The Charlotte News

Monday, November 27, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that heavy new Chinese attacks from two armies of more than 100,000 men in the northwestern sector of Korea had threatened the two-day old U.N. offensive designed to end the war. The U.S. 24th Division had pulled back from Chongju in the face of the attack, the second time the American forces had retreated from Chongju during November. All along the northwest front, allied forces had to withdraw. The eastern anchor of the line at Tokchon was reported to have fallen to the enemy.

In the northeast sector, a surprise tank-led enemy attack forced withdrawal of South Korean troops advancing north of Chongjin. U.S. Marines, pushing westward from Changjin reservoir, were halted.

The situation of the 25th Division six miles northeast of Yongbyon was described by an Army spokesman as critical. The Second Division was also receiving enemy pressure.

Field dispatches indicated heavy allied casualties, but precise numbers and locations were subjected to indirect censorship for security.

At the U.N., the Chinese Communist delegation entered the General Assembly political committee to take part in discussion of the Russian-sponsored pair of resolutions charging the U.S. with aggression in Formosa and Korea. The charges stemmed from the President's June 27 order that the Seventh Fleet guard Formosa strait to prevent spread of the Korean war, which had begun June 25 after the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea and began attacking.

Congress reconvened its "lame duck" session this date, as the President urged the lawmakers to approve statehood for Hawaii and Alaska. He also wanted an extension of rent control, set to expire at the beginning of the year absent exercise of a local option to extend it another six months. Most of the members said that they did not expect much to be accomplished in the session. Most Republicans wanted to await the start of the new Congress, where they would have increased power, before voting on new legislation.

Willis Smith was sworn in early as North Carolina's new Senator by unanimous consent of the Senate, even though his election would not be certified until the next day. The new Senate did not convene until January 3. To enable seniority for committee assignments, many states elected such early swearing in for Senators after their election. Outgoing Senator Frank Graham, defeated by Mr. Smith in the runoff primary in June, had agreed to the procedure.

The Supreme Court allowed a left-wing British lawyer, D. N. Pritt, to argue the appeal of the eleven convicted top American Communists, but refused a continuance of the oral argument from the following Monday. The Court agreed to allow two hours of argument instead of the customary one hour because of the number of defendants.

Earl Browder, former top American Communist, and two others were indicted on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions regarding whether they had ever been Communists, before the Tydings subcommittee investigating the charges of Senator McCarthy that there were Communists in the State Department. Three persons, including Dr. Edward Rumely, head of the Committee for Constitutional Government, were also indicted for contempt for refusing to answer questions before the House Lobby Investigating Committee.

In West Germany, Socialists, based on their opposition to rearmament, scored large gains in elections in Bavaria over the Christian Democrats, who controlled the Government.

In Augsberg, Germany, the "Witch of Buchenwald", Ilse Koch, went on trial again, this time before a German court, on charges of instigating murder of 45 prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp during the war, and attempting the instigation of the murder of 135 others, plus additional acts of brutality. She had been tried before a U.S. war crimes tribunal, found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, later commuted to four years, resulting in her release amid a storm of protest. The most notorious factual charge against her was that she maintained lampshades made from the skin of the prisoners. She also was said to dress in tight clothing and then have prisoners whipped if they looked at her, had demanded to be present whenever prisoners were stripped for physical inspections. West Germany had abolished the death penalty and so she faced no worse than life imprisonment. Her husband had been executed by the SS in 1945 for murder and embezzlement of Buchenwald funds.

Over the weekend, a snowstorm and torrential rain storm, registering wind speeds as high as 108 mph, hit the Northeastern section of the country but vanished this day, leaving behind 216 dead and a hundred million dollars worth of damage. It was described in some areas to be the worst storm to hit the area since the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane. Factories throughout Ohio shut down after a 12-inch snowfall. In Pennsylvania, Governor James Duff declared an emergency in 17 western counties of the state and declared this date and Tuesday legal holidays to allow the banks to remain closed.

At Screven, Ga., an Atlantic Coast Line troop train, carrying about 300 draftees, hit a freight train and both engines burst into flames, though there were no serious injuries. The troop train's brakes had failed to hold as it sought to stop three-quarters of a mile ahead of the other train sitting at the depot. Most of the crews of both trains jumped off ahead of the collision.

Actor Jimmy Stewart returned to work this date on his new movie, "No Highway in the Sky", following recovery from his appendectomy of November 15.

We remember watching that movie on "Saturday Night at the Movies" on March 24, 1962. Do you?

Fifty years ago this date, seventeen years hence...

On the editorial page, "The Empty Stocking Fund" tells of the country likely to spend fourteen million dollars on Christmas toys and gifts in 1950. It thus urges contribution to the News-sponsored Empty Stocking Fund, the annual collection campaign for providing toys and gifts to indigent families at Christmas, "to help Santa foot the bill". The previous year, every certified person in the community who sought the funds had been aided. It provided cash to the needy families in advance of Christmas to make shopping easier.

We hope that Santa does not get drunk on party wine before Christmas and forget to buy the gifts.

"The Debate about the FBI" tells of Max Lowenthal, corporate lawyer who had authored The Federal Bureau of Investigation, critical of the role of the Bureau in abusing civil rights of leftists. The head counsel for the ACLU, Morris Ernst, writing in the Reader's Digest, had, however, defended the FBI's respect for civil liberties, tending to undermine Mr. Lowenthal's attack, which included speculation whether the FBI might be turning into a gestapo.

Mr. Lowenthal had carefully documented his thesis but had also relied for more than half of the book's length on matters occurring prior to 1931. Mr. Ernst had developed his knowledge from actual experience with the Bureau in court. Mr. Lowenthal, however, was more concerned over the potential power of the Bureau, based on legislation and public relations presenting it as infallible, rather than present abuses.

The piece finds Mr. Lowenthal's work useful to remind of the dangers of a secret police organization to the freedom of any society, especially in times of national stress where concerns with internal security were uppermost in the public mind. But it also finds Mr. Ernst's defense useful so that public confidence in the Bureau at a critical time would not be undermined, making it more difficult for it to do its job.

"Picturesque Speech Dept." quotes from Hal Boyle's recent front-page piece on Shelby, N.C., resident Logan Weathers, an Army lieutenant killed in action in Korea after having served also in World War II. Lt. Weathers, addressing a Marine general, had reportedly said, "If you would just issue two packages of bubble gum to each of your Marines, they could easily smother two regiments of Reds."

The piece thinks it an apt quote in light of some of the recent jawing back and forth between the Air Force and Navy, a conflict largely resolved, and now the Marines and the Army, after a Marine was reported to have said, after landing unopposed at Wonsan, that it was "just like an Army job". Someone had then pointed out that no Marine was involved in the D-Day landings on Normandy.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Hollywood and Congress", tells of the Elmo Roper poll finding that five times more people, young and old, wanted to know what was happening in Washington than in Hollywood. Even the Congressional Quarterly was shocked by the results. Twice as many people were "definitely interested" in Congress as about Hollywood. Thirteen percent were not interested in Congress, versus 44 percent not interested in Hollywood.

The piece finds it cheering that the people were tending toward interest in more serious information.

Dr. Hamilton W. McKay of Charlotte, president of the Southern Medical Association, presents an excerpt of a speech he recently gave to the Association's convention, regarding the medical profession and its position in society, whether apart from it or part of it. He finds wanting public relations between the profession and the people served by it. He believes that the profession had to accept the challenges posed by the public and stop relying on past accomplishments and comparisons with inferior health care in Europe and Asia.

He defends medicine from government control but suggests a strain of self-deception within the profession, placing too much blame on supposed ignorance of the patients. He believes that the doctor needed to be brought back to the people and vice versa.

He thinks that the time of medical education plus internship and residency, reaching 12 to 15 years, could not be shortened without sacrificing competence. But somewhere along the way, the physician had to be taught good personal and community relations also.

Self-discipline of the profession also needed improvement, to correct abuses by overcharging, incompetent doctors.

Increased specialization was another area in need of improvement. Doctors, especially in small hospitals, needed to educate themselves better to make improved diagnoses. In December, 1947, Reader's Digest had reported that many of the nine million surgeries conducted annually in the country were unnecessary.

Drew Pearson tells again of the Coast Guard safety standards being violated on ships taking troops across both the Atlantic and Pacific, not equipped with adequate lifeboat gear and fire detection and extinguishing equipment. He names the ten ships which had not met the standards, each able to carry 4,000 troops. Illegal floating mines were drifting in the Far Eastern waters, adding to the hazards. The Navy had promised to bring these ships up to standard, providing the necessary lifeboat gear and auxiliary generators to allow the davits to operate mechanically in the event of emergency when the engines shut down. The Navy also said that fire detection was high on troop ships as the troops themselves could smell it and then put it out, and further suggested that Coast Guard regulations were so stringent that they could not be passed even by foreign luxury liners.

He next provides the full quote of Secretary of State Acheson, made in jest, regarding the "re-examinist" being a new species of isolationist, in reference to Senator Taft's statement that foreign policy, including foreign aid, needed to be re-examined. Senator Taft had found the remarks not funny. Mr. Pearson thinks the new feud with the State Department could delay return to a stable bipartisan foreign policy.

When the head of the American Farm Bureau Federation learned that the President would only see him if he was accompanied by Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan, he had responded angrily that the White House could freeze over before he would see the President with Mr. Brannan. The President had responded, "I didn't want to see the S.O.B. anyway."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the war in Indo-China between the forces of Ho Chi Minh and the French-backed Bao Dai regime, having been, until recently, an indecisive guerrilla war by the Vietminh. Now, it was becoming a war of major battles, on scale with Korea, with the Vietminh directly engaging the French in open warfare. The transformation of the Vietminh into a regular army had occurred in the Chinese Communist training camps on the Chinese side of the border, with an estimated 140,000 men having been trained there. The army had also been supplied by the Chinese with American weapons acquired from the Nationalists during the civil war in China. Airstrips were also being constructed in areas under Ho's control.

The previously believed indomitable French border fortifications had fallen, one after another, and the French recently were hinting that they might abandon Indo-China to its Communist fate. The French were planning to reinforce their 150,000-man army with 25,000 specialists in artillery, tank and air combat. About half the French fleet was being sent to the area to blockade the coastal region held by Ho. But there could be no military solution as long as the mass of nationalist supporters in Indo-China backed Ho.

The French, realizing this latter fact, had offered independence to Indo-China under a definite timetable, with a large nationalist army, to be as large as 200,000 men within 18 months, under the direction of Bao Dai, to assume responsibility from the French forces for the fighting of Ho. This new army would be armed with American weapons through the military aid provided by the U.S.

Even so, they posit, the best which could be hoped was a prolonged civil war, without end as long as the Communist Chinese actively gave support to Ho. Moreover, the defeat of the French might occur before the new nationalist army could be organized.

In that event, the U.S. might seek to hold Indo-China with American troops, which could have a disastrous result politically and strategically, or abandon Indo-China, the keystone to Southeast Asia. To abandon it, however, would mean that the U.S. would lose the war in the Pacific, that which it had fought so long and hard to win between 1941 and 1945.

A letter writer from Pittsboro favors re-evaluation of Western Europe and Germany in light of the recent elections in West Germany wherein the Socialists won majorities in two states over the Christian Democrats, who controlled the majority in the Government. He had nearly reached the conclusion that the U.S. should let them "go to Hell in their own fashion". He thinks it obvious that America could not police the world but could not agree with what portion it could police effectively.

He thinks Secretary of State Acheson was to blame for bad foreign policy and that Communists existed within the Government, that Mr. Acheson's friendship with Alger Hiss had given him too much sympathy with Communism and was thus unfit to serve as Secretary of State. He also believes that the U.S. had surrendered its sovereignty to the U.N., as now the General Assembly was making policy, without the veto available to the U.S., as in the Security Council. He wants correction of these misguided courses.

Well, let's repudiate the first half of the Twentieth Century while we're about it and see if we cannot develop a backwards running clock which will eventually take us back to the caves, as our present Moron-in-Chief in 2017 seeks to do about every day.

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