The Charlotte News

Monday, August 21, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that as the North Korean troops sought to crack the U.N. defense lines to take Taegu, their casualties had mounted to at least 11,000 and possibly to as many as 15,000, most in the dead column, in just three days of fighting. In weekend fighting, the enemy lost nearly 2,000 men in the south, 6,000 on the central front and the balance in the northern sector around Pohang. They nevertheless continued to probe the U.N. defense lines along the 120-mile arc, as they were under orders by their high command to wipe out the U.N. defenses by the end of August.

The enemy made a tank-led, two-mile gain north of Taegu, but were halted by flare-lit night air-artillery cooperation, destroying five enemy tanks and other equipment. Correspondent Don Whitehead describes in some detail the action in what he said might have been the first time in a war that artillery weapons had acted as spotters for pilots by shooting phosphorous shells to light targets, breaking the back of the enemy.

The other immediate threat was in the south around Chinju, where the enemy appeared to be preparing for a major offensive aimed at Pusan.

General MacArthur omitted his usual early-morning communique, saying that the situation had not changed since the previous one.

Hal Boyle reports on the battle for "Atrocity Hill", lasting four days, involving some of the fiercest fighting yet of the war. In a ravine on the hill, the enemy had executed 36 bound American prisoners, giving the hill its name. On the map, it was simply Hill 303. The battle ended in destruction of a growing beachhead across the Naktong River which had placed the enemy within 12 miles of Taegu. To save the city, the First Cavalry Division had to hold the hill, a steep, rugged, wooded position 1,000 feet high, two miles northwest of Waegwan.

Correspondent Stan Swinton reports that the American troops lost the key "Battle Mountain" position, two miles southwest of Haman, to 1,500 wildly charging enemy troops. American fighter bombers, however, countered, supporting 25 black infantrymen who fought a day-long battle. The mountain had changed hands four times in three days and enemy deaths had totaled 1,350 just on Sunday.

The Air Force conducted 200 sorties to mid-afternoon this date, with no planes reported missing. Strikes were made at Inchon, Seoul, and Kimpo airfield. A heavy strike was conducted at Chinju as well.

The South Korean Navy had knocked out two North Korean ships loaded with troops and ammunition, off Usuyong near Mukpo, on the southwestern tip of the peninsula. South Korean marines landed behind enemy lines at Tongyong and enemy troops were retreating with heavy casualties, as the South Koreans captured the town, fighting with high morale.

A former first sergeant in the Army told of a picture being distributed by a Russian-controlled German news agency, purporting to be American prisoners in Korea at the Naktong River, actually having been taken during World War II in France in 1944. For three days, he had guarded the German labor camp in the photograph, which had been published at the time in Stars and Stripes. The men in the picture, appearing on the page, were actually freed Europeans, not Americans.

The Senate added to its economic controls bill a provision for allowing the President to make improvements in Government-owned war plants. Debate on the bill was expected to run into the night.

Trainmen walked off the job at three key terminals, in Louisville, St. Paul, and Cleveland, and the President called on aide John R. Steelman to undertake renewed effort to head off a nationwide rail strike concerning wages and hours. There were no plans yet for seizure of the railroads by the Government.

A new hurricane was stirring in the Atlantic, with 100 mph winds, east of Antigua in the Leeward Islands, 1,500 miles southeast of Florida and moving at 8-10 mph.

On the editorial page, "Playgrounds and Politics—III" again looks at the proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to give the City Council final say on the erection of new park buildings, made in light of the Latta Park recreation center controversy, opposed by neighborhood residents as a nuisance. It covers the history of the Park & Recreation Commission and its purpose, to keep park decisions out of politics. It hopes that the City Council would reach a compromise before the Wednesday vote on the proposed amendment and preserve the independence of the Commission.

"A Listening Post" agrees with the assessment offered in a recent Drew Pearson column—anent the intention of the President to appoint a minister to the Vatican, opposed by Catholic leaders on the basis that it could provoke a Senate debate on religion—, that the Vatican was the best listening post in Europe for the fact of the number of Catholic priests in all countries, even if in the Soviet satellites, they had to be circumspect to avoid being accused of being spies and thrown in jail. The need for full intelligence was great and the Protestant opposition to the President's proposed appointment was therefore short-sighted and narrow.

A piece from the Baltimore Sun, titled "A 'Voice' But No Firm Policy", finds that if the Voice of America had the additional 80 million dollars it was seeking from Congress, it could neutralize Communist propaganda issuing to the effect that General MacArthur's recent visit to Formosa to consult with Chiang Kai-Shek was a conspiracy of the U.S. to subvert freedom throughout Asia. The Communists were fond of exploiting the fact that the protection of Formosa by the U.S. was not U.N. sanctioned as was the effort on behalf of South Korea.

Drew Pearson's column is again written by Tom McNamara and Jack Anderson. Eleanor Roosevelt had advised the President to fire Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, following the President's statement that he would keep both Secretary Johnson and Secretary of State Acheson as long as he remained President. She told him that, based on the volume of mail she had received on the subject, the public had lost confidence in Secretary Johnson.

The nation's sugar stocks were low, notwithstanding advice not to hoard. The column again urges local committees to form to shame hoarders and profiteers.

The heads of the Federal Power Commission and Federal Communications Commission told the President that they could not have their budgets cut ten percent as proposed by both houses of Congress for across-the-board cuts. The President said that he would urge reconsideration of the proposal unless the Congress did so on its own. He sought a memo from all agencies which would be crippled by such a reduction in their budgets.

Mao Tse-Tung had issued a message to North Korean Prime Minister Kim Il Sung that the Chinese Communists supported the "Korean people" in their "just war against U.S. imperialist aggression". Mao had left China on August 11 for an unannounced destination, probably either Moscow or Pyongyang. Communists never made reference in their propaganda to the fact that Americans were fighting in Korea under sanction by the U.N.

A recent law passed in Rumania had made it illegal for workers to engage in "appropriations and negligence", punishable by death.

Stewart Alsop finds that the real problem leading to the failure of U.S. preparedness for the invasion by North Korea was not the much discussed intelligence breakdown, as the CIA had fairly estimated the strength of North Korea, but rather the conflict between the State and Defense Departments, with the latter refusing to communicate adequately to coordinate diplomatic and military policy. Secretary of Defense Johnson was fond of describing State Department personnel, including Secretary Acheson, as "do-gooders" and "pacifists", not conducive to trust between the Departments.

In light of his about-face on economy in defense, his position prior to the Korean war, Secretary Johnson was now warning Congress that the defense budget could soon rise to 50 million dollars, not in accord with White House and State Department policy.

The President, meanwhile, had taken a tolerant, paternalistic attitude toward Secretary Johnson, that he simply had difficulty keeping his mouth shut. But the fact remained, Mr. Alsop concludes, that the situation could not continue as it was much longer.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Bernard Baruch hitting age 80 while remaining spry. As an adviser to President Woodrow Wilson during World War I, to President Roosevelt during World War II, and to some of President Truman's Cabinet, he had lived an unparalleled career and almost always was right in the advice he gave. Yet, he had never become stuffy.

He hunted quail at his South Carolina plantation six days per week for three months each year, riding a horse two to three hours every day, mounting and dismounting as many as thirty times in an afternoon. He spent considerable time at the races, placing bets at Saratoga. He drank little, but in the past had been known to quaff his fair share, had quit smoking in 1934, and loved to eat.

Mr. Ruark wishes him happy birthday and says that it had been nice knowing him as a hunting partner.

A letter from City Council member Basil Boyd thanks the newspaper for its editorial of the previous Thursday, "Mr. Boyd Is at It Again", says that he was, indeed, at it again and proceeds to describe that which he was at, pertaining to the City Engineer's recommended changes to the bus routes. Mr. Boyd was seeking to preserve the old routes while expanding service, an approach which the editorial found problematic as it would only increase Duke Power's losses as operator of the buses. The issue is a bit old and rather parochial, and so if you wish to find out how Mr. Boyd reconciled these approaches, you may read it thoroughly and determine who had the better of the argument, as a special end-of-summer project.

We feel compelled to make special note at this juncture that tomorrow, August 22, 2017, marks the too little recognized 50th anniversary of the day the running began to stop—to be continued the following Tuesday. Did he do it? He says that he did. What is the real story?

As we have noted before, we had just returned from Lexington, Ky., the previous weekend, where we got the advanced scoop at Calumet Farm from the ghost of Whirlaway.

Remembering which was how we discerned that it was actually mid-June, 1967, and not during August, that we read In Cold Blood, as we could not have been in Lexington, reading of the penultimate culmination, and on the way to Wrightsville Beach and back at the same time.

In the alternative, you may flip the channel to CBS and take another type of mystery trip, a more hirsute pursuit in assiduity, per suits, down memory lane to the Emptiness, the vacuity lacking lucidity, the unavailing rapidity of many-pitied cities and towns in summer, manifest—should you still be possessed of them, that is, memories...

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