The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 30, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the biggest air battle yet of the war had been fought over Korea between 15 American F-86 Sabre jets and 40 Russian-built MIG-15 jets, near the Manchurian border. Two MIGs were damaged and no American planes were hit. In an earlier, smaller dogfight, American Sabres shot down a single MIG and damaged another, near Sinuiju.

In ground action, two enemy forces penetrated 12 to 13 miles deep into South Korean territory on the eastern flank of the Eighth Army's front. U.N. forces were said to be in "contact" with an enemy force of 5,000 troops, operating in the hills 32 miles inland from the east coast, with a smaller force of 2,000, 10 miles from the east coast. But no statement indicated that fighting had begun. Allied troops were reported by headquarters to have made minor gains in the Chogyo-Oron east-central sector.

Correspondent Hal Boyle reported that Seoul had become a ghost town. In a four-hour clash 27 miles north of Seoul, an allied patrol crossed the frozen Imjin River and encountered an enemy force which drove them back, but only after 21 Chinese had been killed and 15 wounded.

Correspondent William Barnard reported that there was evidence of Communist infiltration of allied troops and cutting of U.N. supply routes in the eastern sector.

U.N. forces gained from a 1,000 to 1,500 yards in a light engagement 20 miles northeast of Chunchon.

General MacArthur was predicting that the major invasion by the Communists would begin between January 1 and 10.

In Harrisburg, Pa., funds were being raised by the American Legion for Pfc. Robert L. Smith, who had lost parts of four limbs in Korea.

Favorable conditions in European recovery enabled curtailment of Marshall Plan aid by forty percent during the first eleven months of 1950. The U.K. received 436.9 million dollars of aid, the most of any single nation. France was next with 372 million, followed by Italy with 275.3 million and West Germany, with 222.3 million.

Alabama Senator John Sparkman, to become the vice-presidential candidate with Governor Adlai Stevenson on the Democratic presidential ticket in 1952, proposed a full-scale Senate debate on foreign policy to help settle the rising controversy in Congress regarding defense plans. Senator Sparkman, a member of the American delegation to the U.N., said that he agreed with John Foster Dulles, adviser to the State Department, that the U.S. could not make its defenses impregnable by abandoning Europe but believed differences between the approach of Secretary of State Acheson and that favored recently by former President Herbert Hoover, advocating a return to isolationism, ought be aired in the Senate.

Senator Taft, speaking in Cincinnati, said that he had no confidence in the judgment of many of the top military people at the Pentagon. Senator Kenneth Wherry said that he believed the U.S. should not fritter away its resources with patchwork defenses around the globe and instead favored an "impregnable ring of air bases around Russia" set up by the U.S. and its allies.

The National Production Authority prohibited non-essential use of copper in more than 300 civilian products, including pots and pans, building hardware, furniture, electrical appliances, jewelry, toys, automotive applications, plumbing fixtures, cocktail shakers and paper clips, starting March 1.

What about moonshining equipment?

Housing Expediter Tighe Woods announced that landlords were approved for a million rent increases in 1950, averaging 18.2 percent, and rent controls were lifted on four million dwelling units, with controls still extant on 7.5 million units. More than 85 percent of landlords who sought increases had been approved.

The nation's railroad engineers, following a two-day discussion, asked for improvements to the three-year pact between the railroads and trainmen, tentatively settled the prior week with the help of the Government.

In Akron, O., a World War II veteran went berserk and killed his parents, and a niece and nephew, both infants, beating up his parents and then setting fire to the house. He admitted the conduct after police found him running around naked in the snow.

The National Safety Council predicted that 330 persons would die in traffic fatalities during the 78-hour holiday weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. Friday and lasting until midnight Monday. It reported that 31,230 had died in traffic accidents during the first eleven months of 1950, 270 less than during all of 1949, but 1,029 less than during 1948. The record was established in 1941 at 39,969, and more than 35,000 deaths had occurred in each of the years, 1934 through 1937. During the Christmas holiday period, 545 persons had died in traffic accidents, one of the highest totals on record for an extended holiday.

In Charlotte, David Ovens was named Man of the Year for his community service in heading the drive to build a new auditorium-coliseum complex at a site on Independence Boulevard and his beneficent gift to Queens College, among other examples of lengthy service to Charlotte, including having brought Enrico Caruso to town toward the end of the Metropolitan Opera star's career and having been one of the founders of the Charlotte Community Concert Association.

The National Council of Churches of Christ had set New Year's Eve as a day of prayer to welcome in 1951. Catholics would, per the usual practice, attend mass on both Sunday and Monday.

Times Square would be jammed with revelers on Sunday night. Some saloons in New York were charging up to $50 per couple for an evening of entertainment.

Exactly how do you mean?

Sports fans would worship at the trough of such fare as the Rose Bowl, where 90,000 fans would see the annual game and preceding Rose Parade through Pasadena.

News sports editor Bob Quincy looks at preparation by Clemson's football team for the Orange Bowl in Miami, against the University of Miami, on pages 2B and 3B.

We wish the Tigers success on Monday, notwithstanding that lousy call two years ago by the referees in the A.C.C. Championship game with UNC, when the plainly recovered onside kick was called back for an alleged offside penalty, which had not happened. It was not Clemson's fault that the referees were blind.

In Bath, England, a 40-year old farm worker was sentenced to a month in jail for drunk driving on his bicycle.

On the editorial page, "1950 Lynching Record" finds that, based on Tuskegee Institute's annual survey of lynching, two lynchings had occurred in 1950 with seven attempted, compared to three in 1949. It analogizes the news to hearing that a friend's fever had fallen from 103 to 101. It provides a synopsis of the two lynching cases.

The first was Charlie Hurst, in Pell City, Alabama, who, on the night of February 22, had been fatally wounded, along with injury to his son when he had sought to free his father from a group of unmasked men, who had sought to force Mr. Hurst from his home into their car.

The second was Jack Walker, a 40-year old laborer from Meriwether County, Ga., whose body was discovered by fishermen in a creek near the Flint River on August 18, apparently killed for having learned too much about illegal whiskey traffic.

It finds that neither case fit the classic pattern of black men being taken from their homes in the dead of night by a mob of masked white men, suggesting that some might find therefore that neither case deserved to be called a lynching. But it refuses to quibble with the definition of "lynching", as the patient, the South, was still very much ill. It finds it a remarkable record, however, given that the South's temper was still short regarding matters of race, as evidenced by the Horry County, S.C., case wherein a group of Klansmen, including a Conway police officer, caused a melee at a black dance hall in Myrtle Beach, resulting in one of the Klansmen being killed, and yet the Grand Jury had refused indictment of the Klansmen responsible for the fracas.

It finds that the more important statistics would be those to measure the enlightenment of Southerners and that those "would be not half so comfortable to look upon as the lynch record."

"Man of the Year" congratulates David Ovens for being named Man of the Year in Charlotte, again, as in an editorial of December 19, lauding him for his public service and private charity. It also lists the prior winners of the award since 1944 and concludes that Mr. Ovens belonged in their company.

"Here's a Way You Can Help" tells of Senator Harry F. Byrd having written to the President a letter showing in detail how the Government could save seven billion dollars without impairing defense, commensurate with the President's directive to Budget Director Frederick Lawton. It was unlikely that the President would pay much attention to Senator Byrd's advice as the two did not get along. But Mr. Lawton might heed the advice to pare 3.6 billion from domestic programs, plus 500 million in civilian pay rolls on defense programs, in addition to the four billion already cut.

It proposes that the public write their advice to members of Congress for reducing non-defense expenditures.

"'Eve' and 'The Boulevard'" tells of the New York film critics having the previous week awarded to the motion picture "All About Eve" the top prize for 1950, and to "Sunset Boulevard", second place. That both concerned show business was no coincidence, manifesting the trend of disenchantment with Hollywood. In these two pictures, the movie industry showed itself also to be growing tired of its redundant "diet of meringue". That box office receipts were high for both pictures showed public support for the trend.

The piece says that while it liked Betty Grable in technicolor, it did not want her or her facsimile every week. Hollywood was growing up.

Don't bet on it too hard. A few exceptions to the rule do not a new rule make.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Educated Drivers", tells of more than 30 percent of drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents in 1948 having been under age 25, with the percentage having reduced to 28 in 1949, a change in the previous upward trend, attributable to increasing driver education in the nation's high schools, about a third of which offered such courses in 1950, an increase of 23 percent over 1949, with participation of 550,000 pupils.

A panel of six young drivers had recently appeared before the AAA, counseling that both parents and students should discourage show-off driving and that adults' lack of courtesy on the roads was the most common cause of accidents—failure to yield the right-of-way to the always correct young driver, even if on the wrong side of the road barreling for your front bumper.

The piece counsels a new corollary to an old motto: "Drive and let live".

But would not that, for the sake of poetic consistency, really require either an incorrect pronunciation of "drive" as "give" or that "live" be pronounced as "alive"? leading to a bit of a conundrum arising in discussions at the high school lunch tables.

So wouldn't it be better to have a slogan, such as, "Drive moderately in the right lane, or derive a potter's writ bedight in pain"?

Or, more succinctly, "It's no drivel: drive on the level."

Or, "It's no jive: When you drive, be existential, not pestilential."

Drew Pearson tells of General MacArthur being urged by the Pentagon to get rid of his Army G-2 intelligence chief, Maj. General Charles Willoughby, because of the poor intelligence gathered leading to the debacle at the Manchurian border, causing the retreat in the northeast sector and need for evacuation at Hungnam from the Communist Chinese trap. General MacArthur had said on December 2 that there were 500,000 Chinese troops in Korea, only six days after General Willoughby had reported that there were insufficient numbers of Chinese to impede the mission to have the American troops "home by Christmas", in the offensive drive to the Manchurian border begun in the west and east on November 24. Then, two days later, General MacArthur reported more than a million enemy troops either in Korea or on the Manchurian border and ready to enter the fight.

Yet, on December 6, General Willoughby had cabled to the Joint Chiefs that there were six Chinese armies identified, which would be no more than 96,000 men, and that number only in the unlikely event that these armies were at full strength. Yet, the U.S. Eighth Army had more than 100,000 men to combat those forces and still had to retreat.

Mr. Pearson concludes that the hordes of Chinese claimed by General MacArthur were not actually present. He makes room for the possibility that General Willoughby was wrong, leading to confusion in the Pentagon. While he had revised his estimate of enemy troop strength to be at 285,000 Chinese and 150,000 North Koreans previously facing the Tenth Corps in the Hungnam sector, the total U.N. forces still outnumbered such a contingent.

Military wisdom stated that a three-to-one advantage in manpower was necessary for a successful offensive. Plus, the U.N. forces had complete control of the air, while the Chinese possessed almost no artillery save that captured from the allies. Thus, Pentagon officials were puzzled by the necessity of the 120-mile retreat. The immediate retreat was explainable in terms of the U.N. troops being spread too thin, but the fact did not explain the further retreat.

In mid-December, General Willoughby had calculated that each Chinese soldier had no more than three hand grenades and a rifle or sub-machine gun, extremely light firepower for an attacking army. Their only means to transport ammunition was via ox or mule carts and each man in consequence entered battle with most of his ammunition on his person.

Another puzzling communique of General Willoughby in mid-December had been that the enemy had been forced by outrunning its supply lines to pull up, causing the Eighth Army's retreat to have lost all contact with the enemy. The Pentagon interpreted this information to mean that the Eighth Army had failed to keep contact with the enemy, one of the fundamental rules of military strategy.

General Willoughby had found the Chinese to have exhibited lack of elasticity of planning and staff and command structures, resulting in offensive actions being limited to "stereotyped campaigns" with "slow succession of limited objectives". He concluded that the Chinese command was thus unprepared for its success in the initiative begun November 28, with the result that it had to regroup its forces for the continuation of the offensive.

The Pentagon was even more concerned over the fact that the worst retreat in modern military history had been made, if General Willoughby's assessments were correct, before relatively weak, unprepared Chinese armies.

He concludes that either General Willoughby or General MacArthur, estimating a force of more than 1.35 million Chinese, had been engaged in deception of the American public through their respective press releases.

Marquis Childs tells of inviting two of the many convalescing Marines returned from Korea to share Christmas Day with his family. Both had been involved in the fight to escape the trap of the Fifth and Seventh Marine Regiments at Changjin reservoir. One, a private first class, 19, had received a machine-gun bullet through his upper arm, which had also been frostbitten. The other, a corporal, 20, had both of his feet become badly frostbitten. A new type of treatment permitted him to wear shoes without too much discomfort. Three weeks earlier, both had been in the midst of the fighting but because of modern medicine and transport, now could settle down in their living room to Christmas dinner. Outwardly, both appeared remarkably untouched by their ordeal. The private had his arm in a cast and sling and the corporal had lost some teeth in the freezing cold around the reservoir. Otherwise, they appeared as any two Marines.

Both Marines were strangers to one another, but became immediately friendly in the manner of most young Americans.

They eventually related of their ordeal, escaping the deadly trap through the frozen mountain passes. One said that upon his return to see the lights of California, he resolved that a war must never be fought within the United States.

Mr. Childs regards the viewpoint as originating in common sense, a type putting to shame the "croakers, the defeatists and the apostles of despair who are saying that America must pull back inside a walled enclosure to make a last stand."

The two Marines were men who knew what it was to fight and had appeared to learn a lot more than those who had remained at home.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of a majority of American policy-makers hoping that the beachhead in Korea would prove untenable, as it would be more preferable to be pushed out and evacuate with honor than to try to hold ground against the new Chinese offensive.

One reason for the attitude was that Japan was stripped of defenses with the troops occupied in Korea. Europe, with more strategic importance than any part of Asia, was threatened with Communist aggression in the spring, necessitating the training of new American divisions, difficult with nearly all available new manpower going to the war.

The reason for the commitment in Korea in the first place was that the policy-makers feared outbreak of a general war unless the Communists were checked, that appeasement would lead to more Soviet-stimulated aggression. It was deemed appropriate to try to stem the tide of aggression in Korea, comparable to stopping Hitler in 1936 when he had re-annexed the Rhineland.

In the prior July, this approach had probably been correct, as the Russians probably did not desire general war at that time. But at some later point, as discerned by the peculiar timing of the Chinese intervention, occurring well after it would have been an immediate success in the earlier stages of the war when the U.N. forces were reduced to defending the 120-mile perimeter around Pusan, the masters of the Kremlin appeared to have decided that general war was worth the risk after all, probably upon figuring out the extent to which the U.S. was unprepared militarily for war.

Now, the intervention in Korea by the U.N. had failed in its original purpose to stop a general war. The Alsops urge therefore that Korea was not the place for the U.S. to make a stand, with general war an imminent danger and even a probability. So, the change of strategy by the decision-makers was reasonable. What was less obvious was why American troops had already not been withdrawn. If the forces were pushed out, the unnecessary consequent loss of life would be the least of the results, compared to loss of American prestige all over the world and the resulting panic among allies.

They thus counsel admitting the mistakes in judgment, based on false assumptions about Russian willingness to provoke general war, and withdrawal while making it clear that the particular instance was no surrender but rather a military re-disposition of forces to enable overall victory in the end.

Tom Schlesinger of The News, in his weekly "Capital Roundup", tells of the pro forma sessions of Congress occurring every three days to accord rules, one lasting 22 seconds in the Senate and one in the House, for a only a few minutes. The Congress did not want the session to expire until it could return on January 2 to complete action on the 3.3 billion dollar excess profits tax and the 20 billion dollar arms appropriations bill.

In the new Congress, to begin January 3, the Southern Democrats would be the crucial bloc of votes which would determine action for or against Administration proposals. Forty of the 47 Senate Republicans would oppose consistently the Administration except possibly on civil rights legislation, requiring that at least 42 of the 49 Democrats support it. But 22 Democrats were from the South and twelve of those were outspoken opponents of the Fair Deal. Thus, the necessary majority of 49 could not be reached on those numbers. The Administration therefore would have to make concessions to the twelve generally opposing Southerners to get their support. While the House would be more hospitable to the Administration's polices, without Senate support, legislation would die. One unnamed member of the Southern bloc said that they would cooperate if they received concessions on civil rights, the Brannan farm program, national health insurance, Taft-Hartley revisions and taxes, the heart of the Fair Deal. The bloc, however, would probably be satisfied if the President simply refrained from pushing any one of these issues very hard.

Even in the House, a Republican-Southern coalition could control a majority by a margin of 40 votes. The Democrats had a seventeen-seat majority of the 435 seats, with a hundred Democrats being from the South.

A fight could occur in the Rules Committee, where rules could be created to bottle up legislation, designed to weaken the Administration-backed rules which had made it harder to do so in the 81st Congress, enabling the chairman of any committee to obtain a floor vote on any measure held by the Rules Committee for three weeks.

Because Rhode Island had not ratified the Constitution and North Carolina had not done so until it ratified the Bill of Rights, there was question by college professors advising the remodel of the House chamber as to whether eleven or thirteen stars, one for each original state, should be placed on the marble mantel behind the dais of the Speaker. There was also an ongoing debate whether the flag should display eleven or thirteen stripes.

The Washington Post editorially congratulated the work of Senator Clyde Hoey's committee which had investigated homosexuals and perverts in Government service.

Senator Willis Smith was still searching for an apartment.

More than two columns of the Christmas edition of the Post had been devoted to former Senator Frank Graham's call for an undergirding of the free world and the principles of the U.N.

According to the Congressional Quarterly, only Senator Harry F. Byrd voted more times against the Democratic majority than had Senator Hoey during 1950.

Only three members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation, Congressmen Graham Barden, Robert Doughton, and F. Ertel Carlyle, had voted against the aid to Yugoslavia bill.

Which leads to the question as to how many children Mr. Carlyle had.

Sixth Day of Christmas: Six Driving Livers.

Seventh Day of Christmas: Seven Byrds Bailing.

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