The Charlotte News

Monday, December 18, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that bombardment by American artillery and Navy ships, including the U.S.S. Missouri, with a 20-mile range, held at bay the 25,000 Chinese Communists assaulting the small remaining allied beachhead left in North Korea around Hungnam, out of which the evacuation of the Tenth Corps continued. Maj. General Edward Almond said that every time the Chinese dug in, they were hit with artillery, which mixed them up and knocked them out, something which the allies had been unable to accomplish earlier. He said things were going according to plan. At no point had the Chinese been able to penetrate the new defense perimeter. The enemy, with as many as 75,000 additional troops in the hills, had not sent many troops into abandoned and shell-shocked Hamhung, six miles to the northwest of Hungnam.

During the weekend, the Third Infantry Division had repelled a frenzied attack by screaming Chinese against the perimeter lines, yelling in English, "All right, all right," as they attacked by the light of their own red and green flares. The infantrymen had mowed them down with rifle fire.

At the U.N., the three-man ceasefire committee had offered, via cable to the Chinese Government, to visit Peiping to engage in direct talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-Lai. The communication was sent after it was discovered that General Wu, head of the nine-person Communist Chinese delegation sent to the U.N., had no power to negotiate. No reply had yet been received to the cable. General Wu had told newsmen that the Government might be willing to advise its "volunteer" troops fighting in Korea to return home, but only after complete acceptance by the U.N. of all Chinese demands regarding Asia.

In Brussels, the two-day conference of NATO defense and foreign ministers opened, with the intention of completing plans for a unified defense of Western Europe. U.S. Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, representing Secretary of Defense Marshall, told the meeting that the allies were "far from ready" to withstand a Communist assault. He urged acceleration of preparedness as much as possible.

Both the U.S. and Britain were reported to be ready to make plain to the West Germans the necessity of contributing to Western military preparedness, a contribution to which the West Germans had registered objection for fear of any rearmament of Germany. West German Socialist Leader Kurt Schumacher had said that his powerful party would call for a national movement to oppose rearmament should Chancellor Konrad Adenauer agree to the Anglo-American demands. The NATO deputy defense and foreign ministers, meeting earlier, had recommended that the Germans contribute about 150,000 men, organized into units of about 5,000 each, but without heavy weaponry.

The President told Congressional leaders that he needed additional powers in the fields of letting Government contracts and organization to deal with the world crisis, those powers formerly given the President under the War Powers Act of World War II, which had allowed the President to create, abolish and alter bureaus and agencies as necessary to make the Government more efficient, as well to delegate to those agencies power to let war contracts without regard to existing legal restrictions, including renegotiation of existing contracts.

A source at the White House said that the President was considering National Security Resources Board chairman Stuart Symington as his next Secretary of Defense, should Secretary Marshall, age 70, decide that his health required his resignation in the coming months. He had taken the position September 12.

He would stay until the following September and be succeeded by Deputy Secretary Robert Lovett.

Hope rose for a settlement in the railroad dispute over wages and hours, after the end of the three-day wildcat strike of the prior week by the yardmen, which had tied up rail traffic nationwide for awhile.

As a result of the Government's automobile price rollback to December 1, as announced Saturday, G.M. ordered its dealers to discontinue sale of Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Cadillacs. All three of the major automakers had ordered price hikes subsequent to December 1. Ford and Chrysler had yet to make any announcement in response to the rollback.

High officials said that the Economic Stabilization Authority would, within a few days, ask businesses, unions, and the public voluntarily to establish price and wage control. Other compulsory price rollbacks, in addition to those on cars, appeared to be in the making. Beef was one area where it was thought such controls would be implemented.

The President's Water Resources Policy Commission issued its first report, following appointment the prior January, saying that prudent preservation of water resources was necessary to meet the threat of what could become a struggle for survival, as by 1975, 70 million acres of additional food-producing land would be required to feed the growing U.S. population, projected to be 190 million 25 years hence—versus the actual figure of about 220 million. It found that the country had used its water badly and that if such waste continued, the practice would impoverish the nation. It recommended expansion of land reclamation programs through irrigation, drainage and flood protection, plus rapid development of hydroelectric power and improvement of inland navigation facilities, as well that projects under construction should be completed and new projects subjected to revised and approved basin plans. It also proposed rain-making and desalinization projects as salutary to the economy. It favored creation of more river basin projects as TVA and recommended creation of a Government board of review to analyze and study programs proposed by various basin commissions, to fit them into a long-range national plan.

The American Watershed Council criticized the report as calling for greater Government control of the nation's river basins.

Burn on, big river.

In New York, Alfred Bergdoll, 23-year old son of Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, the most notorious slacker from World War I, pleaded guilty to two counts of draft-dodging. Young Mr. Bergdoll opposed war on philosophical grounds. He was to be sentenced the following Thursday. Before entering the plea, the defendant's attorney said that the defendant now wanted to discuss with the Army entry to service on a limited basis, but withdrew the request and entered the guilty plea after the judge said that Selective Service, not the court, was the appropriate forum for raising such matters. The elder Mr. Bergdoll was a gentleman farmer in Virginia.

In Saigon, 6,000 Indo-Chinese were homeless after 2,000 flimsy homes burned in a sector of the city.

In Salisbury, N.C., C. A. Fink, head of the North Carolina A.F. of L., pledged his organization's support of the nation's defense program.

On the editorial page, "The Case of Dean Acheson" finds Mr. Acheson in much the same position as President Hoover in 1932, who, it suggests, could probably not have prevented the Depression, but got the blame nevertheless—an analogy conjured amid Republican hogwash, as it was Mr. Hoover's laissez-faire policies rather than taking the bear by the fur, in continuance of the Republican tradition of the Twenties, which deepened the Depression.

Similarly, the piece ventures, Mr. Acheson had been blamed for the loss of China to the Communists and for the war in Korea, both beyond his control.

If the Secretary of State stepped aside or was forced to resign by the President, it would not be more than a temporary setback and might eventually result in greater unity in the nation.

It provides some of the general history of the previous decade relevant to the Acheson case. The U.S. wanted to get along with Russia during World War II, crucial to stop the German advance in Europe. The faults of the Cairo, Teheran and Yalta conferences in late 1943 through early 1945, were not so much in the agreements themselves but in Russia's abuse of them. The Politburo, not the U.S. leaders, had plunged the world into dangerous straits, abusing use of the veto in the U.N. Security Council while embarking on world conquest, and finally stimulating the puppet regime of North Korea to engage in the aggression against the South and the Communist Chinese then to intervene in the conflict.

It suggests that Mr. Acheson may have made mistakes in diplomacy along the way. But even Secretary of State Cordell Hull had received the two Japanese emissaries right up to the hours prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, in the futile hope of constructing a peace.

And Mr. Acheson's errors had been minor compared to his accomplishments in welding together the free world in unity, within the context of the U.N., to resist Communist aggression. His worst error, it ventures, was not resigning a year earlier in the face of the Truman-Johnson economy program in defense spending, resulting in emasculation of the nation's defenses.

Finally, it notes, Mr. Acheson would probably be held in high repute were it not for his expression of continued friendship to Alger Hiss the prior January, following the conviction of Mr. Hiss for perjury. It finds that statement to have been severely misinterpreted and reprints on the page an editorial by the Alsops from the prior February 2 anent the topic. It suggests that Matthew 25, on which Mr. Acheson expressly had relied in giving his old friend his support, gave him greater treasure than his critics.

In the meantime, it suggests that the critics study the literal meaning of "scapegoat", the Hebrew sacrifice of the goat onto which had been projected the sins of the people, as atonement before God. It wonders what, once Mr. Acheson had been made the scapegoat for the war, the get-Acheson movement would then seek as the means of ridding the country of its bad fortune.

"Mr. Wilson's New Job" comments on Charles E. Wilson, head of G.E., having been appointed the director of the newly created Office of Defense Mobilization, acting in the finest of American tradition in stepping into a much lower paying position of public service.

FDR had appointed James Byrnes to head the newly created Office of War Mobilization in May, 1943, a year and a half into the war. A group of war agencies previously had preceded the coordinating function of that Office. Mr. Byrnes took mobilization into high gear, earning the informal title of "assistant President".

"Anna Rosenberg" tells of Ms. Rosenberg having won confirmation quickly to her post as Assistant Secretary of Defense, after the committee chaired by Senator Richard Russell efficiently separated hearsay from fact and cleared her for Government service.

The piece ventures that it was fortunate in the United States that similarity of names were of no moment, unlike ancient Rome, as recounted in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, where Cinna, the poet, in lieu of Cinna, the conspirator, had sufficed to satiate the mob's fevered frenzy for immediate vengeance for the murder of Caesar. It obviously refers, though not mentioning Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, under indictment for espionage for giving nuclear secrets to the Russians, to their sharing of the same surname as the new Assistant Defense Secretary.

Drew Pearson tells of the meeting between the President and Congressional leaders, including Republicans, regarding his intended declaration of a national emergency having gone well the previous week, with the Republicans leaving the meeting, while still having reservations over the matter, nevertheless agreeing to issue a statement, as did Senator Taft, that while they believed the President had enough powers granted by existing legislation, there was a national emergency. During the meeting, however, the Republicans, House Minority Leader Joe Martin and Senators Taft, Kenneth Wherry, Eugene Millikin, Styles Bridges, and Alexander Wiley, had expressed some reservations regarding the necessity for an immediate declaration, counseling that it would be prudent to give a warning first to the public to allow them time to prepare for economic controls. The President and Secretary of State Acheson disagreed, said that with general war threatening, every day lost in mobilization was critical. Majority Leader Scott Lucas, defeated for re-election but nevertheless encouraged by the President to speak, said that it would have a bad effect on national morale for the Republicans to leave the meeting and issue a public statement opposing the emergency. So, in the end, they agreed to support it, with their stated reservations anent extant Presidential powers being sufficient.

Senator Owen Brewster had let slip on the Senate floor recently that the atomic bomb, according to his understanding, was already in Japan. The President had agreed that he would not use it unless Russia used it first and that, in any event, he would initially consult with the British.

Former White House court jester George Allen had a framed motto in his office which read: "A man is as big as the things that annoy him." Beside it was an autographed picture of the President. Mr. Pearson remarks that while it was against the law for someone to write a letter threatening the President, the President could write threatening letters with impunity—referring to his December 6 letter to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume, threatening to assault him if he ever met up with him, for his negative review of daughter Margaret's operatic performance of December 5.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop's editorial of the previous February 2 is reprinted, according to the editors, because of the call from Republicans for the resignation of Secretary of State Acheson having germinated from Mr. Acheson's statement of continuing support of his old friend Alger Hiss, notwithstanding the conviction in January of Mr. Hiss in New York Federal court for perjury and sentence to five years in prison in the retrial of the matter following the 1949 hung jury, a movement compounded in its momentum by the recent affirmance of the conviction by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals against a claim by the defendant that there was not substantial evidence to support the conviction, as perjury required evidence beyond the testimony of a single percipient witness, in that case that of Whittaker Chambers.

Marquis Childs discusses the imminent return to active duty by General Eisenhower, to become supreme commander of NATO. His wife, Mamie, had figured that on one tour of duty or another he had been out of the country for a total of 13 years, during most of which time they had been apart. He was being called back up to take the NATO post because he was the only person who could inspire the confidence of both Western Europeans and Americans. The announcement of his appointment would likely come at the conclusion of the Brussels conference of defense and foreign ministers.

The General believed that he should go at once to Europe after the appointment, to effect unity and resolution of the free world. He believed that his role would be as much diplomat as soldier, utilizing the same set of skills which he had used as Allied commander of the Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II. Deputy commanders would work out the details of interrelationship between the forces under his command.

He was not going to resign as president of Columbia, a position he had assumed in mid-1948, but would take a leave of absence and return within a year or so absent any war, in which event, he believed, a younger man would have to assume the position in Europe. The General talked about World War II as if it had occurred only yesterday.

Robert C. Ruark tells of a woman saying that it was time for a woman to become Secretary of State and President, in which case there would be peace. He was ready for women to take over all of the major positions in Government, but warns that they had better then be prepared for a "few small reprisals". They might wind up subject to the draft, as the Russians had drafted women. Women could be used as infantry, he asserts, as Marguerite Higgins had proven she could be a war correspondent on the ground in Korea, and Anna Rosenberg was handling manpower coordination for Defense Secretary Marshall. The average housewife walked more miles in an average day than most males and so could perform with facility the duties of the G.I.

If women were to take over the world, they would need to prove themselves and women in the draft would allow that opportunity from within the lower ranks.

He says that, personally, however, he had little faith in women's abilities to lead the world, as he had found them too querulous, treacherous, garrulous and mercurial. A madame President might take a disliking to the style of hat worn by a foreign leader and declare war as a result. He wants to wait until some of the nieces of the current highly competent women in Government service had first stormed the beaches before entrusting them with the responsibilities of President or Secretary of State.

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