The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 27, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. Marines had raised the American flag this date over the former national capitol building and foreign consulate buildings in the heart of Seoul. Fighting continued in the city but clean-up battles of liberation were nearly complete. Small pockets of the enemy were still resisting as the Marines fought through winding alleys and house to house. By Wednesday afternoon, local time in Seoul, there were only a few small areas of the burning city still in enemy hands.

Don Whitehead had reported that the Marines held only a third of the city during the morning, but the flag-raising was reported at shortly before 7:00 p.m. by Tom Lambert, who also said that American casualties of the Seventh Division had been light, amounting to only 111, while the units had killed, wounded, or captured 1,128 North Korean troops during the prior day. Official sources reported that U.N. forces had inflicted 6,000 casualties along the entire battlefront on Tuesday.

The allied line now ran unbroken for 215 miles diagonally across the peninsula from Pusan through Seoul to Inchon on the west coast. Within this perimeter, there were now many trapped enemy troops who were fleeing in disorder while suicide rear-guard units fought delaying actions.

MacArthur headquarters confirmed that 12 American soldiers who were prisoners had been executed by North Korean machinge-gun fire at Chinju on Tuesday as the city was about to fall into allied hands again. Two other Americans who were wounded told of the action after feigning death to survive. One dead North Korean soldier was also found among the American bodies, killed by his own men for refusing to take part in the executions. The two wounded American prisoners had not had food or water for five days. Correspondent Stan Swinton had witnessed the finding of the bodies and the living prisoners but had reported the previous day that a third survivor had also been found.

The whereabouts of 300 to 400 liberated allied prisoners of war from Seoul remained a mystery. Correspondent Bill Ross had filed the report but was told by Army officials later that the information on which he based the report was released prematurely.

Mr. Ross reports that U.N. forces had linked up Tuesday at Changji to establish the new, unbroken perimeter line. The First Cavalry and units of the Seventh Division forces had linked after beating back last ditch enemy resistance.

At the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, a strong movement was underway to frame a peace and relief plan for Korea, proposed by the British, with the intent that all of Korea would be free and independent under a government elected under U.N. supervision.

At a press conference, the South Korean Foreign Minister expressed the hope that the U.N. would approve U.N. forces going beyond the 38th parallel. He said that South Korea had never recognized the artificial boundary, created arbitrarily in August, 1945.

The Security Council approved the admission of Indonesia to the organization as the 60th member nation.

The White House announced the selection of Walter S. Gifford, former chairman of A.T. & T., as the new Ambassador to Britain, to succeed retiring Lewis Douglas, who cited health reasons for his decision to resign. Mr. Gifford, at 65, was nearly ten years older than Ambassador Douglas.

According to Robert Hanes of Winston-Salem, the West German ERP administrator, speaking in New York before the American Bankers Association, industrial production in Western Europe had increased to 25 percent above the prewar level.

Wholesale food prices declined by the largest weekly amount of the year, representing the first appreciable decrease since the start of the Korean war.

The State Board of Education in Raleigh asked the Advisory Budget Commission to recommend to the 1951 Legislature a biennial budget of 211 million dollars for public education, of which 164 million would go to payment of teacher and principal salaries. The Greater University, including UNC at Chapel Hill, N.C. State, and Woman's College at Greensboro, sought, through president Gordon Gray, a budget of 24 million, compared to 17 million for the current biennium.

In Biloxi, Miss., the 60th annual reunion of the United Confederate Veterans began with only one veteran attending, 98-year old General James W. Moore from Selma, Ala. He said that there would be one more reunion in 1951. Eighteen other veterans remained alive, and one, at age 105, said he might yet attend.

In Minooka, Ill., burglars entered ten different downtown businesses and were able to make off with a small radio and $7.65. That was better than the Confederates did.

In England and Denmark, a strange blue afternoon sun the previous day was followed by a blue moon at night and a blue morning sun again, appearing in the skies over the North Sea. It was the strangest event in the heavens since Haley's Comet had streaked by in 1910. Astronomers were divided on whether the phenomenon was caused by a high cloud formation, dust blown from a storm or distant volcanic eruption or ice crystals formed from far flung smoke out of forest fires in Canada. Some feared it to be a portent of the end of the world.

Nah, that won't occur before about 2017, probably.

On the editorial page, "The Exit of a Salesman" praises the work of ERP administrator Paul Hoffman who had gotten the Marshall Plan to work in Western Europe. Mr. Hoffman, former head of Studebaker, was resigning to return to the private sector. It suggests that under the direction of a man of lesser ability, the Plan might have collapsed.

"Occupation of North Korea" again favors that the U.N. troops cross the 38th parallel, as the only means to bring about an end to the war in Korea, that the menace in the South could not be eradicated without occupation of the North. It cites an old Korean proverb on the point: "The water downstream will not be clear if the water upstream is muddled."

The Communist regime, it urges, would have to be put down.

Yet, some, such as Yugoslav Vice-Premier Edvard Kardelj, favored halting at the parallel. It hopes that the U.S. delegates to the General Assembly could convince Yugoslavia and other such nations that there could be no peace as long as the Communists maintained power in the North.

It advocates crossing the parallel even if the U.N. did not approve the action, as peace was more important than an advantage in propaganda.

"Chicago Gangsterism—1950 Style" remarks on the Monday killings of a former Chicago police lieutenant and an attorney who were investigating organized gambling and preparing to testify to the Kefauver Committee. The gangland-style killings had come on the heels of revelations of bribery of government officials in Florida by gambling operatives and pay-offs to the police in New York City. The Committee was set to start its investigation into the gambling operations of Kansas City, where the previous April, Democratic leader Charles Binaggio had been gunned down with a henchman, Charles Gargotta.

The gambling operations had supplanted the bootleg whiskey of Prohibition to provide lush profits for the gangsters. Through this illicit money, they could then pay off state and local public officials and police to stay in business. There was also the suspicion that they may have been able to influence national affairs.

While Congress could not hope to stamp out gambling, it could determine how widespread the bribery of officials was, and if the corruption could not be eradicated by state and local authorities, step in with Federal legislation.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "The Troubles of Mr. Taft", finds that in addition to his problem for having co-sponsored Taft-Hartley in 1947, Senator Taft had no room to try to blame Korea on the Administration, for he had said in September, 1949 that there was not much evidence that the Russians contemplated military action, and then voted at that time and again the following May against providing military aid to Korea. In July, he had voted against increased military aid to NATO and increased economic aid under the Marshall Plan. It concludes that his trouble was not his independent mind but how he made it up.

Drew Pearson finds it paradoxical that while the Government had cracked down on hoarders in the public and business, the Agriculture Department was breaking all records for hoarding of cheese, butter, and dried eggs since the start of the Korean war. Meanwhile, food costs had been skyrocketing to stabilize farm prices. In consequence, both the Army and the consumer were paying more for these products. Much of the stored food was likely to become moldy and rancid while people in other lands were starving. He notes that the Department also had 7.5 million pounds of rice in storage, which could go further than bullets to win the war in Korea.

The aid to children bill had failed in committee because Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, who had been dozing, was aroused from his nap by the oratory of Senator Alexander Wiley, seeking to explain the bill to Senator Kenneth Wherry. When Senator McKellar was informed that the bill being considered was sponsored by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, whom Senator McKellar could not abide, he objected, killing the bill.

The First Family would have enough bathrooms for the first time in the history of the White House, after the renovation was completed in late 1951. The only major addition would be eight new bathrooms. Previously, guests of the First Family had to tread hallways at night to reach empty bathrooms. The first indoor bathrooms at the executive mansion had been installed in 1850. Pulling the interior walls apart over time to install plumbing and electrical and telephone wiring during the ensuing 98 years had caused the unsoundness of the structure, requiring that the interior be gutted and rebuilt. Some of the original pipes and some of the original woodwork and supporting beams would be used in the new renovation. Also added would be a bomb shelter.

When Senator Hubert Humphrey had urged Senator William Langer to stop his filibuster of the veto override of the anti-subversion bill, he had refused and told the much younger Senator Humphrey to go home and get some sleep as he had only begun. Eventually, Senator Langer had collapsed after five and a half hours and was taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital for rest and observation.

Senators Paul Douglas and Herbert Lehman had fled after the vote on the bill because it had been rumored that Republicans were planning to plant Communists in the corridors and, when press photographers snapped their pictures, have them step up to the Senators who voted against the bill.

James Marlow discusses the new anti-subversive law, under which, he suggests, it might take years for the Government to achieve compliance among Communists and front organizations required to register under its provisions, with criminal penalties for failing to do so. The reason was the availability of two routes of appeal through the Federal courts before any punitive action could occur. The definition of what constituted such an organization was that it had to be one controlled by Moscow as part of the worldwide Communist conspiracy and which secretly planned to overthrow the Government by force. A Communist front organization was one run by such a Communist action organization, but concealing its true purpose, thus potentially having members who were not Communists and not aware of the Communist aims of the organization.

The five-person Subversive Activities Control Board set up by the legislation would make the determination after receiving from the Attorney General a complaint. Initial registration within 30 days of the effective date of the law was voluntary and most Communists would not therefore comply. But then the Attorney General could ask the Board to order compliance with respect to certain organizations which he proved fell within the criteria. Once an order issued and compliance was refused, the criminal penalties attached.

The time frame for all of this action could be months or years. The organization ordered to register could appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. And if upheld and then convicted for failure to register, the organization could, of course, go through the appellate process again regarding the conviction.

There were questions, too, regarding organizations which, after being ordered to comply, dissolved and then formed anew under a different name. That had happened in Canada in 1940 when the Communist Party was outlawed and then subsequently appeared under a new name, still doing business in 1950.

The law, insofar as it remained viable, was repealed in 1993. In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court had held unanimously, 8 to 0, that the registration requirement of the Act violated the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination because the registration form might be used as an investigatory lead or as evidence in a criminal prosecution. In 1967, the Court held, 6 to 2, with Justices Byron White and John Harlan dissenting, that the provision prohibiting employment of Communists in the Federal Government was violative of the First Amendment right of freedom of association. In 1971, Congress had repealed the detention provisions of the Act, Title II, which Mr. Marlow would cover in detail the following day.

Joseph Alsop, in Seoul, reflects on his experience marching with Easy Company since the landing on Inchon on September 15. The average age of the troops was about twenty and few had seen fighting prior to six weeks earlier when they arrived on the southern front. They had fought well and hard in that earlier phase of the war, losing, by wounds or death, two-thirds of their complement in the process.

But what he finds most stirring about them was not their fighting prowess, though few understood the intricacies of what it was they were fighting for beyond simply their country, but what they had withstood as individuals, which, marching with them, he had come to appreciate. There were different personalities in the company: the humorist, the hunter who pursued the enemy at every opportunity, the scrounger who prided himself on stealing the infantry blind, the lover who always looked forward to his next conquest, and the family man whose life revolved around his cottage in California where his wife and two children awaited.

They were not the sarcastic, self-pitying cardboard characters of the war novels, though possessed of negative traits some of them no doubt were, albeit maintained out of sight during the march. They shared food and shelter, met danger with salty humor and calm determination, tackled problems calmly. They were, at base, quite ordinary Americans, who produced extraordinary effort on such occasions.

"And when you observe this, and in the same breath remember the pettiness, cowardice, cheapness and self-seeking of so many of those to whom the destinies of these men are confided, you grow impotently angry at the unworthiness of the leaders of the country that they lead."

Of course, in so saying, Mr. Alsop, no fan of the President, forgets for the moment that the commander-in-chief had once been one of those ordinary Americans fighting in the trenches of France in World War I.

Robert C. Ruark tells of having become a cook by accident when his wife was ill and he was consigned to fry the chicken. Since, he had graduated to meat and fish and salads. Someone had given him a portable barbecue grill and he had recently cooked five steaks at once to virtual perfection, a feat of which he was quite proud. But with that pride came the price of being expected to labor over the hot stove and grill until his arms and half of his body were roasted. He had made the commitment, however, and promises his wife that if she was good, he might let her set the table.

A letter from the president of the Board of Trustees of the Charlotte Mint Museum of Art thanks the newspaper for its September 16 editorial, which had urged greater support of the museum by the community through memberships.

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