The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 21, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Hungnam beachhead remained quiet following allied land, sea, and air barrages mowing down and rolling back the enemy forces attacking the small defense perimeter around the port of evacuation of the Tenth Corps. Frozen bodies of Chinese and Korean troops were observed on the snow-crusted east flank of the U.N. perimeter, where apparently the enemy were brought to a standstill by the round-the-clock allied barrages during Wednesday.

All was quiet also on the western front, though the Eighth Army reported an ominous build-up of enemy forces as heavy rail traffic was observed moving in the vicinity of Yonchon, six miles north of the 38th parallel.

MacArthur headquarters reported that the enemy forces had suffered casualties at the rate of ten to one during the period of the planned allied withdrawal from the Manchurian border, November 27 to December 12. U.N. casualties were listed at 12,235 during that same period, not including South Korean casualties. All of the allied casualties listed were American save 1,011.

The latest Defense Department counts showed 36,421 American casualties, with 6,180 killed, through notification of next of kin by December 15.

General MacArthur said in his war summary issued this date that the "artificial nuance of 'disaster'" which had been applied to the allied withdrawal was inappropriate, that casualties were no greater than in similar operations of other wars, with an average acceptable rate of about one percent of troop commitment, well above the allied casualty rate in Korea. He apparently referred to some press dispatches by the United Press which so described the withdrawal.

In the final rush before the holidays and the end of the 81st Congress, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved authorization of 1.6 billion dollars for defense construction, most of which was top secret, a day after the bill had passed the House. The full Senate later approved the bill this date and also passed a bill authorizing more than 20 billion dollars of new defense spending, two billion larger than that already approved by the House, necessitating reconciliation in conference. The previous day the House also passed a bill to set up the civil defense program, expected to cost 3.1 billion dollars, and sent it to the Senate.

Presidential assistant John Steelman announced that the railroads reached agreement with the four operating unions to provide an increase of 23 cents per hour, with another two cents added at the start of the year plus cost of living adjustments every quarter by a cent for every point of rise, retroactive to October 1. Mr. Steelman had been acting as mediator since the Government takeover of the roads to avert a strike the previous August. The union demand of a 40-hour week on 48 hours of pay was delayed until the beginning of 1952, at which time there would be further negotiations assisted by Mr. Steelman. The unions pledged not to undertake further strikes for three years.

Former President Hoover, in his address by radio the previous night, had set forth his views on the commitments necessary by the free nations and the U.S. to fight Communist aggression, proposing to arm the Navy and Air Force "to the teeth". He called the Korean war a defeat and warned against its repetition in Western Europe should the country continue to feed the world before building its own defenses. Leading Democrats, as Senator Herbert Lehman of New York, said that it appeared to be a call for return to isolationism and if followed, would result in the U.S. becoming friendless in the world. Many Republicans, however, cheered the statement, finding the speech placing the burden appropriately on Europe to defend itself. Senator Taft agreed with the former President on basic principles and believed that the Congress ought consider what he had said.

Congressman-elect Alfred Sieminski of New Jersey, an Army major, was critical of the war effort in Korea, finding fault in the fact that allied planes had not bombed the Yalu River power dams. He wondered to New York reporters whether the international cartel which owned the dams had converted its Russian rubles to American dollars and said that the U.S. apparently placed more value on concrete than the blood of American soldiers. He proposed taking the source of electric power from the Communists and thereby defeating them.

A military spokesman responded that though the dams had been vulnerable to air attack since the start of the war, they were not bombed because they were not deemed sufficiently important to the total military strategy in Korea, as they supplied very little of the electricity for Communist China and only a small amount for North Korea. It had been generally believed that they supplied the power for the Mukden arsenal in Manchuria and the small amount of military production in Russian-occupied Dairen. There was little belief that the agrarian economy of China would collapse without the electric power supplied from the Yalu.

Charles E. Wilson, former president of G.E., took office as director of the Office of Defense Mobilization and appointed as his assistants General Lucius Clay, former commander of the U.S. occupation forces in Berlin, and Sydney Weinberg, senior partner for the banking investment firm of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a former vice-chairman of the War Production Board during World War II. The two assistants would serve without compensation, though Mr. Wilson was to receive a $22,000 annual salary in the post.

The Senate confirmed by voice vote Anna Rosenberg as Assistant Secretary of Defense, following unanimous approval of her appointment by the Senate Armed Services Committee. She thus became the first woman ever to serve in such a high post in the military departments. Her duties would be to coordinate manpower and labor authority in defense.

In Washington, Hattie Caraway, former U.S. Senator appointed initially at the death of her husband, Thaddeus Caraway of Arkansas, and the first woman ever elected to the Senate, died at age 72, having been ill since the prior January when she suffered a stroke. At her death, she was a member of the Federal Employees' Compensation Appeals Board. She had served in the Senate for 13 years, beginning in 1931 and was elected to two terms, with the help of the endorsement in the first election by Louisiana Senator Huey Long. The first woman Senator had been Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia, appointed in 1922 to fill a vacancy, but never thereafter elected.

Congressman Walter Brehm of Ohio, indicted for receiving kickbacks from the salaries of two Congressional staff employees, entered a plea of not guilty in Federal court and was released upon posting a $1,000 bond.

In New York, Alfred Bergdoll, son of the most notorious slacker of World War I, Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, was sentenced to the maximum of five years imprisonment for refusing to join the draft, following his plea of guilty. The Federal judge said that if Mr. Bergdoll reconsidered in the ensuing 60 days and determined to do his duty, his case would be reconsidered.

That was some plea bargain.

In Detroit, three women who each were serving life sentences for being accomplices in the 1935 slaying of an attorney who was the nephew of Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, were released from prison following commutation by Governor G. Mennen Williams after they had each served fifteen years. The women had lured the victim into a taxi where he was shot by the cab driver who was also serving life. The commissioners of the prison gave each woman a new wristwatch upon their release.

What time is it? Fifteen 'til Life?

In Moscow, Prime Minister Josef Stalin celebrated his 71st birthday. By decree a year earlier, prizes worth $25,000 were to be awarded this date to those who in the prior year had contributed most to advance of peace.

Mao and Kim Il-Sung?

On the editorial page, "The Stocking Is Not Yet Full" suggests that The News had perhaps been so busy trying to cover the war that it had neglected the annual Empty Stocking drive to provide Christmas for needy families of the community. The Fund had advanced a check for $8,000 with the advice that more money, if needed, would be forthcoming to the Christmas Bureau, which arranged to provide payment via Santa Claus to his union-organized elves.

But, at present, the Fund had accumulated only $5,687, about $500 lower than that collected by the same point in 1949, and $2,313 below the $8,000 goal for 1950. It anticipates that the next few days would enable the Fund to meet the minimum goal but reminds that if contributions had not been made, it was time to do so, to give Christmas to the less fortunate.

"Censorship in Korea" discusses the imposition of censorship on war correspondents, in replacement of the former voluntary censorship program, based on MacArthur headquarters having found recent abuse of the latter policy by the Associated Press in revealing the dimensions of the Hungnam defense perimeter and telling of it being used as a "port of escape".

Always in wartime, security had to be counterpoised against the people's right to be informed, as an informed public helped to bring about unity of purpose at home, as it had during the Korean war thus far.

The new official censorship, it finds, however, had to be imposed, as the Communist Chinese intervention had put the U.N. troops at great risk and the enemy in consequence had to be kept apart from information on land, sea and air operations regarding their evacuation. While censorship, reliant as it was on human judgment, would be filled with flaws, censoring on occasion that which was not violative of security in fact and sometimes merely for the purpose of covering up military errors, it had to be done in this instance.

"Voluntary Economic Controls" expects the implementation of voluntary wage and price controls to accomplish little in harnessing runaway inflation in the wake of the Korean war. If the program was meant as a prelude to regular controls, then it was important to continue developing the enforcement mechanism when regular controls would be instituted, as the billions of dollars of increase in the defense budget would impel further pressure on inflation by putting more money into circulation, driving demand for consumer goods, in turn causing higher prices and the consequent demand for higher wages to keep pace.

"A Bulwark Disappears" finds that it would be easy to lament the disappearance of the nickel Coke but decides to bear up under the disability and maintain a stiff upper lip as the price would soon rise to six cents or even a dime a pop.

Notwithstanding the fact that a local plant manager had said that no higher prices were contemplated at present on Cokes, the time for salubrious refreshment at only a nickel had surely, it lugubriously concludes, come to an end, just as the nickel candy bar had met its demise, along with 50-cent haircuts and 25-cent shaves. Even in Shelby, they were charging a dime for ice cream cones.

It does not object to the extra money being shelled out, but rather finds it too bad that society would lose a bulwark on which it had depended for long, nickel Cokes and other such things.

Wait 'til you get a load of the cointelpros to come, and their dropping of dimes like mad for Mr. Hoover. You can probably then attribute it to the planned obsolescence of the nickel Coke and candy bar, indeed, the entire revolt and counter-revolt of the latter Fifties and Sixties to the inability to afford a haircut and a shave.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Education and TV", tells of television now extending a brighter hope than radio had initially offered for use as a medium of education. Brig. General Telford Taylor, once general counsel for the FCC, had asked the Commission to set aside 20 percent of future television channel allocations for education. (With only channels 2-13 available on the VHF dial, that meant two to three channels for each market.)

In New York and Los Angeles, all available channels had already been allotted to commercial television, but educational institutions could be given a share of the programming time. In other markets, educational television channels could still be a reality.

While realizing that tv would be primarily an entertainment medium, it suggests that educators formulate proposals for utilization of the facilities they sought to provide. General Taylor's request, it suggests, deserved careful consideration by the FCC. With educational broadcasting largely crowded out of radio, it would be ashamed, it posits, to have the same thing happen with television, given its great potential for serving to educate, as well as entertain.

Bill Sharpe, in his weekly "Turpentine Drippings", snippets from newspapers around the state, provides one from the Gold Leaf Farmer which advised that people who could not afford to live or loaf in the city, should not attempt it, as there was an expense everywhere one turned, including the obtention of fruit. There was nothing free, even heartaches by the number and loneliness ringing the register at the checkout.

The Zebulon Record reports a conversation between two privates, in which one said to the other that he had read a good book, met a good girl, and got a good night's rest, to which he then added, however, that he had, nevertheless, not had a good time.

He needed to kill some people, we suppose, to satiate his primordial instincts triggered by Army training.

The Morganton Pocket Book told of a general who complained to the colonel regarding a certain major who the general believed an idiot, to which the colonel replied with assurance that the major had been through dozens of battles, whereupon the general pointed out the window to a stand of mules and said that they also had been through dozens of battles but remained jackasses.

He could have embellished a bit by calling them major jackasses.

John Bragan of The State tells of a bodyguard of Caesar having discovered glass-blowing, but upon its demonstration to the Emperor, was put to death for Caesar's fear that it would supplant gold and silver in value and render his riches nugatory, putting on hold the discovery of glass-blowing for another 2,000 years.

The Waynesville Mountaineer tells of Mary not being impressed by the presence of her new baby brother, complaining that one would think he was the President of the United States or owner of a convertible.

Mary obviously did not like Lincolns.

Charity & Children reports of two deacons hunting on Sunday morning, one wondering to the other what the pastor would think were he to find out of their expedition during church, the other replying that it did not matter for he could not have gone to church anyway for the fact that his wife was ill.

What were they trying to bag?

And so, and so, and forth we go, across the woods into the glade...

Wofford? Really? Time for a few dozen laps around the French Quarter at 5:00 a.m., Saturday.

That's okay. We recall how it was to have the sudden lift from our shoulders of all class and exam responsibilities during the semester break, an experience akin to sleep-walking, after being forced to remain alert and attentive, incessantly, for two precious weeks determinative of one's future. And, we still recall Santa Clara in November, 2004, Northern Iowa two years ago, and the New Year's Eve greeting at Georgia Tech last year—through which, fortunately, we managed to sleep because of a misinterpretation of the start time for that game—all, nevertheless, winding up not amounting to a hill of beans in the end. But, that said, those contests were away, not in Chapel Hill. Yet, there was Boston College in early 2009, a home game. That, however, was not Wofford, now, was it?

Laps are particularly beneficial this time of year, outdoors, in the fresh air, to assure wakefulness and appreciation of nature in all its vicissitudes, including the shriveling of spring-blossomed laurels during wintertime.

Drew Pearson tells of the President's determination not to use the atom bomb in China or Korea having been motivated by his belief that it should not be used in retaliation against Russian satellites. He told Congressmen during the week that he did not want to mobilize the disorganized anti-Communist guerrilla movement in China, too dispersed to be effective as a fighting force and to avoid retaliation by Communists in the Philippines, but made it clear there would be no appeasement.

The President had approved of Atlanta Journal music critic Helen Knox Spain for her laudatory review of daughter Margaret's operatic performance the previous season, seeking extra copies of the review for distribution.

He notes that contrary to reports, the President had not used obscene language in his letter to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume on December 6, in responding to his negative review of Margaret's performance on December 5.

"Supporter below", however, is getting down there, below the belt.

Tennessee Senator Kenneth McKellar, despite his advanced age, was planning to run again in 1952.

The U.S. occupation troops in West Germany had trained 10,000 West Germans, carefully selected anti-Nazis, as a counter force to the East German police trained by the Russians and to form a nucleus of officers for the future West German army to be incorporated into NATO defenses.

Prime Minister Nehru recently had informed the U.S. Ambassador to India that China now had its own "Monroe Doctrine" for Asia, to protect against aggression or intrusion from the West, using any such activity as justification for war. This pan-Asiatic doctrine would be applicable also to Japan.

The new Congress would take a serious look at the recommendations, as set forth at page 640 of the opinion of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in its recent reversal of the New York convictions of Judith Coplon for attempt to deliver secret documents to a Russian agent and for conspiracy to defraud the Government by making copies of same. The Court had counseled possible changes in the law to permit greater latitude to the FBI in effecting arrests as well as limited legalization of wiretapping for purposes of national security when seeking to interdict sabotage and espionage activities, kidnaping or extortion.

He notes that J. Edgar Hoover had bent over backwards to avoid illegal wiretapping, thinks that civil liberties would be safe if wiretapping were left to the Bureau.

And nickel Cokes might return one day.

The President, in his national emergency speech the prior Friday, had first urged formation of a four-million man Army, but had scaled it back to 3.5 million at the last minute, a victory for the Air Force.

U.S. intelligence sources warned that hordes of Communist Chinese troops would pour into Indo-China at any time.

Mayor Martin Kennelly of Chicago had put on a demonstration recently to exhibit to Chicagoans how enemy agents could poison the drinking water.

You mean showing them in detail how the manufacturing lobby could influence Congress to put aside efforts to provide clean, safe drinking water for the expanding population of the future on the ground that population expansion is a myth, a product of bad science and fake news?

Marquis Childs discusses the potential role of the FBI in investigating local crime when local law enforcement was unable to cope with a crime problem. The Bureau was already overburdened with its duties in loyalty investigations and that of interdicting potential sabotage during mobilization. To add to it the function of supplementing local law enforcement, a role it did not want, would be too cumbersome.

Under the plan, the U.S. Attorney for the circuit would call in the Bureau upon the recommendation of the Attorney General. Local politicians would welcome the effort because should the Bureau fail, they could blame the Federal Government for the continuing crime problem while crime and its often attendant graft flourished as usual. It also revived the argument that the Bureau should not become a Federal police force, but rather be allowed to pursue its primary function of maintaining domestic security.

That role had to be performed within the Constitutional guarantees, as made plain by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in its recent opinion reversing the convictions in New York of Judith Coplon on the ground of lack of exigent circumstances for her warrantless arrest, rendering the search pursuant thereto infirm as "fruit of the poisonous tree", while also holding that the trial court should not have withheld from the defense, on the ground of "national security", the wiretap evidence on which it based its in camera determination that the wiretaps had not yielded fruit adduced at trial.

As long as the FBI maintained its current record, there should be no fear of criticism of it when it occasionally made mistakes, as in the case of wiretapping. But to have it as a panacea for local crime problems would render it a victim of its own success.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest that anyone interested in the decay of American politics ought read the Republican resolutions of each house of Congress, urging ouster of Secretary of State Acheson. The Alsops believed that he had to be sacrificed so that the foreign policy of the country could function properly again, but add that the belief did not reduce the shock resulting from stories leaking from the House and Senate regarding the Republicans conferences on the resolutions.

In the House, Representative James Wadsworth was alone in warning against stabbing the Secretary in the back just before the major international conference between the President and Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the NATO conference of foreign and defense ministers. Nevertheless, by voice vote, the House GOP conference had passed it.

In the Senate, the moderates, led by Senator Leverett Saltonstall, favoring bipartisanship so long as there was bipartisan consultation on foreign policy, were overruled, as were the extreme conservatives, led by Senator Homer Capehart, eschewing any form of bipartisanship and expressly favoring a replacement Secretary who had no dealings with the postwar foreign policy, to pass a version which moderated its approach, at the suggestion of Senator Taft, to call for Mr. Acheson's resignation while expressing support nevertheless of the foreign policy on a bipartisan basis. In so doing, Senator Taft explained, the Republicans could blame the Democrats when the foreign policy failed, whereas with the consultation sought by the moderates, they would inevitably have to share in the responsibility.

Among Republicans voting for the final version of the Senate resolution were those who knew that by demanding Mr. Acheson's resignation, they would provoke the ire of the President and assure Mr. Acheson's retention. They would have it no other way, as to have been successful in their attempt to oust the Secretary would have deprived them of their political target.

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