The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 20, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that allied forces had hit Chinese Communist positions late this date with the heaviest rocket barrage and warplane strike during the 37-day battle for the vital Kumhwa ridges on the central front in Korea. Associated Press correspondent John Randolph reported from the front that a total of 576 rockets had been launched within a few seconds at Communist targets north of allied-held "Sniper Ridge". The barrage came after an intensive fighter-bomber attack against the Chinese positions. Mr. Randolph, an hour after the rocket barrage, filed a report that two Chinese infantry companies had attacked South Korean positions on "Sniper" and that the attack was continuing. He indicated that it was not yet known whether the action was another probe or a heavy attack by the enemy.

Elsewhere along the front, the 14-degree temperatures kept infantrymen on both sides huddled in their bunkers most of the prior night and only scattered patrol skirmishes had been reported.

In the air war, U.S. Sabre jets had destroyed five enemy MIG-15s and damaged two others, bringing the total enemy jets destroyed during the war to 502, exclusive of those downed by Navy aircraft. The Sabres had been shielding Thunderjet fighter-bombers, which had hit a troop concentration center and possible rocket-launching site northeast of Chongju. The Air Force reported that 25,000 gallons of napalm had been dumped on the target and that the entire area was in flames. General Hoyt Vandenberg, chief of staff of the Air Force, touring the front, watched the strike from a forward bunker. He returned to Japan several hours later after completing the two-day tour.

The President, in his first post-election press conference and the first since September 25, just before his cross-country whistlestop campaign began, said this date that he was quite happy over General Eisenhower's view on the Korean prisoner of war issue, following their Tuesday conference, and declared that the country was unified in its policy toward the rest of the world. He indicated tersely that domestic policy, including the budget, was not diccussed in the conference. Matters related to Europe and West Germany were also not discussed, but the problem with Iran was discussed. He said that, with the election over, the Administration was trying to get things in shape to provide an orderly turnover of the Government to the successor, establishing a new precedent in that regard. The President said that he still would describe the Korean conflict as a police action under the aegis of the United Nations. He said that he was well aware that his use of the term had been challenged, but that it was a political proposition, and that he did not care who challenged it, that history should decide the issue.

The Defense Department announced this date that for security reasons, there would be an official news blackout during General Eisenhower's visit to Korea and that no schedule would be publicly announced.

The President-elect announced this date that he had chosen John Foster Dulles to be the new Secretary of State, Charles E. Wilson, president of G.M., to become Secretary of Defense, and Governor Douglas McKay of Oregon as the new Secretary of the Interior. The General this date was having lunch with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden at the Hotel Commodore in New York, thought to be an important conference to reassure the European Allies of continuity of foreign policy.

In Thermal, California, an F-86 Sabre jet, flown by Capt. J. Slade Nash of Edwards Air Force Base, had established a new unofficial world speed record of 699.9 mph. The previous record had been 670.981 mph established on September 15, 1948 by Maj. Richard L. Johnson, also at Edwards Air Force Base, flying an earlier model of the Sabre. The speed of sound in the 70-degree temperatures prevailing at the time of Capt. Nash's flight was about 775 mph. The rules of the test fight provided that the plane could fly no higher than 1,640 feet and the four passes made by Capt. Nash were at no more than 100 feet above the Salton Sea.

Off Quonset Point, R. I., three officers and five enlisted men had died in a crash into the sea of a P2V Neptune bomber, 70 miles southeast of Block Island, while participating in anti-submarine exercises. During a practice pass, the plane hit the water.

A Scandinavian Airlines System DC-6B Arild Viking commercial passenger plane was heading toward Copenhagen after having left the U.S. Air Force Base at Thule in Greenland, completing the 2,385-mile journey in about 9 1/2 hours, and the entire 5,852-mile journey from Los Angeles in about 24 1/2 hours. It was the first of two exploratory flights from Los Angeles to Copenhagen which the airline hoped would be prelude to the first commercial service over the polar route. The plane carried 22 passengers and a crew of 13, plus Arctic survival gear and 500 pounds of mail. The polar route cut about 1,000 miles off the trip to Scandinavia via New York.

In Houston, Texas, at least 46 people had been injured this date when a Santa Fe passenger train hit a crowded city bus near the downtown area. There were no reports of critical injuries, despite the bus having been dragged about 50 feet. The train had been moving at about 18 mph and the bus driver said that he had not seen the warning lights flashing at the crossing.

In Naples, Italy, leading 20th Century philosopher Benedetto Croce died at his home this date at age 86.

In Prague, 14 former top leaders of Communist Czechoslovakia, including former Foreign Minister Vlado Clementis, went on trial this date on charges of treason and espionage. The Austrian press was reporting that Mr. Clementis had confessed to responsibility for the death of a Slovak Communist hero, Jan Svermo, who had taken part in an anti-Nazi uprising in 1941. The reports also indicated that Rudolph Slansky, former Secretary-General of the Communist Party and another of the chief defendants, had admitted to preventing medical care for Mr. Svermo. He was also charged with plotting the elimination of President Klement Gottwald. No Western correspondents were admitted to the courtroom. The trial represented a final stage in a struggle for power by clashing factions within the Communist Party in the country.

In Washington, Tony Accardo, reputed chief of the crime syndicate founded by Al Capone, was freed this date on his contempt of Congress charges, as was Joseph Scalleat, described by the Senate Crime Investigating Committee as a racketeer. Both had been indicted for refusing to answer questions before the Committee. The charges against both men were dropped on the motion of the prosecutor.

In Altoona, Pa., a two-year old girl died aboard a Pennsylvania Railroad train on the first leg of a journey to Japan with her mother, three brothers and three sisters, after leaving Spring Lake near Fort Bragg, N.C., the previous day. The mother said the child had been ill previously but appeared well at the start of the journey. They were planning to sail to Japan to reunite with the husband and father, an Army sergeant who had received a Purple Heart in World War II. The family had previously lived in Germanton, N.C., near Winston-Salem.

In Charlotte, the United Appeal had fallen $55,000 short of its $738,000 goal, but the chairman of the campaign indicated that the drive would be extended through the following Wednesday.

On the editorial page, "The Challenge of the Hydrogen Era" indicates that the atom bomb was the "match" to provide sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen bomb, requiring a little more than a millionth of a second to do so. Some of the scientists had believed that the atomic bomb could not maintain the necessary heat even for that brief microsecond, and others believed that it could be sustained by the present versions of the bomb, an hypothesis which had been validated.

The Atomic Energy Commission had not flatly stated that the hydrogen bomb had been detonated, only that "thermonuclear research" had been conducted in the most recent tests on Eniwetok. Nuclear scientist Dr. Harold Urey and other competent scientific reporters had presumed from that report that the hydrogen bomb had been detonated during the tests. The New York Times had indicated through its highly regarded reporter on nuclear matters, William L. Laurence, that the tests involved the explosion of the most powerful atomic bomb to date, and "what may be described as a laboratory scale, or rather 'test tube' model, of the hydrogen bomb."

The piece distinguishes the atomic bomb as a fission weapon, whereas the hydrogen bomb was a fusion weapon. The hydrogen bomb had far more destructive capability than the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb was limited in size to a "critical mass" of approximately 25 pounds, but the hydrogen bomb had no size limitation, other than the practical consideration of being able to transport it. There was also dispute among scientists as to the potential effect on the atmosphere, should several hydrogen bombs be detonated at one time, theoretically capable of poisoning all life on earth.

The piece speculates that it was possible that the hydrogen bomb did not yet exist, but that the tests nevertheless appeared to ensure its rapid development. It was virtually certain also that the Soviets would not be far behind.

It indicates that it did not subscribe to the notion that everyone would be blown up in the hydrogen era, as the existence of great precipitant danger often drove statesmen into accomplishments which would minimize the threat. It is more concerned with the lack of corresponding progress in the field of human relationships and governments to control the world than of the scientific achievements. Dr. Urey had opined that the Soviets would be more restrained by effective governmental organization than by bombs. It suggests that man had not concentrated enough on the political and social sciences in order to live peaceably in a world possessing the power of self-destruction. It finds in those sciences the great challenge ahead.

"A Business-Like Transition" indicates that the President, a few weeks earlier on the campaign trail, had said that President-elect Eisenhower did not "know any more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday" and that he was "willing to accept the very practices that identify the so-called 'master-race'". General Eisenhower and his surrogates had charged in response that the President was engaging in "unrestrained slander … vile rumors" and "the greatest collection of flim-flamming accusations made in any campaign."

It suggests that in light of those exchanges, it was not surprising that the joint statement issued by the two men after their conference on Tuesday had not incorporated any glowing statement of accord and mutual admiration. They shook hands during the meeting and smiled for the camera, discussed matters privately and with key advisers. It suggests that time might never heal the wounds inflicted during the campaign, but bitterness had not obscured either man's sense of obligation to the country.

The joint statement carried on the theme of prompt and business-like cooperation, which had begun just hours after the Eisenhower victory. The team of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and Joseph Dodge, as liaison representatives between the incoming and outgoing Administrations, had reported complete cooperation.

It finds the joint statement reasonable and indicates that it was not of the school which believed that there should be a much shorter interregnum than the present 2 1/2 months between election day and inauguration. It posits that it would make more sense to have the President inaugurated during the first week in January, when Congress convened, eliminating the 2 1/2 weeks between that point and the inauguration. But it finds that at least two months was necessary for preparation of the establishment of a new Government in such a vast executive department. It concludes that the transition between the two Administrations was proceeding in an orderly and realistic fashion.

"What Ike Really Said" indicates that President-elect Eisenhower had reportedly stated in his October 24 speech in Detroit: "I shall go to Korea … to bring the Korean War to an early and honorable end. That is my pledge to the American people." But in context, he had made his statement regarding ending the war only after stating that the first task of a new Administration would be to review and re-examine every course of action open to the country, with the one goal in mind of ending the war honorably.

It finds the phrase a bit ambiguous, and suggests that the speechwriter may have so intended it. But at least the General had pledged a review and re-examination of every course of action which might quickly end the war, while not promising an early end. It suggests that it was desirable to read remarks made during a campaign within their proper context and that grave damage could be done by taking phrases out of context and distorting their meaning.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Oh, For Full Bacon in Big Frying Pan", tells of having read that housewives were now cutting strips of bacon in half, producing a shrunken, shriveled bit of pork barely recognizable as bacon after it was cooked. The reason for the action was that the average small kitchen lacked large frying pans able to accommodate a full strip of bacon. It concludes that what the country needed was bigger frying pans and housewives willing and able to fry full-length bacon, or better, to broil it. It suggests that a half-slice of bacon was about the same as one scrambled egg, "which is to say that it isn't much."

Drew Pearson indicates that President-elect Eisenhower had received two invitations to visit Latin America, one from Mexico and the other from Chile, and was considering the possibility of making such a trip before his inauguration. Though the President of Chile was General Ibanez, he had been freely elected and there was no showing of tendencies toward dictatorship, though he had staged an anti-U.S. campaign to achieve election. A trip by the President-elect to Chile would help thaw relations. Such a trip would follow in the footsteps of Herbert Hoover, who had made a goodwill tour of Latin America after his election and before his inauguration in March, 1929. Some of General Eisenhower's advisers were urging that since Latin Americans had generally hoped that Governor Stevenson would be elected, it would be good to dispel Latin American predictions of a return to isolationist imperialism under the Republicans, preceding the Good Neighbor policy inaugurated by FDR.

Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas was slated to become the new Minority Leader in the Senate, but some Democrats were not happy about it. They believed that "Lyin' Down Lyndon", as he was nicknamed, would follow a pro-Republican line and that there would not be much Democratic opposition to Republican policies under his leadership. The Senator, to ensure his selection as the new leader, had undertaken a telephone campaign starting the day after the election to line up votes, pressuring freshman Senators, such as Henry Jackson of Washington and Mike Mansfield of Montana, who had agreed to support him. Senator-elect Mansfield had been asked whether he thought it was a good idea to have Texans in leadership roles in both houses of Congress, with outgoing Speaker Sam Rayburn to be the Democratic leader in the new House, Senator Mansfield having replied that he thought Senator Johnson was "Sam Rayburn's boy" and that if there was anything he could ever do to repay Mr. Rayburn for the favors he had done for Senator Mansfield, he wanted to do it. Senators Paul Douglas of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Guy Gillette of Iowa sought to organize opposition to Senator Johnson's selection, with Senator Gillette urging Senator Lister Hill of Alabama to become the new Minority Leader. Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island favored Senator Earle Clements of Kentucky. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas had asked Senator Hill whether he would run, and he declined, saying that he had enough of being Senate leader. He believed that Senator Johnson might be making a mistake, as he was up for re-election in 1954, and Senator Ernest McFarland, the outgoing Majority Leader, had been defeated, as had been former Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois in 1950. He indicated that the Senator who was the leader did not have the time to give to his own home state and so his constituents back home had a tendency to vote against him at re-election time.

Governor Stevenson would come to Washington around December 1 to spend an evening with the President and chart the future course of the Democratic Party. The President would virtually turn over the party to the Governor at that time. They would discuss the chairmanship of the DNC, presently held by the Governor's law partner, Stephen Mitchell, selected by the Governor after the convention. There were divergent views among Democrats as to what had caused the loss of the election, but one thing they all agreed on was that Mr. Mitchell had not helped. He had not called a single meeting of the DNC during the campaign, though urged repeatedly to do so, and would not even call regional meetings, antagonizing so many local leaders that many refused even to call him on the phone. The President would therefore urge selecting a new chairman.

The Taft wing of the Republican Party was not happy over the appointment of Herbert Brownell, former campaign manager for Governor Dewey, as the chief patronage adviser for President-elect Eisenhower. It meant that the political plums, which Republicans had been awaiting for 20 long years, would likely go to the Dewey wing of the party. Mr. Brownell—who would eventually be appointed the new Attorney General—was under instructions to clear appointments with RNC chairman Arthur Summerfield, a former supporter of Senator Taft for the nomination, and to work with the RNC. His province would be in jobs below the rank of the cabinet. The Taft supporters had been fearful since the convention that the Dewey wing of the party would control patronage, prompting Senator Taft to meet with General Eisenhower in September in New York.

Mr. Pearson notes that despite Governor Dewey's unpopularity within the Republican Party, he had picked some top men to run his gubernatorial administration in New York.

Joseph Alsop, in Paris, suggests that even White House pressures would not cause President-elect Eisenhower to forget his greatest postwar achievement, laying the foundations of the defense of the West in Europe. He would thus take a special and personal interest in completion of that task. The crisis in completion would begin on December 15, when the leaders of the NATO nations would meet in Paris to agree on the following year's defense plans.

The previous February, at the Lisbon Conference, the nations of NATO adopted a clearly defined program for Western European defense, establishing increasing contributions in 1952, 1953 and 1954, and establishing the goal that by the end of 1954, NATO would have 98 ready and reserve divisions and 10,000 front-line and home defense aircraft. During 1952, the contributions of the nations had been approximately on schedule. By the end of the year, General Matthew Ridgway, NATO supreme commander, would have 25 divisions in position and 25 on call, with airplanes in proportion. Some of the ready divisions, however, were seriously under strength and some of those on call were pretty green. The 1952 goal would be about 90 percent realized in the end. But Britain, France and the other NATO partners of Western Europe were finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the strains of rearmament, to become evident in the defense contributions by those nations in 1953.

Under the Lisbon agreement, France in 1953 was to contribute three additional divisions, plus around 45,000 men to fill up existing divisional cadres, and somewhat more than 300 additional aircraft. But the French now intended to transfer to NATO two existing French divisions presently in North Africa, and the British ground force contribution for 1953 would be at least 40 percent under the level projected at the Lisbon Conference, and the air contribution would be about 50 percent short. France and Britain expected even greater shortfalls of their goals for 1954.

Even if the French Chamber of Deputies did not block the creation of German divisions to assist in Western Europe's defense, the original Lisbon plan for 98 divisions and 10,000 aircraft could not be realized by the end of 1954. It would rather be only a few more than 50 ready and reserve divisions and about 6,000 aircraft. The result would be a serious shortfall, especially when the Lisbon plan had actually called for no less than 120 divisions. General Ridgway was not going to tolerate any reduction of the original Lisbon goals and any reduction of the planned build-up on the Continent would be bitterly protested by the French and the Germans.

The practical fact remained that the French, British and other European budgets would not allow for the rate of rearmament decided at Lisbon.

These were among the problems facing President-elect Eisenhower as soon as he took office. He could be pleased with the progress thus far of NATO, as the force already put together deprived the Soviets of their former opportunity to occupy Western Europe without opposition. The fact remained, however, that the new President would have to decide whether and how the defense structure which he had started could be completed. Mr. Alsop posits that it was nonsense to talk about huge cutbacks in the American defense effort and American military aid, unless the new Administration wanted to permit "the stagnation and dismantlement" of General Eisenhower's own grand design.

Marquis Childs states that General Eisenhower would have to be some kind of Superman "in a tearing hurry" to keep all of the promises he had made during the campaign, but the pressure to deliver on his more spectacular and immediate promises would be heavy. One of those promises was about to be accomplished, the trip to Korea to evaluate first-hand the situation, in the hope of effecting a truce. The country longed for a quick end to the war, but the President-elect might decide that the cost in casualties of an all-out effort, with the risk of spreading the fighting in the process, was too great. He would be informed of a plan gradually to eliminate U.S. troops, presently holding down about one-third of the front-line positions. Ground commander General James Van Fleet, along with U.N. supreme commander, General Mark Clark, and the top policy-makers at the Pentagon had developed a plan whereby there would be two or three additional South Korean divisions trained and equipped, plus another non-American U.N. division, to be accomplished within a year or two, enabling withdrawal of about half of the U.S. troops to Japan or elsewhere. There was disagreement on the timing of that plan, with General Van Fleet believing that the Korean divisions could be trained within a year if equipment were available. The Pentagon believed that because of the pressure for arms from all quarters, the likelihood was that two years would be required to prepare the South Korean divisions. More than 55 percent of the front line at present was manned by South Korean troops.

He indicates that the plan was not sensational and did not provide a quick answer to the war or contemplate the withdrawal of all American troops. Patience would be required, as stated by General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and that was a lesson, he continued, which could be learned from the Russians and the Communist Chinese. He believed that the united efforts in Korea and the progress in NATO had shaken the Communists' confidence and that steady cooperation and progress could shake it even more. The General believed that the patient, persistent course in Korea would convince the Communists that aggression did not pay. Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett concurred in that assessment. Mr. Childs concludes that this position believed that the holding operation in Korea was part of the general task of maintaining order in the world, a task which had fallen to the U.S. because of the power vacuum left after World War II.

Robert C. Ruark says that he did not know whom he would be "hitting on the head" in the near future because President Truman would soon be departing and since he still liked Ike, there would be no one left to clobber. One could not knock Margaret Truman as she was "a real nice doll and can't help it if she don't sing very good." One could not criticize Bess Truman, as she, also, would soon be departing and was never, in any event, "very painful publicly, like Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Eleanor was always Peg's personal property for knocking purposes."

He indicates that the coattail riders of the Truman Administration would soon be departing, such as Ambassador to Mexico William O'Dwyer, along with economists such as Leon Keyserling. General MacArthur had always been available for kidding, but he had retired from public life "to make typewriters" and had never emerged during the campaign to speak for the Republican Party which he held so dear, and so it could be assumed that he had bowed out of politics.

There was Casey Stengel, manager of the Yankees, but there was no point in kidding him. Mr. Ruark says that he was friendly with Frank Sinatra, and Lucky Luciano was not likely to return to the U.S. He had no feud either with his brother columnists. Despite his having been knocking his in-laws for years, they still spoke to him, and despite his knocking marriage, he had been married to the same woman for 15 years. He was cordial with his banker, on good terms with his editors, and dogs did not bite him steadily as they had in the past. Secretary of State Acheson would probably retire before Christmas.

Thus, he concludes, there wasn't anything left to knock, "which is dreadful, unless I can rig up some excuse to come out against the bangs, in the case of Mamie [Eisenhower], or find some imperfection in the character of Toots Shor, the only living candidate for perpetual distinction and the right to deserve Baby."

Don't worry. If there remains down at the barroom any shred of objectivity, dignity and realization of the old adage about the sheep being led to slaughter, you will have Dick Nixon to kick around some and even more than that.

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