounded particularly in the Senate, enabled the influence peddler or bribe taker to find refuge.
He indicates that to single out members of Congress and publicize their incomes might do some harm in deterring men of means and responsibility from running for Congress. It would also not be a cure for dishonesty, as it would only require disclosure. There was only one cure, as both General Eisenhower and Senator Nixon had repeatedly said, and that was a single standard of morality in public life.
Robert C. Ruark, predictably, finds little about which to complain with regard to "Dick Nixon's sidebar slush fund, which seems to be 18 grand worth of aid and assistance from constituents to keep the boy in stamps and stationery." He suggests that one would think that the Senator had engineered the great train robbery when he had only done "what all the boys do". He indicates that some members of Congress who found it impossible to live on the salary and expenses allotted to them stole to supplement their incomes, while others conducted private practices on the side, while still others did favors for money under the table.
He believes that there was no difference between the acceptance of campaign funds and the acceptance of bits of cash from friends. He says that private individuals and corporations had given millions to the campaign of Governor Stevenson and to that of General Eisenhower, seeking to hedge their bets on the winner by placing money on both sides. They were seeking to buy favor, some wanting an ambassadorship, others, a position in the Cabinet, while still others wanted a break in business. Small contributors wanted to get a relative into a Civil Service position. He suggests that if it was bribery, then no President had ever gone into office without paying off the people who had subsidized him in his campaign to get there. He asserts that President Truman had owed more favors to more people than anyone "you met lately" and that the resultant payoffs had eventuated in the "dirtiest political regime ever registered for the records." Even the President's trusted friends had turned out to be influence peddlers or shell-game operators, his doctor having speculated in the grain commodities market and General Harry Vaughan, his military aide, having dealt with five-percenters seeking influence through the White House.
He indicates—without disclosing his source for the unique scoop—that the President had tucked away a non-accountable $50,000 per year since his election. He tells of daughter Margaret having appeared the previous Saturday night with Jimmy Durante, and that she could not gain access to such stages without her White House connections.
Thus, he questions what was "all this nonsense about Dick Nixon's sideways take?"
"I shouldn't brood much over Nixon's 18 grand, if I were you. Bigger birds are flying by unnoticed, while they squash the gnats with utmost sound and frequent fury."
Given that Mr. Ruark frequented the purlieus of the alcohol-saturated set, it is hardly surprising that he would continue to condemn in the Truman Administration the very thing he completely excuses in Mr. Nixon, on the rationalization that the others did it, and so why not Nixon, too—a kind of childishly circular logic typical of alcohol-purveying purlieu habitues, to be heard from Nixon supporters for decades to come. In the form of reductio ad absurdum, it effectively went: Let's throw the rascals out because we like these here rascals much better.
Mr. Childs has the better of the argument, that if one is going to go about condemning others for giving the appearance of taking bribes or influence money, then one had to be scrupulously honest and above board—or shut the hell up, go back home to Whittier and practice law, which Senator Nixon, the way things ultimately turned out, would have been far better advised to have done.
A letter writer from Belmont indicates that blacks in the South were moving forward, driving better cars, living in better homes, and obtaining a better education. He says that white people were not against them and would help them if they helped themselves, that the "intelligent people of both races understand and admire each other". He says that it had previously been the case that it was hard to find any white person to speak up for blacks but that many would now do so. He says, "Speaking for millions of Negroes, as well as myself, we are proud of the progress that has been made by the Negro race in the last 50 years—a record never equaled by any other race in the history of civilization."
A letter writer from Abilene, Texas, states that there had not been a bald-headed President since John Quincy Adams in 1824, and that he had not been completely bald-headed. He advocates, instead of breaking with that tradition and voting for either of the bald-headed major party candidates, voting for Stuart Hamblen, Prohibitionist candidate, who had plenty of hair.
A letter writer from Pinehurst finds the editorial on Senator Nixon to have been sound and that even should the Senator be cleared of wrongdoing in the matter, in the minds of many people, he would always be suspect, thus joining many who had been in the same position, without recourse to law where they could defend themselves against false charges. He suggests that if, however, the Senator were cleared without any censure from the Republican Party, it would insinuate to other members of Congress that they could do likewise. Some of those who were supporting the Republican ticket were bitter and insisted that the Senator resign. Governor Stevenson had refused to condemn him on the information available as of September 19, and urged that all of the facts first had to be ascertained and made public, that "condemnation without all the evidence, a practice all too familiar to us, would be wrong." He finds that statement to have been the act of a truly magnanimous man and to forecast what might be expected from him should he be elected to the Presidency, finds it too bad that General Eisenhower could not be equally magnanimous and denounce the false charges that were being made against Governor Stevenson by some Republicans, including Senators Everett Dirksen and Joseph McCarthy, Governor Theodore McKeldin of Maryland, and Senator Nixon, himself.
A letter writer in New Orleans, the Consul of Canada and Trade Commissioner, thanks the city for the kindness and help shown to him during his recent visit, regards Charlotte as the outstanding commercial center in the state.
A letter from a Marine private in Korea indicates that he hardly ever received mail, says that he was born and reared in Charlotte, and would like to hear from all of his friends or from anyone else who cared to write him.
A letter writer from Kannapolis indicates that he had enjoyed 25 years of excellent reading, thanks to the newspaper and its staff, that he liked everything about the newspaper, including the news, comics, editorials, features and the photos.
Well, we don't share your enthusiasm for some of the editorials over the past five years, especially those of the previous nine months, and most especially those of late excusing Senator Nixon, after thorough condemnation of Truman Administration officials, usually for far less suspicious conduct. In time, you will understand better our reservation of praise, perhaps. But we are glad that you thoroughly enjoy the newspaper, even if you do not seem to be very discriminating.
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