The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 19, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President said that additional forces would be sent to Western Europe as soon as possible to join the combined forces of NATO, now under the command of General Eisenhower, just appointed to the position by the President. About 100,000 ground troops were currently in Europe, but the President did not say how many additional troops he had in mind. There were also three Air Force groups and three B-29 bombing groups, plus naval forces in the Mediterranean. The President said that the General's role in Europe would be exactly the same as that of General MacArthur in the Far East. General Eisenhower would begin his work early in the coming year and would leave for Europe, after consulting with the President and others in the Government, around January 1.

When asked by a photographer to smile for a picture, the General refused, saying he did not see much to smile about in the current times. He said that international peace was the important problem of the times and that the purpose of NATO was to maintain the peace.

The council of defense and foreign ministers of the twelve NATO nations had completed their two-day meeting to formulate plans for a coordinated defense force. Plans called for between 55 and 60 divisions of ground troops plus air and sea forces, by the end of 1953. Secretary of State Acheson had informed the President that the council had asked that a U.S. officer be named by the President as supreme commander and that they hoped it would be General Eisenhower. A communique indicated that the council had agreed on plans for German participation in the integrated force, though details were not provided.

In Korea, U.N. naval, air, and ground forces held off persisting attacks by the Communist Chinese against the beachhead surrounding Hungnam. Warships of seven countries fired against 37 concentrations of enemy troops. Heavy enemy casualties were claimed in one barrage which dispersed an enemy column. Ground troops of the Third Division repulsed four Communist attacks Monday night and before dawn on Tuesday. There had been no breakthroughs along the shrunken defense perimeter.

The U.S. Air Force abandoned the Yonpo air field in northeast Korea near Hungnam, after a smaller runway had been built inside the defense perimeter protecting Hungnam.

The western front was quiet and the Eighth Army was not in direct contact with the enemy.

At the U.N., India's Sir Benegal Rau conferred with Chinese Communist head delegate General Wu just before the latter left for Peiping via BOAC. Mr. Rau and the other two members of the ceasefire commission had hoped to receive an answer before General Wu departed to their proposal for a ceasefire. The General said that he would issue a statement at Idlewild Airport before takeoff. The commission had offered to fly to Peiping to meet directly with Foreign Minister Chou En-Lai after learning that General Wu was not empowered to negotiate a ceasefire. General Wu had turned down the first proposal for a ceasefire at the 38th parallel, claiming that it would only be a device for the West to buy time to build up its strength again.

The President stated to a press conference that he would not dismiss Secretary of State Acheson in response to Republican resolutions from each chamber of Congress seeking his dismissal. He said that just as President Lincoln had refused to dismiss Secretary of State Seward, he also refused to dismiss Mr. Acheson. He said that the charges leveled against Mr. Acheson, that his policies regarding the Far East had failed and that he had lost the confidence of the nation, were false. He also said that there was nothing to the rumor that Stuart Symington was being groomed to succeed General Marshall as Secretary of Defense when General Marshall retired.

The President also said that G.M. cars would be fixed in price at what the Economic Stabilization Administrator had said they should be. He stated that the Government would cross the bridge when it came to it regarding unfreezing the G.M. freeze on dealer sales, ordered the previous day, applicable to all new Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Cadillacs because of the price rollback to December 1 ordered by the ESA the prior Saturday.

Stocks reached a 20-year high, following the previous day's bull market, in response to the prospect of record high production in the wake of the President's declaration of a national emergency. The best performing stocks, advancing between 50 cents and a dollar per share, were automobiles, steel, railroads, and airlines, with other categories moving erratically.

Governor Kerr Scott said that he had considered the case of Emmett Garner, put to death in March 1949 after conviction in 1947 for murder of his wife, as much as any other in deciding not to commute the sentence—despite the trial judge having recommended to the Paroles Commissioner that the sentence be commuted and saying he would never have allowed the death sentence to stand in the case had he thought it would not be commuted, that he intended to provide a positive lesson to Dunn where there had been a number of murders and assaults in recent times. But he also had believed that the facts of the case did not merit the death penalty or a finding of first degree murder, as evidence to support the required element of premeditation was lacking. Governor Scott—a farmer, not a lawyer—when asked about the matter at his press conference, said that his only determinations had been whether the condemned man was sane and had received a fair trial.

The Governor also said that he and the superintendent of the State Hospital Board of Control agreed with a Duke University professor who said that the mental hospitals in the state needed more doctors and that to attract those doctors, higher salaries were needed.

Freezing temperatures were recorded in Miami and ice was seen to form in parts of the area around the city.

On the editorial page, "Conserving Our Water Resources" comments on the report by the President's Water Resources Policy Commission dated December 11 and made public the previous day. The Commission put forth 70 recommendations to coordinate water resource projects in an effort to provide for the coming water shortage when the population would burgeon over the ensuing 25 years, necessitating usage of more land for food production and consequently more water for irrigation as well as consumption.

The heart of the report favored more projects along the lines of TVA, something to which the American Watershed Council had objected as providing for more Government control of river basins.

The Commission only made a study and provided recommendations. It was up to Congress to provide the necessary legislation to effect the recommendations. The Congress had already set the pattern of favoring reclamation, irrigation, flood control, and hydroelectric projects, and there was no sign that it would reverse that trend. The need was for coordination of these varied projects, which tended to occur in a patchwork quilt across the country.

It predicts that the Congress would likely be amenable to creation of other such projects under the pressure of the present national emergency. It was important for the Congress to have before it a blueprint for the long-range needs of the country and the Commission's report, the current first volume and the two additional volumes to be released the following month, would be of great help.

"A Fair Excess Profits Tax" recommends the Senate version of the excess profits tax bill as the better compromise. The Senate was set to vote during the week on the Finance Committee's revision of the House bill. New credits for exemptions were in the Senate version, with a probable loss of 350 million dollars in revenue, but that was offset by an increase in the base level of corporate taxes from 45 to 47 percent, producing 500 million dollars of additional revenue. Leaders of both parties viewed the measure favorably.

Developments in Korea in recent weeks made the argument against any excess profits tax academic, as many sacrifices lay ahead to finance the tremendous increase in the defense budget.

The bill would provide for a 75 percent tax on income exceeding 85 percent of the average for the base period, 1946-49, which was high enough to get at excess war profits and low enough still to encourage frugality by corporations rather than spending frivolously to avoid net profits. It would suffice at least until much higher defense spending would be mandated.

"David Ovens—Philanthropist" finds David Ovens to have given of his time and means to the community by giving $250,000 to Queens College with no strings attached and having spent much time in community affairs through the years, in 1950 having headed the special committee to plan the auditorium-coliseum complex—which would be opened in 1955, with the auditorium to be named for Mr. Ovens.

Queens College had been facing a financial crisis in the previous few years, and with costs soaring faster than tuition and endowment income, the gift of Mr. Ovens was especially timely.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Susie Claus", finds progress being made in Wilson, N.C., where billboards appeared during the season to announce "Miss Merry Christmas", the teeny-bopperish version of Santa Claus. It decides that Santa was outmoded anyway, having questionable origins out of Dutch folk tales brought to the country by the early colonists, and of late having been depicted sneaking Coca-Colas during his sleigh ride, and this Christmas, even taking Hadacol along the way.

The only sufferers from the new trend, it finds, would be little boys of Wilson who knew how ready their older sisters would be to climb down chimneys just so they could be ogled.

Drew Pearson tells of Price Administrator Mike Di Salle having realized that the new price-control law prevented him from controlling the price on grains or anything made from grains, despite his desire to control food prices. The farm lobby had gotten to work on the legislation and he intended in January to go back to Congress to try to get the law rewritten. Otherwise, he had decided to concentrate on a few cost-of-living items plus basic metals and production raw materials.

Soviet strategy would probably be to take weak and isolated nations one by one, to try to lure the U.S. into committing men and resources into a big war in Asia, with Russia committing enough armament to aid local Communists to occupy American forces, and then drive across Western Europe, with the American forces thus tied down. The next probable victim would be French Indo-China, already beset by Communist guerrilla revolt. Siam, Burma, and Malaya would likely follow.

Iran could also fall without a battle. Soviet pressure had already caused Iran to ban both re-broadcast of Voice of America programs and the BBC on its local radio stations. A secret Russian station, meanwhile, had been calling upon Kurdish tribes to revolt.

Major League Baseball commissioner Happy Chandler, former Senator from Kentucky, became choked up just before the annual baseball owners banquet when he was told by the owners that his contract was not going to be renewed. The banquet went on nevertheless, though two of the principals behind his ouster, the owner of the New York Giants and the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, failed to show. Mr. Chandler sat with his back to the guests and several times had to leave to wipe tears from his eyes. The atmosphere was tense and none of the owners present appeared to be enjoying the occasion. Mr. Chandler shook hands with each of the attending owners as they departed, but with forced smiles. Each wished him well.

When Secretary of Defense Marshall complained to the President at a Cabinet meeting recently about General MacArthur not cooperating with policy, the President held up a copy of the New Republic and said that it contained the way to handle the General. Inside was an article by former Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, criticizing the General for violating directives from Washington.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the subterranean muttering in Washington among lawmakers, policy-makers and military staff being that the country needed to pull in its resources first from Asia and then Europe, and retreat to the Western Hemisphere which it could defend. The catchphrase was to "contract commitments" abroad. But it amounted to a new isolationism which made Senator Taft look as an internationalist.

The peril of this strategy, if implemented, would be that it would leave the strategic air wing, the vital component of delivery of the atomic bomb, without bases abroad from which to operate. The largest component of the air wing were the ten groups of medium range bombers, B-29s, B-50s, and B-47s. Four groups were long-range bombers, the B-36s. But their effectiveness had been diminished by new developments by the Soviets.

The medium range bombers theoretically could be extended in range to long-range by refueling midair, but, practically, according to the experts, they were most effective only at medium range. That meant preservation of existing air bases in Eastern England, Cyrenaica, and Cyprus, all British-controlled, and in French North Africa, in Tripoli, and Dahran in Saudi Arabia. The country controlled the atomic stockpile but not the bases from which the bombers had to take off to be effective.

Thus, abandoning Europe would be disastrous to America's strategic capability. The country had proceeded in a smug manner for five years, neglecting its defenses and defense of the free world while relying on the atomic bomb as its salvation in defense. But that strategy had been wrong. Were the country to abandon its allies in the hour of peril, it could not hope that they would not abandon the United States as well.

The Alsops promise another column on this subject.

Robert C. Ruark tells of liking to think of comedian Joe E. Lewis every time the weather was bad and his sinuses were misbehaving, for Mr. Lewis's life having been a series of lumps, hardly used by horses, women, whiskey, and, on at least one occasion, Chicago hoodlums who "carved him a new face". He had nevertheless persisted and found the wry humor in acceptance of his rough fate.

He had said recently that he had been banned from the Capitol Theater in New York since 1943. He had been having a bad run of luck with the bookies and accepted a theatrical engagement as a straight man for a movie playing at the theater. Then, the day he was to go to work, he got a tip on a hot horse and dug himself out of his financial hole.

He carried two cases of whiskey, labeled "theatrical props", wherever he went, including his USO tour of the Pacific. Then a manager sent along a third case so labeled and when it arrived in Australia, a colonel called him to tell him that he had received a third case of theatrical props, which were "leaking like hell".

A long while earlier, he had been a regular companion to the columnist Westbrook Pegler and they both remained awake into the wee hours. Once, Mr. Lewis proposed they stick up a bank and Mr. Pegler agreed. Mr. Lewis then went to the bank dick and menacingly ordered, with hand in pocket in imitation of a gun, that he bring out 75 grand without monkey business. The bank dick looked at him and said, "Oh, Mr. Lewis, you're drinking again."

In Philadelphia recently, he had been confronted by a heckler who became so persistent that the malefactor had to be taken into custody. Despite proclaiming that he was worth two million dollars, the bum had on him but two airplane tickets to New Orleans, site of Mr. Lewis's next performance. He had resigned himself to the fate that the "creep" would be there waiting for him at the airport.

A letter writer from Gastonia quotes from "Don Iddon's Diary" in the London Daily Mail in which he had said that England had provided as much overseas aid as the U.S. had to England under the Marshall Plan, but that it was largely unknown because the Labour Cabinet had not publicized it.

A letter writer from Pittsboro suggests that there was a time for all things, including realism, which he thinks the President had come to appreciate as evidenced by his declaration of a national emergency.

He counsels coming to understand that the country was not prosperous, that such an image was built on the illusory war economy of the previous decade. In fact, the purchasing power of the dollar was a third of what it had been in 1940—which he attributes to "loose fiscal policies" for the prior twenty years. He also councils realization that the country was entering on a controlled economy. He predicts that a dictatorship was inevitable to clean up the mess in the country, but hopes that it would not be of the Russian type, which he would undertake to prevent.

"So long and may a Merciful God preserve us."

Where you headed? To Argentina?

A letter writer finds Willis Smith wrong to say he could not support unions for their requiring dues for the right to work. He compares it to lawyers having the right to belong to State Bars without paying dues—not the American Bar Association, as he suggests because of Mr. Smith having been president of the Association, nothing more than a voluntary trade organization, not a licensing organization to which any attorney needs to belong, a common misunderstanding of the public. Only individual State Bars license attorneys. (If you ask an attorney whether he or she belongs to the American Bar Association and they respond in the negative, don't screech and recoil, jump up and run for the hills, thinking that the person is the equivalent of a quack. For you probably have found a good attorney who spends their time practicing law for clients, rather than in snuggling with other attorneys only to boost their careers while regarding individual clients as an unfortunate inconvenience with whom they must occasionally come in contact to earn a living.)

He defends the union organization as supplying the individual worker a platform for collective bargaining and that it was for this right that the individual worker paid his or her dues. Workers could escape such dues by going to work for companies where there was no union organization. That was easy enough in North Carolina, where only a small percentage of the labor force was organized.

He concludes that Senator Smith did not like the organized worker and probably did not care either about the unorganized worker. In 1947, he had opposed the 40-cent minimum wage. "Yes, Mr. Smith believes in a chance for us to work—work like the corporations want us to—for a pittance."

A Quote of the Day from the Camden Chronicle, providing the series of descriptive adjectives a woman had once applied to her former husband, is far too long to reprint, but suffice it to say, it applies with equal vigor to our current "President" in 2017.

The Herblock cartoon of this date could be used equally today, simply by changing the word on the sign to "sex harasser". You might also draw in a caricature of someone labeled "alt-right", with some payola in hand, paying off an intermediary who in turn pays off the accuser. We don't think much of the groupie gropees. If you wish to be believed at all, step forward when the grope occurs. Otherwise, shut the hell up and go home. Twenty, thirty, forty years is an absurd length of time to wait to make public an accusation of an out-of-context remark, or unwanted this or unwanted that, none of which amounts to a hill of beans. It is bound to be the result of a hidden agenda.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have passed their little tax bill which will nail everyone except the very wealthy. Congratulations, gropees and your not very reflective or agenda-driven supporters. You played your part of diversion just as planned by the alt-right, who are ultimately sponsoring you. Yes, they are. You may be too much engaged in your own little self-centered world of soap opera emotion to realize it, but they are. And, believe it or not, nobody really gives a good goddamn about your silly complaints, ultimately for being a failed aspirant to stardom and so lashing out at someone, anyone, with whom you once rubbed elbows who made it, so that everyone will believe that you once rubbed elbows—and maybe even on the off chance that some director or producer out there will say, at long last, "Gee, that person is such a good thespian that they really deserve a break, especially after what they have been through, having to endure for all these years in silence that time that nasty star pinched their babushka and said, 'How does that grab you, darlin'?'"

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