The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 9, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that all Korean fighting fronts were quiet this date as attention shifted to diplomatic fronts. No major contacts were reported between the U.N. forces and the Communist enemy forces. The only contact at all was in the northwest sector where a tank-led patrol of the U.S. 24th Division ran into 200 to 300 enemy troops. In north central Korea, U.S. Marines advanced a mile unopposed, to within nine miles of the Changjin reservoir, where only four days earlier the North Korean and Chinese forces had bitterly fought to prevent the approach.

A wintry mist overhung the fronts, but weather was generally good, enabling B-29 bombing raids on enemy communication lines and supply centers, striking at Pukchon in the northwest and Chonjin in the northeast. U.S. Navy planes had hit the bridges at Sinuiju, already 90 percent destroyed in the large raid of Wednesday. One Russian MIG jet and two propeller-driven Yak fighters were shot down by the allies.

MacArthur headquarters reported that there were about 60,000 Chinese troops in North Korea, with another 60,000 across the Manchurian border ready to enter the fighting. Chinese Nationalist intelligence sources placed the latter contingent at 150,000.

Seven of fourteen American soldiers killed by North Koreans in a minor clash on Tuesday in the Ichon area, 60 miles north of Seoul, had been murdered after being taken prisoner, shot in the head.

The State Department said that it had ordered passport visas issued to nine Chinese Communists who were coming to the U.N. to discuss the Formosa issue. They would be required to remain in the New York area. The Security Council had invited representatives of Communist China to the discussion and so the U.S. was bound to admit them, despite Communists normally being barred from entry under the McCarran anti-subversive law, recently passed over the President's veto.

Senator Lyndon Johnson disclosed that his Defense Investigating Committee had uncovered a story of an East Texas farmer buying 1.2 million dollars worth of surplus military equipment for $6.89 and then selling it back to the Government for $63,000. The farmer had bought 168 aircraft computers at a nickel apiece. He thought they were small cardboard devices, but learned that they occupied over an acre of land. He discovered that each one had cost the Government $7,200. He spent $4,000 to have them crated and transported to his farm. Officials at Wright Field then came to see what he had and gladly paid him the $63,000 for the devices. Senator Johnson said that it was the "most astounding case of shortsightedness" that the Committee had uncovered thus far. He hoped that by making the information public it would cause Government officials to act more cautiously in the future.

It was believed that in the new Congress, with more Republicans in both chambers, the President would face tougher opposition from a coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats for his domestic program as well as for his foreign policy. Republicans were likely to redouble their efforts to oust Secretary of State Acheson on the premise that his policies had resulted in the loss of China to the Communists and the Korean war.

An undecided seat in Congress went to the Republican Patrick Devereux in Maryland, defeating incumbent William Bolton. Mr. Devereux had been the hero of Wake Island's defense immediately following the attack at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

A nationwide strike of 33,000 Western Electric employees who installed equipment in the Bell Telephone exchanges was expected to cause some work stoppage in the exchanges. Southern Bell exchanges in North Carolina thus far were operating normally. There were only 36 such workers in the state. The union had rejected a proposed settlement of 10 to 11.5 cents per hour in increased wages.

The Government raised its quota for exported American cotton by 1.35 million bales, or about 62 percent, for the eight-month period ending the following March 31, bringing the total quota to 3.5 million bales. The raising of the quota occurred because there was no chance that the crop would fall below previous estimates and there was good prospect of getting a 60 percent increase in production the following year.

Cotton topped 42 cents per pound for the first time in the history of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. The previous high was 41.69 cents, on April 16, 1920.

In New York, two boys, both 16, had played hooky from school to distribute election campaign literature on Monday. They missed school also on Tuesday, trying to figure out how to get prescription blanks from a doctor on which to write an excuse. They surreptitiously entered the office of a doctor and, after being seen by a neighbor, were arrested for burglary.

The Artists' Group of America announced its selection of the ten most beautiful women in America, including Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Esther Williams, Ginger Rogers, actress Colleen Townsend, singer Margaret Phelan, Mary Pickford, and hostesses Mrs. Harrison Williams, Mrs. William O'Dwyer and Mrs. Alfred Vanderbilt.

In London, Princess Elizabeth was confined to bed with a heavy cold and had to cancel a visit to the RAF's fighter command headquarters in London, where she was to inspect the underground operations room and radar equipment.

Hope you're feeling better. Get well soon.

On the editorial page, "Back in the Saddle" finds that one of the results of the midterm elections was that the President would have to stop stepping on Southern toes and start scratching some Southern backs if he hoped to pass any of his controversial domestic programs. The coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats which had checked the Fair Deal in the 81st Congress would likely be even stronger in the 82nd. The Democratic majority in the Senate would now be two instead of twelve and Senator-elect Willis Smith of North Carolina and Senator-elect George Smathers of Florida were much more conservative than their respective predecessors, Frank Graham and Claude Pepper.

The new strength of the conservative Southern Democrats would carry over to the 1952 Democratic convention. It was unlikely that the mistake of 1948, when the States' Rights Dixiecrats peeled off from the party to run separately, would be repeated. The Southern Democrats would likely fight within the party structure this time.

One of the Southerners it lists as being part of the conservative coalition was Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, to become the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket with Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson in 1952. In 1956, when Governor Stevenson would again be the Democratic presidential nominee, the more liberal Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee would narrowly defeat Senator John F. Kennedy for the vice-presidential nomination, in an open convention on the selection of the ticket's second spot.

"A Lesson for Top Labor Leaders" finds that there would be considerable satisfaction in the fact that big labor, which had sought so hard to defeat Senator Taft, had been defeated in its effort. But, more significantly, the rank and file among labor had refused to be stampeded by the bosses into compliant voting. The Senator, contrary to expectations, had piled up large majorities in some cases in the industrial areas of Ohio.

Had the opponent been a person of greater stature than State Auditor Joe Ferguson, the Senator might have been defeated. As it was, labor preferred a known quantity to someone who was regarded as a political hack.

It concludes that any group which set out to defeat a candidate for purely selfish reasons ran the risk of disapproval from the American people.

"Ham Jones' Close Call" tells of local Congressman Hamilton Jones defeating his Republican opponent, Louis Rogers, by only 3,000 votes. Had the latter been better known at the outset of the campaign and a better vote-getter, he might have won.

The efficient office staff of Mr. Jones and party stalwarts were in large part the reason for his victory. His record in Congress had not been spectacular, trying to please too many and thus pleasing few. He even lost his home precinct. It was likely that he would face Democratic opposition in the primary in 1952, and then more formidable opposition in the general election should he win the nomination.

It concludes that step by step, a two-party system in the area was developing.

"Oscar of the Waldorf" pauses to mark the passing of Oscar Tschirky in New York, known for 60 years as "Oscar of the Waldorf", its maitre d' until 1943. He represented a bygone era, when food preparation had been an art form and fast food was unknown, when headwaiters conferred with their patrons as if mapping plans for battle, when dinners were eaten slowly to live strains of Strauss waltzes and Mozart quartets. Oscar had served the Goulds, the Astors, Diamond Jim Brady, De Wolf Hopper, Bernard Baruch and hundreds of other legendary characters.

He had died two days earlier in a new age of jukeboxes and television, of fast, noisy cities. His death had severed one of the last living connections to the more gracious, more leisurely age which would soon live only in novels and history books.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Old Chris Greene Goes Round the Bend", tells of singing in their youth an old river song, "The old Tom Shirley goes round the bend." Now, it was the Chris Greene going round the bend, to be tied up and transformed to a boat club in Cincinnati, ending the romantic story of the steam freight packets on the Ohio River, a story which had lasted 122 years. Diesel engines had replaced steam and progress had to be served.

The Chris Greene, however, would continue to remember the past as the river passed it by, for as Tennyson had said in Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I have met."

Bill Sharpe, in his weekly "Turpentine Drippings", snippets from newspapers across the state, provides one from the Sanford Herald, telling of an eight-year old boy engaging in conversation with a hitchhiker on the corner, a sergeant from Fort Bragg, telling the sergeant that if the war kept going, he would be serving, himself.

Well, you might be, sure enough, though at a location a bit southwest of Korea.

The Waynesville Mountaineer reports of a young woman who had recently moved to town and was going out on a blind date. She was overjoyed when a nice looking young man pulled up in a big car, only to be told by him that he would take her to meet his wife and her date, who were waiting at the drugstore.

Don't worry, child; he probably had the v.d.

Beatrice Cobb of the Morganton News-Herald, tells of Virginia Price of Louisville, Ga., having said in her column that rocking chairs were out of style. She had wondered how mothers rocked their babies to sleep, how the tired old ladies eased their rheumatic backs, or what they stumbled over at night, fumbling for the bed in the dark. Ms. Price had concluded that rocking chairs helped singing and cussing.

The Twin City Sentinel in Winston-Salem tells of the brand new firetruck in High Point being too big for the station.

Why was that?

And so on, so forth, so.

Drew Pearson finds it unlikely that Russia would wish to engage the U.S. directly in a war at this time, as its stockpile of nuclear weapons was increasing at the rate of only two per month, to a total thus far of about 24, while the U.S. had far more and was increasing its stockpile at a much faster rate.

The President, until the recent attack against him at Blair House on November 1, had not given much thought to his personal safety. He had once told Mr. Pearson's assistant that he would take a leaf from Andrew Jackson when he was attacked in Congress, and attack the attacker.

During the attack, Bess Truman had rushed into the bedroom where the President was taking a nap to tell him that a Secret Service agent was lying in the street, wounded, mistaking one of the attempted assassins for an agent. One agent had been in front of Blair House at the time of the shooting and the others were in back having lunch. The White House Police, who bore the brunt of the attack, were under the direction of the Secret Service.

The Secret Service had been politicized when Maj. General Harry Vaughan fired Mike Reilly, chief agent during the terms of FDR, and gave the impression that he wanted to run the Service. During the five percenter probe in 1949, involving General Vaughan, Mr. Reilly was hastily rehired in the Interior Department, apparently because he knew too much about how the White House had given a special pass to General Vaughan's friend, John Marragon, who had wound up going to jail for lying to Congress during hearings about his financial dealings. Mr. Pearson adds that despite the occasional politics, the Service did a good job.

The North Korean-Manchurian area presented an ideal ground for U.N. cooperation should Moscow permit it. The Japanese had developed power and industry in both regions as they had occupied them simultaneously. Seven major dams were on the Yalu River, serving both North Korea and Manchuria. The Suiho Dam, one of the largest in the world, delivered 700,000 kilowatts of power. The total system of dams produced two million kilowatts, operating industries as far away as Port Arthur. The other power dams were in North Korea, about twenty miles north of the current front lines of the allies. The only way the system could be operated in a coordinated manner was through the U.N.

Bruno Pontecorvo, the Italian-born British atomic scientist, had the full cooperation of the Russian secret police in his escape behind the Iron Curtain.

The American Legation reported that a mysterious meeting of Eastern European Communist bosses was ongoing at Sochi in the Crimea, Prime Minister Stalin's favorite hideaway. It was believed therefore that he might be present. It was believed that the subject of discussion was how to bring about greater cooperation between the satellite armies.

U.S. Ambassador to Iran Henry Grady had cabled that Russian radio across the border in Azerbaijan was warning Iranians to get ready to welcome the Russian Army "when", not if, it arrived.

Marquis Childs tells of James Farley, during FDR's 1936 campaign, having said that in the last week to ten days of any political campaign, nothing which occurred would make a difference in the outcome. If the observation was true, he suggests, then the headlines regarding the intervention of the Chinese in Korea did not sway any votes.

It was, however, potentially a situation which could develop into an undeclared war with China, as any effort by the U.N. forces to bomb supply lines within Manchuria would inevitably engage China in war. Or it might be susceptible to negotiation in the event of a showdown.

Prior to the previous week, the tendency had been to assume that the war was drawing to a close, that the Chinese would not enter at such a late date after all of North Korea had been occupied by the allies.

It appeared that an ultimatum was to be put to the Chinese, to withdraw their troops from Korea or have the allies bomb the vital hydroelectric facility at Suiho, half the power output of which went to North Korea and the other half to Manchuria. It might prove futile, as Foreign Minister Chou En-Lai had previously stated, at the point when the allies were about to cross the 38th parallel, that crossing the border without prior consultation with China and a recognition of China's interests in North Korea would necessitate entry to the war by China. When the Indian Ambassador, through whom the communication was made to London and Washington, told Chou that such intervention would trigger allied bombing of Chinese cities, Chou responded that sometimes a nation and its peoples had to take a certain course of action regardless of consequences.

At one point, this threat by Chou was taken seriously in Washington and London, but after the U.N. troops had taken Pyongyang and the Chinese did not enter, it was assumed that there would be no entry, that Chou had been bluffing.

Mr. Childs suggests, however, that these optimists may have overlooked the notion that Mao Tse-Tung believed in luring the enemy into territory favorable to his forces before striking, that he would seek to destroy the enemy armies and was not concerned about territory.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop find the Chinese intervention potentially capable of becoming a world war. The facts remained confused but the Chinese had entered the war when the North Korean forces appeared devastated and on the run. Now, 25,000 Chinese troops, including one full division, were in Korea. On the other side of the Yalu River, there was a much larger contingent. General MacArthur had recently implied that further reinforcements of the North Korean forces could not be tolerated.

If many more Chinese entered, it would trigger the necessity to bomb their supply lines over the Manchurian border, potentially triggering war with China. Air attacks, however, would not win the battle. If enough Chinese forces entered Korea, the bulk of the American Army would be tied down there defending against the action.

As the Russians were actually directing the action, this strategy was by design to enable the Communists to strike elsewhere sometime in the ensuing six months, either in Germany, Yugoslavia or elsewhere in Europe, Indo-China and Southeast Asia, or Iran and the Middle East.

Mao Tse-Tung's Government had resisted Russian pressure to send Chinese troops into Korea for a considerable amount of time, holding out for concessions, probably assurance that it would regain control of Manchuria from the Russians. Had the Chinese entered earlier, in July or August, they could have won the war for the North Koreans in short order, when the allies were pinned in the tight arc surrounding Pusan. After the Inchon landings on September 15 and the retaking of Seoul a few days later, intervention became more problematic, but still the Chinese could have occupied the area north of the 38th parallel to great effect.

It was believed unanimously by the correspondents in Tokyo until recently that the Chinese would not enter the fight after North Korea had been fully occupied by the allies as the correspondents believed that neither Russia nor China would wish to risk general war. The fact that this guess had not come true caught American policy-makers by surprise, indicating the gravity of the situation and why final allied policy decisions had not been publicly announced.

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