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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 31, 1949, Image 9

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Antarctica Expedition
Cancellation Brings
flood of Rumors
Administration Denies
Move to Punish Senator
Byrd Through Brother
By David Lawrence
Something of a mystery seems
to have developed out of the can
cellation of the United States
Navy expedition to Antarctica.
The whole expedition was to
have cost the Navy about $2,500,
000, and there already has been
spent about $1,000,000.
The ships which were to have
been used have to be kept in oper
ation somewhere in the normal
course, so that the total extra ex
pense for a four-month visit to
the Antarctic would have been rel
atively small.
The objective, of such an expedi
tion, however, "is of considerable
importance. Thus, there is some
reason to believe that uranium
deposits are to be found in the
vast continent in and around the
8outh Pole—a land area estimat
ed to be as large as the United
States and Canada together.
Conflicting Claims set Up.
Conflicting claims to the area
have been set up by various na
tions, including Soviet Russia.
But the United States has done
more exploration there than any
other country. Hitherto in world
history the first explorers who
landed in an area have laid claim
to the surrounding regions in the
name of their'own country. Rear
Admiral Richard Byrd has made
the main expeditions to the South
Pole area and has mapped a huge
part of the Antarctic continent
and claimed it in behalf of the
United States.
While the next expedition,
which w'as to have started in No
vember of this year, was to have
been accompanied by Admiral
Byrd, it was in no sense his own
expedition. It was an official Navy
affair. Reports nevertheless have
been spread recently that the
Truman administration, desiring
to punish Senator Byrd, has
thwarted the ambition of his
brother to make a final expedition
into the area he knows so well.
This is hotly denied in adminis
tration quarters. In fact, it is said
that Secretary of Defense Johnson
recently assured Senator Byrd in
person that he had nothing to do
with the decision. Undersecre
tary Kimball of the Navy Depart
ment has taken full responsibility
for the action in cancelling the ex
pedition and he has insisted that
nobody else had anything to do
with that step.
One rumor is that the whole
action grew out of the desire of
overzealous subordinates to do
something they thought would be
pleasing to President Truman.
Another explanation heard is
that, at a time when the Depart
ment of Defense was ordering the
dismissal of 135,000 civilians, It
had to give an impression of being
economical in every detail. This
hardly seems persuasive, for the
amount to be spent is far smaller
than might be expended, for in
stance, in a good-will tour or any
of the other normal or routine
operations of the Navy in which
the same kind of ships might be
Still Another Report.
Still another report is that the
Navy expedition planned to use an
aircraft carrier for the exploration
and that it was felt this might
lead to too much publicity for the
Navy’s carrier-aircraft operations
and that at this time it might be
considered indelicate to seem to
overemphasize carrier aircraft.
None of these explanations
sounds convincing. They sound
more like excuses or even guesses
as to what was behind the can
cellation. Clearly the armed serv
ices need every bit of experience
they can possibly get concerning
conditions that exist in the Polar
areas, especially since it is as
sumed that, in the event of a war
with Russia, the armed services
would be operating in weather
very much the same as it is to be
found in and around the South
Finally, it is difficult to under
stand why the expedition was can
celed when it is realized that the
Army and the Air Force as well as
the Navy were to have partici
pated in the operations with scien
tific personnel from each of the
three services.
Some explanation for the post
ponement would normally have
been made, but in these times the
action taken becomes a mystery
which merely leads to surmises
and gossip that give the impres
sion that petty considerations gov
ern important decisions of defense
policy inside the armed services.
(Reproduction Rights Reserved)
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I* hi «M Bn* Moral
This Changing World
Attempt for Yugoslav Revolution
Seen as Next Move by Politburo
By Constantine Brown
An avalanche of reports has
poured into Washington intelli
gence agencies from all over Eu
rope in recent weeks, dealing prin
cipally with ac
tual or alleged
conditions i n
countries be
hind the Iron
These re
ports are being
evaluated i n
order to pro
vide the execu
tive branch of
the Govern
ment with a
clear picture of
what we may
expect to hap- ConsUntine Brown,
pen across the Atlantic in the
next few months.
While a Russian “punitive
expedition,” either directly or
through the Danubian satellites,
is not immediately in the cards, it
is by no means discounted as a
long-range possibility.
The Moscow Politburo put its
neck in a noose when it attempted
to deal with Marshal Tito in the
same way that it would have
dealt with other Balkan and East
European puppets. Its war of
words and economic boycott
Wave of Opposition.
Throughout the satellite coun
tries there has risen a wave of
opposition to Moscow, lit is caused
not only by Tito's agents and sym
pathizers in Romania. Bulgaria,
Hungary and Czechoslovakia, but
also by some patriots who think
the time has come to shake off
the present heavy hand of the
Moscow dictators.
These new leaders—who for the
time being remain anonymous—
are encouraged by the fact that
for more than a year now Bel
grade has been threatened with
dire consequences for its de
claration of Independence from
the Cominform—yet nothing has
Last spring the word was passed
around in the satellite countries
that before the end of the
summer Tito would be paraded
through the streets of Belgrade
in manacles. Then, it was said,
he would be brought to trial be
fore a tribunal of true Commu
nists—who were to take over the
reins of government—and woulr’
be shot like Gen. Draja Mikhail
ovich was. Nothing of the sor
has taken place. On the contrary
Tito seems to enjoy excellen
health and has executed those
who went to Yugoslavia to star!
There also was talk about the
collapse of the Yugoslav economy
because of the boycott inaugu
rated by the U. S. S. R. and the
satellites, which provided Yugo
slavia until last year with indus
trial equipment, oil and gasoline.
Moscow policy-makers did not
believe that an inveterate Com
munist like Tito would stoop
under pressure to ask for Amer
ican help. Moreover, they seemed
certain that, if such help were
asked, the American Government
would dare not extend it, since
Tito had always been more hos
tile to the United States than any
other Soviet puppet.
All these calculations went
wrong. Tito’s adamant attitude
toward the Cominform, together
with apparent willingness on the
part of the Western powers to
help him lit started last fall when
he bought American gasoline
through Italian commercial firms).
have encouraged the formation of
strong centers of resistance in
every country behind the Iron
Russia Losing face.
Russia is beginning to lose face
and. despite the reign of terror
which the puppet governments
have started in the last few
months, organized resistance is
assuming proportions which were
not hoped for by the greatest op
timists in the Western countries.
All this does not add up, how
ever, to brighten chances for the
maintenance of permanent peace.
Evaluation of these reports in
American and Western European
offices leads to the conclusion that
Russia now is in a corner. It can
force its way out by attacking Tito
directly or it can camouflage its
defeat and come to terms with
him. The latter possibility is
considered definitely out of the
question, however. Its conse
quences in Russia might be de
struction of the power of the
“Liquidation'’ of the Yugoslav
dictator apparently is not as easy
as the Politburo at first imagined.
Repeated attempts on-Tito’s life
have failed. He lyiows how to
protect himself, having been a
former member of the MVD (So
viet secret police).
Another possibility is revolution
in Yugoslavia, and it is this card
that Moscow is expected to play
next. If this fails—as is expected
—actual military action, involving
organized military forces and all
its international implications, is
the only course left to Russia to
prevent a split in the empire
which it has carefully created
since V-J day.
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I _
—By Harry Hanan
; pRWtttg :
* wfe*
Only a Good Fellow
Vaughan Appears Honestly Puzzled
By Fuss Over His Use of Influence
By Doris Flee son
Maj. Gen. Harry Vaughan gives
the impression on the witness
stand of a man honestly puzzled
by all this fuss over his free
wheeling use of
White House
influence. |yHnk«
The deflni
tlOll Of politics
as a mean ex- I Vt/SL
change of fa
vors completely B
covers his un- ^yg|B|^B^B
derstanding of B^’~ .& &r:
the uses of the MF '^iliPisfe
great power Hp ' JFMML
conferred with H||||
a position in- IHk jraffi
side the White I^^BlBHBH
House. That „ , _
..... „ Doris Fleeoon.
utilizing the
White House telephone, his own
rank or the President’s name has
anything to do with good Gov
ernment or public morality clearly
has not occurred to him.
People who know him well have
been saying this; now he is prov
ing it out of his own mouth. Re
oeatedly he showed how fantasti
cally little he knew about the peo
ple for whom his own good name
and the prestige of his old friend,
the President, now are in hazard.
In many instances he had no idea
of their backgrounds which in
cluded repeated violations of Gov
ernment regulations, and in one
case a criminal record.
An Inviolable Rule.
[ They knew people he knew—
| md not very well at that. And he
never bothered to ask questions
seemingly before he sent—or ac
companied—them on their way
fortified with the magic words:
‘A friend of the White House.”
The social world of Washington
has an inviolable rule: A White
; House invitation is a command.
The political world says: A White
House suggestion is a command.
Human nature being what it is the
suggestions are obeyed, too. Men
I --— i ■■■■ ■- -
completely sure oi tnemseives
sometimes fight back but the aver
age bureaucrat plays it safe.
This puts the burden wholly on
the discretion of the White House
staff. Gen. Vaughan is not being
accused of larceny; he is equally
guiltless of discretion or under
standing of White House power
He is spreading on the record a
perfect example of what such
blind influence can do to Gov
ernment, though it is honestly
motivated. He appears not yet to
recognize this, he says he doesn’t
think anything has been proved
against his wily friend, John Mar
agon, and that as of now he’d
still recommend him for White
House employment.
Evidence Is Little Stuff.
As a matter of fact the general
has in a way been protected by his
simplicity and obvious lack of the
kind of sinister temperament that
would have attracted the big shots
with larceny in their hearts. Big
crooks could not have afforded to
trust such an extrovert who only
wanted to be a good fellow. The
evidence is all comparatively little
stuff, important to expose and
stop, but not crime in the grand
Mr. Maragon is what Broadway
would call a hustler, a crafty but
somewhat daffy character who
perhaps served Gen. Vaughan as
a court jester of his own. In al
most his only spontaneous out
burst, Gen. Vaughan indicated as
much. He said he found Mr.
Maragon receiving calls over the
Vaughan White House telephone
and put a stop tp it, adding with a
grin: "You know he don’t repri
mand easy.’’
The general is neither a defiant
nor happy witness, however. He
is pale and subdued in contrast to
his usual bumptiousness and he is
plainly striving neither to give nor
to take offense. He may not un
derstand why but he knows he is
in trouble. -i
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\ •
Told of Deadliest
South African Snake
By Henry McLemore
NELSPRUIT, Transvaal. South
Africa. — Sitting on the stoop of
the house of Joseph Brandt, an
Afrikaans farmer, I heard tales of
the deadliest,
most feared
critter that na
ture has seen fit
to give to South
It is the mam
ba snake, and
you have a
choice of two
colors—black or
green. The
black one will
get you from
the ground, and
the green one
will ambush H«»" McLemore.
you from a tree, where he is indis
tinguishable from the foliage.
Whereas all other snakes will
try to get out of the way of man,
the mamba attacks man on sight
and his bite is sure death unless
the victim is within three or four
minutes of medical aid.
Venom Causes Paralysis.
The mamba’s venom does not
go into the blood stream, but
strikes straight at the nerve cen
ters, causing almost instantaneous
paralysis. A man. alone, could be
struck in the corridor of a hospital
and not be able to call or go for
Full-grown mambas measure be
tween 11 «nd 13 feet, and are
without any question the swiftest
of all snakes. Farmer Brandt told
me that he had a black mamba
race alongside his car when it was
traveling upwards of 40 miles per
hour. When running at top speed
the mamba is almost on his tail,
with seven or eight feet of him
standing straight in the air.
Boots, even hip-length boots,
are no protection against the
mamba, because he always strikes
at about shoulder height. No
one in an automobile ever runs
across a mamba that he chances
to meet crossing the road. The
rule is: Turn around, close the
windows, and get away. Many
motorists have foolishly tried to
crush a mamba only to get struck
when they next lifted the hood.
The mamba, quick as lightning,
is able to throw himself into the
grease pan, or whatever cars have
underneath nowadays, and stay
there until disturbed. A man on
horseback who tries to get away
from a mamba is crazy. With
his speed, the mamba will over
take a galloping horse in no time
at all.
Only Sure Way.
The only sure way to kill a
mamba, which abound all over
South Africa, is with a load of
buckshot from a shotgun. They
have been killed with sticks, to
be sure, but it is risky business.
The green mamba is even more
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treacherous than the black one.
You don't get a chance to shoot
at him. He lies in wait in a tree
and then strikes straight down
on top of the head. It is not an
uncommon sight to see natives,
when walking through the woods,
balancing heavy stones on their
heads. This is their primitive
protection against the strike of
the green mamba.
In Nelspruit they still are talk
ing about the intelligence of a
Swazi woman whose village had
lost several inhabitants to a green
mamba at approximately the same
place in the woods. She not only
put a stone on her head before
she took a stroll, but she put a
bowl of boiling hot porridge on
top of it. Sure enough, the green
mamba struck at her. That was
his finish. The blistering porridge
scalded him to death.
“Her husband claimed credit
for the idea, of course,” Farmer
Brandt told me.
(Distributed by McNausht Syndicate, Inc.)
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