The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 12, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S.S. Missouri and allied warships had set the North Korean east coast port of Chongjin ablaze with bombardment and naval air strikes, the latter preceding by two days the ship-to-shore bombardment. Chongjin was located 43 and 49 miles, respectively, from the Communist Chinese and Soviet Siberian borders, 140 miles from Vladivostok and 220 miles north of allied-captured Wonsan. The bombardment was similar to that which had preceded the Inchon landings on September 15, prompting speculation that another allied landing, this one on the east coast, might be imminent.

Allied ground troops continued their movement toward Pyongyang from the east, southwest, and south, the latter being the American First Cavalry approach.

Josef Stalin sent a message to North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung that he wished the North Koreans success and hoped for "establishment of a united, independent Korea", tracking the recent U.N. resolution, but obviously, for the recipient, intending it to be on Communist terms. It came in reply to Kim's thanks for friendly support by the Soviets.

At the U.N., Britain charged before the General Assembly's Political Committee that Russia's latest peace plan, which called for consultation among the Big Five and for creation of an international army under control of the Security Council, merely referred to the original U.N. machinery of collective security which the Soviets, themselves, had been stultifying and undermining for the previous five years. The proposals were already in the Charter and so were not objectionable in principle to the U.S. or Britain, but they had stressed that they would not substitute for the seven-nation proposal put forward by the U.S. to have emergency authority delegated to the General Assembly to circumvent the stultifying veto power of the Big Five.

In St. Louis, the President suggested in a speech to the Missouri Order of the Eastern Star, honoring his sister, that in his meeting soon to take place with General MacArthur in the Pacific, they could effect some method to counter the extension of Communism in the Far East. Though the location of the meeting remained undisclosed, most members of the President's party believed it would be on Wake Island. He would fly directly from St. Louis to the destination.

Elmer Harber, an Oklahoma banker, one of three newly appointed members of the five-man board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, emerged as its chairman. The President's appointments worked to replace Harley Hise as chairman and another member, Harvey Gunderson. The President had backed Mr. Harber to become chairman.

The State Department had directed American officials all over the world to suspend temporarily issuance of passport visas to aliens planning to come to the U.S., for the purpose of enabling checking under the new McCarran anti-subversive law passed over the veto of the President. Displaced persons were exempt from the suspension order. The Act barred entry to the country of any Communist or member of other totalitarian parties. It had resulted in the detention on Ellis Island, N.Y., of more than 200 aliens already issued visas. The Attorney General was authorized to exempt temporary visitors in individual cases from the provisions of the Act, but had to report to Congress on each such granted exemption.

In Rangoon, Burma, the treason trial of American Missionary-Surgeon Dr. Gordon Seagrave had begun. He was charged with helping rebel Karen tribesmen in their fight against the Government. He had gained renown for saving Burmese lives but now faced the death penalty if convicted.

The American Legion convention in Los Angeles was concluding after demanding that the Communist Party be outlawed and supporting adoption of universal military training. It had not yet been determined whether the delegates would vote to recommend ouster of Secretary of State Acheson, still hanging fire in their foreign relations committee. The previous night, they had been entertained by Ezio Pinza, formerly of the cast of "South Pacific", Red Skelton, Roy Rogers, and Gary Cooper.

Hey, where's the Duke?

In Newark, N.J., a 47-year old junk dealer was charged with riding his horse while drunk, having outpaced a squad car for five blocks. Whether any of his junk was hanging off the horse was not reported.

Emery Wister of The News tells of a private from Charlotte who had enlisted July 16 and three weeks later was on an Army plane to Japan, from whence he went into action in early September before being wounded the 13th and then shipped back stateside. He reported that the North Koreans were not very good soldiers but had been so numerous that they could "stomp you to death". He described to Mr. Wister how he had been wounded.

Fulton Oursler presents chapter 4 of his serialized book, Why I Know There Is a God, relating of Madame Oksana Kasenkina who, in August, 1948, had jumped from the third floor of the Soviet consulate in New York to escape the totalitarian regime, encouraged to do so by a brother and sister who lived in Connecticut, who had discovered by reading the news that Ms. Kasenkina had been kidnaped and held at the consulate after she had made known her intent to defect. The Russians claimed that she was being held for her own protection, having supposedly rescued her from the bondage, to which she had voluntarily fled, at the house of anti-Communist Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, the granddaughter of Leo Tolstoy.

On the editorial page, "Wizardry … Or Luck?" finds it likely that Republicans were agonizing over the apparent evidence of the President's recently demonstrated political skill or luck or both. During the early part of the summer, the Republicans appeared poised to reduce the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, campaigning on "statism", deficit financing, and Administration softness on Communists and fellow travelers. But Korea had changed that dynamic, neutralizing the first two campaign issues while gaining a new one, the lack of preparedness of the military for the emergency, enabling the GOP to blame Secretaries Johnson and Acheson for the deficit.

Then, the President had fired Secretary Johnson and replaced him with General Marshall as Defense Secretary. The Inchon landings followed on September 15 and the war was now going well, with the apparent end in sight. Furthermore, Secretary Acheson was performing well at the U.N., outbluffing Andrei Vishinsky, effecting the resolution to authorize crossing of the U.N. forces into North Korea, while also enabling the buildup of military strength of NATO in Western Europe. He had also now put forward a resolution to bypass the veto-bound Security Council in emergencies.

The newest move was President Truman's prospective meeting with General MacArthur in the Pacific to discuss the remaining strategy for the war. He would return and provide a major foreign policy address to the U.N. on October 24, likely to have positive political effect.

All of it had combined to provide the edge once again to the Democrats in the midterm elections and could be attributed to the political adroitness of the President in the stretch, just as in 1948.

"What Will the Auditorium Cost?" informs that the bonded indebtedness from the three million dollar cost for the coliseum and auditorium complex, set to be voted on the following Saturday, would be retired over a period of 39 years, with payments at 2 percent interest between 1953 and 1990, with interest totaling about 1.5 million dollars. The total amount of cost, therefore, would be 4.5 million, prompting an increase in the property tax rate of 5.91 cents per $100 of valuation, or $2.95 per year on a $5,000 home. Even that rate would become smaller as the tax base of the city would grow from its current 200 million dollars. Moreover, revenue from the complex would be applied to retirement of the bond.

Thus, rumors that the tax rate would skyrocket as a result were unfounded.

"An Investment That Will Pay Off" finds that the City Council's determination the prior day to purchase a resuscitator for the Fire Department should have been done much earlier. Some of the members had not been aware of the lack of one. Two such machines had been available to the Department from the Charlotte Life-Saving Crew, a group of volunteers. But their availability was delayed in emergencies.

It recommends buying a resuscitator for each of the sedans used by the Fire Department, at a cost of less than $500 each, to make them available anywhere needed in the county.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Doctors in Politics?" finds that with the AMA seeking to defeat fourteen Democratic Senators in the upcoming midterm elections, it was aligning itself with the Republican Party out of fear of "socialized medicine", equated with the national health insurance program urged by the Administration but shelved in the current Congress. The AMA had extended its criticism to the whole program of the Administration.

While organized labor had engaged in partisan politics, the professions had remained out of it until this foray. Organized labor had overreached itself in the mid-Forties and Taft-Hartley was the result. Thus, history had shown that any trade organization which entered politics could expect eventually such opposing legislative and political counter-action.

Bill Sharpe, in his "Turpentine Drippings", snippets from newspapers around the state, provides one from the Asheville Citizen, supplying a Gallup Poll showing various preferences of the people, including that roses were the favorite flower of Americans, that boys were easier to raise than girls, dogs were preferred over cats, "Silent Night" was the favorite Christmas song, "Star Dust", the favorite popular tune, George Bernard Shaw, the favorite living author, Abraham Lincoln, considered the greatest President, spinach, the most disliked vegetable, and that gentlemen did not prefer blondes.

What does the Mafia like?

Pete Ivey of the Twin City Sentinel in Winston-Salem wonders how to beat the rising cost of haircuts, set to go to a dollar. He suggests some new chemical to stop or decelerate the growth process, as they had found with grass.

Ed Moss of the Morganton News-Herald tells of a man who predicted snow in August, prompting ridicule and questions, to which he had responded that though it was an unlikely prediction, if he hit it, he would become the most famous weather prophet in the world.

And so, so.

Drew Pearson provides the second column in his series on the Mafia, the first having appeared two days earlier. He discusses the leadership of the organization, which only Senator Estes Kefauver and his committee had attempted to penetrate in recent months. Frank Costello, in New York, was considered the leader in the United States, while Lucky Luciano, deported to Italy, was the leader abroad. Mr. Costello had been financed early in his career by Arnold Rothstein, and had effected peace in the underworld after the Twenties, calling a convention of gangsters at his own expense in Atlantic City, where territories were allotted and alliances formed.

Mr. Costello had formed a slot machine business and received $35,000 per month in royalties from King's Ransom Scotch whiskey.

Joe Adonis, of New York and New Jersey, was active in the New Jersey rackets and had recently muscled his way into the automobile business.

Antony Carfano, of New York and Florida, had an extensive criminal past and worked under Mr. Adonis.

Vito Genovese, of New York and New Jersey, had been Mr. Luciano's gunman, having obtained money by force from the New York brothels, was now an important cog in the New Jersey Mafia. He, likewise, had an extensive criminal history.

Joe Profael, of New York and New Jersey, operated the Mamma Mia Importing Co. of Brooklyn, packers of olive oil and canned tomatoes, also with a criminal past.

Willie Moretti, of New York City and Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., was a close associate of Mr. Costello, godfather to his children, and was part of the ruling mob of New Jersey, had an extensive criminal history. He had helped to train Joe Sica, a narcotics racketeer on the West Coast.

Mike Limandri, of New York City and California, had important Mafia ties in both locations, was believed by the Narcotics Bureau to be the leader of the gang smuggling opium from Mexico to the U.S. He now spent most of his time in San Bernardino, California, and was close to Jack Dragna, Mafia boss on the West Coast. He also had an extensive criminal history.

Phil Kastel had been a nightclub operator in Montreal prior to the First World War, had then come to New York and become the protege of Arnold Rothstein, eventually, after serving a stretch in prison for securities fraud, becoming a partner with Mr. Costello in various enterprises. Though not Sicilian, he had been adopted by the Mafia.

Marquis Childs, in London, finds parallels between the Truman Administration and the Labor Government, in that both had reluctant and uncertain support and were stuck in the center between political and world crisis. If an election had been held that fall in Britain, the Labor Government would probably stay in power with the slender majority it presently held, and many in the party were urging Prime Minister Clement Attlee to call an election on the belief that within six months, after the new return to austerity measures to enable the defense build-up, the Conservatives would hold the upperhand.

Things had just about returned to a balance economically when the rearmament of Western Europe became the central focus.

Likewise, the complaints of the Conservatives sounded similar to those of the Republicans, with the Conservatives complaining about inadequate equipment for maneuvers in the British zone of West Germany and asking where all the defense money had gone.

Between 6.8 percent and 7.5 percent of the British budget had been devoted to defense, a relatively small amount compared to the U.S. Under expansion, about 10 percent would be devoted to defense.

There were also sharp differences between the two governments, as Labor was disciplined compared to the Democrats. Those who did not abide by the party line were purged. Some Laborites would have liked to delay nationalization of the steel industry, but they went along with it under party orders to effect a six-vote majority.

There was quite a lot of resentment within the rank and file of the party, but the party machine had overridden it. One wing of the party believed that Secretary of State Acheson had dictated terms to Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin regarding German policy insofar as formation of military units of division strength, as the fear of Germany among some was as great as that in France.

Joseph Alsop, in Tokyo, finds the Korean war to have entered its final phase, unless either the Russians or Communist Chinese joined the fight. If the Russians had wanted to enter the fight, they could have done so or directed the Communist Chinese to have done so earlier and effected swift victory. Now, if they entered, it would mean that the Kremlin had determined to provoke world war.

With virtually all of the U.S. fighting forces now engaged in Korea, it would be the opportune time for Russia to strike elsewhere. But it was likely they would not, as it would tend to coalesce the allies against them at a time when the Soviets were seeking to make inroads on the perception of Russia as a bogeyman. The Russians had stimulated the attack on South Korea by North Korea on the belief that only South Korea's feeble army would be encountered as the resistance. Unquestionably, the action had been intended as the first step in the conquest of Asia and Europe, albeit to be accomplished cheaply.

The result of Korea, however, had bought time for the U.S. to build up its military preparedness, time which could not be squandered. If the country were to revert to complacency in the face of the victory in Korea, then the continually arming Soviets would draw encouragement and engage in more aggression.

He concludes that Korea was the worst mistake Russia had ever made, worse than any of the mistakes of Hitler. The response to it by the U.S., however, had resulted in a net gain for America by establishing a deterrent to future aggression, provided the lesson was learned.

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