The Charlotte News

Friday, December 15, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Chinese Communists smashed American outposts in the Hamhung-Hungnam defense lines in northeast Korea this night in a battle aimed at annihilating the Tenth Corps. Two American platoons of perhaps 80-100 men had been cut off in the initial attack during the day by about 2,500 Chinese troops, but they were still fighting on Friday night, as evidenced by gunfire emanating from their positions after a tank-led column had failed to effect their rescue when Chinese troops attacked the tanks and attempted to pry open the hatches with their hands. American artillery and planes exacted heavy tolls of the Chinese but the estimated 100,000 massed enemy troops around the Hamhung-Hungnam perimeter continued to advance from the mountains into the plains, causing the perimeter to be reduced to a narrow beachhead along the shore southwest of Hungnam.

After overrunning abandoned American outposts, the Communists halted briefly to prepare for a large-scale assault on Chigyong, eight miles west of Hamhung. A security blackout of reports prevailed in most of the beachhead.

In the northwest sector, a two-week lull in action was expected soon to end from massed Chinese troops in that area, as large-scale troop movement on the Eighth Army's right flank was reported northeast of Seoul.

Another jet dogfight transpired in the extreme northwest corner of the peninsula near the Manchurian border in the vicinity of Sinuiju, as four F-80 Shooting Stars engaged 10 MIG fighters in a 20-minute battle. The Communist planes had fled across the Yalu River after one had been hit. None of the American planes suffered damage. Prior to the large dogfight the prior day, the largest fight in the previous ten days since the Communist had begun putting aircraft into the air in significant numbers, was between four F-80s and eight MIGs on the prior Tuesday, wherein the MIGs merely challenged the F-80's, then fled. On December 6, a flight of six MIGs had emerged from the Yalu River haze to attack a flight of B-29 bombers which had just hit targets in the Sinuiju sector. After the B-29s opened fire, the MIGs fled. There had been three dogfights on December 9 near Charyongwan, 25 miles southeast of Sinuiju. None of the fights produced anything more than the usual single enemy pass and run. As such tactics were not characteristic of the tenacious Chinese fighting forces, the practice was assumed to be the result of limited fuel supplies.

The President would give an address to the nation this night at 10:30 on television and radio, urging unity and greater sacrifices to build up the free world's military might. He was likely to declare a national emergency, followed by implementation of selective price and wage controls. Speculation was that the military would be expanded soon to four million men and the defense budget, eventually, to 100 billion dollars per year.

Governor Dewey had given an address on foreign policy the previous night, broadcast to the nation via radio, urging American military might and productivity to halt the spread of Communism. Further details are provided in an editorial below. He said that the country believed that Tito in Yugoslavia, with his 30 divisions, would fight for the West and that there was confidence that Franco, with Spain's 22 divisions, would fight alongside the West. France had its hands full in Indo-China, but Britain and Turkey would fight, along with other nations of Europe, the Near East and Asia.

East Germany decreed death by beheading for all Germans who would resist Russia's campaign to dominate Europe. The decree applied to all Germans, regardless of whether they resided outside the Soviet occupation zone.

The Atomic Energy Commission announced selection of a site near Paducah, Ky., for a 500 million dollar atomic energy project, the second announced expansion in atomic energy production in the previous three weeks, the other having been the Savannah River plant on the Georgia-South Carolina border.

Secretary of the Army Frank Pace had said to Congress on December 9 that the current supplemental expansion budget for defense of 16.8 billion dollars would not be enough, that it was outmoded before Congress could act.

The House Appropriations Committee recommended that Congress approve the entire 16.8 billion dollars of supplemental defense spending. It trimmed a fifth of the billion dollars sought by the AEC, and also made cuts in the sought budgets for TVA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and the Subversive Activities Control Board set up by the McCarran anti-subversives act. The total omnibus bill was for 18 billion dollars, bringing the total defense and foreign aid budget to 47.7 billion, with 42 billion comprising the military budgets for the 1950-51 fiscal year. It was likely the Pentagon would seek yet another eight billion dollars before the end of the fiscal year.

House Republicans adopted a resolution recommending ouster of Secretary of State Acheson, and sought also changes in personnel and policies "responsible for the lack of confidence" in the State Department. Meanwhile, the Senate GOP policy committee was calling for a vote of no confidence by all Republican Senators regarding Mr. Acheson.

Charles E. Wilson, head of G.E., had informally accepted appointment to be the director of the new Office of Defense Mobilization. He had been vice-chairman of the War Production Board during World War II. The appointment had not yet been formalized by the President, but would be announced in his address of this night.

A mail embargo had been placed on second through fourth class mail destined to points affected by the wildcat railroad strike which had begun in Chicago and spread to key locations throughout the country. The embargo applied to points north of Washington and in the Midwest.

The Government sought to punish the strikers, seeking pay for 48 hours for 40 hours of work, as Attorney General J. Howard McGrath intended to bring contempt proceedings against the yardmen conducting the strike. The President would refer to the "illegal" strike in his address and ask the strikers to return to work, placing before them the courageous example of the fighting men in the Korean winter holding the line against daunting odds and the strike's potential to harm that fighting effort.

The Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co. had been forced to shut down its twelve furnaces in Gary, Ind., for want of shipments of coke because of the strike.

The Government asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which had recently affirmed the January conviction and five-year sentence of Alger Hiss for perjury for his denial of the allegations by Whittaker Chambers that he provided the former Communist courier with State Department documents in early 1938 for transmission to the Soviets, to revoke his appellate bond and order him into custody.

In Tiffin, O., five years earlier, a man had picked up a hitch-hiking soldier, fed him, bought him a bus ticket to his home in Joliet, Ill., and given him $5. The beneficent man and his wife received two new Geiger 17-jewel wristwatches from the soldier, who refused to provide his name and address so that they would not be able to send him anything in return.

The Mecklenburg-Charlotte Ministerial Association issued a prayer call to the community, and urged every church to ring its bells every day at noon as a call to prayer, provide a mid-week prayer service, and appoint a prayer committee. The prayer call was centered on II Chronicles 7:14 and was to be for the U.N. leaders and armed forces in Korea, the country's national defense, the men and women of the armed forces, and for peace.

Get down 'ere on your knees, boy, and beseech forgiveness, and hope you don't wind up dead meat.

Mechanical difficulties had delayed delivery of The News the previous day for about 90 minutes to 25,000 subscribers and the newspaper says it regretted the interruption. Sorry.

The famous wreck of the Hesperus occurred December 17, 1839, during the Halcyon Days, the fortnight comprised by the seven days before and seven after the Winter Solstice. The period had its roots in an ancient myth about the breeding season of the kingfisher, the halcyon bird, during which the sea was said always to be calm, permitting it to be navigated in perfect safety.

On the editorial page, "Dewey's Bold Plan" finds that if Governor Dewey's enunciated plan the prior evening for foreign policy was the keynote for the internationalist wing of the GOP, then President Truman could "put the gas" to immediate full mobilization without concern of Republican recalcitrance. It was a bold and courageous effort to wake up Americans before it was too late.

He saw the country in the greatest peril in its history and he was angry about the business-as-usual attitude in Washington and throughout American business and industry. He called for building a 100-division Army, an 80-group Air Force, and calling up immediately 25 National Guard divisions to active duty. He wanted to register every man and woman over 17 years of age for national service and to appoint an economic mobilizer with full authority over production, economic controls and civilian manpower. He would control inflation through pay-as-you-go taxation, with heavy levies on luxury, corporate profits and individual incomes, as well as reduction of credit expansion.

He favored negotiation with the Russians only through strength.

The piece finds that the country had been unwilling to forgo the good life at a moment of great crisis and it would be interesting to gauge the reaction to the speech, especially on Capitol Hill, in the coming days.

"Let Us Hope for a Miracle" finds public interest in what the President would say in his address this night to be higher than at any other point to date in his Presidency. They would also be just as interested, it suggests, in light of recent letters he had sent out demonstrating lack of restraint of his emotions, in his delivery and temperament. His stature had diminished since the ill-advised political speech from St. Louis on the eve of the midterm elections. The country was especially in need of stable leadership at a time when its President saw fit to declare a national emergency and impose economic controls.

"No Compromise on Principles" finds that the effort to work out a compromise on Korea with the Communist Chinese could take two forms, one being to recognize that the the U.N. lacked military strength sufficient to back up its decision to defend South Korea and the other to accept the military reverses, even a forced withdrawal, without retreating from the legal and moral positions that the Security Council had taken in June when it called on U.N. members to resist the North Korean aggression. The latter view, it offers, had to prevail if the U.N. was to remain viable.

The fundamental principles involved in the decision to defend Korea had not changed, as the attack in June across the 38th parallel had been an act of unmitigated aggression, as was the subsequent intervention by the Chinese. Both instances occurred with Soviet approval. Lines of right and wrong had been established and there could be no compromise under those facts without the U.N. losing its power.

"Welcome to a New Daily" tells of Hoover Adams, editor and publisher of the new Daily Record in Dunn, N.C., having discovered the headaches which went along with putting out a daily newspaper. The former public relations man for candidate Willis Smith during his Senate campaign earlier in the year had found that two missing minor parts for the printing press had delayed initial publication for almost a week, and that on the day of publication, a key mechanical worker had begun celebration too early—meaning, we assume, that he walked his dog that bit him when his cat should have been frying.

Despite the problems, Mr. Adams, it says, had produced a good first edition on December 6 and an even better one the next day. It finds therefore Dunn and Harnett County fortunate to have such a capable editor and publisher for its new newspaper.

Well, let's hope he is a bit more circumspect and progressive as a newspaperman than some of the campaign p.r. which appeared on behalf of Mr. Smith.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "The Fate of Japan", warns of storm signals that the war in Korea was but a prelude to a Russian move toward fulfilling its desire to possess the industrial prize in the Far East, Japan. When John Foster Dulles had proposed to Russian U.N. delegate Jakob Malik terms of a war treaty finally with Japan, under which there would be Four-Power concordance on the outlying possessions, with the Ryukyus and Bonins under a U.S. trusteeship, the Russians responded by citing the Cairo Conference declaration of 1943, that Formosa and the Pescadores must go to China, now meaning the Communists, that, further, in accordance with Yalta of February, 1945, Sakhalin and the Kuriles would remain with Russia, and in accord with Potsdam of July, 1945, the Ryukyus and Bonins would remain with Japan. Premier Chou En-Lai of Communist China now agreed with those terms. The Chinese and Russians were, meanwhile, claiming that the U.S. was rearming both Korea and Japan and using Japanese troops in Korea.

The signs, it concludes, were ominous.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of Defense Marshall having not called a single meeting of the civilian heads of the three military branches during his three months in the position. It tended to justify criticism of his appointment, that having a military man at the head of the Defense Department violated the tradition of civilian heads of the military and might jeopardize the civilian check on the military services. The three service heads had met with former Secretary Louis Johnson almost every week.

Currently, Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley and the Joint Chiefs, themselves, were all civilian-minded and so no great danger existed. But, he ventures, the precedent was dangerous to set as it created a system similar to that which dominated Germany.

In light of the recent critical letter from the President to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume regarding his negative review of daughter Margaret's operatic performance, many had forgotten the case of the New York Times versus the Schubert Theaters, establishing the right of criticism under the First Amendment. The Schuberts had refused to grant Times critics passes after objecting to their reviews, causing the critics to have to resort to purchase of their own tickets. But then those tickets were also refused and the critics barred from the performances. The critics contested the practice and won the right to criticize and have access to public performances for the purpose.

He points out that whereas in Russia, no criticism of a member of the Stalin family would be allowed without severe punishment, in the U.S., one could do so, even at the risk of the need for "beefsteak" and a "supporter below", after receiving a "bloody nose" from the President.

Parenthetically, he makes no mention yet of his Tuesday night tête-à-tête, mano a mano, with Tailgunner Joe McCarthy at the Sulgrave Club at which he was kicked by the Senator in such a way as perhaps to cause him need of such support, himself.

Senator Kenneth Wherry said that he opposed statehood for Hawaii because it would send two new New Dealers to the Senate, such as Joe Farrington, the Republican delegate from Hawaii. When Senator Wherry asked rhetorically how he had voted, the advocate of Hawaiian statehood responded, realizing that the Senator was ignorant of the fact that no such delegate from any of the territories could vote at all in Congress, that he had voted about as had the Senator.

Dean Acheson had wanted to retire as Secretary of State around the beginning of 1951, but given the Republican attack on him, was now determined to stay on.

Attorney General-elect Pat Brown of California, the only Democrat to win election statewide in the November elections, took the time to interview most of the California Congressmen and Washington officials concerning California's principal issues, tidelands oil, reclamation, and highways.

The behavior of the Chinese Communist delegates at the U.N. was so boorish that it made the Russians appear friendly by comparison. But at the private dinner for the delegation given by Secretary-General Trygve Lie, General Wu surprised everyone by being particularly amiable, even conceding that the democratic system had some pleasing aspects, such as the U.N. translating his two-hour diatribe against the West and reprinting it for distribution to the press.

Mr. Pearson suggests that Chinese-Western relations might improve if the representatives could be around Westerners more, absent the nearly constant Russian presence.

Marquis Childs tells of a power shortage plaguing the country since the end of the war, apt to become more acute with the rearmament program. Amid this shortage, a private power company was waging a fight against a public power development over rights to supply power to Langley Field in Virginia where vital aviation research was taking place. The development, to be completed by 1952, was at Bug Island on the North Carolina-Virginia border along the Roanoke River. To supply the power required construction of a Government-owned 8.9 million dollar power line, the partial appropriation for which had been sought in a pending appropriations bill. Virginia Electric and Power Co. was seeking to block the appropriation, arguing that the private utility should have the right to construct the project and that the Government power lines would only duplicate existing private transmission lines.

An administrator for the Southeastern Power Administration, however, told Congress that only one transmission line existed, from Richmond to Langley, and it was now at full capacity. He was supported by the advisory agency which directed research at Langley. An addition to the laboratory was being constructed which needed the additional power, to require three-fourths of the off-peak power from Bug Island and one-third of its power in the daytime hours.

This fight formed a familiar pattern transpiring throughout the country, whereby the powerful private interests, working through the Washington power lobby, sought to stop Government construction of power lines from Government-built projects to provide low-cost power to customers, in this case a Government customer. The Government had argued that it would nullify or reduce the benefit to farmers or other groups.

To quibble over who would provide power in the instant case was to jeopardize national defense and bordered on giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

He advocates stopping all public power projects unless they were vital to national security, as the materials were needed elsewhere.

Robert C. Ruark finds that the idea of Christmas gift-giving to appease people charged with certain responsibilities year-round, such as the New York City police being treated well at Christmas by the liquor dealers and saloon-keepers, with gift lists to especially deserving cops, needed to be reeled in. But nothing would ever be done about the practice because of the power held by the cop on the beat.

A more subtle form of blackmail was wielded by the doorman, the janitor, the elevator operator, the waiter, the butcher, etc. These people were bribed, if not openly, at Christmas, to assure good service. He finds it on the uptick and taking the fun out of the holidays. He believes that Christmas ought be a time when one spent money on those loved and admired, instead of paying off those whose jobs required certain services, merely for rendering those services.

He recommends O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" as a salutary Christmas story. One used to give things which mattered and which were not given at any other time of year. But to be forced to give a donation of $300 to the cop on the beat when a box of cigars used to suffice was taking things too far.

"It sort of signalizes the modern miracle of the mooch, in which any excuse, including Christ's birthday, is fair game for the gimmies."

A letter writer who says that he had supported President Roosevelt finds President Truman lacking in the temperament and moral fiber necessary for a leader, objects to his having given the Republicans hell during the 1948 campaign, then calling Billy Graham in for a day of prayer, and playing poker while on his way to Wake Island—not Guam—to meet with General MacArthur.

A letter writer provides a letter she had written to the President in which she had enclosed the News editorial of December 11, "Presidential Indignity", re the December 9 report on the letter of the President dated December 6 to music critic Paul Hume, and advised the President, "May God provide you better in the future with the wisdom, tolerance and intelligent understanding this great country deserves."

A letter writer from McBee, S.C., advises soldiers to arise from their beds and kill the enemies "quick and kill them dead", turning defeat into victory. Weapons were made to use, whether stink bombs or A or H-bombs. He wants more coal poured on the fires of hell to make the Communist Chinese suffer.

Merry Christmas.

A letter writer from Campobello, S.C., wants Americans to bear in mind during the Christmas season the men suffering in Korea and offer them prayers. He finds conditions in the country causing him to blush with shame for neglect of duty to God and fellow man. He also thinks the wicked were ruling the country and the world, causing the righteous to mourn.

A letter writer praises the Clerk of Superior Court for dismissing a condemnation proceeding brought by the Charlotte Housing Authority against black homeowners in the Shuman Avenue-York Road section of the city. He adds that in Communist countries the Government took anything it wanted and those who did not like it were shot.

Don't worry. In this country, if the Government does take something, they must, by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, provide just compensation for it. It's really a lovely and very complete document if you bother to understand it a little before trying to change everything to accord with your personal whimsies of the moment.

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