The Charlotte News

Friday, December 8, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that thousands of American and allied troops in the northeast sector of Korea were battling desperately to break free from the fiery Chinese traps this date in an effort to reach the east coast of Korea for probable mass evacuation at Hungnam. Chinese forces were reported to be close behind one retreating complement of 20,000 U.S. Marines and infantrymen at the Koto airstrip, south of Changjin reservoir, where a Chinese attack on the airstrip made the critical situation worse. Driving north to meet them was a force from the U.S. Third Division, clearing roads into the mountains from Hungnam. But thousands of Chinese were massing north of Hungnam and nearby Hamhung to threaten to cut them off again, even if they managed to link with the Third Division forces.

The President and Prime Minister Clement Attlee emerged from their three-day conference to express in a 2,000-word statement the hope of peaceful settlement of the Korean crisis, but warned that if the Communist Chinese did not share this hope, then the U.N. would determine the action to take henceforth. They declared their joint intent to uphold the principles of the U.N. Charter. The President said that he hoped it would never become necessary to use the atom bomb and that he would keep Mr. Attlee informed of any changes in that situation. The two admitted their policy disagreement on British recognition of Communist China and America's recognition of the Nationalists on Formosa, but vowed not to let that interfere with united effort toward accomplishing united objectives. There would be no thought of appeasement or of rewarding aggression in Korea, the Far East generally, or elsewhere. The military power of the U.S. and Britain should be increased as rapidly as possible, along with expansion of other allied nations' productive capacity. As soon as agreement was reached for integrating Western European defense, a supreme commander should be appointed for NATO. It was also agreed that an accord on the allocation internationally of raw materials had to be reached, with defense production given the "highest practicable priority" while civilian requirements were also to be met. It called on Soviet Russia and Communist China to modify their ways to seek peaceful resolution of existing issues.

The seven-member U.N. Korean Commission sent its report to the General Assembly, formally challenging claims of the Soviets that the Chinese Communist troops in Korea were volunteers. It said that all Chinese prisoners taken by the U.N. forces were from regular army units and not volunteers. It estimated that at least 400,000 Chinese troops were now in Korea, and that none of the prisoners had the slightest idea of why they were fighting, that they believed they were fighting South Koreans.

Maj. General Claire Chennault, World War II leader of the Flying Tigers in China, writes in the second in his series of three articles on the Far East that permanent peace in the Orient could be won only when Communism was halted in Asia. But he finds that it would be "utter folly" to commit masses of American or foreign troops on the Chinese mainland, a catastrophic course. Formosa and its armies offered the only hope of breaking the Russian grip in Asia, as it afforded the staging area from which to harass the Russians so that their influence would weaken in Korea, become ineffectual generally in Asia, and powerless to extend domination elsewhere. Chinese Nationalist armies needed to be equipped first to defend the island and then to loosen the hold of the Communists on mainland China. The intelligence lines extending from Formosa among kin of those living enslaved on the mainland could prove a formidable weapon to maintain vigilance on internal movements.

Democratic Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada joined with GOP Senators, led by Irving Ives of New York, to ask for the replacement of Secretary of State Acheson, based on Senator McCarran's belief that Mr. Acheson had lost the confidence of the country. The upholding the previous day by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of the perjury conviction of Alger Hiss, Mr. Acheson's friend whom he had stood beside, gave fresh ammunition to those seeking his ouster as head of the State Department. Four Democrats in the House meanwhile defended the record of Mr. Acheson.

The President named Joseph Short, Jr., of the Baltimore Sun to become his new press secretary, replacing Charles G. Ross who had died suddenly Tuesday night. Mr. Short had been with the Sun since 1943 and had served as a correspondent for the Associated Press and several other newspapers prior to that time, spanning back to 1925 when he graduated from VMI. Acting press secretary Steve Early said that Mr. Short was the President's personal choice and would begin the duties on December 18 after a short rest.

Price Stabilizer Michael DiSalle said that plans were being made for a ceiling on prices coupled necessarily with a ceiling on wages, but that he saw no need to implement freezes at the present time and hoped that there would be no need for them. Selective controls on basic defense materials might be imposed before any general controls would be invoked, and it would take, in any event, 60 to 90 days to implement the necessary administrative machinery to enforce the controls.

The Commerce Department banned immediately American ships and planes from carrying strategic materials, including fissionable materials or strategic industrial goods, anywhere in the world destined for Communist China, Russia or its satellites.

In Sicily, Mt. Etna was erupting, causing the evacuation of 2,000 persons from the tiny villages of Milo and Renazzo.

Good luck with that.

A surge of cold air and snow was moving into the Eastern states after winds and rain had whipped through the area. The South got some relief from a cold snap and the Midwest was digging out from the season's heaviest snowfall thus far, with as much as 44 inches being left in northern Michigan.

On the editorial page, "Korea—As Reconnaissance in Force" tells of many newspaper editorials now questioning the President's original decision to commit American forces to Korea, following the disaster of the prior week.

It suggests that while the implementation of the original June 25 U.N. Security Council resolution may have been imperfect—that perhaps the U.S. should have insisted on greater participation by the U.N. members, that perhaps the intentions of the Communists may have been misinterpreted and that bad intelligence had hampered operations&mash;, the original decision to enter the conflict had been the correct one. For if it had not been done, the U.N. would have been so weakened as a peace-keeping organization as to be rendered virtually useless. The remaining free peoples of the Far East and of the whole world would have been left cringing in terror at the prospect of armed Communist aggression.

The Korean war had been much like a "reconnaissance in force" to seek out the enemy, test their strength and determine their intentions. As a result of the war, it was known what the Communists intended and what could be expected from them in the future. The Korean mission would go down in history as a failure only if the nation and the other democracies were remiss in planning their future course of conduct around the information thus made available.

"Politics As Usual" finds that the bill emerging from the House regarding the excess profits tax had been debated for days by the Republican members, challenging the basic concept of an excess profits tax and offering an alternative which would have raised corporate taxes by five percent while giving an average-earnings tax credit for the base period 1946-49 before imposition of the 75 percent excess profits tax on profits above that base-period average. A nearly party-line vote defeated the latter alternative measure, 251 to 145.

Then, the Republicans had caved and voted overwhelmingly for the original Administration-sponsored measure, 378 to 20.

While it often happened, it had not become accustomed to the manner in which Congressmen regularly deserted their stated principles for political expediency.

"American Justice" discusses the reversal of the espionage conviction of Judith Coplon, who had been convicted twice, in D.C. and New York, for the same skein of conduct, taking information from the Justice Department where she worked, the basis for the conviction in D.C., and then attempting to provide it to a Soviet agent in New York, that on which the New York conviction was premised. She had been sentenced the prior March to fifteen years in prison on the latter conviction following the previous conviction in June, 1949, on which she was sentenced to ten years in prison. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, with Judge Learned Hand writing for the three-judge panel, had reversed the 1950 conviction, finding that the arrest without a warrant was without sufficient justification as there were no exigent circumstances, such as a reasonably objective basis for law enforcement to fear escape or destruction of evidence, and was therefore illegal, rendering illegal, pursuant to the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine, the subsequent search of her purse and seizure of the incriminating documents on which the case against her was founded.

The Court also found that the trial court should not have withheld from the defense wiretap evidence on which it based its in camera review which determined that the wiretaps had not led to the discovery of any evidence admitted at trial, that the excuse of "national security" did not justify the non-disclosure.

The Court further suggested that some modification of the law to accommodate wiretapping where there was reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and for protection of national security might be in order, as well as some modification of the exclusionary rule pertaining to holding an entire law enforcement agency, in this case the FBI, responsible for the unlawful conduct of a few agents in obtaining evidence, resulting in the entire chain of evidence built from the tainted evidence being excluded from the trial.

The case was remanded with the statement that because guilt was plain, the indictment would not be dismissed, as other evidence might be presented on retrial to bolster the reasonable suspicion of the agents that Ms. Coplon might have attempted escape at time of arrest and thus justify the warrantless arrest and search of her person and effects.

The Government, suggests the piece, could, on remand, either retry the case, petition for review before the Supreme Court or dismiss it.

Actually, on any such remand, the determination for retrial always has to rest on whether, after an appellate ruling holding certain evidence illegally seized and thus subject to suppression, there would be sufficient evidence still admissible to render a conviction, without which the prosecutorial decision inevitably would have to be to dismiss—the status, in the end, of the case against Ms. Coplon, who was never retried, there apparently not having been any additional evidence to present regarding the belief of the agents that she would attempt to escape.

On June 1, 1951, the D.C. Court of Appeals would also reverse the conviction in that Circuit, but for a different reason, not finding the arrest for want of a warrant invalid and thus not finding the search pursuant to the arrest tainted. The Court instead found that the trial court erred in not affording the defendant a hearing on her claim that the Government had wiretapped conversations with her attorney and thus deprived her of her right to effective assistance of counsel pursuant to the Sixth Amendment, therefore remanding to the trial court for a hearing on the matter. The Court found that the trial court had held erroneously that unless the wiretap yielded incriminating or adverse evidence, it could not have prejudiced the defendant, as the right to effective assistance of counsel was sacrosanct and any interference with that right was enough to taint any conviction derived from it.

The piece posits that no matter what the outcome would be, the fairness of American justice had once again been demonstrated.

We agree but you have not done a very thorough job of explaining the case to the public such that they can likewise agree, and we get tired of having, now and again, to correct your editorial advice on the law. Why don't you hire someone full-time or consult with some knowledgeable member of the Bar before venturing these often silly opinions on subjects of which you obviously understand very little?

You don't pay us anything. Yet, we have to spend our time cleaning up all of your garbage.

In deference to Ms. Coplon, it should be pointed out that she contended in her defense that she had taken the notes found in her purse, the "slips", on the classified Justice Department documents, at the direction of her immediate superior and that she happened to have them in New York when she met the Soviet agent, Valentin Gubitchev, whom she claimed was her lover only. He was also convicted in the New York case of conspiracy to commit espionage but was exonerated from his sentence on condition that he submit to deportation and never return. He had been an employee at the time of his arrest at the U.N. Secretariat, had claimed a rejected defense of diplomatic immunity, but one which, in the end, effectively saved him probably from a prison term.

Query whether Ms. Coplon's defense, and some public sympathy it generated at the time, effectively led the appellate courts to seek a little more sedulously than usual a reason for reversal.

Query whether the absence of that public sympathy, not to mention the assiduous effort by Congressman, now Senator-elect, Richard Nixon to imprison him, led the Second Circuit to slam the cell door rather hard the previous day on the appeal of Alger Hiss—who got the worst of the business, five years in prison for perjury, ultimately for answering HUAC questions candidly, even if the actual basis for the perjury indictment arose from his contesting with Mr. Chambers's claims before the Grand Jury four months afterward, having had the temerity to sue Mr. Chambers for defamation, rather than suffering a contempt citation for simply refusing to answer HUAC questions, as with the "Hollywood Ten", and facing thereby only a year in jail. Did the Republican climate of rejection of Secretary of State Acheson and his friendship to Mr. Hiss, entangled with the ongoing war in Korea and the blame for it being projected onto Mr. Acheson, contribute to the rejection of the Hiss appeal?

Or was it all, the Hiss and Coplon-Gubitchev outcomes, purely based on objective interpretation of the law within the rarefied chambers, divorced from the jibber-jabber of society outside the big brass doors, beyond the purview, respectively, of the Corinthian and Ionic columns?

"'The Thing'" tells of the current song on the jukebox and the radio embodying the ubiquitous "thing", onto which all frustrations could be projected. After suggesting the litany of objects potentially represented, it concludes, "Yes, indeed, The Thing can be anything."

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Some Just Sit; Some Sit and Think", tells of Mynheer Hendrik J. Jansen Klomp of Holland playing the role of Dutch uncle, asserting the unvarnished truth out of benevolence and good intent, that the people of the South were lazy, explaining, he contended, why the region did not get along better.

Yet, it finds that Oom Klomp had gleaned his observations from a two-month stay in Georgia during the time after the crops were in and the politicking over, could not appreciate the advice to "loaf and invite the soul". It explains that there were certain things about the South which defied comprehension by an outsider, regarding the "difference between the meditative life of the season, the chewing of one's cud in silence and ruminating while seeking out the sunny side of the courthouse square", differing from ordinary indolence.

Joseph C. Hartsch, in a piece from the Christian Science Monitor, sets forth his belief that it was time to re-examine the entire process which brought the country into Korea. He finds that whatever the purpose was originally, by the time of the "end-of-the-war" drive by General MacArthur, launched November 24, the purpose was to impress the Orient and the Communist world with America's boldness and resolution, and to achieve a "'situation of great strength'" from which U.S. diplomats could negotiate advantageously. Many now loudly criticizing the offensive were only mildly protesting against it at its initiation.

Though building a larger military, the U.S. presently had ten combat-ready divisions, with six of them occupied in Korea. Likewise, about three-fifths of the available Navy and Air Force strength were committed to the war, implying that Korea merited such a heavy proportion of American military attention, to the exclusion of other areas. Yet, Korea had been described by American military officials as not defensible and amounted to only a small portion of Asia.

U.S. military might had been proved by maintaining the Pusan beachhead and then pushing the North Korean forces virtually out of Korea. The bulk of the forces could have then been withdrawn with honor. But the result would not have been a total victory in Korea and America's tradition was to play to win. The result of the final offensive, however, had been defeat.

The British had undertaken such hopeless missions, as in Greece in 1941. But they had never committed 60 percent of their combat-ready forces to such ventures. He concludes that the sense of proportion of importance of Korea had been lost in doing so, as well by pushing the Army to the edge of China's frontier without anticipating that it could cause a major reaction by the Chinese.

An editorial from the Louisville Courier-Journal tells of Secretary of State Acheson having told the U.N. General Assembly on September 20 that alternative choices lay ahead, of peace, security and well-being, or drift and irresolution from effort feebly made. Yet, there were voices in Congress who wanted Mr. Acheson to resign, blaming him for the entire Far East policy, the loss of China to the Communists and the Korean war. These men were, for the most part, ignorant of history and the true meaning of the Wilsonian phrase, "the self-determination of peoples", which Mr. Acheson understood and for which he was an articulate spokesperson, "to unite free men in brotherhood".

Democrats had not campaigned in 1950 on the basis that Mr. Acheson was their noblest asset, that the Acheson-initiated Marshall Plan had perhaps been the greatest example of generosity, while pursuing the nation's interest, which the world had ever witnessed, or that China was never the remote province of America to gain or lose in the first instance, or that NATO and the decision to aid Korea, as a start toward Asian independence generally, were the product of a State Department which understood world responsibilities. Rather, they ignored those achievements, and those Democrats who had escaped defeat in the elections wondered whether Mr. Acheson had to be sacrificed in the interests of "harmony".

The country and the Democratic Party were fortunate that the President was more courageous and stubborn than his followers. The President ought ask the Democrats and Republicans of Congress what type of "cringing eunuch" they would have direct the nation's foreign policy. Apparently, he would be one who only answered, "Yes, sir", to Congressional committees and never ventured independent thought.

It concludes that Dean Acheson was not that person and does not believe that those who voted in the elections wanted such a person. It hopes that the President would stand firmly behind Mr. Acheson, the best appointment he had made, and that he would continue to serve for the remainder of the present term.

An editorial from the New York Times finds that Americans would largely agree with the notion that Europe took priority over Asia, as long as it did not mean abandonment of commitments and defenses in Asia. It was appropriate, however, to ask why Europe was not doing more for itself.

NATO nations were still trying to agree on appointment of a supreme commander, having agreed in September to an integrated force under centralized command but still trying to determine the degree to which Germany would be a partner in that force, objection to which by the French remained a roadblock. If Germany remained weak, as desired by the French, it would be of little value to the alliance. But if too strong, it could still pose a danger.

The piece concludes that the burden being carried by the U.S. was great and that there would be more confidence in its wisdom by the American people if they could see that every other democracy was carrying their maximum burden.

Drew Pearson tells of Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley briefing the President and Prime Minister Attlee that the U.N. forces had suffered a complete collapse in Korea and that it was the greatest military disaster in the history of the United States, that it would be impossible to do more than hold a small beachhead. American casualties in the preceding four or five days were more than anything suffered in a comparable period during either of the world wars, and Marines in the northeast sector had it the worst. He said that a blueprint for evacuation had been completed and was being dispatched to Korea by General J. Lawton Collins, chief of staff of the Army.

At that point, chief of the British General Staff, Field Marshal Sir William Slim was asked for his views and he said that while the British information was sketchier than that available to the U.S., it was believed that it was futile even to try to maintain a small beachhead, as recommended by General Bradley, that its supply would sap the Western powers' resources unduly in trying again to liberate Korea while also trying to hold off Communist aggression in Europe. He believed that total evacuation should be ordered.

General Bradley reportedly left the meeting appearing as though he had been kicked in his guts.

It had been agreed before the arrival of Mr. Attlee that no suitable targets existed in Korea for use of the atom bomb and so discussion of its use was off the table. Nor had anyone expressed criticism of General MacArthur.

Mr. Attlee stated the British view that some kind of arrangement had to be made with the Chinese in order to avoid even greater calamities out of which only Russia could emerge the victor. He emphasized that the enemy was Russia, not China, and that U.S. strength had to be built up in the European theater. He said that the French had agreed to the appointment of General Eisenhower as supreme commander of NATO on the basis that he would work out the final details of West German integration into Western defenses.

Mr. Attlee also stated, based on his recent conversations with French Premier Rene Pleven and his Foreign Minister Robert Schumann, that they believed that the situation in Korea made the French position in Indo-China virtually untenable and wanted continued American aid rushed to the country, but no longer expected British or American military intervention there.

The French were ready to activate 20 divisions in Europe and the British would soon commit three divisions to add to its existing two. Mr. Attlee pledged full cooperation with a high command under the direction of General Eisenhower.

The British Prime Minister urged creation of a joint Anglo-French-American board to undertake all strategic buying in the Far East to solve the problem of competition for scarce raw materials.

The President and Secretary Acheson were not disposed to the plan favored by Mr. Attlee and his Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Chinese should be consulted on what terms of peace they would find acceptable to obviate further aggression in the Far East, but agreed to allow the British to take the lead in that direction.

Marquis Childs tells of talking to his friend, White House press secretary Charles G. Ross, the day of his death the prior Tuesday, regarding the lack of availability of sufficient information about the Truman-Attlee conference, that opening up the channels of information without compromise of security would be of benefit to everyone, as a garbled, inaccurate version of what was being said between the two leaders had come out of London. Mr. Ross, as usual, had been patient in listening to the advice, but said that there were complications in doing so and that he would take it up with the President.

Mr. Ross had been subjected to tortures during the campaign of 1948, questioned incessantly by newsmen as to whether he was not the factotum of a President who had only a short time left in office. Yet, after the campaign, he showed no signs of desire for revenge. He remained modest and kindly, never touched by the arrogance which so often accumulated with power.

His job as press secretary to the President was an impossible one. By law, the secretary was bound loyally to reflect the wishes of the President.

Mr. Childs thinks that a Cabinet officer equivalent to a minister of information would be unacceptable to Americans' suspicions regarding any form of official propaganda, but notwithstanding the fact there were information officers in every government department, whose jobs seemed to be all too often to withhold information from the public. The answer, he suggests, was probably not in centralization of the information in a separate department, but that the position of press secretary ought have more prestige and the person occupying it, possessed of the highest credentials.

Mr. Ross, as with his predecessors, had become an entity with a bad name to be screamed out. By branding peoples with labels, as Communists or Fascists, individuals no longer had to be dealt with and sight was lost of the fact that there were probably Chinese Communists who suffered the same fear which would grip Americans if Communists were in Mexico quelling a civil war and moving toward the U.S. border.

Mr. Ross had never lost his sense of the common humanity of all mankind. It was, he offers, a quality desperately needed if the nation were not to become robotic, "fighting in blind self-destruction for shibboleths long since emptied of all meaning."

It is too bad that the press office thus far in the current "Administration" in 2017, one not reflective of the views of the majority or even plurality of American people who did not vote for it, exhibits, rather than a sense of that lack of support and need for outreach in true bipartisan fashion, none of that "common humanity" or respect for same or the press, itself, but rather only serves as the mindless echo of the Hater-in-Chief, the Chief Obscurantist who favors, insofar as the press is concerned, only the marginal, far-right operations and individuals not answering to any standard of journalistic integrity and objectivity, those who curry the favor, in turn, of the far-right of the country, representative of a small minority of racists and obscurantists, and fools ignorant of history and its various experiments and failures already serving as lessons for not being condemned to repetition of which.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Bernard Baruch, 80, returning from the South with a reported bird kill of fifteen bobwhite quail in thirteen shots from his shotgun, nothing less, he suggests, than the result of black magic. A man who had a million dollars by his 30th birthday proved nothing, but one who could perform such an impossible feat with a shotgun at 80 was being wasted when the government refused to use him in time of crisis, as had the Truman Administration, petulantly eschewing the services of Mr. Baruch.

Mr. Baruch had called for full mobilization months earlier, when the Korean war started. He sought full wage and price controls and war powers for the President at that time as well. But he was virtually ignored by the "petty animosity" in the White House. Had his wisdom been heeded, then the intervention in Korea by the Chinese might have been averted. But with the midterm elections then approaching, such measures could not be implemented without concern for their political consequences.

His recently conveyed advice to Mr. Ruark regarding a prescription for defense was to arm first and then figure out how to use those arms. Mr. Baruch never went quail hunting without a gun as he had figured out long ago that it was a waste of time.

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