The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 31, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that two divisions of North Korean forces were attacking the U.S. 25th Division in the extreme southern part of the 120-mile defense arc, along 15 points west of Masan, as fighting raged during the day in that area. There were also fragmentary reports that enemy forces were attacking the U.S. Second Division along the Naktong River further north. American and South Korean forces hurled the enemy back to within 500 yards of their starting point at the east anchor of the defense line, north of Pohang, after a two day effort to crack that line. The Americans reopened the road three to four miles north of the city, where it had been closed by an enemy roadblock. The enemy was also still firing mortars in the area of Kigye, nine miles northwest of Pohang.

The North Koreans were said to be losing a thousand men per day in the drive on Pohang, started by 26,000 men.

At midnight, the deadline previously set by Premier Kim Il-Sung for taking South Korea had expired.

More than 90 B-29's dropped over 800 tons of bombs on strategic targets in Korea, of which 600 tons were deposited on the port at Pyongyang, while avoiding the city proper. Ground fire downed two U.N. planes, one southwest of Taegu, the pilot of which was rescued, and the other in the Pohang sector, the Marine pilot of which remained missing. U.N. pilots had killed 1,200 enemy soldiers during the prior two days in the battle for Pohang, the largest two-day Air Force toll of the war. Marine Corsairs dropped napalm with good results on a motor convoy near Kunsan, west of Taegu.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson said, in response to a letter from Congressman Anthony Tauriello of New York urging him to resign, that henceforth, anyone who wanted him to resign could take their complaints to the President. He said in response to the Congressman that such talk blaming him for Korea amounted to election year politics.

The House passed by voice vote the bill providing aid to dependents of servicemen and sent it to the Senate. The allotments ranged from $85 to $165.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Vinson of Georgia said that the draft would soon be extended to married men with dependents.

The House-Senate confreres were putting final touches on the economic controls bills, in hope of getting the passed finished product to the President before his radio and television talk on Friday night.

About 75 miles north of Cairo, Egypt, a TWA Constellation crashed and burned, killing all 55 persons aboard, including 23 Americans. The plane was flying from Bombay to Rome and crashed shortly after taking off from Cairo. No cause for the crash was provided.

At least fifteen persons were injured in two train wrecks 100 miles apart in central Texas. One passenger train derailed at Lampasas, injuring eleven, none seriously, while a fast freight derailed near Teague, injuring four.

The Gulf hurricane had come inland at Mobile, Ala., the previous night and delivered its heaviest punch at Panama City, Fla., this date. The highest wind reported over land had been 98 mph. No one was reported killed and little damage occurred. A tornado, believed to be a product of the storm, seriously injured two persons and destroyed a dozen houses at Apalachicola, Fla.

Another hurricane, packing 75 to 100 mph winds, was forming in the eastern Caribbean, 210 miles east of Martinique in the West Indies.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan arriving by plane in Charlotte to visit the Cleveland County Miracle Farm demonstration near Shelby. He had obviously intended not to get roped into any statements to the press about the war's impact on agriculture.

Apparently he did, but the story is continued on another page.

On the editorial page, "'The Lesson of Korea'" recommends a Saturday Evening Post article by the Alsop brothers, consistent with their editorials of the previous year, which had routinely criticized the lack of preparedness of the American military under the economy program of Secretary of Defense Johnson. The strength of the U.S. had been, they complained, too slight to deter the Kremlin from stimulating the action in Korea. They viewed the war as only one step in an effort to bring all of Europe and Asia within the Soviet sphere.

They believed that the success of the Marshall Plan had forced the Soviets to abandon their plan of revolutionary infiltration as a means of control, in favor of brute military force.

They suggested that while the American response in Korea may have deterred further action for the immediate future, it might also tempt Russia to strike sooner than otherwise in Berlin or Yugoslavia, before full mobilization could take place.

The Korean war, they warned, could not be taken as an isolated bandit action, lest Russia grow stronger and the West weaker.

They again defended the late Defense Secretary James Forrestal, predecessor to Mr. Johnson, regarding the latter's reduction of defense spending and consistent statements of assurance that the spending was sufficient for a strong defense.

Lack of American leadership in NATO was another fault which they cited as leaving Western Europe exposed and weak in the face of potential Soviet aggression.

The Strategic Air Force and stockpile of atom bombs remained a positive, along with incomplete Soviet war preparations, and the likelihood that Stalin and the Politburo probably still did not like the idea of general war. These deterrents, however, they warned, would only last as along as the U.S. showed the determination to fight Russia if necessary.

They urged full mobilization of the nation's resources to rebuild a solid defense in the West, along with acceptance of a willingness for sacrifice, "the only way unless we prefer to indulge for a fugitive instant, and then to see the totalitarian silence and the night of the soul close over this world of ours."

"Token Tommies" finds that the arrival of 1,500 British troops in Korea, while taking too long, was at least a beginning of a truly U.N. action and that it was time to speed up the process, even if with only token forces such as this British contingent, to stem Russian propaganda that the war was solely a U.S. action.

The front page reported this date that more British troops were being prepared for transport to Korea.

"Guilt by Protest" tells of actress Jean Muir being fired from "The Aldrich Family" radio program at the behest of sponsor General Foods for her being a "controversial personality". The sponsor had received complaints from many groups that she was pro-Communist. Ms. Muir said that she was not and never had been. She had been a member of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, at the same time Eleanor Roosevelt and then UNC president Frank Graham had been. She had later resigned. The organization was not originally a Communist-front organization, but only a liberal group concerned with Southern problems.

The piece finds that while General Foods was within its rights to have whomever it wanted on its radio programs, it was unfair to condemn Ms. Muir or anyone else for having been a member of such an organization in its earlier days.

Incidentally, the program appeared beset by problems as actress Patricia Ryan of the show had been discovered dead on February 15, 1949.

What was going on?

Bob Sain of The News, in the third of his four-part series on Communism, looks again at the appeal of Communism to students at UNC after World War II. They had not become Communists but were fellow travelers. They were fairly certain that the people who formed the Wallace-for-President Club at the University were Communists, but were not fazed by the assumption. They were committed to Henry Wallace because of idealism, wanted to supplant laissez-faire capitalism and its greed, saw little difference in the aims of Communism and that goal.

He finds that these fellow travelers sang the praises of Thomas Wolfe's posthumously published You Can't Go Home Again for its revolutionary tones, as well other writers for the same or similar sentiments, as John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and Norman Mailer. They criticized HUAC for taking to task writers in Hollywood labeled Communists. They talked of American composers as Aaron Copland having trouble with performance of works because of words such as "masses" and "mainstream". Louis Armstrong represented, via the phonograph, a "sort of ever-present presiding deity." Nine out of ten of these fellow travelers liked folk music. They spoke of liberating art from capitalism.

At the end of his exposition, one might ask what one had to like to be a good, solid American, not tainted as a "fellow traveler". Perhaps, listening only to Kate Smith while sporting Westbrook Pegler columns stapled to one's chest and campaigning for Willis Smith for the Senate seat in North Carolina would have sufficed to restore confidence.

Really, Mr. Sain...

Drew Pearson tells of several matters indicating increase in military influence over the Government, including the recent efforts of General MacArthur to affect Formosa policy, the statement by Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews urging a preventive war, the retention of Guam under military control after it had been scheduled to revert to civilian control July 1, and eleven generals going to Congress to urge the proposed 100-million dollar loan to Francisco Franco in Spain. As to the latter, the President had instructed Secretary of Defense Johnson not to allow his generals to go to Capitol Hill again regarding the Franco loan.

Preventive war was being urged at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. General Orvil Anderson, head of the College, had spoken publicly in favor of such an immediate war with Russia, and had followed a strategy of indoctrinating students at the College to believe likewise. That tendency had been a primary reason why the President had cracked down on Secretary Matthews.

He notes that, given the results thus far in Korea, the U.S. was a long way from being prepared for any such preventive war, even if initiated. Senator Brien McMahon and other Senators had introduced a resolution calling for disarmament, to convince the other nations that the U.S. wanted to reduce arms, provided Russia would agree to do likewise.

Ambassador Lewis Douglas told British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin that he was dismayed by the mere talk of rearmament in Britain while it did nothing else to make it a reality.

Mr. Bevin was coming to the U.S. to try to persuade the Government against becoming involved further with Nationalist China, as the Communist Chinese were able to exploit the notion of white versus Asian warfare in Korea to the point that he feared that the West would lose all of Asia.

Joseph Alsop, with Baker Company of the 27th Regiment, First Battalion, in Korea, tells of the day and "quiet night" before, which had begun as truly quiet at dawn after a successful night battle. It remained relatively quiet during the morning. But at mid-afternoon, South Korean troops came through the lines complaining of being too long without food, water and ammunition. A strong enemy force was moving onto the heights above and the position suddenly became critical. The South Korean lieutenant leading the men was urged to return to the heights after being promised adequate food and heavy artillery support. He complied. Mortar fire then began from the American lines and the enemy eventually fled. The flank was secured.

As dusk fell, F-80's strafed enemy positions and it soon was time to button down for the night. Then, an enemy force with two tanks was reported at the far end of the valley. Soon, incoming mortar fire crashed among the men. The "quiet night" had begun. All night long, the firing continued and attack constantly threatened, culminating in a heavy tank fusillade from the enemy before dawn. And all night, it had rained, filling the foxholes with water, freezing the men.

One bazooka team was discovered to have been wounded during the night by tank shells. The day started again.

Marquis Childs tells of the huge supply of gold on hand at Fort Knox, Ky., probably the largest supply of any nation in history. But what was needed were chromium, vanadium, tungsten and especially manganese for steel production. Virtually all of the manganese had been imported from Russia, Africa, Brazil and India.

There was no available manganese for stockpiling, as it had been used for production of cars and other consumer products utilizing steel. One company wanted to develop manganese from low grade ores but got nowhere in an effort to convince Congress to agree to have the Government purchase a certain percentage of the product for stockpiling. Other independent companies with similar plans had likewise gotten nowhere. It was believed that the large companies had put pressure on Congress not to acquiesce.

Mr. Childs urges cooperation between independent producers and big business for the good of the country and its security.

A letter writer recounts witnessing a traffic accident in which a truck ran a stop sign and hit a car. The white driver of the car was uninjured, but the black driver of the truck appeared to be injured, jumping from the truck, walking a few steps and falling down. When the police arrived, they looked briefly at the truck driver but maintained their attention on the white driver. The white ambulance came and transported the white driver from the scene, but left behind the black man. The writer inquired of the police officers why that had occurred and was told that the ambulance services had a contract between them which allowed the white service to carry only white victims and vice versa. The black ambulance eventually arrived and took the black victim away.

She later called the ambulance services and the white service confirmed the advice of the police but the black service denied that there was any such agreement, that they had arrived at accident scenes sometimes first and transported white victims, though occasionally the police forbade it if the white victim were unconscious, while at other times the conscious victims declined the transportation.

The writer urges the newspaper to stop promoting Charlotte as having the most churches per capita in the nation, for as long as such things could happen in the city, it was no bastion of Christianity.

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