The Charlotte News

Monday, October 23, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that South Korean troops had advanced to within 50 miles or less of the Manchurian border as remnants of the North Korean Army fled in disarray toward the mountain triangle at Kanggye, 20 miles from the border, reported to be Premier Kim Il Sung's new headquarters. Observers said that the South Korean troops could reach the Yalu River by Tuesday. MacArthur headquarters was noncommittal on the point.

Many allied prisoners of war were able to escape as the North Koreans hurriedly fled. But 66 American prisoners were found machine-gunned by the enemy, 40 miles north of Pyongyang, 21 of whom having survived the attack. Five Hundred South Koreans were reported to have been murdered at Yonghung on the east coast.

An Army intelligence officer said that the enemy had presented no real resistance during the previous 24 hours. The allies had now taken 120,000 North Korean troops as prisoners, 26,000 during the prior 24 hours.

Correspondent Barbara Brines, in Fukuoka, Japan, reports of an Army private from High Point, N.C., who had been one of the 21 prisoners who lived through the attack on the prisoners the prior Friday at the Sunchon tunnel. They had been ordered from the train heading north and told that their soup would soon be ready; the guards then began firing on them with rifles and afterward pounded them with their rifles. The private had been left for dead. He said that he had been captured at Taejon on July 21 after his unit had been cut off. He had run into the hills where he was discovered by some South Koreans who turned him over to the North Koreans. He was eventually forced to march to Seoul, where his weight dropped from 145 to 110 lbs. The prisoners were treated badly, with not enough food or blankets to stay warm at night. After the Americans had landed at Inchon on September 15, the prisoners were ordered to march 25 miles from Seoul while some of the sick and wounded were left behind with one American medic. Several fainted during the march and were shot. After a two-day rest, they were forced to march another 35 miles. Men died along the route. One time, an American jet strafed their column and some Americans were killed. At Pyongyang, they were finally given three meals per day for the first time during their captivity, then departed six days later by train, traveling only at night. The Americans slept outside when the train halted. The previous Friday, they reached the tunnel where the massacre occurred.

The Defense Department announced 34 names in the latest casualty list, one of the smallest of the war, of whom seven had been killed, twenty wounded, one missing, and six injured in accidents.

At the U.N., Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky, speaking before the General Assembly's Political Committee in support of Russia's "peace" resolution, declared that Russia's postwar policy had been based on "the inevitable peaceful coexistence of the capitalistic and socialistic systems for a long, long time." The resolution was based on the Communist-sponsored Stockholm peace treaty. It called for a Big Five peace pact which would provide for a one-third reduction of armaments and that the U.N. would declare the first country to drop the atomic bomb a "war criminal". The Assembly had rejected a similar proposal, without the latter provision, the prior year. Mr. Vishinsky charged that Western attacks on Soviet policy were an attempt to smother Soviet peace efforts and that the U.S. policy was one of force rather than diplomacy. The U.S. found the proposal hollow as the U.S. had demobilized after the war whereas the Soviets had not.

The President was leaving Washington by train for New York to address the U.N. the next morning at 11:30, marking United Nations Day, the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the Charter.

Stuart Symington, head of mobilization, said that it would be dangerous to implement wage and price controls without first giving indirect controls a chance to stem inflation.

The Supreme Court granted review of the convictions of the eleven top American Communists, convicted pursuant to the Smith Act, to determine whether the 1940 law was constitutional. The Court did not grant review on the other questions raised by the defendants, including a claim that there was an unfair atmosphere of prejudicial opinion pervading the trial. The Government had informed the Court that it did not oppose the grant of review on the constitutionality of the Act.

The Court also granted review in a matter wherein the United Gas, Coke & Chemical Workers union had sought in vain to bar enforcement of Wisconsin's public utility anti-strike law, making it a criminal offense to engage in such a strike, on the ground that it was unconstitutional and violated the National Labor Relations Act. The Federal District Court had dismissed the action.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of John Maragon, friend of Presidential military aide Maj. General Harry Vaughan, for perjury during the hearings the previous year on influence peddling. He had been sentenced to eight months to two years in prison.

The Justice Department disclosed that it had begun a roundup of top alien Communists in the country, pursuant to the provisions of the new McClarran anti-subversive law. The ten already arrested were deemed the most important of about 86 such persons who were subject to deportation under the law. They could be held for up to six months pending deportation.

In Harlansburg, Pa., three young cave explorers, ranging in age from 12 to 26, and their small cocker spaniel were rescued after their carbide lights failed and they became lost in the bat-filled environment for twelve hours. About 500 people of nearby towns had turned out to help locate them.

In Monte Carlo, actor Erroll Flynn was married for the third time, to actress Patrice Wymore. He said it would be his last.

In Chicago, a woman claimed that her landlady had created problems for her family, including seven children, by keeping 40 goldfish in their bathtub. The family rented three of five rooms in the home. The woman said that the drain plug was sealed. The woman had sworn out a warrant for disorderly conduct but the police officer said that thus far the landlady had ducked service by leaving the premises through another door.

Serve the goldfish to a neighborhood cat and drill through the plug.

On the editorial page, "Supreme Court Politics" discusses the State Democratic Party executive committee determination to nominate Jeff D. Johnson as the candidate for the State Supreme Court seat, to which Governor Kerr Scott had appointed Murray G. James to replace deceased Justice A. A. F. Seawell. The rejection of the Governor's interim appointee appeared to be the result of politics, as Mr. Johnson had been the campaign manager for both Senator Frank Graham in his unsuccessful primary and for Senator Melville Broughton in his 1948 campaign, before his death in March, 1949 and the appointment of Senator Graham by Governor Scott to fill the seat. Mr. Johnson appealed to both the Graham backers and those of Willis Smith, Senator Graham's successful opponent.

The piece finds it of concern that the Supreme Court had become a political football, but suggests that it was inevitable when justices were elected. While the Federal system was also subject to politics, it deems it less so because of the confirmation process by the Senate. In either system, it adds, the man grew with the job and that was the saving grace of both systems.

It suggests that the elective system precluded judges of the caliber of William H. Bobbitt of Charlotte from ever hoping to become a member of the State Supreme Court. He would be appointed in 1954 by Governor William B. Umstead to fill the spot vacated by the elevation of a sitting Justice to be Chief at the retirement of the Chief. Justice Bobbitt would then serve for 20 years, including the latter five years as Chief.

"Pettifoggery from Prague" finds that the ideas associated with "democratic", "sovereign" and "peace-loving", as being bandied about in Prague by Russia and the Soviet satellite countries in an attempt to counter the Big Three conference in September at which a decision was made to rearm West Germany to an extent to counter the military force of the East German police, were not those conveyed by the same terms in the West. The new Communist proposal for a united Germany therefore was not likely to produce any action, as neither side could unite the country on terms satisfactory to the other.

The rearming of West Germany, a key component of the rearming of Western Europe to deter Soviet aggression, was also being resisted by the French for their fear of a rebirth of German militarism on the Nazi scale. Moreover, a like feeling existed within West Germany.

The Prague manifesto was designed to exploit these latter fears and to create new fears of Soviet aggression to prevent the rearming of West Germany while presenting to the West Germans the prospect of a "united, sovereign, democratic" Germany. It amounted to skillful propaganda and was also a bluff. It believes that the bluff had to be called, for the Western democracies could not participate as equals with Russia at a conference to determine the future of Germany until they had built up again militarily.

"Henry Stimson—A Great American" finds that the former Secretary of State under President Hoover and Secretary of War under Presidents Taft, FDR, and Truman, who had just died, had been not much of a phrase-maker, his only quote in Bartlett's being one saying that the way to make someone trustworthy was to trust the person and the way to make the person untrustworthy was to distrust the person. It finds the quote apt, however, as trustworthy was the best description of him during his long public service to the nation under six Presidents, Republicans and Democrats.

He had been the first to condemn the Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931 and believed that it would lead to world war if not checked. He had favored a draft before World War II. He supported lend-lease and use of the Navy to protect shipments of materials to England in 1940-41.

The prior March, in a letter to the New York Times, he had berated Senator Joseph McCarthy's campaign against the State Department, that despite being a lifelong Republican.

It concludes that the country had lost one of its finest citizens.

A piece from the Elizabethtown (Ky.) News, titled "Reporting", tells of a minister informing the newspaper that another paper had included an obituary of a man which said that he had not belonged to any church, the minister finding that an unnecessary inclusion. The piece agrees, that newspapers might on occasion report unkind things as essential parts of a report, but that the newspaper did not have to look such things up.

Drew Pearson, in San Francisco, pieces together what had taken place during the Wake Island conference between the President and General MacArthur a week earlier. Two parts had not been answered, what took place in the hour during which the President met alone with the General, and the other being why the General declined the invitation for lunch with the President and left hurriedly for Tokyo.

The President had expected an argument from General MacArthur over Formosa, against the Administration policy that war could not be risked with China over Formosa. The first sign of resistance was when the General did not meet General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, when he arrived for the conference. Then, the General paused for photographers to take pictures after the President's plane arrived on the tarmac, leaving the President waiting inside the plane for a few minutes while the General took his time getting to it. When they did meet, the two were guardedly cordial to one another.

During the one hour conference, the President stressed that war with the Chinese had to be avoided and that border incidents next to Manchuria and Siberia had to be avoided for this reason, that the main hope was to try to get Mao Tse-Tung to turn into a Tito, that is become independent from Moscow. After the meeting, the President appeared pleased and the General gave every sign of acquiescence.

In fact, the President had, according to his conversations with author Merle Miller in 1961-62, as set forth in 1973 in Plain Speaking, dressed down the General in no uncertain terms because of his leaving him waiting on the tarmac, then let him know what the score was on China and Formosa.

Following the one-hour conference alone, staff conferences proceeded, one between Generals MacArthur and Bradley and one between the diplomats. The President left for a trip around the island. During the staff discussion, General MacArthur said that he expected to clean up the bulk of the fighting by November 1 and had quit worrying about potential intervention by the Chinese or Russians. He also favored withdrawal of American troops from Korea as soon as possible, probably after elections were held in the North. He praised the South Korean Army and found that they were now capable of defending the South. It was also decided that the General would make an economic survey of Korea, using Army and Marshall Plan personnel to assess the rebuilding effort for the U.N. It was further decided that aid would be expedited to French Indo-China for the arms already promised the French. The economic situation in the Philippines was also discussed.

During their mutual reminiscences, General Bradley said that he had problems during World War II with the Air Force bombing bridges needed for crossing of American infantry, and General MacArthur reported having the same problem in Korea.

The President then returned to the conference and expressed his belief that Korea could not be unified under President Syngman Rhee. General MacArthur, however, defended President Rhee and finally won his point. Whereas the President wanted to hold elections throughout Korea, General MacArthur wanted elections only in the North, such that President Rhee would remain in power in the South through 1952 after being elected the prior spring. It was finally decided that the U.S. would follow this latter position in talks at the U.N.

The President and the General then met alone for another fifteen minutes and the President emerged smiling. He said it was the best conference he had ever attended and suggested lunch, from which the General begged off to return to his work before dark.

The pompous son-of-a-bitch play-actor then took off for Tokyo.

Stewart Alsop finds that the best of what he thought would be the concluding commentary on the Korean experience was that the Chinese Communists had declared that they would intervene and then did not—thus far. He goes on to explain that which would be moot by the following Friday, that the Indian Ambassador had been the target since the beginning of the war of a psychological terror campaign by the Chinese Communists. He had been convinced that Korea created the probability of general warfare in Asia.

Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai had, at the time immediately after the Inchon landings on September 15, requested that the Indian Ambassador call upon him, and then told him that China had a strong national interest in the fate of North Korea and that if the Americans crossed the 38th parallel, the Chinese armies on the Yalu River would be immediately ordered to enter North Korea. This information then spread to London and Washington, and to the U.N.

Secretary of State Acheson, however, stood firm in the face of the threat, that it was necessary to cross the parallel to provide security and unity for all of Korea.

Mr. Alsop derives two lessons from the calling of the Chinese bluff: that it was dangerous to take the untutored view of international problems, all too common in America, in this instance, that China was taking its orders from Russia; and second, that until the Western defense line was built up, such threats as that conveyed by China would continue until eventually the tension thus created was likely to burst in some more serious way.

The Chinese Communists did not enter the war until the allies approached the Manchurian border after having completely overrun the North. Was their entry to the war therefore predicated on the Korean situation per se or was it the genuinely held belief that General MacArthur would send the U.N. forces across the Chinese border, especially given his publicly known concern over Formosa?

From the Chinese and Russian perspective, was it not desirable to have North Korea as a friendly buffer state to South Korea, much as the Soviets had sought buffer zones in Eastern Europe against Germany after the war?

Robert C. Ruark tells of people knocking luxury though it was as much a part of the American dream as anything else. The fact that the Government was tightening credit on home buying and consumer goods showed the disdain for this "luxury". He finds that he would be a hero if he built a shanty dwelling, whereas he was a bum if he built one of solid foundation and with a furnace which worked. Cars were considered luxuries, as were radios, televisions, fur coats, bottles of gin, electric lights, and steam heat.

People who had luxuries in their life also provided employment to others, funneling money into the economy. Luxury had been indispensable in the creation of the country and he wishes therefore that those in Washington would stop knocking it, as he wanted his share of luxury someday.

A letter writer from Pittsboro commends the newspaper for its editorials, "Is War Inevitable?" appearing October 14, and "Indo-China: Another Korea?" appearing October 17. He finds, however, that the threat posed by Socialism in America was as great as Communism, that the country was proceeding down the road to Socialism. He also finds the commitments in Indo-China senseless because of the French colonialism at work there. He concludes that it was ridiculous to assume that the spread of Communism could be prevented in Indo-China.

Don't you worry. Puff will win the day.

A letter writer sends an open letter to the State Health Officer anent motor vehicle accidents being the chief killer of children. He expresses thanks to the Charlotte Police Department for concentrating on reckless and drunk drivers. He deplores the fact that the State lacked laws governing speed in school zones.

A letter writer complains about inaction on a petition he had taken to the City Engineer in June, seeking piping along a ditch running on Pegram Street. Some children had been hurt in the ditch.

We hope that you get that done before it is too late and the world explodes.

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