The Charlotte News

Friday, June 26, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page for this date is not available, and so you will have to gather the front page news for the date from elsewhere, from the source of your choice.

In all likelihood, the leading story in the state of North Carolina, other than the Korean truce progress, was the death this date in Bethesda, Md., of Senator Willis Smith, who, the previous Tuesday, had suffered a coronary thrombosis, according to his administrative assistant Jesse Helms, who related the story to reporters the previous day. Shortly, Governor William B. Umstead, who, himself, would die in November, 1954, having suffered a heart attack three days after his inauguration the prior January, would appoint to the seat former State Senator Alton Lennon, who would be defeated in the 1954 Democratic primary by former Governor Kerr Scott, who also would die in office in 1958. Mr. Smith, a prominent Raleigh lawyer, had defeated interim Senator Frank Porter Graham in a bitter, Red-baiting, race-baiting Democratic primary runoff election campaign three years earlier, orchestrated at least in part by Mr. Helms, then a WRAL radio news reporter in Raleigh, after Senator Graham had won by a plurality the first primary, with former Senator Robert Rice Reynolds—and the hoped for Hope diamond of the French blue curse, once to be inherited through his former young wife, Evalyn Walsh McLean II, daughter of the Washington Post heiress and Washington socialite of the same name who owned it, the younger Evalyn having committed suicide in 1946, also in the race. Mr. Graham had been appointed to the Senate by Governor Scott in March, 1949 from his position as president of UNC, following the death earlier that month of Senator and former Governor J. Melville Broughton, elected in 1948, defeating Senator Umstead in the Democratic primary that year, after the latter had been appointed to the seat by Governor Gregg Cherry following the death in late 1946 of Senator Josiah W. Bailey. The other Senate seat would also experience death the following year when former Governor and Senator Clyde Hoey would die, with Governor Umstead appointing State Supreme Court Justice Sam J. Ervin as his successor, Mr. Ervin having served earlier the remaining year of the Congressional term of his brother Joe when the latter, on Christmas Day, 1945, had committed suicide in Washington, the body of whom was discovered by his friend Lamar Caudle of the Justice Department, with whose family Mr. Ervin had been planning to have Christmas dinner. Former Governor and newly appointed Ambassador to Britain O. Max Gardner, brother-in-law of Senator Hoey, also would die shortly before sailing to take over his new post, in early 1947, also dying of a coronary thrombosis.

We suppose that was the way it went in a state which earned a great amount of its wealth from cigarette manufacture and tobacco production. But whether they all smoked, we don't know.

On the editorial page, "Will This 'Study' Go Deep Enough?" indicates that a study of working conditions and compensation of City employees was necessary, as the Civil Service Commission had been unable to interest qualified applicants in becoming policemen and there were frequent resignations, keeping City employment below full strength. The study, which had been approved by the City Council, would likely, it suggests, accomplish little, as City Manager Henry Yancey had been in close touch with police problems for a long time, and if he had known about needed changes, would have spoken up earlier. The Civil Service Commission had also been close to the Police Department, but could probably not view such a problem with adequate perspective.

It suggests that better compensation might be an important factor in obtaining qualified personnel, but the County Police Department had a pay scale and fringe benefits pretty much on par with the City, while the County force had little trouble filling its ranks.

It believes that a study would turn up other reasons for poor morale, including cliques, jealousies and the general dissatisfaction plaguing the City for years, but of which few would discuss on the record. It believes that the study ought be conducted by outsiders who would have better perspective and were not tied to City Government by close associations and friendships.

"$1.55 Minus 7c Equals $1.48" indicates that the City Council had served the taxpayers well by subtracting seven cents from the $1.55 per $100 of property valuation in the tax rate, and also reduced commensurately the City budget in the meantime. It finds that it showed an encouraging approach to municipal finances by a majority of the Council, despite some internal disputes regarding the matter. Also approved was a set-aside of a reserve of $220,000 to pay for salary increases in the event the job classification study showed that increases were merited. It finds the first budget-making session of the new Council to have been a major success, with three new members deserving a large part of the praise.

"When Lawyers Look in the Mirror" tells of outgoing North Carolina Bar Association president J. Spencer Bell having provided an address, excerpts from which are on the page, to the membership in Wrightsville Beach the previous weekend, lecturing his fellow attorneys about the need to engage in public service, which, though strong medicine, was received in good spirit, as evidenced by a movement to make him president for an additional year, until he stopped it by refusing to serve.

He had counseled each member to become a public relations representative for the profession by producing satisfied clients, through keeping abreast with changes in the law by continuing legal education. He favored broadening the basis of legal services to the public by contributing to legal aid, which had been in existence for 75 years in the country, an organization supported, for instance, in Atlanta by the Community Chest, where lawyers' attitudes had changed from indifference or even hostility to enthusiastic support for the program of providing legal services to the indigent. He also believed in lawyer referral, through which lawyers could demonstrate their abilities to thousands of people in the community who did not know a lawyer or were afraid to make an appointment to see one. More than 80 cities in the country had such a service, enabling the refutation of the charge that persons of modest means could not afford a lawyer.

He had concluded by saying that if the members did not agree with the diagnosis, then they were so blind that no argument could induce them to change, that the time had come to accept the diagnosis and undertake the cure. He urged the Bar Association members to maintain the thoughts in mind as they left their annual meeting and returned to their communities, where he hoped they would begin to undertake the suggested remedies.

The piece indicates that the Greensboro Daily News and the Winston-Salem Journal had echoed the suggestion, finding that the legal profession was a quasi-public entity with a responsibility to engage in public service. It is confident that the profession would find friendly cooperation and interest from the press as it turned to the new assignment of placing emphasis on public service.

"In Defense of the 'Common Man'" tells of having recently found that the word "progressive" had fallen into disfavor in some quarters since former Vice-President Henry Wallace had capitalized the "P" and led the Progressive Party during the presidential election cycle of 1948. The phrase "common man", also used often by Mr. Wallace, had also fallen into some disfavor, though it had been used by American and British politicians for many years.

In a recent address to the Americans for Democratic Action, former President Truman had used a new descriptor when he said that "everyday man should put forth greater effort to see that his interests are protected." It ventures that an "everyday man" would seem, definitionally, to connote someone rather usual or routine. But a "common" man could also be seen as vulgar or cheap, otherwise inferior, while in actual usage, "common man" had been quite respectable, as when British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin had reminded Parliament, shortly before his death two years earlier, that "the common man is the greatest protection against war". The recently deceased editor of the Monroe Journal, R. F. Beasley, had also used the phrase with great effect, and it finds it to be as good a phrase as ever graced a sermon or oration.

Had it a crystal ball enabling greater perspicacity than the present afforded, it might have noted that the picture on the previous day's front page of the Vice-President strolling through the Capitol arm-in-arm with former President Truman had provided special nuances to the words and phrases, showing one man, constantly in search of the "everyday man" touch, seeking to derive it, or at least its image, perhaps by osmosis from another who had the genuine empathy necessary to engender the feeling in others, but never quite able to put it across, finding, in the end, the ability blocked by blind ambition to reach, as early as possible, the top of the ladder. Perhaps, if Vice-President Nixon's eyesight had not been quite so good and he had needed the thick corrective lenses necessary to President Truman, he might have done better in the department, stumbled less, walked over fewer people, realizing his turn better in the climb, though the facility might be achieved also by those with 20-20 vision as well, provided there is present sufficient imagination and self-recognition of other faults before being so quick, for the sake of hiding one's own, to point them out in others. Throughout his career, even through his time as President, Mr. Nixon would demonstrate his fondness and respect for President Truman, perhaps seeing in him something of his own father, a struggling merchant and lemon rancher, with the struggling tenacity of the informal politician trying to make a go of it with customers handed down generationally to the son, who then made it a profession. Yet, that imparted at Duke University Law School to a California son during the Thirties could never quite be undone to enable ever again the true "everyman" touch for Mr. Nixon. But before we begin to sound too much as Great Books self-educated John Chancellor during the immediate aftermath of the "long national nightmare" of Watergate, we shall cease, for the moment...

Some can't see the forest for the trees.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "No Short Cut to the Mint Julep", indicates that according to the New York Times, a leading distiller had come up with "a short-cut mint julep", which the piece regards as "outrageous". It provides the recipe, which it finds to be a slur on Kentucky tradition, as no gentleman would crush the mint leaves, as the Times had recommended, and also decries other aspects of the concoction. It finds that proposing a short-cut to it was "as scurrilous as suggesting that the mint julep, like Greenwich Village or the Folies Bergere, is something palmed off on the greenhorn visitor, but never touched by the homefolks."

J. Spencer Bell of Charlotte, outgoing president of the North Carolina Bar Association, as indicated in the above editorial, has excerpts from his remarks to the membership at a recent meeting in Wrightsville Beach printed on the page.

Drew Pearson indicates that the two biggest current stories were the riots behind the Iron Curtain and the threat of an economic depression in the U.S., dwarfing the news of the pending armistice in Korea. For if the Kremlin could not maintain law and order at home, it quickly would have to drop the war in Korea anyway. As 55 percent of those living behind the Iron Curtain were not Russians, if the revolt in the satellites began to spread, it could begin breaking up the heterogeneous mass of people held together within the U.S.S.R. against their wills. Yet, a depression in the U.S. could offset all of Russia's trouble.

He indicates that most people did not realize how serious the riots were in Pilsen in Czechoslovakia, where workers had stormed Communist headquarters and raised the American flag, as well as how bad were the riots in East Germany. In Czech mining areas, workers had torn down pictures of the late Joseph Stalin and Klement Gottwald of Czechoslovakia. The riots in East Germany were not confined to East Berlin, but had also spread to other industrial areas. The sabotage of the Soviet uranium mines had been serious. It had also been the workers who were revolting, contrary to the Soviet doctrine of making the leaders the saviors of the workers. Unrest had also spread to Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. Yet, despite the U.S. having for years looked forward to such a time, it had been unable, through lack of leadership, to do anything to exploit it. He suggests that as free elections in Europe had been promised as part of the Yalta agreement in February, 1945, it was time to demand them.

The Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury were worried anent the prospect of a depression, which could have a ripple effect through Europe, just as had the Depression following the crash of 1929, resulting from the decreased value of Government bonds and the high interest rates now charged to business. The tight money policy of the Treasury was of equal concern, having been brought about by the new Secretary George Humphrey, a move generally favored at the beginning of the Administration to provide some deflation. He had ended the policy under the Democrats of short-term Government borrowing at low interest rates, with Secretary Humphrey raising the interest rate on long-term Government loans from 2 ¾ to 3 ¼ percent. The immediate effect of that action had been a decrease in bond values and an increase in interest rates throughout the business world. Corporations set to finance new plants or improvements changed their minds, as borrowing had become too expensive. The consequent deflation at a time when there was a serious cut to the defense budget and curtailment of Government spending generally, had caused inventories to accumulate and danger signals to occur in the business world.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Republican leadership in Congress was increasingly throwing overboard parts of the Eisenhower program, such that matters would eventually reach the irreducible minimum of the appropriations bills necessary to run the Government. The statehood bill for Hawaii was the latest measure to be abandoned, despite Republicans being the dominant party in that Territory. At the same time, the Senate leadership was considering taking up the Bricker amendment to the Constitution, to limit the treaty-making power of the President by making executive agreements subject to the ratification requirement, a move strongly opposed by the Eisenhower Administration.

One of the reasons for this phenomenon was the loss of the firm leadership of Senator Taft, who had backed away from his daily floor leadership role to tend to his health. The handicap on the President's attempt to steer a constructive course in foreign policy was illustrated by the proposal of the Administration to admit 240,000 immigrants over and above the regular quotas, the proposal having been sent to Congress two months earlier, in the hope of influencing the recent Italian elections and encouraging those seeking freedom living behind the Iron Curtain to defect to the West. The bill, however, remained bottled up in a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, formerly chaired by Democratic Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, who, along with Senators Herman Welker of Idaho and John Butler of Maryland, both Republicans, had blocked the bill.

Three Democrats, Senators Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Thomas Hennings of Missouri and Willis Smith of North Carolina, had joined an effort orchestrated by Senator McCarran to suspend for two weeks all hearings before the Judiciary Committee, thus lending service to blocking the bill. Both Senators Kefauver and Hennings had favored liberalization of immigration laws, prompting Republican proponents of the bill to be especially upset with them, accusing them of taking part in a Democratic "plot" to remove support from the Eisenhower program and thus make the 83rd Congress appear worse than the so-called "do-nothing" Congress of 1947-49, the last Congress before the present one to have been controlled by the Republicans. Both Senators said they had not realized that their votes would bottle up the immigration measure and Senator Hennings had asked the chairman, Senator William Langer of North Dakota, to call the full Committee together again. Four Republicans, including Senator Langer, William Jenner of Indiana, Arthur Watkins of Utah and Robert Hendrickson of New Jersey, had voted against suspending the Committee hearings. Senator Jenner, generally opposed to liberalization of immigration laws, had voted against the suspension because it would also have shut down his Internal Security subcommittee.

Meanwhile, a lot of mail was being received by the Senators against the immigration measure, believed to have been stimulated by a racist hate sheet published by Robert Williams of Santa Ana, California, where most of the mail originated, Mr. Williams having spread propaganda against General Eisenhower prior to his nomination the previous summer.

Mr. Childs indicates that there were perfectly valid differences with immigration policy, that it might be argued that the country could no longer absorb Europe's excess population, although the fact that the U.S. had blocked immigration from Europe had aggravated the Continent's many problems. To oppose the bill on such grounds was one thing, he posits, but to fight it with race smear was a form of un-Americanism which Congressional committees were carefully ignoring.

James Marlow indicates that the President's request that Congress extend the excess profits tax for another six months was now mired in questions regarding democratic processes and Congressional practice. It remained unclear whether the request would pass, in light of the continued opposition by House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed, who was blocking the bill from reaching the floor of the House for a vote. If it could not be passed before the following Tuesday, it would automatically expire, though subject to retroactive passage.

Mr. Marlow wonders whether it was democratic to allow one man, Mr. Reed, to bottle up a piece of legislation and thereby prevent his Committee, and thus the entire House, from voting on it. In the House, the powers and prerogatives of committee chairmen were greatly respected, and so no great hue and cry had been set up against Representative Reed's stubborn persistence. Finally, however, the previous day, Representative Charles Halleck of Indiana, the House Majority Leader, had asked the House Rules Committee to take the legislation away from Ways & Means and allow the full House to vote on it. It was extremely unusual for the Rules Committee to do so, though it was within the province of that Committee to determine what legislation would receive a vote in the House. After a stormy session in which Mr. Reed hinted that he might quit Congress if his Committee were bypassed, the Rules Committee voted to do so and allow the House to vote. The Republicans had a majority in all of those committees and so the matter boiled down largely to an intra-party fight, which Democrats enjoyed seeing.

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