The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 16, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that tank-led American and South Korean Marines late Saturday had captured Yongdungpo, the southwest industrial suburb of Seoul, fought into the northwest sector of the city, Neunggok, and had crossed the Han River to advance toward the heart of the former South Korean capital. The U.N. offensive, begun the prior date, had advanced 22 miles since the landing at Inchon, and had already seized lightly defended Kimpo airfield, reportedly soon to be in operation again for the allies.

Simultaneously, an allied offensive had been launched all along the 120-mile defense arc around Pusan, making good to moderate gains through rain and mud, the most notable of which having been in the southeast sector where the Second Division made a 4.5 mile gain, back to the east bank of the Naktong River, forcing withdrawal westward of the North Korean forces in that area, leaving behind numerous dead.

The recapture by the allies of Waegwan appeared imminent, as allied troops were within sight of the flaming city, 12 miles northwest of Taegu. It was the first step on the drive back along the Taegu-Taejon-Seoul corridor. The North Koreans, however, continued to fight hard, tossing hand grenades in great numbers to try to repel the offensive, rather than, as expected, surrendering in droves.

Ground commander General Walton Walker said that unless the North Koreans brought up reinforcements of which they were not aware, the fight to push the North Koreans back behind the 38th parallel should be over quickly.

General MacArthur had conceived the Inchon landings on July 12, when green American occupation troops from Japan were retreating along the Kum River.

Correspondent Belman Morin tells of the invasion at Inchon, led initially by six little destroyers against heavily defended Wolmi Island, the critical entry point for crossing a short causeway into Inchon. The ships had moved to within less than a mile of the island on September 13, two days before the scheduled amphibious assault. The aim was to draw fire to expose the enemy positions before the landing. The strategy worked, enabling the ships' guns to zero in on the hidden batteries, making the landing on Wolmi a success with few casualties.

The House had voted 220 to 105 the previous day to approve the amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 to create an exception to permit the appointment of General Marshall to become Secretary of Defense. The Act prevented commissioned officers on active duty during the prior ten years from serving as Secretary. The Senate voted a couple of hours later, 47 to 21, to approve the amendment. The nays were cast by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada and 20 Republicans. Ten Republicans joined the yea votes. Overwhelming Senate approval of confirmation of General Marshall was expected.

Before the 12-nation NATO meeting in New York, the U.S. proposed to include U.S. troops in a unified Western European defense force headed by a supreme commander, provided the other nations would agree to undertake their own defense efforts, including formation of armed West German units which would not constitute a national army. The previous day's meeting of the two-day conference had produced no sign of basic disagreement. Financial cooperation and allocation priorities, with the U.S. prepared to assist in increased arms output for any nation undertaking the effort with its own resources, were also part of the proposed plan.

American officials said that the U.S. wanted to provide to Japan input to its war treaty.

The U.S., through ERP head Paul Porter, reportedly notified Greece that it would cut Marshall Plan aid to the country because of dissatisfaction with Greek efforts to help themselves, though the State Department and Washington ERP officials indicated lack of knowledge of such a move. Greece had been allocated 220 million dollars in ERP aid for the current fiscal year, and the amount of reduction had not yet been determined. The move was directed at past Greek inaction rather than against the current Government in Greece.

Robert Denham resigned as general counsel for the NLRB, to become effective Monday. He stated as his reason his differences with the Administration and the Board over interpretation of Taft-Hartley—which had created his powerful post to determine unilaterally what matters came before the Board. Mr. Denham had fought what he perceived as a pro-labor bias of the Board. The President responded that the Act, itself, invited confusion and conflict between the general counsel and the Board.

The electrical workers unions at Westinghouse rejected an offer of settlement of their wage dispute and the threat of strike loomed. The Union of Electrical Workers had signed a contract the previous day with G.E. for a 10-cent per hour pay raise.

Off St. Malo, France, the French naval frigate La Place, a meteorological expeditionary ship, struck a magnetic mine and sunk. Only 43 of 75 of the officers, crew, and passengers had been rescued thus far.

In Lutton, Eng., ailing playwright George Bernard Shaw, 94, was said to be holding his own. He would live until November.

On the editorial page, "One-Way Internationalism" tells of Senator Taft's objection to General Marshall becoming Secretary of Defense based on the Senator's claims that the President and General Marshall had colluded with the Far Eastern division of the State Department to sell out Chiang Kai-Shek to the Communists, that Secretary of State Acheson wanted the Communists to take over all of China, including Formosa, and that Mr. Acheson's hand would be strengthened in this regard by General Marshall as Defense Secretary. Thus, Senator Taft's real objection was to Secretary Acheson rather than, per se, General Marshall.

Senator Taft and his band of isolationists in Congress had found a new issue, Formosa, to advance as their cause celebre, making them suddenly internationalists, as long as the internationalism was confined to the Far East. They would commit U.S. forces to a war with Communist China in an area more favorable to the Soviets than to the U.S., with the aim only to restore Chiang to power.

Western Europe was the point from which any war against the Soviets had to be launched, for it was there that the U.S. had its staunchest allies. Strikes against the Soviet Union could be accomplished from those bases without flying over the North Pole or across the vast distances of the Pacific.

General Marshall and Secretary Acheson were as committed to anti-Communism as Senator Taft, and so the Senator was acting irresponsibly to suggest otherwise.

The attempt by Senator Taft and Indiana Senator William Jenner to defeat the appointment of General Marshall, by refusing to amend the National Security Act of 1947 to make exception to its rule that no person who had been a commissioned officer on active duty in the previous ten years could serve in the post, had been soundly defeated the previous day and the piece applauds this result, finds the effort "unworthy of the great traditions of their party and the high offices" they held.

"Our Unintelligent Intelligence" tells of the latest report of the U.N. Korean commission indicating that South Korea and U.S. military intelligence officials had disagreed on the significance of the known assemblage of 175,000 North Korean troops in the vicinity of the 38th parallel since the prior January. The South Korean Army chief of staff believed that the contingent implied that war was only a matter of time, but Brig. General W. L. Roberts, chief of the U.S.-Korean military advisory group, had told the U.N. commission that the South Korean Army was at least of equal strength to that of North Korea and so suggested no need for undue concern.

Again, on May 12, the South Korean head of Army intelligence warned that war was imminent, citing the increased manpower of the North Korean Army and the probing actions along the borders by guerrilla forces. Again staff members of General Roberts, however, disagreed.

The editorial urges that to avoid similar future breakdowns of intelligence, it was imperative to find out, through a nonpartisan inquiry, what had led to the erroneous conclusions.

"The Mint Museum Needs Your Help" asks for the help of the community in supporting the museum, as only 750 regular memberships had been established despite more than 42,000 people visiting the museum during the prior fiscal year.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the museum, the director had arranged for an exhibition of the work of seventeen masters of the Barbizon school of painting, on loan from the Cincinnati Art Museum, including the works of Corot, Millet, and Breton. An exhibition of the works of young artists from the state was also on display.

Drew Pearson tells of there being many reasons why Defense Secretary Louis Johnson had been fired, one being that he was a convenient scapegoat for the Administration for being unprepared for the Korean war. The President had never trusted Mr. Johnson, else he would have stood by him no matter the consequences. He knew that the Secretary was cooperating with the Republicans and Bernard Baruch, as well as other opponents of Truman policy. The decision of the President to fire him had come four or five weeks earlier, a decision which he had conveyed to only a few people, one of whom was General Marshall. Secretary Johnson did not know that he was slated for dismissal until the White House called in Undersecretary Steve Early to ask for his resignation a week before, to avoid Mr. Early being mixed up in the dismissal of Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson heard about his impending termination and then handed in his resignation to beat the President to the draw.

The President had planned to force the resignation to coincide with the timing of the meeting of the Big Three foreign ministers in New York, to strengthen Secretary of State Acheson's hand in Europe. Secretary Johnson primarily had focused on the Far East. Both Britain and France had made known their uneasiness with Mr. Johnson's leadership.

The column provides other reasons for Mr. Johnson's firing, including his efforts to oust Secretary Acheson; his procrastination since the outbreak in Korea to establish a long-range defense policy, leading Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley to threaten resignation; the Secretary's reputation for being an inveterate liar; his grandiose promises while preaching economy; and that the White House was convinced that Mr. Johnson had colluded with General MacArthur to make the ordered withdrawn statement to the V.F.W. regarding Formosa, to which Secretary Johnson had legal commitments as the former lawyer to the brother-in-law of Chiang Kai-Shek, among others. The last straw came when the President learned that he had also been conferring with Bernard Baruch, whom the President had come to loathe.

Stewart Alsop tells of the President having made the decision to oust Secretary of Defense Johnson some ten days earlier, before Secretary Johnson announced his "resignation". General Marshall had already been called to the White House to discuss becoming the successor, to which he reluctantly had agreed after being cajoled into doing so by the President.

The reasons ultimately for the replacement were that the President had heard confirmed evidence that since the start of the Korean war, Mr. Johnson had been undercutting Secretary of State Acheson, contrary to the Truman code of loyalty, and that he had privately stated, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, an acceptance of general war as an inevitability, giving signs also of favoring preventive war, both of which were the antithesis of the Truman policy.

The results of the ouster of Mr. Johnson would be the alleviation of the stress between the Defense and State Departments and that Dean Acheson would be allowed to remain as Secretary of State as long as he wished. The Johnson-MacArthur policy to establish a permanent American base on Formosa would also be dead, insofar as the Truman Administration, as would be the assumptions that war was inevitable and that a preventive war was desirable.

A strong team had grown up in military and foreign policy, which would be enhanced by the presence of General Marshall as Defense Secretary. That included Averell Harriman and Sidney Souers, in both of whom the President reposited great trust, Walter Bedell Smith as the new CIA director, Secretary of the Air Force Thomas Finletter, Army Secretary Frank Pace and Undersecretary John McCone, future CIA director, and National Security Resources Board chairman, Stuart Symington.

The sum of it was that it appeared to result finally in disinterested leadership in foreign and military policy, which the country had not known for the tenure of Secretary Johnson, since March, 1949. He finds the prospect refreshing.

Robert C. Ruark tells of having such bad dreams that he had sworn off the movies as unnecessary to stimulate the macabre side of his imagination. The night before, he had shot, singlehandedly, 28 men and was struggling to reload when dawn arrived. One of the combatants had turned into a wolf and bitten him, necessitating his strangulation. General Custer was in the mix somewhere, and so he assumes the combatants were Indians and not North Koreans.

A couple of nights earlier, he was in the midst of a science fiction horror film, with direction straight out of Hitchcock. An invading football team, seemingly innocuous, had destroyed most of the faculty and melted the student body at the college which he attended, until one of the chemistry students had come upon a method to turn common dirt into fissionable material. Then, the visitors came in greater numbers by flying saucers and managed to coax the chemistry student into giving them the atomic recipe. But Mr. Ruark got a submachine gun somehow and managed to mow down the invaders, all 200 of them, but only after being wounded and tortured. At that point, he woke up, shivering.

Now, he could not sleep before making sure that his tommy-gun was at the ready beneath his pillow. He could not afford a psychiatrist to sort out his dreams, but figured that he was suffering from an "overdose of governmental ghost stories".

He invites his reader to meet him in dreamland, but only if equipped with a gun.

Tom Schlesinger of The News, in his weekly "Capital Roundup", tells of not too many people on Capitol Hill, including North Carolina's two Senators, neither of whom had campaigned for the ouster of Secretary Johnson, defending the Secretary or finding fault with General Marshall as his replacement. Senator Frank Graham, in fact, had hailed the appointment of General Marshall as "magnificent".

Senator Clyde Hoey's secretary believed that Senate office number 345, occupied by Senator Graham and sought by Senator-nominate Willis Smith, was bad luck, as Senator William B. Umstead had been defeated, Senator J. Melville Broughton had died, and Senator Graham had been defeated, all after occupying that office. Mr. Smith had been visiting Senator Hoey to learn the ropes, but had not yet ducked just down the hall to pay a visit to Senator Graham, whom he defeated in the bitterly fought primary campaign, despite Senator Graham having said that he would support Mr. Smith in the general election.

Neither Senator reported any significant reaction by constituent mail to the President's announcement of his proposal to double the defense budget, from 15 to 30 billion dollars.

Only seven Senators, including Senator Graham, voted against the McCarran anti-subversion bill to require registration of Communists and front organizations, a bill which the President had vowed to veto if passed. Even such liberals as Senators Paul Douglas, Hubert Humphrey and Harley Kilgore had voted in favor of it.

Future Senator B. Everett Jordan, Democratic state strategist, was among the visitors to Senator Hoey during the week, lining up a political tour of the state for the Senator.

Paul Green's outdoor drama, "The Faith of Our Fathers", celebrating the life of George Washington in honor of the sesquicentennial of the nation's capital, was finally beginning to receive positive reviews, as in the Washington Star's recently favorable assessment, and would likely turn a profit before it shut down for the season on September 30.

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