The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 23, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Lt. General Walton Walker, ground commander of the Eighth Army in the northwest sector of Korea, had been killed during the morning in a jeep accident with a South Korean truck while driving to the front. MacArthur headquarters quickly appointed Lt. General Matthew Ridgeway as his replacement.

Correspondent Don Whitehead, who had known General Walker since his time as a protege to General Patton during World War II, tells of him saying in one of his last interviews that the time was coming when his Eighth Army would cease its withdrawal and then attack, as soon as it was able. Mr. Whitehead reports that he had died as his hero and one-time commanding officer, General Patton, had died in late 1945, in a tragic traffic accident.

Meanwhile, a massive onslaught of Chinese Communists had fought their way across the 38th parallel into South Korea in the western sector. Eighth Army patrols reported encountering Chinese somewhere near Chongye, a village two miles south of the parallel. A captured Chinese messenger said that there were heavy Communist artillery movements toward Kuhwa, a village six miles north of the parallel. Headquarters said that a sufficient concentration of enemy troops and artillery were present along and near the parallel in that sector to enable a massive attack at any time.

Six American F-86 Sabre jets shot down six Russian-built MIG-15s the previous day in a dogfight transpiring from treetop level to six miles up, the greatest jet-to-jet fight to have been fought to date. No Sabres were lost. Eight to eighteen other MIGs were chased back across the Manchurian border.

There was virtually no news released from the northeastern front around Hungnam, where the Tenth Corps was being evacuated while a small perimeter was being held and artillery and naval barrages were holding back an amassed enemy concentration of some 100,000 troops from overrunning the position. A field dispatch said that enemy artillery fire hit the crowded beachhead for the first time on Saturday. Headquarters said that U.N. forces had repelled Communist attempts to crash through the Hungnam perimeter.

The plan enunciated by former President Hoover a few nights earlier on national radio, to reel in aid and defense of Western Europe and Asia and establish the two oceans as bulwarks to provide downy insularity to the nation, was criticized by Secretary of State Acheson at a press conference the previous day, as well by Congressional Democrats, as being a recipe for "quick conquest" of Europe and Asia by the Soviet Union. Mr. Acheson said that the National Security Council had rejected such a doctrine as leading only to "surrender or defeat". The Secretary was reported to have told the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, meeting in executive session the previous day, that assurances of greater participation by the Western European nations in conducting their own defense had been demanded by the U.S. at the recent Brussels meeting of the council of foreign and defense ministers. He also reportedly said that the goal in three years was to have a three-million man combined ground force in place for protection of Western Europe.

The Office of Defense Manpower reported that synthetic rubber production had increased from an annualized rate of 325,000 long tons the prior January to 525,000 long tons by October. Continued expansion of the work force in the sector, increased by 17 percent in the third quarter, was anticipated through the winter.

The Government, having set forth a price rollback on the auto industry the prior Saturday to December 1, now had implemented a wage freeze as well, set at existing contract rates, which it hoped would become the voluntary standard for industry generally. It became the first mandatory wage freeze since World War II. Both the freeze on wages and that on prices would be effective through March 1. By that point the Economic Stabilization Agency expected to have a comprehensive price-wage policy in place. The precise general wage formula had not been set, but it would only be voluntary for the present.

Near Amarillo, Tex., ten feeble, elderly people perished in a fire as they laughed over their Christmas gifts late the previous day in their barn-like barracks at a convalescent home. All were bedridden and three were blind. Four people, including a visitor and the attendant in charge, managed to escape.

Three of five jail escapees from Mecklenburg County, who, the previous week, had let themselves down from the third floor outside their window with strung-together mattress covers, past a jailer and four floors of courthouse below, were caught in Gretna, Louisiana—having apparently successfully tunneled out of the courthouse basement where the traffic court probably was. They were driving a stolen Mercury when caught. One of the men had been caught earlier in the week in Nashville, Tenn., and the other remained on the lam—probably still in the tunnel.

Most of the nation was due for a warmer weekend, though temperatures remained nippy in Wisconsin and central Illinois, eastward to the Atlantic Coast, yet without any readings near zero.

Winter winds could be as much as 25 percent stronger than summer winds of the same speed because colder air is denser than warm air and pushes therefore with more force—"pushy winds".

They sound mean. Down with pushy winds. Let's grab those pushy winds and teach them a lesson, such that they might need a supporter below.

The President, at home in Independence, Mo., for the holidays, in an impromptu speech to a local gathering of Masons, said that he hoped for a world which would, in time, be safe for everyone. That, he said, was the purpose of the fight in Korea. He said, in friendly reply to an expressed hope by Kansas City Star president Roy Roberts that the country would soon cease to be confused as it was at present, that he thought instead it was the confusers who were confused, not the country or the people.

On Christmas Eve, the President would press a telegraph key lighting the Christmas tree at the White House, while a prerecorded message to the American people would be delivered at the same time.

Pilgrims of limited numbers but more than in 1949, were headed to Nazareth to hear the midnight mass at the Church of the Annunciation. As the town had remained under Israeli military rule since the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the road to Bethlehem had to be cleared of dragon-teeth tank traps and barbed wire to permit passage by the pilgrims at the Israeli frontier with the Jordan River.

In Tokyo, Christmas trees appeared in store displays along with colored paper streamers decorating restaurants frequented by Americans and in strictly Japanese establishments.

Western Europe was ready to celebrate its most prosperous Christmas in years.

Pope Pius XII, in his Christmas message, would urge the world's Catholics to pray that the world would be saved from disaster. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had poured into Rome in 1950 to take part in the Catholic Church's holy year, producing the greatest prosperity in Italy since the war. Yet, Italians remained nervous in the face of Communist threats.

"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore is reprinted on the page.

The News, because of the war, would publish on Monday, though usually suspending publication on Christmas Day.

Last year, Christmas was on Sunday and so we did not get a break then, either. What the hell is this? We may strike if working conditions and pay don't change soon.

On the editorial page, "Why a New Auditorium Authority?" tells of the auditorium-coliseum planning committee, headed by David Ovens, having recommended creation of an independent municipal authority to operate the complex when built.

The editors agree theoretically, finding City Council administration problematic as it had become embroiled through the years in so many neighborhood controversies, such as that over the location of a new recreation center in the Latta Park neighborhood, the object of objection by many residents for its inevitable stimulation of noise and traffic, it would not be able adequately to focus on the complex, as proved by its erratic attempt through the years to manage the existing Armory-Auditorium.

Yet, it believes the burden of justification for establishing such an authority ought be on the Ovens committee, as the function would ordinarily fall within the province of the Park & Recreation Commission, with an established administrative and work force. It finds it of utmost importance to promote efficiency in government and use of funds. And so if there was some reason for the independent authority, then that justification should be articulated, as thus far, it had not been.

"Sign of Maturity" finds that the citizenry had not succumbed to the "Yellow Peril" psychology, indicative of it growing up, not reaching the point of condemning all Chinese for the Communist Chinese Government intervention in Korea.

During World War I, the "Hun" referred typically to anyone with German ancestry, resulting in German musical works being excluded from performance and even beer, because of its German association, falling into disrepute. "Schmidt" had often been an unhappy person.

During World War II, the primary bias was aimed at those of Japanese ancestry, despite many Japanese-Americans distinguishing themselves in battle against the enemy.

Thus far in World War 2.5, as the present situation had been dubbed by the president of M.I.T., the Chinese-American had not been so tainted by reason of the actions of Mao Tse-Tung in Korea. It urges against allowing self-appointed propagandists the ability to create such race or national hatred.

What a relief to have, in 2017, a mature "President" who encourages broad-minded views of the world, free from prejudice of any stripe or excuse, rather believes that all Muslims, for instance, are our brothers and sisters to be trusted implicitly, as surely as our brothers and sisters south of the border, down Mexico way, and, yes, our brothers and sisters in North Korea. That is why we can greet 2018 without any trepidation in mind, no longer wary of an atom bomb striking us in our sleep, as when those nasty Democrats were in control of everything bringing the nation to the brink of Socialism, which, as everyone knows, is only a polite word for Communism.

Up with Nationalism. America First! Westward, ho! Onward...

"On Throwing Away a Calendar" reflects on the things confronting residents of Charlotte during 1950, the consideration of theretofore obscure Korea for the first time, and not since 1941 having been so concerned for the safety of the nation, never before having been confronted with the prospect of possible defeat. The year had been the worst year on record for international relations.

But at least the weather had been reasonably pleasant, until late November when the storms beset the Eastern seaboard and the Midwest. There were plenty of things to buy and plentiful money for the most part with which to buy them. There were good movies and radio programs. Television arrived in Charlotte. Some excellent books were published.

The citizen knew that, while overall it had been a good year, 1951 was bound to be worse, as would be the ensuing years for some time into the future. The residents would likely reflect back to 1950 and regard it as the last time they could buy what they wanted, drive to every football game or sleep comfortably into the night—as well when editors had been afforded the luxury of white space in which to expound just before Christmas, as an excuse not to write much of weight or substance on a Saturday morning.

A piece from the Plainview (Tex.) Herald, titled "How Plainview Got Its Name", relates of that history, as told by the sage of Bucksnort, Tenn., Albert Hines, in the Nashville Tennessean. It was the flattest ground in Texas, so level that a cow could be seen four days before it got home, that when a lamp was blown out in a window, the light continued to reach for 13 minutes across the prairie void.

A boy told his sweetheart that he would kiss her as soon as they got outside the view of the house, but after four hours of driving the wagon, with the folks still in plain view on the porch, he kissed her anyway. They then married and raised a passel of children and lived happily ever after in thus named Plainview, Texas.

Naw, that's not what happened. Fact was that they got hold of some wild locoweed from out there on the prairie, took a notion one night to smoke a whole passel of it and had such a loud party as a result that it attracted the attention of neighbors 13 minutes and a cow's coming-home distance away, such that the Sheriff's posse was summoned out to the ranch, whereupon the leader of the posse said: "There, men, seize that locoweed in plain view. We don't need no warrant out here when we have plain view." That was how it got its name.

Drew Pearson tells of the GOP policy committee having prepared a blueprint for non-cooperation with the White House on foreign and defense policy, its chief advocate being Senator Taft. It had become an object of dissension among Republicans, basically stating that Congress could become the scene of national survival, requiring that it be borne in mind, therefore, that associating with the Administration's declaration of a national emergency, a plan primarily aimed at stimulating psychological acceptance of economic controls, would be politically disadvantageous. The executive branch, itself, stated the policy, might be deemed untrustworthy in trying to establish what amounted to the appearance of a coalition government so that Republicans would share in the responsibility for the foreign and defense policy with respect to the Far East and Western Europe. It concluded that such cooperation would be against the national interest, as the purpose of the minority party was to be critical of the Administration.

The Republican plan was drawn up December 12 just as the President summoned GOP leaders to the White House to discuss the forthcoming national emergency proclamation. Senator Taft finally indicated at the meeting a willingness to go along with the proclamation to avoid presentation to the world of a divided Congress on the subject. The following week, however, he had lashed out at bipartisan cooperation, favoring an end to consultation with the White House.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop look at the changed timetable by which American defenses had to be rebuilt to meet the Soviet challenge, the point at which major Soviet aggression would be expected. The prior March, National Security Council directive No. 68 had set that time as between 1953 and 1954, accepted as the basis for defense planning at the June meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

But in July, after the start of the Korean war, the timetable was moved up by the State Department to 1951-52 or, at the latest, 1952-53. American policy was wedded to this calculation when Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson was fired the prior August. In consequence, in September, Secretary of State Acheson demanded that Britain and France reach agreement to rearm West Germany to aid in NATO's planned armed resistance to Soviet aggression.

Presently, with the massive Chinese intervention in Korea, the timetable had again been moved up to the present, 1950-51, meaning that major Soviet aggression could be expected any day.

It was anticipated that a massive Chinese onslaught in Indo-China would occur soon, setting off a chain reaction of surrender in Southeast Asia. That would be calculated to demoralize the nations of Western Europe, at which point, probably by the following spring, an attack would occur on Yugoslavia, and after it fell to the Soviets, Communist-allied governments would be installed in France and Italy. With Europe thus divided, the experts predicted, the British Isles were to be neutralized and the U.S. left alone in the world to fight Russian aggression.

On these assumptions, the Korean war was to be regarded as a stepping stone for the Communists. If the spring attack were in Yugoslavia, then it would not involve the West directly. But if against West Germany, then a war would be provoked, and so it was more likely the Soviets would be content with Yugoslavia and its demoralizing effect on the rest of Europe.

If General Eisenhower were given virtually dictatorial powers over NATO, it would still take two years to rebuild Western European defenses adequately to withstand a Soviet attack. But by the process of compromise and half-measures, as made evident as the intended course in the recent Brussels conference of NATO foreign and defense ministers, not much could be accomplished before the anticipated world crisis which was now calculated to begin any day.

Sounds bad to hopeless. Let's invest in one of them $65 bomb shelters for the backyard. Get the jump on this sucker 'fore it's too late to survive it. We'll dig it out on Christmas, pour in the concrete next Saturday. Don't give the canned goods to the poor this Christmas. We need them to stock the shelter. Get plenty of A, B, and C batteries, too, to give us a flashlight and radio power, for a couple of weeks anyway, 'til the all-clear.

Robert C. Ruark looks at economic controls, finds that the current program of voluntary controls would not work as human nature was what it was. Three years after World War II, Miami horse parks and casinos were still cashing hundred-dollar bills from the riches accumulated during the war on the black market.

Many people wanted the Administration to get tough, to stem inflation with complete controls. If the draft was on and huge taxes were to be exacted to support the defense and war effort, then so, too, should be tough controls on the economy to curb inflation. But because of the elections of 1950, the Administration had been coy about controls. One could not, he suggests, provide sugar plums to the voters when what they needed was "a gun in one hand and some economic self-protection in the other."

Tom Schlesinger of The News provides his weekly "Capital Roundup", in which he relates of the lame duck session of Congress, which had just concluded the previous day after being in session since November 27. The lawmakers had initially expected to be in session only a couple of weeks but after getting into the session, regarded themselves as lucky to be home for Christmas. He recaps the week's business, the passage of the excess profits tax bills in each chamber and the defense appropriations measures, being reconciled the previous day in conference.

Any remaining legislation in need of action would die at noon January 3 when the new Congress began, unless the Senate returned to take action prior to that time. The House was expected to meet during Christmas week but would not undertake any business. January 1 was the tentative date by which all business in the Senate was to be concluded.

Senator Clyde Hoey reported that his subcommittee which had investigated the presence of homosexuals and sex perverts in the Government had spent only $7,000 of its $10,000 budget. It had not degenerated into a witch hunt as anticipated, and the final report was unanimous, concluding that overt homosexuals and perverts should not be tolerated in Government service as they posed a security risk.

Senator Joe O'Mahoney of Wyoming had decided to allow his name to go before the Senate Democratic conference for consideration as Majority Leader. Until that point, it appeared that Senator Ernest McFarland of Arizona, backed by both Senators Hoey and Willis Smith and most of the Southern Senators, would be elected without a fight.

Congressman Graham Barden of North Carolina, chairman of the House Labor and Education Committee, having been suspected by labor of being opposed to their interests, cemented that opinion by saying in U.S. News & World Report that he supported Taft-Hartley, albeit favoring some changes in the law, but believing that the House would never abolish it.

The proposed Air Force Academy, with Charlotte being a possible site, had been put on hold recently by the national emergency, through action of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman Harold Cooley, in speaking in favor of the loan to Yugoslavia to enable it to resist Soviet aggression, said that he would rather be a poor tenant farmer than have the job of Tito. He said also that he favored use of the Yugoslav army and anybody else to save the lives of American fighting men.

Dowling....                                                                                                   .

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