The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 27, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that MacArthur headquarters reported that more than 1.35 million Communist troops were poised to strike U.N. forces in Korea. Of those, it was estimated that 444,408, 277,173 of whom were Chinese, were deployed along the front below the 38th parallel. Nearly a million others were either in Korea or in reserve in Manchuria. Many of the new North Korean divisions were believed comprised of newly trained troops, and another 130,000 North Koreans were in training in Manchuria.

Only light attacks occurred this date in the central sector, fended off successfully by South Korean troops who methodically cut to pieces a surrounded North Korean regiment south of Chorwon.

The Far East Air Forces, including American B-29s and British carrier planes, struck against the enemy buildup near the 38th parallel.

New ground commander, Lt. General Matthew Ridgway, met with South Korean President Syngman Rhee and informed him: "I aim to stay." That statement plus his reorganization of the 105,000 troops evacuated from Hungnam suggested that the U.N. forces would make a strong stand against the Communist forces. Military authorities in Tokyo said that the U.N. forces could command all approaches to South Korea and that any sizable enemy force would be unable to penetrate far into the South without being hit hard by the allies.

Correspondent Relman Morin, back in New York after four months reporting on the war in Korea, provides his impressions of the war, finding that a clear-cut military victory was now out of the question but also that the net result of the latest failed campaign was better than at first it appeared. American morale was good, without any sign of pessimism in Korea or at headquarters in Tokyo. The soldiers were simply mad because they had won their victory, which was then snatched away in late November by the intervention of the greatly outnumbering Chinese. The only possibility was a slow, grinding retreat along the length of the peninsula. It was possible that the Eighth Army would be driven completely out of Korea. But the U.N. troops were determined to make the Chinese and North Koreans pay heavily for every inch of ground they would obtain. The Korean people, North and South, wanted their independence and were aware that China wanted only to convert Korea to a vassal state, much as had Japan during its 40-year occupation through the end of the war in 1945.

The Army called up National Guard and Organized Reserve units for the first time, ordering 7,500 junior officers to duty for 21 months of service the following March. The Navy shelved plans to release reservists the following summer. A hundred WAC lieutenants and captains were also called to duty, along with 890 medical officers, 350 dental officers, and 415 medical service corps officers.

Senate investigators for a Senate subcommittee chaired by Senator William Fulbright said that they were looking into charges of political intrigue in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, that a shakeup in personnel in several branch offices had allegedly been used as an excuse to shelve employees whose political views were not compatible with those of the Administration. The charge came from a resigned RFC loan manager in Dallas, Tex.

The President appointed Stanton Griffis to be Ambassador to Spain, ending the five-year cessation of full diplomatic relations with the Franco regime. Mr. Griffis had previously served as Ambassador to Poland, Egypt, and Argentina.

The divorced wife of William Remington testified in New York during the second day of the perjury trial of her former husband that he had turned over a top-secret formula for explosives made from garbage to an admitted Russian spy ring courier, Elizabeth Bentley. The alleged perjury was his denial to the Grand Jury that he had ever been a Communist. His former wife testified that she and Mr. Remington had been party members.

The head of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, James P. Shields, expressed dissatisfaction with the three-year peace pact reached with the railroads the previous Friday. He said that he would make no recommendation one way or the other when he presented it to the 125 general chairmen convening the next day to determine whether to accept or reject the settlement, worked out with the aid of the Government.

Cold arctic air left behind by Santa Claus as he sped back to the North Pole on Monday hit wide areas of the Eastern half of the country this date, with Florida escaping the chill. Sub-zero temperatures were recorded in many areas, with 30 below at Rochester, Minn., 22 below at Minneapolis-St. Paul, 18 below at Madison, Wis., and 15 below at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Other sub-zero readings occurred in areas of Maine, upstate New York, Ohio and Iowa. Sub-freezing temperatures hit Texas, northern Alabama, Virginia, and parts of Georgia and Mississippi.

Button up.

Because the microfilm does not contain tomorrow's date, we get a day off after all, a good thing, as we were prepared to go on strike for a week for this newspaper publishing on Christmas.

If you have an insatiable desire to keep abreast of all events of note occurring in the world of tomorrow, as well all editorial comment and additional information on that which is fit to print, you may access it here, or elsewhere, as you please.

On the editorial page, "Epic Lesson at Hungnam" finds the evacuation from Hungnam of 205,000 troops and Korean civilians via the port to Pusan and Pohang without reported loss of life to have been a miracle ranking alongside the massive evacuation at Dunquerque between late May and early June, 1940. But it also stresses that it took a miracle and a lot of luck to have managed it after its causative colossal blunder in military strategy, assuming the Communist Chinese would not oppose actively the move to the Manchurian border. It recommends therefore not repeating any such careless decision, as the next time, the U.N. forces might not be so lucky. Some 105,000 troops, mostly American, might have lost their lives had the evacuation gone differently.

"Made-in-America" tells of the nine-person Chinese delegation having departed via BOAC from Idlewild Airport in New York with 53 pieces of luggage weighing 2,627 pounds, necessitating an excess baggage surcharge of $1,621.39. Most of the weight consisted of American-made radios, books, phonographs, cameras, kitchen appliances and clothing from Fifth Avenue shops.

Fred Hechinger had written a piece in Harper's Magazine, titled "American Goods Preferred", pointing out that American goods were the envy of the world and that the country would be better served in exporting its democratic ideals by stressing these products abroad rather than so much the less tangible tenets representing freedom under the Constitution.

The piece concludes accordingly, that General Wu's predilection for American-made goods should serve as an object lesson on the influence the country's material progress could have in non-material ways.

"What Would Taynton Say" finds, in browsing through the Manchester Guardian, that one William Taynton had, 25 years earlier, been the first human being to appear on television in England. A man who lived upstairs from Mr. Taynton's place of employment, scientist John Baird, had been perfecting his television transmission device and had succeeded in projecting a doll's head from one room to another. He then summoned Mr. Taynton to serve as a human image to be transmitted from one room to another, presumably with his head intact. He was paid half a crown for being the guinea pig.

The piece wonders where Mr. Taynton was and how he felt about having played such a vital role in television history. It addresses several questions it would like to ask him regarding his general view of the newly available medium, among which were whether he liked Kukla, Fran, and Ollie and whether he watched boxing and wrestling. Was he glad or resentful of his role in producing this box for the living rooms and taverns of the world?

Or, was he, in fact, William Campbell, not Taynton at all? Perhaps, William Shears?

Is the ability to make, via television, yesterday today and to generate instant replay of the moment before now part and parcel of the problem besetting postmodern man?

In any event, here is Mr. Baird and his invention, albeit absent Mr. Taynton who is nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by Mr. Gee and Miss Watson for the sake of this demonstration from 1929. The accompanying music sounds very sad. Perhaps, Mr. Taynton was consumed by the television and evaporated. Don't ever crawl into the back of the set to look to see from whence all the lonely people are coming to say hello just to you, or, in some cases, to spring terror into your heart and mind with broken dolls' heads amid butchery and carnage.

Fifty years ago Boxing Day, the television colour film "Magical Mystery Tour" appeared on the BBC. It was slated for an appearance later on American television but its poor reception in England from the critics, who found it hollow and without event or purpose—perhaps akin to an abscessed wisdom tooth from too much consumption of sugar in youth, in need of extraction—, caused the plan to be cancelled. Thus, we heard the music on this side of the pond, without the colour television programme to go with it for some thirteen years until it began to be broadcast in some local markets, alongside the apple vendors. No, it was not genius, but it was interesting for being completely uninteresting, a vapid, pretentious, disconnected hour of nonsense, interspersed by several of what we now call music videos—in short, Felliniesque, albeit only after Fellini was tossed from the bus and ground into the pavement.

Why on earth whoever owns the copyright is so silly as to keep it off the internet, even short excerpts from it—as it is really best experienced thus—, is beyond understanding except in terms of pure greed, which is hardly in keeping with the themes embodied in it.

At the time, as we have pointed out, even the album was a ripoff as it had only seven new songs out of eleven, one of which was an instrumental, and two others having been released on a single a few days before the album's release. But, later on, when it came out in its digital format in 1987, it was a much better presentation for the whole of it sounding fresh and clean and clear, but not in the least iconic.

Anyway, we liked it, both the album and the colour television film. But why that was, we cannot exactly say. One must sometimes, we suppose, suspend analysis for an hour or so, and go around in silly circles.

A piece from the Durham Herald, titled "Freedom and the Tasks Before Us", recommends being alert to defend civil liberties contained in the Bill of Rights as the concerted attempt was being made by the totalitarian foes of democracy to extinguish them. But in so doing, it urges, the country could not abandon its civil liberties at home, succumbing to panic, fear, demagoguery, or long-concealed distrust of the democratic system in favor of authoritarianism. If the sacrifices made to defeat totalitarianism included the basic freedoms for which the sacrifices were being made, then the cause disappeared and victory, if it came at all, would be Pyrrhic and hollow.

Drew Pearson tells of the President having been ready to impose a general price freeze until informed by the new Price administrator, Mike Di Salle, and Economic Stabilization director, Alan Valentine, that they lacked the staff for enforcement and that imposition of pervasive controls would thus be ignored and treated as a joke by business and the public. The President thus relented on such a price freeze.

Mr. Pearson notes that the President had authority from Congress for three months to appoint a Price administrator for all prices except farm prices, excluded via the pressure of the farm lobby. He also notes that three former OPA administrators from the war were available for appointment, Leon Henderson, Paul Porter and outgoing Governor Chester Bowles. He suggests that the President, however, appeared to have an "inferiority complex" about calling on men who had served under FDR.

A secret deal had been made between the U.S. and Canada to expand production of Canadian aluminum at the expense of production in the U.S. Alcoa, which operated an affiliate in Canada, Alcan, would nevertheless receive a windfall from the agreement, which entailed having the U.S. furnish steel to build a giant mill in Kitimat, British Columbia, over the course of three years, producing, when completed, 500,000 tons per year. Alcoa had encouraged the arrangement after its first attempt had failed in October when National Security Resources Board chairman Stuart Symington and Jess Lawton intervened to stop it. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer, however, had gone above them to get it approved. Kitimat was only 1,600 miles from Siberian air bases, whereas the proposed American plants were on the Gulf Coast, 5,000 miles from Siberia.

He notes that Alcoa had sold 200,000 pounds of aluminum to Communist China, a million pounds to Poland, and three million pounds to Czechoslovakia, all after the attack on South Korea.

General MacArthur was leaving it to his field commanders to determine how far they should go in censoring news reports from the front. He had resisted mandatory censorship of any kind until news had leaked of the Hungnam evacuation. The Joint Chiefs had urged him twice previously to impose censorship, but he had ignored their advice on the basis that he did not have adequate censors available. Still, he had stressed in his directive to field commanders that it was not the desire to impose complete censorship. He quotes the directive.

Senate Republicans were seeking to replace Senator Wayne Morse with Senator Homer Capehart on the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Morse had opposed the resolution to urge firing of Secretary of State Acheson while Senator Capehart was a prime proponent. The outcome of the battle would indicate the direction of the Republicans on foreign policy, whether they would seek a return to isolationism.

Marquis Childs discusses the possibility that the U.S. might be making the same mistake with respect to Communist China's revolution that the British made with Russia in 1918 when it sent a military expedition to Archangel with the intention of overthrowing the fledgling Communist government with the enlisted help of several Cossack generals, who turned out either corrupt or incompetent. The attempt also to get the Japanese to aid the effort by way of invasion from Siberia had likewise failed. He instructs that part of that history was contained in Memoirs of a British Agent by Sir Bruce Lockwood.

He finds the reports of fanatical Chinese soldiers hurling themselves at American lines in Korea instructive of the fact that new forces had been unleashed in Asia which might not be susceptible to being suppressed by the means historically used by the Occidental powers. He suggests that the late Wendell Willkie had perceived this development in his One World, published in 1943, following his around-the-world tour of 1941, from which Mr. Childs quotes of his observation that the Communist Chinese movement was "more a national and agrarian awakening than an international or proletarian conspiracy." Mr. Willkie had found that men and women all over the world were no longer willing to submit to the slavery imposed by the West for profits, and advised that the West had to be as resolved as Asia that imperialism had to be abandoned. "The big house on the hill surrounded by mud huts has lost its awesome charm."

Whether, Mr. Childs suggests, such trends were subject to suppression now by U.S. armed forces posed a large question. A limited war against the Chinese would be used as propaganda by the Communists throughout the Far East to fan hatred of the West. A full-scale war would require at least an American army of five million men, and the difficulties of climate and topography would be as great as in Russia.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that while the sacrifice of Secretary of State Acheson would be unjust, as he had been the one person in the Administration who consistently had gotten things right, it would be necessary to restore confidence in the leadership of the nation. If the mood, as evidenced by the Republican resolutions in both houses of Congress urging his resignation, were not checked, then a majority would soon favor the "scuttle-and-run" strategy advocated by former President Herbert Hoover in his speech of the prior week or even the "abject program of surrender of Joseph P. Kennedy"—though appeasement was more properly attributed to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, as Mr. Kennedy, as we have pointed out previously, received unfair blame for his role as U.S. Ambassador to Britain, a post which he had occupied for only about six months, when in September, 1938 the Munich Pact was formed between France, Britain, Germany and Italy, after which Prime Minister Chamberlain returned home declaring the Pact as embodying "peace for our time". (The Alsops may have more in mind Ambassador Kennedy's statements upon return to the U.S. in November, 1940 after leaving the post, but even that criticism of him as an "appeaser" had been based on a misunderstanding of his remarks, intending to convey the notion that a decent peace could not be negotiated with Germany.)

They find that the world situation was in such peril that it could not hang on the fate of one man, no matter how unjustified his sacrifice. They again relate of the economy in defense which Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson had championed after being appointed in March, 1949, abandoning the policy of his predecessor, James Forrestal, who had wanted to build up Western defenses. In September, 1949, Mr. Johnson had ignored the detonation the previous month of the atom bomb by Russia and even leaked the rumor that the Russians in fact did not have the bomb. Meanwhile, the President, who announced the fact of the detonation, said it changed nothing in American foreign and defense policy.

In spring, 1950, the National Security Council directive No. 68 was issued, in response to which Secretary Acheson recommended "total diplomacy". The President, however, was insisting that the prospects for peace were the best since 1946 and promised further cuts in the defense budget.

When the Korean invasion occurred June 25, the President downplayed the U.N. action against it, characterizing it as a "police action", and refused to implement anything more than limited mobilization. They suggest that had he shown real leadership, he would have repeatedly informed the country and the Congress of the national danger posed by the invasion, followed by proposals for large legislative measures to meet it. While such proposals would have been opposed by Republican leaders such as Senators Taft and Homer Capehart, at the time of the midterm elections the dominant theme would have been the isolationist refusal to deal with the threat of Communism, rather than as it was, the imaginary bogey of the Administration being soft on Communism at home. The contrast between those who had favored strong defense and those who had not would have been manifest and the isolationists would have been defeated at the polls.

To undo this poisoned dickering over personalities which had ensued since the start of the Korean war, Mr. Acheson would have to resign, to restore the focus on the debate regarding the nation's genuine peril, "before disaster overtakes us".

A letter writer takes issue with the December 22 editorial criticizing the policy speech of former President Hoover the prior week, in which he had favored an isolationist stance, pulling back America's defenses to the two oceans and curtailing drastically the giving of foreign aid and defense money. This writer says that Mr. Hoover was not in favor of losing the war, as the editorial had charged, as it was only the "police action" of the U.N. and the President. (First rule of debate: semantic arguments are inherently weak and usually, when pressed to logical limits, capable of devolution to silliness. If that is your best shot, give up the pen.) He questions whether the country could sustain the drain on its military manpower by having to supply 90 percent of the ground troops in the war. He questions where the allies were in this effort. He wonders whether, if the U.N. and the President could commit the country to war in Korea—admitting now that it was, in fact, a war—, they could not do so also in Europe. He thinks the European allies' slowness to rearm lacked excuse.

He concludes that Mr. Hoover was saying that the country should become a power which freedom-loving people could embrace and that such could not be accomplished by sacrificing resources and the country's best manpower in undeclared wars which had practically no chance of being won.

A letter writer favors national unity and sacrifice to confront the world crisis. He counsels that the current time might be a turning point in history for millions unborn, and rather than judging others for their mistakes, he favors forgiveness and prayer for the country's leaders and those who had fought and died to preserve freedom.

A Quote of the Day: "Then there's the little boy who wrote Santa thus: 'Please bring my daddy an electric train just like the one you bring me.'" —Starkville (Miss.) News

Well, what happened?

Third Day of Christmas: Three television images.

Fourth Day of Christmas: Four players swinging.

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