The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 5, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Chinese army was preparing to enter abandoned Pyongyang this night, evacuated on October 20 by the North Koreans. The last of the U.N. troops had withdrawn during the day, leaving behind a flaming ruin insofar as any facilities or equipment which might have military utility, including all of the bridges across the Taedong River to the south. Most of the city's residents had fled in terror at the approaching Chinese army.

Total American casualties thus far in Korea were numbered at 31,784, including 4,789 killed, 21,900 wounded, and 5,018 missing, as of the December 4 counts, pending notification of relatives on additional casualties. A total of 100,000 American troops were currently fighting on the ground, with about 26,000 more in the Navy and Air Force. Unofficial estimates had about the same number of South Korean ground troops in the fight, but suffering, according to the South Korean defense minister, a million deaths thus far, including those of police and civilians. Previously, South Korean President Syngman Rhee had estimated 100,000 military and 200,000 civilian deaths. Of the additional 17,900 men from the other U.N. nations fighting in the war, there had been reported 340 casualties. Thus, based on those reports, the U.S. had supplied about six times more men and suffered 90 times the casualties of the other U.N. nations, excluding air and naval forces.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Omar Bradley, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in executive session that withdrawals of U.N. troops had made evacuation possible from Korea if the line could not be held. Senator Taft complained that Republican leaders were merely updated on policy over the weekend and were not consulted at all on what policy would be.

During the conference between the President and Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain, it was said that consideration was being given to a complete withdrawal of U.N. forces from Korea and that General Bradley had informed both leaders the previous day that evacuation plans were prepared if needed. The President took time out to say to a Washington audience that the troops faced "tremendous odds" in the fight at this point against the Chinese, but that the nation would continue the struggle for freedom regardless of what occurred. The two leaders had also reportedly agreed that forces had to be built up forthwith in Europe to offset the reverses in Korea, to avoid loss of confidence in Western military capability in Europe and Western prestige in Asia. An unidentified British informant at the meeting said that the two also agreed that in the event the U.N. forces were pushed off the peninsula, they would seek to return, and that they should do everything possible to avoid open war with China.

The 14 NATO nations had developed a compromise plan for getting West German troops into Western European defense, possibly acceptable to the wary French, whereby the appointment of a civilian high commissioner would occur, responsible for recruitment of German soldiers and integration of them into the NATO army. Under the plan, expected to be approved the next day, Germany would contribute one-fifth of the land forces needed for Western European defense. But West Germany was said to be opposed to the plan for its discrimination against Germany, with its subjection to a high commissioner implying that West Germany would not be a full ally. A British informant said that General Eisenhower was expected to be named supreme commander of NATO within the ensuing three days.

At the U.N., six nations, including the Big Three Western powers, called upon the General Assembly to act immediately on the resolution to order Communist Chinese intervention in Korea halted and withdrawal of the Chinese forces back across the Yalu River, a resolution vetoed the prior week in the Security Council by Russia. The resolution now only urged consideration of the matter, softening the tone of its counterpart before the Council, understood to be in deference to the ongoing talks between the President and Mr. Attlee. It would form the basis for the discussion of the issue by the 14-nation steering committee.

The excess profits tax bill was ready for House approval and apparently faced clear sailing in the Senate. The vote in the House would either occur this date or the next day. Republicans supported a bill to impose a smaller tax, 75 percent of the profits above the 1946-49 average, with a five percent hike in corporate income tax. The Administration bill imposed the 75 percent rate on those profits over 85 percent of the 1946-49 average, based on the taxpayer's best three of the four years, yielding an estimated 3.4 billion in new revenue. The Treasury Department wanted 75 percent of that over 75 percent of the average, yielding four billion.

The House Banking Committee approved a ninety-day extension of rent controls beyond the first of the year. Under current law, rent controls would expire at the end of the year, absent local extension by six months. The Senate was currently debating a 60-day extension.

In the second in the series of articles, based on Government reports, regarding how to survive a nuclear attack, The News suggests that there was no cause to be fearful of super bombs as the larger atomic weaponry wasted a lot of its energy, that it did not matter whether a building at ground zero was vaporized or merely knocked down by a blast, as it was destroyed in either event. Even with a second of warning of an atomic blast, there was only one thing to do: fall flat on one's face, as more than half of all wounds came from being bodily tossed by the blast or hit by flying debris, made less likely by a prone position. Inside a building, the best place to lie down was next to a cellar wall or, if not available, because one does not live in the cellar, next to an interior wall or under a bed or table—as long as the bed or table is nailed to the floor and the floor is secured well to the foundation, which is dug deep into the ground for about fifty yards, with steel pilings in place to reinforce it. It warns not to get near windows. If outdoors, lie next to a substantial building, not a wooden one like your house, or jump into the gutter. If you already live there, you have a head start. It counsels not looking up to see what is transpiring, as the A-bomb could cause momentary blindness. One should bury one's head in one's hands for 10 or 12 seconds following the blast—and then hope that, afterward, you were not vaporized and could still open your eyes to see all of the devastation and ruin surrounding you.

Then call Curt LeMay on your walkie-talkie, frequency 666, for instructions on what to do next.

A cold wave pushed across the Midwest, dropping the mercury below zero, as the mass of Arctic air fanned across the North Central states, with predicted temperatures in Minnesota of 10 to 20 below zero, zero to five in Chicago, and ten to fifteen above in the Ohio River valley by the next morning. Wear something warm and some high booties to avoid the blast.

On the editorial page, "The Truman-Attlee Talks" tells of Prime Minister Clement Attlee delineating well the purpose of his talks with the President, "to align our policies in the new and troubled situation in the world and to find the means of upholding what we both know to be right."

The interruption of that alignment had come with the Chinese intervention in Korea and consideration by the President, according to his press conference statement of the prior week, of use of the atomic bomb. The British were concerned that use of an atomic bomb in Korea could ignite a full-scale war with Russia, with Europe and Britain at its epicenter once again. Britain also doubted that the atomic bomb could achieve victory until the military was fully manned.

Since there were no basic disagreements in policy goals between the two countries, it should be possible, it posits, for the two leaders to iron out any differences on these issues.

"Alternatives in Korea" tells of two editorials on the page, taking opposite sides on the issue of withdrawal of U.N. troops behind the 38th parallel in Korea. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, opposing the advance originally beyond the parallel, favored withdrawal, enabling use of air power on Chinese supply lines from Manchuria, without violating the Manchurian border and prompting thereby general war with China. The New York Times contended that no other decision was possible at the time than to cross the 38th parallel, approved by the U.N. after deliberative consideration of all potential consequences.

The piece finds the debate largely academic now that the Chinese had thrust nearly a million men into battle, with 200,000 to 300,000 on their way to the Yalu River. It doubts that the U.N. forces could hold back the Chinese horde if they wanted to push the U.N. forces entirely from the peninsula. It left the alternative of complete withdrawal from Korea to enable confronting Russia at a time and place of the country's choosing. The other choices were to use the atomic bomb, probably ineffective in achieving victory, or to try to hold the ground and hope that the Chinese would not force the issue beyond the 38th parallel.

"Like Father, Like Son" finds not many slackers of the sort of Alfred Bergdoll among the young men facing the draft for Korea. Young Mr. Bergdoll had drawn attention for refusing to fight in Korea, as he was the son of the most notorious slacker of World War I, Grover Cleveland Bergdoll. Without reference to the flag-waving speeches of super patriots or the recruitment posters, the nation's young men understood their responsibilities in time of peril and were meeting them.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "The Story of Gerry", tells of the Republican state headquarters issuing a booklet titled "Buzzard Nest Methods", with the subtitle, "The Story of Gerry Mander Buzzard and How He Grew". It was aimed at Democrats and their gerrymandering tactics to carve out and ostracize Republican votes through the districts, especially in the western part of the state. The term "gerrymander" derived from Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts in 1812, subsequently Vice-President under President Madison. It provides examples of the gerrymander in the state, in the Eighth and Seventeenth Congressional districts.

State boards were elected by the Legislature, and judges, by statewide vote, rather than by counties and judicial districts, respectively, excluding Republicans thereby from the boards and judicial posts.

The piece finds that these structures were stunting the growth of the Democratic Party and defeating its own ends. Thoughtful people of either party did not like it.

An editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as indicated above, favors withdrawal by the U.N. troops south of the 38th parallel, where the war began. For war with China, as it believes, was being pushed by Russia, and would weaken both China and the U.S., enabling Soviet Communism to sweep over all of Asia and then enable Russian military might to sweep over all of Europe. The war in Korea was hopeless as long as the servile Chinese continued to pump expendable troops into the peninsula. The only way to stop it would be to interdict supply lines and the only way to do that without starting a general war with China by bombing Manchuria would be to withdraw and bomb the supply lines again in North Korea, as had proved effective in the earlier phase of the war.

To do otherwise, it concludes, would be to serve the interests of Russia by either condemning to death the U.N. troops by sending them into the mouth of the Chinese horde or by engaging China directly in war by bombing Manchuria.

An editorial from the New York Times, as also indicated above, considers the criticism of the original decision to cross the 38th parallel, that it had backfired with the Chinese intervention in the war once the offensive had reached the Yalu River and the "end-of-the-war" offensive had been launched by General MacArthur in the northwest sector on November 24. On October 7, the U.N. General Assembly, after due consideration to all aspects of the problem, including the possibility that it would cause the Chinese to intervene, voted to allow the U.N. troops to proceed north of the parallel, realizing that failing to do so would have invited the Communists to renew the war at their leisure after rebuilding their military strength, rendering the present conflict in vain. The decision was thus made reasonably, with only five dissenting votes from the Soviet bloc and eight abstentions, Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Afghanistan and four Middle Eastern states.

It concludes that it was therefore a decision freely made, representative of tens of millions of people around the world, and was now worth defending.

Drew Pearson tells of it being partly a fluke, the offhand comment by the President that consideration was being given to use of the atomic bomb in the Korean war, which led to the Truman-Attlee conference, one of the most important meetings since Potsdam in July, 1945. Diplomats agreed, however, that it was necessary to synchronize British-American relations. British Labor leaders were nonplussed by the President's remark, especially as the President appeared to leave use of the bomb to the discretion of General MacArthur, regarded as cavalier in British circles after he had circumvented State Department opposition to U.N. troop penetration to the Yalu River and the power plants along it serving China and Korea.

The British did not realize that the President had made his statement in response to oral queries by journalists and that the White House had clarified three hours later that only the President could order use of the atomic bomb and that no such authorization had been granted to General MacArthur. Since news came to Commons of the statement during debate of foreign policy, with 63 Labor MP's favoring a high-level conference before any further decisions were made on Korea, it had special impact. Conservatives, too, had favored such a conference.

When the statement of the President hit the chamber, 100 Conservatives signed a petition for presentation by Winston Churchill that if the U.S. used the bomb, Britain should pull out of Korea. Thus it was that Prime Minister Attlee urgently sought the conference with the President.

The probe of Senator Guy Gillette into high coffee prices had hit the mark in blaming chain grocery stores and New York commodities traders, but had caused a major snafu in Latin American relations by imprudently blaming the coffee growers of Latin America for the price hike, leaving an opening for the Communists to exploit. The coffee growers, like American farmers, had suffered lean years prior to the war, and reasons for increased prices were identical to those for that of American produce, that the world was consuming more. Aware of the problem, the State Department warned that the investigation was playing into Communist hands, and Senator Clinton Anderson sought to put the quietus on Senator Gillette's effort. But Senator Gillette persisted, with the support of Agriculture Committee chairman Senator Elmer Thomas, until his defeat in the recent election following Mr. Pearson's revelations of his speculation on commodities over which he had a measure of control in the Senate. Senator Allen Ellender would now be the new Agriculture Committee chairman and was planning to end the Gillette probe.

Brazil was supplying the country with much needed manganese for the Korean war, but without the same enthusiasm as during World War II, thanks to the investigation by Senator Gillette, impacting negatively the Brazilian economy.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the intelligence failure regarding the Chinese intervention in Korea being that of General MacArthur's staff of intelligence officers under the direction of Maj. General Charles Willoughby, with General MacArthur since Bataan in 1942. Normally, the CIA was responsible for gathering and processing intelligence in a war theater, and Army G-2, primarily responsible for the military interpretation of it, with only the most limited responsibility for its gathering. General MacArthur, however, had demonstrated dislike for this form, even when it was being established as a pattern with the OSS and G-2 during World War II, even banning OSS from operating in his Pacific theater. Until the spring of 1950, he had banned the CIA from the Tokyo sphere and even then, it had to be under the control of General Willoughby along with theater G-2, an arrangement remaining in force after the Korean war began, until the Inchon landing of September 15.

Inchon would not have succeeded without superior intelligence and General MacArthur congratulated the CIA representatives for their work. But then, the old ban of CIA suddenly went back into force, with all intelligence gathering and processing reverting to General Willoughby's staff, where it remained.

To mask the intelligence deficiency, there was an attempt to color it as the result of the prohibition on air operations north of the Yalu River, but General MacArthur knew of this ban long before committing the troops to the Yalu offensive and initiating the "end-of-the-war" thrust which had so backfired. He also tried to claim that the latter offensive was to blunt an expected drive by the Chinese, but the Alsops regard this explanation as nonsense.

As late as latter September, General MacArthur had been convinced that the Chinese would not intervene, and expressed as much to the President during their meeting on Wake Island in October, only a few days before the initial crossing by Chinese troops into Korea, taking the U.N. forces completely by surprise. Even then, the intervention was considered de minimis, dismissed as a few troops to plug the depleted units of North Korea.

No commanding general in his right mind would have hurled a force with a large gap at its center against a known enemy of great strength. The 200,000 Chinese troops awaiting the latest offensive had to have been somehow overlooked by the General's intelligence staff. Thus, they conclude, General MacArthur had to have been completely sincere in his belief that the war would be over by Christmas, walking into a huge trap. They regard it as better to admit that fact than to suggest that he had allowed the troops to enter the trap knowingly.

They conclude that the lesson was that even a great commander could not overcome bad intelligence. It might displease those who wanted to believe that the General had attained a status close to divine perfection, but facts were facts.

Robert C. Ruark finds his mail to have revealed that a large number of people were angry regarding the television advertising campaign run on radio and in newspapers designed to make parents who refused to buy a television appear as Scrooges, including an endorsement that television was "as necessary to juvenile morale as fresh air and sunshine for health." It made it appear that mental health of children was dependent on regular doses of Milton Berle, Howdy Doody and Hopalong Cassidy.

But after a week of brooding on the matter, he began to realize that all such hucksterism was founded on threat, from the need for mouthwash to deodorant. Every bit of it was based on social ostracism for not buying the designated product, from corsets to rye whiskey to nostrums for the baby. It all led to blackmail by someone in the family to buy the product, lest the friendless fate predicted be suffered. The hucksters knew the craft and exploited it with aplomb. He concludes that the American high standard of living was practically built on the practice.

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