The Charlotte News

Monday, September 29, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General O. P. Weyland, the head of the Far East Air Forces, stated to NBC reporter Irving R. Levine this night in Tokyo that the Chinese Communists had more planes presently than ever before, estimating that they had 2,500 planes, including 1,100 jets, based in China and Manchuria. The General said that enemy air power, however, was leveling off and that Russia maintained air capability on Sakhalin Island, within sight of Japan's northern island, Hokkaido. He also indicated that replacements appeared to be coming in for the lost enemy jets, including for the record 61 MIGs shot down during September.

Governor Stevenson disclosed the previous night his Federal income tax returns, showing that his income during the previous decade had been a total of a half million dollars, on which he had paid $200,000 in taxes. Most of the income had come from dividends from stock in corporations, with some coming from farms, rentals, oil leases and the stock market. He had received $81,500 in salaries, including a total of $35,200 from his three years as Illinois Governor, plus outside income of $186,400 during the same period. In so announcing the release of the returns the prior Saturday, he said that he had often thought that every candidate for high public office ought, as a matter of course, "make a full disclosure of his personal financial condition over a period of years." Observers believed that by doing so, he had placed General Eisenhower and Senator Nixon on the spot to release their returns as well, or come under scrutiny for having something to hide.

General Eisenhower's headquarters announced, in response to the Governor's disclosures, that the General would make public his entire financial situation. The spokesman did not know whether the General would disclose his tax returns for each year or provide a general financial statement. Nor did the statement indicate exactly when the release would be made.

The President, in a whistle-stop speech to an estimated crowd of 5,000 at Fargo, N. D., this date, attacked General Eisenhower for charging corruption in the Administration, by calling him a "front man for an unholy crew" of lobbyists using that issue as "a political football". He said that Wall Street bankers were pouring out plenty of money for advance agents to put up billboards and pass out confetti and balloons at each stop of the General on the campaign trail. He said that the General was trying to appeal to emotions rather than intellect, making speeches with "slogans, generalities and scare words", which the President regarded as insulting to the American people. He warned against returning the Republicans to power if the people wished to avoid a third world war, as he believed the General was listening to "some strange advice" on foreign policy. He said that the General had spent his life in the Army and did not know much about what was going on within the country. He also declared that he had been ridding the Administration of "wrongdoers" over the "opposition of Republicans in Congress" and that the Communist menace in the country had been eradicated. He said that he was glad that the oil, China, real estate and other lobbies were in the Republican Party and that he would tear them apart before he was through. The previous night, in Breckenridge, Minn., before a crowd of about 600, he stated that Governor Stevenson was "the most promising young leader we have had in a generation", with a background comparable to that of FDR. He had attacked again the "one party press" which he indicated had never been for him, saying that if the big newspapers ever sided with him, he would know he was wrong. He said that the sign on the back of General Eisenhower's train which read, "Look ahead, neighbor," ought to read, "Look out, neighbor." Additionally in North Dakota, he had made talks in Grand Forks, Larrimore, Lakota, Devils Lake, Minot, Berthold, Stanley, Tioga, and Williston, and in Wolf Pointe, Montana.

Samuel Lubell, in the sixth in his series of articles on grassroots reaction to the campaign, finds that corruption in Washington was not the main concern of the voters, as most people regarded graft as a normal feature of American political life with the only check on it being periodically to shake up those elected to public office by sending in fresh blood. Most voters who expressed a determination to switch from the Democrats to General Eisenhower stated as the reasons the Korean War, the draft, higher taxes, or the rising cost of living. The crusade against corruption in Washington appeared to be most effective among younger voters, particularly those casting their first ballots, and among Southern voters, who more frequently cited the issue than in other parts of the country. He suggests that the latter reaction might come from the fact that Southerners found it nicer to oppose the Administration on grounds of corruption rather than on civil rights. One St. Paul, Minn., brewery worker had indicated that he found it a strange set up when a secretary could "walk into the White House wearing a mink coat and no one asks questions." He wondered what would happen if his wife walked into the brewery wearing a mink coat. Mr. Lubell indicates, however, that he had visited a number of farm counties and urban precincts where no one had mentioned corruption as impacting their vote, seemingly conveying an attitude that it was not worth bothering with corruption when times were good. Two ministers, one in Richmond, Va., and the other in Jacksonville, Fla., had dismissed questions of wrongdoing in Washington by saying that there would always be corruption in politics, and that they were sticking with the Democrats in deference to their parishioners.

In Raleigh, the Consolidated University proposed this date permanent improvements totaling more than 18 million dollars for its three branches, as UNC president Gordon Gray outlined the proposals to the Advisory Budget Commission. The proposals included salary increases for all top administrative officials, under which Mr. Gray's salary would be increased from $12,360 to $17,000 per year and the controller's salary, from $11,160 to $15,000. Each chancellor, under the proposal, would have an increase in pay from $10,320 to $13,500.

In Charlotte, the County Commissioners this date approved the calling of an election to decide on a City-County school building bond issue of 7.5 million dollars and a county-wide library bond issue of $800,000, the latter contingent upon the City Council approving of an election for the same bond issue, the elections probably to be held in early December. Approximately 30 persons had attended the meeting regarding the library request.

Near Indianapolis, two boys, both 14, were playing with what they thought was a dud bazooka shell which had been employed as a toy by neighborhood children for the prior two years, when it suddenly detonated after one of the boys threw it against a tree, killing the boy and injuring the other.

In South Charleston, W. Va., a mother and four of her five children perished in a house fire. The father had escaped, but had critical burns. The fifth child had been away with his great-grandmother.

In Osceola, Ind., a couple and their two children, hearing a crash outside their home, promptly fled via the back door, just before a tractor-trailer, after hitting a car, careened 100 feet across their front yard into their living room and kitchen, resulting in injuries to the truck driver and his wife, and to two passengers in the car.

Near Hillsborough, N.C., ten long-term convicts, described as dangerous, had sawn their way out of a prison camp the previous night and none had been recaptured by mid-morning. Bloodhounds had followed their trail most of the night, but lost the scent early in the morning near Chapel Hill. It was one of the biggest breaks from a prison camp in the state during recent years. If you see the men, make a call immediately to Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department. It may be a little off his beat, but he is feeling kind of lowly with the death of his partner and so could use the additional work to take his mind off things of real consequence.

In Tokyo, a 396-pound wrestler announced his plans to marry an 82-pound woman.

The News contest seeking the best two letters, one from a student and one from an adult, for receipt of two $25 bonds, regarding the subject of why it was important to register and vote in the coming fall elections, was scheduled to end the following Saturday. Get your entries in right away. Talk about Dick.

On the editorial page, "Stevenson Suggests a Financial Plan" finds that Governor Stevenson's full accounting of his special fund to increase the salaries of a few Illinois State officials had appeared to cover the subject, listing the 1,000 contributors, the amounts they had provided to the fund, and identifying the State officials and the amounts they had received, plus explaining how the Governor had determined that the supplemental income was necessary for these particular appointees. It indicates that, as with the case of Senator Nixon and his fund, it would assume that the Governor's motives were proper, agrees that adequate compensation for public servants was a problem which the American people had to face realistically, that the failure to do so perhaps came from the fact that such jobs were often handed out as political rewards rather than on the basis of merit.

It finds, nevertheless, that it was dangerous to have government officials receiving portions of their compensation from sources other than the public treasury, as suggesting the possibility of improper influence in their decision-making, or in that of the Governor in this instance. Most of the contributors to the fund had contributed the money for the original election campaign in 1948 of the Governor and not for the purpose of the special fund to augment the salaries, but the Governor had indicated that public interest in the matter was "entirely healthy" and did not consider it a smear or unfair. It suggests that had Senator Nixon displayed the same attitude, rather than regarding the publicizing of his fund as a "smear" by left-wing groups to undermine his efforts at uncovering Communists in the Government, he would have been more convincing.

It indicates that Governor Stevenson might have suggested a workable solution to the problem, indicating that the proposed solution by the President and Senator Wayne Morse to have members of Congress publicly disclose their incomes from outside sources might prevent good men from undertaking public service, by proposing instead disclosure to a bipartisan body which could guarantee to the public the integrity of the candidate without violating the public servant's right to privacy. The piece suggests that the next Congress follow that lead.

"Did Nixon Admit He Was Wrong?" indicates that several readers had questioned a statement in the previous week's editorial regarding Senator Nixon's speech the prior Tuesday night, the piece having determined that the Senator had admitted that it was wrong to have used the special fund, the readers, all supporters of the Senator, pointing out that he made no such admission and contending that use of the fund was not wrong. It proceeds to quote the early section of the speech—the same section which we quoted in response to the editorial, also taking issue with the editorial's position, albeit not from the stance of a Nixon supporter—and then undertakes some of the same analysis which we undertook to find that he did not admit the matter wrong, although not appearing yet to alter its original position, which it says was based on giving the Senator the benefit of the doubt, save adding a contingency.

It indicates that had it not so interpreted his statement, its attitude toward the speech would have been completely different, for if the Senator and his supporters were not willing to admit that it was a mistake, they were accepting a new concept of public service which was "most dangerous and sinister" in its implications for the future of democracy, one under which public officials would have the right to have their careers subsidized by a few people, when they were representing all of the people.

It indicates that the contributors to the fund had been wealthy Californians who did not have to buy Senator Nixon, as his voting record largely had already coincided with their views, but that by providing him the extra money to reach constituents, they improved his chances of remaining in office.

It questions—with a good deal of augury of future events—whether Senator Nixon would have felt as charitable toward Senator Hubert Humphrey if, for instance, the CIO had provided him with an expense account for political purposes. It finds the principle "patently unsupportable".

It concludes that the readers who had emotionally reacted to the Senator's speech by condoning his acceptance of the fund and its principle, would finally have to agree that it was indefensible, just as it was a mistake for Governor Stevenson to provide additional money to key appointees in State Government in Illinois to make up for deficiencies between their private incomes and that afforded by the public treasury, which he had justified on the basis of its necessity for attracting qualified persons to those positions.

We are very pleased that you read our notes. Keep up the good work at self-correction.

"The Thinker" finds that the death of George Santayana, combined with the fact that his name meant nothing to most people, indicated the position accorded to thinkers in the society. His lectures at Harvard 40 or more years earlier had influenced such men as Walter Lippmann, Justice Felix Frankfurter, T.S. Eliot and Conrad Aiken. It suggests that a few people might have read Life of Reason and far more, The Last Puritan, which had set forth much of his philosophy in a popular form and brought him, at age 72, a measure of public acclaim when it was published in 1936.

As a realist who nevertheless accepted people guided more by emotion than by reason, he had applied his thought to a good many fields, including government, regarding which he believed that representative democracy was the second best form, that aristocratic democracy, allowing public office only to the fit, might eventually become the norm when persons generally became intelligent enough to accept it.

It recommends his work to enable equal opportunity to achieve better understanding.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Liberated", indicates that some months earlier, State officials had disputed the claim that Highway Patrolmen could not marry without first obtaining permission from their superior officers. There apparently had been such a rule in effect, but it had been revoked. It suggests that it was a silly rule as it invaded personal privacy, and appreciates the fact that it was no longer extant.

Drew Pearson tells of having suggested to Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon in 1946, when the column had exposed the stock market manipulations of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, that Senator Morse introduce legislation requiring every member of Congress to file with the Securities & Exchange Commission a statement of his gifts, stocks, bonds, and commodities, and identify the clients of his law firm. Senator Morse had responded with such a bill, co-sponsored by then-Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, the only other Senator who strongly favored the bill. Mr. Pearson had then talked with several other Senators who expressed sympathy for the measure, but none, other than Senators George Aiken of Vermont and John Sparkman of Alabama, had been willing to support it. Mr. Pearson indicates that he was still of the belief that it should have been passed, together with an increase in the salaries of members of Congress. He also advocated having every candidate for the presidency and vice-presidency disclose their incomes, net worth, nature of their property, gifts, etc., and to that end, in future columns, he would assess the financial backgrounds of each of the four candidates.

Senator Nixon, in his speech the prior Tuesday night, had suggested that Governor Stevenson and Senator Sparkman disclose their financial backgrounds, as he was doing in his speech. But he had left out General Eisenhower as a candidate for such disclosure. And self-disclosure, as Senator Nixon had undertaken, was a different thing from having a Senate investigation. The Senator had also omitted several facts about his career which might have a bearing on his finances.

His former law partner had been the secretary of a 12 million dollar company which planned to build seamless pipe in California, the Western Tube Corp., behind which was a Rumanian, Nicola Malaxa, who was rumored to be pro-Communist. Two members of Congress, Representatives Kenneth Keating of New York and Francis Walter of Pennsylvania, had objected to allowing Mr. Malaxa to reside permanently in the country, and during the course of the controversy, it had been suggested that he had excellent relations with the Communists following the occupation of Rumania by the Soviets, had been one of the few industrialists who was able to get the Soviets to return three of his factories seized by the previous Rumanian regime. The Communist government, it had been alleged, had even paid him half a million dollars for the profits he could have made during the period while the factories were seized. It had also been charged that he had sent jewelry to the former Communist boss of Rumania and had been able to get 2.4 million dollars out of the country. Senator Nixon had interceded on his behalf through his friends, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada and Congressman Pat Billings of California, who had succeeded the Senator when he had been elected to the Senate, resulting in a special bill to give Mr. Malaxa permanent resident status. That bill had passed the Senate, though in the House, Congressmen Keating and Walter had nixed it.

Mr. Pearson notes that he believes that Senator Nixon was correct in his stance regarding the human aspects of the case, as Mr. Malaxa had been caught up in a controversy between different Rumanian groups. But he finds it interesting to consider whether the Senator, who had been suspicious of anyone who was associated with Communists, had been influenced by charity or other motives, such as the fact that Mr. Malaxa had engaged the Senator's former law firm, for which the Senator had also performed an important favor in a Federal tax case.

In the latter incident, the previous May, Mr. Malaxa's company had applied to the National Production Authority for a certificate of defense necessity to build the seamless tube factory in which Senator Nixon's former law partner was an officer, a certificate which would enable the company to obtain depreciation allowances at an increased rate and thus write off the cost of the plant in about five years. But the NPA denied the certificate. Senator Nixon then wrote a letter to the NPA administrator, Manly Fleischmann, telling him how essential the plant was to California, and the letter resulted in the application being granted a few days later, with the consequence that the company obtained a tax reduction of 60 percent on $10,229,000.

He notes that another column on the financial background of the candidates would soon follow.

Stewart Alsop, in Springfield, Ill., tells of a notable characteristic of the current presidential campaign being the "bewilderment and timidity of the press", and that there were two contradictory remarks being heard in both the Eisenhower and Stevenson press camps, one being that the election could turn out to be another 1928, implying that General Eisenhower could overwhelmingly beat Governor Stevenson, and the other being that it could turn out to be another 1936, implying that Governor Stevenson could overwhelmingly beat General Eisenhower.

As Samuel Lubell had remarked in his book, The Future of American Politics, the country was "moving into a new political era in which the old rules and axioms no longer apply". Another problem was that such facts tended to cancel one another out, as Governor Stevenson had an automatic head start based on returns in the prior five elections.

Whenever the Stevenson campaign staff felt worried or depressed, they would begin to look at the electoral results for 1948, concluding from that electoral map that they could afford to lose California, Pennsylvania, nearly all of the Midwest and New England to General Eisenhower, and Governor Stevenson would still achieve victory, based on the solid South, a win in New York, removed from President Truman's column only by the presence of former Vice-President Henry Wallace as a third-party candidate, plus the Governor's native Illinois, Massachusetts and the border states, the latter having gone to the Democrats for as far back as anyone could remember, and several states which the President had carried easily in the prior election.

On the other hand, the General had a head start in his personal popularity, with Governor Stevenson being relatively unknown to the voters, plus the fact that the General had a superior organization and three times more money to spend than did the Governor's organization. The General's campaign was planning to saturate radio and television in particular markets with spot advertisements, which the Governor's campaign could not possibly match.

In addition, there was the wild card of Senator Nixon's special fund, with aides of the Governor, initially believing it would hurt the Eisenhower campaign, having begun to believe, in the wake of the Senator's presentation the previous Tuesday night, that it would be a net asset. In addition, everyone agreed that the large primary victory in Wisconsin by Senator Joseph McCarthy had presented a bad omen for the Stevenson candidacy.

Mr. Alsop points out that most of the reporters were in favor of Governor Stevenson, but they reminded themselves that they did not represent a typical segment of the voters. He suggests, however, that given the extraordinary success of the Governor with the reporters covering the campaign, it might translate to success with the voters also in such an unpredictable year, where the speculation continued as to whether it would be another 1928, another 1936, or another 1948, when all the predictions had been wrong.

Robert C. Ruark tells of the widow of deceased White House press secretary Joseph Short having been provided a job by the President as his correspondence and research secretary at $18,000 per year. He indicates that he was glad for her, but wondered why such a position merited $3,000 per year more than Senators received, at their $12,500 per year salaries plus $2,500 in non-taxable expense allowance. He points out that she was making therefore $3,000 more than Senator Nixon, who had to resort to a private fund collected by wealthy Californians to pay all of his expenses regarding mailings to constituents and the like. He indicates that while $15,000 per year sounded like a lot to the average person in 1952, given the cost of living in Washington, it tended not to go very far. He thus advocates raising the salaries for members of Congress, suggesting that it took precedence over buying tractors for people who did not understand the plow and otherwise sending money abroad for foreign aid.

Give it all to Dick. Let him decide who should have and who should have not. For he is the One.

A letter writer praises the response of Senator Nixon the prior Tuesday night and finds it an invasion of his privacy to force him to reveal his financial dealings, thanks God for "some plain talk amidst the Babel of false oratory to which we have so long been subjected", and thinks the Democrats had "thrown the political boomerang of all time". "Corruption, Communism and waste in our government must be swept out—and we will make that clear on November 4."

Perfectly clear. You tell those nasty old Commie Democrats what's what, girl. Make our Government as clean as a hound's tooth. Dick 'll get it done!

A letter writer defends Lamar Caudle, whom he believes lost his job in disgrace as an "innocent victim of political chicanery such as has never been recorded in the history of this country until the present Administration." He finds Mr. Caudle charming and inherently honest, that his recent testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee had revealed the true cause of his downfall, and that he did not realize what he had been up against until "he felt the boot", after which he had been "dazed and bewildered in slow disillusionment". He favors not kicking him any more but forgiving and forgetting his mistakes. He also wishes that his wife had kept the mink coat, as the writer was sure that she deserved it.

A letter writer from Hamlet finds both parties equally culpable in Washington corruption, that the place was "nothing but a maggot bed of crooked lawyers in both parties." He advocates comparing the Democratic record with the Republican record and voting accordingly.

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