Sunday, July 24, 2022

Postblogging Technology, April 1952, I: Metal Fatigue

R._. C_.,

Dear Father:

I am always kicking myself for getting these letters off late, and so last week I was patting myself on the back for getting one off early for a change when I heard the news that the President had decided not to run again! So that was what was completely missing in the last letter. It will be a bit neglected in this letter, too, because The Economist is a British paper, and because its obsessions tend to be its own. This week sees The Economist in particularly fine form, with all the regular hands on deck, and lots of good coverage of important stories, but also, with the regular editorial crew in charge, it is Doom, doom, doom everywhere!  Even Australia is (economically) doomed. First I'd heard about it! 

On the bright side, Estes Kefauver followed up his win in New Hampshire with one in Nebraska. I make a bit of fun below, since there's not a lot of Democrats in Nebraska, but this does contribute to his "momentum." Reggie hasn't fallen in love with Kefauver the way he did with Wallace, but he does seem to be the best of a sad lot. 

Your Loving Daughter,


The Economist, 5 April 1952


"Allied Commanders" It looks like not enough British general-type persons are going to be Allied Supreme Commanders of this and that after General Eisenhower returns to America to run for President, and it's an outrage.

"The Siege State" While we have to admit that Bevan has been right about most things so far, this just makes it worse, because he is some kind of radical who always wants to change this and that, while right now Labour and Britain  need one of those stable sorts of middle-of-the-road liberals that run the Liberal Party, and the only way that Bevan can prevent that is by going on and on about how things are rotten, which is what The Economist means by "a siege state," and not something else that might occur to a regular reader of The Economist and lead them to make some pointed comments about a "siege mentality" at Geoffrey's latest shindig. 

"Indo-Chinese Dilemma" France can't possibly win in Indo-China because it costs too much, but it needs to win or next thing the Communists will be overrunning Malaya, and without that tin and rubber, sterling will be finished and bankers in London will have to get real jobs. So we have to buck up the French somehow before they conclude a "hopeless" peace just because they are beaten. Perhaps America should send some unspecified aid. 

"Getting Out of GATT" If you've never heard of GATT like I've never heard of GATT, it is the "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade," which is an international memorandum of understanding or maybe a council or an annual convention of ambassadors or something --honestly I could look it up and clear up my ignorance, but it would involve learning about 'tariff schedules,' and I would rather not!-- So that is what is getting in the way of Shinwell's push to reduce British imports to secure the balance of payments, which the Tories are now toying with continuing. The Economist explains that Britain should be allowed to restrict imports and that this shouldn't affect GATT, which is too important to give up, and in fact the Americans should pay more attention to it. But if anything is to go, it will have to be sterling-protecting preference. 


Nato has barely existed for long enough to have birthdays, but let's celebrate it Economist-style, by worrying that it is going in the wrong direction. 

"Cold War Broadcasting" Everyone in Parliament is concerned that the BBC has enough money to blast the BBC World Service through Communist jamming, but something. It's always "but." I think it turns out to be a good time to have a strategic review of everything before we spend the money? Also in Parliamentary news, Iain McLeod gave a nice speech on the health service, which makes the magazine wonder why he and other bright young things weren't put in the cabinet. Oh, well, time enough for that when they carry Churchill out the door. 

"The Exile of Seretse Khama" "Two British governments have now decided that Seretse Khama cannot be chief of the Bamangwao tribe in Bechuanaland because he has a white wife." Since the Tories have made the same decision as Labour, after protesting in opposition, The Economist concludes that they must have  very good reasons after all, even though no-one can explain them and he is clearly the preferred candidate of the tribe. If the decision has been made with an eye to public opinion in South Africa, that is bad, so the government should get to work on a better excuse. And speaking of things that go on and on, Trieste. We are still on about Trieste. 

"New Stage in Tunisia" Proposed French reforms in Tunisia look like they might be too little, too late. The Economist hopes for various improvements in this and that, since a solution is surely attainable. (That is, one that doesn't involve the French packing their bags and leaving tomorrow. Heaven knows what we would have to conclude if there weren't a solution that involved the French staying until, at some point in the distant future, the Tunisians can be allowed to rule themselves.)

"Ignoble Economics" The Lords were going to debate the economic situation, but decided to have a row, instead. The Lords in general don't seem to appreciate how very serious the situation is, and how only the most serious austerities will remedy the situation.

"The Logic of Steel Prices" Duncan Sandys is in trouble, I am shocked and saddened to report, this time over the Order raising iron and steel prices, which he previously opposed. But, realy, Labour is worse, because, "[w]ith the balance of payments in its present state, British exports should be sold as dearly as possible." There is also squabbling going on over this year's agricultural prices. 

"The Base at Antwerp" The British want to build a military supply base in the Campine, "near Antwerp," The Economist adds for those who are not former French majors and the Belgian parliament had a debate about the proposal for a 4000 acre parcel going to Britain free of charge and with Belgium footing one-tenth of the estimated cost of 130 million francs, even though it is a guarantee of the British presence in Europe and they should be grateful. The proposal passed, so that's good. 

The business slump in India attracts the magazine's notice long enough for it to recommend astringent austerity, staying the course, and ignoring the "pro-business right" and "the Left" alike. Also, health costs are up mainly due to a small wage award to Scottish dentists and a larger one to doctors, which the government has decided to absorb as a higher NHS budget and not "by the patient in heavier charges." But next year, for sure. Also, a conference of chief constables is worried about congestion in large towns, the need for more and more serious parking regulation and enforcement, and, vaguely perhaps hiring more police so that the current regulations can be enforced. 

The Economist of 1852 notices "Party Issues" That is, some MPs might vote against the government for some reason and thereby endanger Free Trade, and they should stop and think twice, because nothing is more important than Free Trade. 


"Equality and Equidistance" Hector Hughes might or might not be wrong about "treating Britain as a unit for transportation purposes," but he absolutely eviscerates The Economist leader that took issue with him. 

(Lyrics by Hector Hughes)

G. Rehn writes from the Swedish TUC to point out that "Professor Lundberg" does not speak for the Swedish Social Democratic party, and "An Occasional Broadcaster" patiently explains the difference between having advertisements on the radio (or television), and American-style sponsored broadcasts. 


The Economist explains that Harry Truman and Warren Hillman deserve good reviews for Mr. President because the President was "big enough" to not run again in '52. Alex Weisberg's book about the Stalinist purges, Conspiracy of Silence, is about as good as any of the other ones but no better. Lloyd Brown's The Story of Maps isn't the popular history of cartography we have all been waiting for. D. P. Copland's Inflation and Expansion: Essays on the Australian Economy explains that while everything looks good in Australia right now, it is bound to end in tears. The expansion is "on insecure foundations," and suffers "lack of balance." Sir Douglas Copland is a strong proponent of dollar loans for Australia, but isn't clear about whether Australia could service them without drawing on sterling area dollar balances, and isn't nearly skeptical enough about mass migration, sure to end in even more tears.  Sir William Savage and Victor Bonham Carter both have books about the English town or possibly village. E. Goodman's Forms of Public Control and Ownership is a very worthy book, but Butterworth (the magazine) and A. C. Monahan do him one better with guides to the income tax act. Richard Stebbings' The United States in World Affairs delves more deeply into why Latin American countries are not quite as enthusiastic about Point Four American investment in their economies as President Truman is. No, wait, it doesn't because, regular Latin American coups are silly and inconsequential things that would anyways stop happening if Latin American countries stopped being so difficult over Point Four investment. Just like the Communist Chinese will shortly learn the error of being Communist by virtue of American being so increasingly militarily powerful. 

American Survey

The Economist joins everyone else on Earth in noticing that Tom Connally has gone completely cuckoo since it began to look like he might lose the Texas Democratic senatorial primary. The magazine is late to the party because when you say things about Hawaiians not being real Americans, that's just silly Senator talk, but when you put on a dog-and-pony show in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on the mutual defence aid appropriation for Nato, that's actually serious. American Notes leads off with the story of the President's decision not to run, because obviously Connally acting like a nasty, blowhard dotard on the floor of the Senate over money for Britain is far more important than the President not running again. Also, Taft's campaign says that the Taft campaign is in fine shape coming out of the Wisconsin primaries. On the contrary, says the Draft Eisenhower campaign, he's a sinking ship! Meanwhile, Kefauver's campaign says that the Kefauver campaign's victory in Nebraska is particularly important because there are several Democrats out there. At least Harold Stassen's defeats in Wisconsin and Nebraska mean that we won't be hearing about him any  more.  

Charlie Wilson is out at the Office of Price Stabilisation for opposing the President's solution for steel, and Newbold Morris' campaign for subpoena powers to pursue his investigation of corruption in the Administration is ruffling feathers. 

"The New Refugees" The President wants American assistance for European refugees from communism. Five million displaced persons are expected over the next five years, and the Displaced Persons Act, which admitted 400,000 postwar refugees, expires in June. That will bring the old quota system back, and it will not allow America to "rescue [many] fugitives from Communist tyranny" at all! The President wants to admit 300,000 over three years and set up a "permanent international resettlement organisation,"but as much as Senator McCarran hates communists at home and loves General Franco abroad, he is not about to let some greasy foreigners into his America, unless they are Basque shepherds headed for Nevada. 

"Plans for Prosperity" McGraw-Hill's Department of Economics, the Department of Commerce, and the SEC have each done surveys of proposed capital spending. The lowest estimated total for next year, taking into account shortages and delays, is $19 billion for industry and $5 billion for commercial and miscellaneous expansion. There has been concern that the end of the defence buildup would lead to deflation in 1952, and that industry might find itself overbuilt after the end of the defence expansion, but it does not seem like business expects that to happen, even though it surely will, just like in the Thirties, without cuts to the excess profits and corporate taxes, probably. 

The World Overseas

The lead story is the Anglo-Egyptian negotiations over the Sudan, which are a bit poisonous right now.

"Japan Looks for a Change" The Economist now has a regular Tokyo correspondent! He checks in on the situation in the Diet as Yoshida Shigeru gets ready for Japan's first post-peace treaty national government. Of course the top question is defence and armaments, which Japan isn't allowed under its new constitution, but which it will have anyway, on the pretext that they are an extension of the police force, which has both the Socialists (against) and the nationalist right (too enthusiastically for) up in arms. The Socialists want American troops out, the right wants American culture out, everyone wants cartels back as long as they are not real cartels. Everyone is tired of the deflationary austerity imposed by Joseph Dodge, and Ishibashi Tanzan is pushing for a special issue of Government bonds to meet Japan's lack of industrial capital. 

"Failure of Australia's Farms" Australian farm production is either down, or not up enough. Australia had to import butter from New Zealand last year, and on the basis of present trends might have to import wheat soon, due to not enough agricultural labour migrating, not enough phosphates fertiliser, and not enough investment. "It is a crisis of great magnitude" due to the need to improve Australia's balance of payments situation. 

"Between Russia and China" Is Outer Mongolia, a very large country with even more people than there are Democrats in Nebraska. However, the President of Mongolia has recently died and there was a big state funeral that got some coverage, so it is time to catch up the readers on Communist Mongolia, before checking in with Pakistan, were Afghanistan seems to be promoting Pathan independence movements in the Northwest Frontier province.  Pakistan has evacuated many of the outlying garrisons, but there's been a singular absence of trouble, probably because Muslims feel a sense of religious brotherhood and were mainly so fractious because they were being ruled by the British. Gee, who would have thought?

The Business World

The section leads off with "EPL Under Scrutiny" That's the Excess Profits Levy, which is bad and terrible and bad, as The Economist will explain by digging up every scrap of data and comment by Tory spokesmen that can be turned to that effect. Follows an even more interesting and important Leader about "The Future of European Payments." If I had to guess, the EPL is not long for this world, and the future of European Payments is that they will go on being paid, but possible in a different way, although hopefully not too different if the Americans will kick in $178 million in cash to allow it to cover dollars leaking out of Europe via gold sales. 

Business Notes

Apart from financial news, The Economist lays into the government for running a budget surplus on the strength of rising income tax and customs revenues due to inflation, which is bad, especially when civil expenditure has been allowed tdo grow, and defence expenditure to fall, in defiance of all principles of austerity and sacrifice. Also along the lines of more austerity and sacrifice, we inquire into iron and steel prices, and the "subsidy" to steel, which turns out to be a remission on duties on imported steel, to bring more in for industrial consumption. 

It looks like the crisis in retail trade and textile sales was due to industry overstocking (and confusion over what kind of inventory to buy going into the end of rationing) and not anything more sinister such as a "slump." However, department stores are suffering against multiple stores.

"Coal After the Winter" The expected coal shortage did not happen. November stocks were 17 million tons, below the minimum necessary level believed necessary to make it through the winter of 19 million tons, which is why American imports were sought. This total was expected to fall to 10 million tons by the end of the winter, but by 22 March there were more than 13 million tons on hand, compared to 9.6 million tons in 1951. Why did stocks only decline by 3.5 million tons over the winter? It was not restrictions on domestic consumers, and merchants' stocks are 60% higher than at this time in 1951. Even exports and bunkers are up compared with 1951. Industry has been doing a good job of recruiting new labour, up to 1000.week in some recent weeks, and has staffed Saturday shifts. 

We also hear about the Export-Import Bank loan of $48 million to cover the sterling exchange balance etc, the increase of Building Society interest on deposits to 2% (2 1/2% on shares), and to 4 1/2% on loans, the relaxation of US natural rubber consumption controls, allowing an increase in American imports by 15,000t to 480,000t a year including latex, and an end to the Defence Production Administration's monopoly on importing rubber. BOAC has made a clear profit this year, admittedly in part on air mail, and is entering an exciting year, what with the Comet and all, even though BEA is in the dumps because of delays with the Airspeed Ambassador. Ambassadors did not enter scheduled services until last month. On the bright side, the first Viscounts will be delivered in October. Small planes and not enough passengers is the main reason why BEA is taking most of the voted £1 million civil air subsidy.

World steel output is up 11% this year, with increases in all the major producers.  United States production is up 8%. The Japanese rebound is particularly notable. The bank rate is  up, negotiations continue with Argentina, AEI had a nice year, industrial output in January was up unexpectedly, 3.5% over the year, and Japan has deposited £20 million at the Bank of England and $20 million at the Federal Reserve as a "token of good will" in case there is a settlement on Japanese debt, in which case the deposits will be a first installment. 

"Demand for New Ships" Despite an increase of 2.6 million GRT in total world shipping over the past year, demand for new tonnage continues, with the world fleet at 87 million tons, including the American laid-up reserve, up 27% from 1939. UK registered ships now make up 21% of the total compared with 26% before the war, US registered shipping is 29%. The main reason that the fleet is so large is that the world shortage of shipping is keeping ships that should have been scrapped, in service. 82% of the American fleet is between 5 and 9 years of age, and 50% of the UK fleet is five to fourteen years old. Another factor influencing the growth in fleet sizes is the increase in specialised tonnage, with seagoing tankers now representing 18.2 million tons, compared with 11.4 million in 1939, while ore carriers are growing in size, as are tankers and ore carriers for Great Lakes service. Three quarters of world tonnage is still steam driven, but motorships have risen from 17 to 23 million tons in 1948--51. The tonnage of coal-burning ships has fallen from 18 to 14.7 million tons over the same period, and the dominant trend now is the conversion of diesel engines to burning bunker fuel, in spite of the success of the recent first voyage by a gas turbine tanker. It will "probably be some time" before gas turbines are in competition with other prime movers. 

Aviation Week, 7 April 1952

News Digest reports that The Douglas DC-6B's all up weight has been increased to 107,000lbs. The Air Force has received its first F-86Es. General Anton of SAC was killed in the crash of his personal B-25 while attempting to land at Offutt this week. A sketch of a "purported" Russian intercontinental bomber was printed in a Boeing house organ this week, based on "indirect information from behind the Iron Curtain" put together by a "writer in England." Boeing doesn't vouch for it, and "[o]ther observers are even more skeptical." 

Katherine Johnsen reports in Washington Roundup that there might be another Key West Conference to sort out the defence buildup. The USAF and Naval air are fighting again about who can deliver atom bombs better. The Secretary of State for Air wants to cut back on Air Force public relations efforts because I'm not sure why. Air Force and Navy aircraft orders will come earlier this year because the appropriations bill was passed earlier, and after three-way backbiting between lobbyists for the railroads, nonskeds and scheduled airlines, an proposal to allow $1.4 million for jet passenger airliner development lost out in Congress, while the CAA budget for  next year has less money for air safety. 

Industry Observer reports that the Minneapolis-Honeywell electronic attitude gyroscope has 3000 parts and costs $4500 per unit and is produced by 47 subcontract component manufacturers and 97 other vendors. Part manufacture requires 183 hours, final assembly, 192.5 hours. The Grumman S2F, "designed from scratch" for ASW work, will be delivered beginning late this year. So will deliveries of the Bell HSL-1 anti-submarine helicopter. Testimony before the House Appropriations Committee indicates that the Douglas A3D heavy carrier jet bomber costs $3.25 million per, that two have been made, that 12 more are programmed, followed by mass production, when the price is expected to drop. Word is that the Chance Vought F7U costs $2 million each at the quantities the Navy is ordering. The electronics, which includes a complex pitch-and-yaw control that will be the basis of a full automatic pilot later, costs only $24,000 each.  The Navy is doing more with in-flight refuelling and the Air Force has rolled back the design freeze order to one basic change per year per plane. The USAF had 46 Boeing KC-97 tankers in service as of the end of last year, while Bell's Niagara plant is going to be used entirely missiles from now on, as the X-series is finished. The Boeing B-52 is said to lack the "long-range intercontinental capabilities of the B-36" due to lack of inflight refuelling. Which will go into the plane before it enters SAC service, so it is not clear what someone might be saying, and Aviation Week is careful to point out that this is an official USAF statement. 

"$14 Billion Asked for Aircraft and Missiles" That's the proposed 1953 air power budget for you. The Navy is talking up atomic air power again, the Air Force wants 17 troop carrier wings, eight equipped with XC-123s from Willow Run, 143 total wings eventually, and more aircraft to make up for Korean losses. The Navy, in contrast, doesn't need new aircraft to keep up its total. Its contemplated 3000 aircraft order just maintains the fleet.  With new and improved aircraft, of course, including a water-based fighter, lots of  helicopters and patrol aircraft, and even three lighter-than-air types. The Army's meagre air power budget is good for some  helicopters, but ther is talk of a supplemental appropriation to cover more aircraft, particularly the Piasecki XH-16, because it is bigger and newer and has that new-car smell. 

"Wilson Declares Jet Production is Rising" Out the door and on his way, Charlie Wilson takes a moment to defend his record, but we've already heard what he has to say, and who cares? 

Phoebe Omlie, "America's first licensed woman transport pilot," says that the CAA has too many non-aviation people and has lost its way, as she resigns from the CAA without further elaboration. PAL is buying 9 2-0-2s to replace its DC-3s, which is what should have happened in the first place; and an unnamed Braniff pilot deserves credit for saving 46 passengers and crew for getting a DC-4 safely on the ground fast enough so that they didn't all die of a mid-air engine fire.  

"Two New F-84Fs" The F-84 continues in production with a fighter-bomber and recon type scheduler. They are still armed with .50s, but also 24 rockets, and, to be clear, this is the swept-wing version of the F-84, and production will actually begin at the end of the year. Lieutenant General Howard Craig is the next head of the War College, the CAA budget cut gets a bit more detail in this number, the Australian Sabre will get the "more advanced" RA-7 Avon, generating almost 50% more horsepower than the Avon RA-3 and almost double the power of Sabres flying in Korea. The RAF now has two operational Canberra squadrons, and HMS Eagle has received the first Royal navy jets, Supermarine Attackers. Aviation Week notes that they have automatic devices for snapping the tail wheel into line with the nose harness, although the harness has to be attached by hand. Eagle will receive the steam catapult trialled on HMS Perseus sometime this year. It has comprehensive deck landing lights, and can accommodate "about 100 aircraft."  Hawker Sea Hawks will follow the Attacker aboard. 

Aeronautical Engineering has "New Data Released on Fairey Gannet" The first turboprop advertorial to fly over the Atlantic! The advertorial very briefly discusses the Armstrong-Siddeley Double Mamba power plant, and the Gannet's large bomb-bay and retractable radome for radar. The Double Mamba was chosen for fuel economy and engine life in over-water cruising, and comes with an automatic prop feathering control in case an engine fails. The powerplant is controlled from a single lever, and a torquemeter is included for direct reading of engine power. Water-methanol injection will be incorporated in later models to make up for loss of power in tropical climates. The army is testing a new system for establishing post positions by triangulation on an air-dropped flare. Basically, the patrol can call in and find out where they are by reporting the angle to the flare. Aeroballistics is firing test missiles out of guns and photographing them with new "multiple image silhouette photography" to learn more about how they fly. The photographic technology, involving superimposed light flashes, is explained. It turns out to make heavy use of 3M Scotchlite relective sheeting. 

McGraw-Hill World News reports that "Britannia Rules:" Tasman Empire Airways is going to buy the Britannia to replace its Short Solent flying boats. Chance-Vought wants us to know that the latst mark of the Corsair, the AU-1, is a very good Corsair.  This variant is a pure ground attack variant, so they can get rid of the two-stage supercharger, and the freed-up weight goes to other stuff. Also, the air intakes have been moved and the cooler armoured. 

GM writes in about its "Surfagage," an electric stylus monitored from a transducer. The latest NBS publication, Technical Report No. 1645, explains and quantifies circuit noise in high-impedance electrical circuits and gives a method for reducing it. 

Thrust and Drag makes a case for ignoring the entire feature by making a joke about how hard it is to pronounce "aerodynamicist." That's my job, Thrust and Drag

Byron C. Dempsey reports for Production that "AMC Procurement Pace Slowed" Dayton wants us to know that it can't hardly do anything with all these corruption investigations going on. If only there wasn't politics, everything would be fine! Did anyone mention that Senator Robert "Airpower" Taft is from Ohio? Pratt and Whitney's "Thomas Metalmaster Disintegrator" isn't nearly as much fun as the title suggests. It just smashes junk into salvageable pieces. 

"Shapes Jet Blades" Norton Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, has the "Compound Contour Blade Grinder," which, and I guess I've given away the surprise, shapes jet blades and other engine parts. 

Scott H. Heiniger reports for Equipment on "PAA's Tourist Cabin, Deluxe Cockpit" The DC=6B "for ocean coach converts to luxury plane," but the "fully instrumented cockpit stays the same." What all this means is that PAA's DC-6Bs can be configured for 82-passenger tourist flights or 44 and 56 passenger luxury flights with sleaperettes, by moving the furniture. This comes from a Sperry brochure, which says that PAA will have spend about a million dollars on Sperry equipment by the time it has finished equipping its DC-6B fleet. The Zero Reader gives information on direction, and is coupled with a Bendix Ominrange that gives distance and displacement, as an auto-approach coupler. The article goes on at some length about the radio equipment, returning to navigation, specifically radio navigation, at the end. The "Super-Six" has a Collins 20-channel Glideslope (ILS) receiver and LORAN. The engine fire extinguisher system has an automatic control that activates in crashes, and Skydrol, so it will burn less. 

New Aviation Products reports on the  Klincher Locknut, which is the best locknut ever and the Davis Boring Tool of Gidding and Lewis tool holder, which "reduces set-ups."

The McGraw-Hill line editorial tells us "Where You Will Find the REAL REVOLUTION." Capitalism. Capitalism is the "real revolution," not Communism. Or cartels, which are like communism. 

Robert Wood's Editorial calls for the "Truth to Come Out" on the consequences of the CAA reorganisation for safety. Then he gets a bit sarcastic about banner news of progress on the rails, where the speed of passenger trains has increased from 37.4mph (average) to 37.7mph this year.

The Economist, 12 April 1952


"Sheep Not Lambs" The county council elections went heavily against the Tories, so it is time to read the tea leaves and discover that it is no surprise, but rather the way things ought to be, since proper government right now means unpopularity right now, but if the Conservatives keep on doing what The Economist tells them to do, and does less of what it tells them not to do, they will win the next general election because we will have arrived in the sunny uplands, etc. 

"Vendetta in Downing Street" Things are rockier with Nato than they should be, because, assorted foreigners are persuaded that Downing Street has some kind of vendetta against European unity. This is obviously not true. Foreigners don't understand Britain's special situation, but also the British public doesn't seem to understand foreigners' concerns, and Downing Street had better try harder to do so, or Britain will be left without any real allies when the pressure of the Communist menace relents. 

"Landing Grounds and Fighters"  The reader may have noticed that Churchill is making an issue of the American air force in Britain in a way that Attlee never did. That doesn't mean that he has spelled out the obvious point that the American nuclear deterrent depends mainly on American B-29s flying from British bases, but hearing American papers admit openly that the American B-29s over here are atom bombers, and that American fighters are taking part in the air defences of Great Britain, is likely to be alarming to Britons. The Economist investigates."

In the spring of 1948, Ernest Bevin agreed to have 60 B-29s with ground crews in Britain, with another 30 following by August, designated the 3rd Air Force. By 3 June 1949, this had grown to 8000 personnel, and by 1950 to 10,0000 and 180 aircraft stationed at 26 bases and supply centres. The current total number of aircraft cannot be given, but is more than 200 in 3 bomber wings, which are typically 45 bombers and 20 "tankers." The aircraft involved are both B-29s and B-50s. No B-36s are deployed in Britain, although they have visited. The fighter component was originally an escort wing of F-84s, with another wing of F-86s arriving for air defence. Bombers are under 7th Air Division, which is part of SAC, and has an "undefined" relationship with Shape and US Air Forces in Europe (Wiesbaden). Other aircraft are part of 3rd Air Force, and it is "safe to say" that they are under Wiesbaden, but will come under Shape in an emergency. Third Air Force also has some Army units under it,  including an engineer aviation group and an anti-aircraft artillery brigade. "There are also 2000" US Navy personnel in Britain. 

This total is only 10% of the US personnel in Europe, so in no way is Britain an "American aircraft carrier in Europe," as it is popular to say.

"Genial Boss" It is the thirtieth anniversary of Joseph Stalin's general secretariat of the Soviet Communist party, meaning since he became the boss. The Economist gives us a short biography and explains that it is no coincidence that all three of the great dictators of the Twentieth Century were from the lower middle class. The very kind of awful person who doesn't take The Economist! 

 Notes of the Week

"Cairo and the Sudan" In case you weren't worn out by the long explainer last week in The World Overseas, here's more! Everyone agrees that Britain should get out of the Sudan as quickly as possible. It would be good for Britain, and, the Good Lord knows, the Middle East is clamouring for it. But something should be done to ensure that the Egyptians and Sudanese are talking about their common problems in civil terms, first. 

"Ten out of Ten for M. Pinay" Pinay's government has carried a budget and ten votes of non-concidence. Boring! On the bright side, food prices are up and the stress of saving the franc is said to have shaved 10lbs off Mr. Faure in 40 days, and 4lbs from the leaner M. Pinay, which is clear evidence that the svelte look is in, and also that the Fourth Republic needs constitutional reform. 

Parliament is in recess, but not before arguing about steel denationalisation and a government defence of the decision not to remove the textiles purchase tax. Instead, the Government is going to bring forward some uniform orders to save the industry from unemployment. 

"Moscow Curtain-raiser" The Moscow economic conference opened last week with some good news on prices for consumer goods in the Soviet Union and a seductive suggestion that the British textiles industry could benefit from huge orders from China. As the Russians point out, in 1950, nearly 50% of China's trade went to capitalist states, but in the first nine months of 1951 this fell to only 30%, and this decline hit Britain particularly hard. The Economist points out that China probably doesn't want British textiles. There is no embargo on them, after all. 

"Tanjong Malim"  General Sir Gerald Templer has been "widely congratulated on his quick grasp of the Malayan problem," but some of his methods are not so popular. Tanjong Malim is a town which has been punished for a series of Communist incidents in its neighbourhood by having a hormonal plant killer sprayed on it by aircraft, which keeps down roadside vegetation and kills gardens --"Communist food-growing plots," which are like gardens, except that they gaily sing The Internationale every morning at the rising of the Sun. 

"China Stiffens the Home Front" The Economist covers China's propaganda campaign against the alleged American and UN bacteriological warfare offensive. This both rallies the home front, and provides a convenient excuse for epidemics which are an increasing problem at home. 

Done with that, it is back to the county council elections, and a rise in the national assistance rate which is a "death blow to Beveridge," because it is no longer enough to cover living expenses, and so what is the point of it?

"Amnesty for Greek Rebels" and "Tangerine Troubles" covers the Greeks moving on from their civil war, with amnesties for 2000 rebels subject to the death sentence and the release of 5000 more, even as the Greek government is in turmoil as supporters of the currently resigned-and-in-withdrawal Field-Marshal Papagos fight for a majority-vote election that they hope will  bring him back to power. The Economist  points out that the Greek Socialists have called for an all-party conference to address the country's problems, which Papagos will have to boycott if he is to stay in retreat, and this, it is hoped, "will do him no good." Meanwhile, British troops in Gibraltar are standing by to be called in to suppress rioting in Tangier, which has overwhelmed its small international police force. "It is difficult to explain why this international community should have become the victim of what was primarily an anti-French outburst." No, it is not. Meanwhile, Spain is eager to take the enclave over again. If there is one thing that can unite the French and the Arab world, it is anti-Spanish sentiment. 

Ireland is having an austerity budget, and Parliament is going to have a go at revising the Army and Air Force Act, which has been rolled forward annually without significant changes since 1881 and could use some. 

The Economist of 1852 is worked up about the "Crooked Statements" alleged by George F. Young and "other protectionists" against the Board of Trade in its Trade and Navigation Accounts. Apparently he was wrong about everything and is a horrible libeller. 


W. A. Wells of the Empire Industries Association accuses The Economist of shifting its grounds on GATT; The Economist defends itself. Someone in the West Riding (textile mill country in Yorkshire) thinks that the textiles problem is that retailers are not doing their part to get the business running again. John Greystoke thinks that there is a business slump on, and that the Chancellor must "rethink his employment policy." Noel Anselot writes that there is not a "Bevanite" trend in Europe, but rather that Belgian and other Socialists are of a mind with Bevan on defence spending, because he agrees with positions they have held for years.


A long review of F. P. Walters, A History of the League of Nations asks, "Which is the Great Illusion?"  The question is whether idealists like Walters or realists like George Kennan are more deluded; probably those idealists. They're so idealistic! On the one hand, the fall of France is now addressed by a parliamentary inquiry, Les Evenments survenus en France de 1933 a 1945: temoignages et documents recueillis par la Commission d'Enquete par Commission d'Enquete Parliamentaire; on the other by the memoirs of Paul Reynaud. "It is easy to see how the difficulties of the English alliance have led Reynaud to advocate for European union. Finally, we  have the second and sixth in what looks like it is going to be a very compendious treatment of the development of British law overseas, dominion by dominion and, I am sure, eventually colony by colony. These two cover Australia and India, and run to more than 300pp each. The authors are G. W. Paton and Alan Gledhill. J. Harvey Perry gives us Taxation in Canada, and there is a roundup of shorter comments on reference books including the Federation of British Industry's 1951--2 register, a review of private and public investment in Canada by the Canadian Department of Trade, the UN Statistical Yearbook for 1952, the City of Birmingham's annual abstract of statistics, and /V. J. Oxley's Local Government Financial Statistics

American Survey

"Democrats Without Truman" The Democrats need a ticket that will appeal to trade unionists in the north without alienating southerners, and it is agreed that Stevenson as Presidential candidate and Richard Russell of Georgia as Vice-President are perfect. Except for Stevenson's divorce, and his decision to run for governor of Illinois, and the fact that he is not Kefauver. "No-one is for Kefauver except for the voters." The Federal Reserve action against Paul Giannini and the Bank of America gets a bit more coverage

American Notes

"Steel Seizure" Somehow the President's emergency seizure of the steel industry is less important than woolgathering about Stevenson. Negotiations will continue in Washington over just how much of a pay raise to give the workers, and now much of a price increase to give the industry. Also, as became pretty much inevitable last week, Newbold Morris is gone. Charles Wilson has told the Washington press corps that the defence spending stretch-out was the best thing that ever happened, because it will allow the industry to gather up its strength and gain momentum and produce more, better weapons, albeit in 1954, not 1952. And the Federal Reserve is under pressure to relax restrictions on consumer credit. Various other moves to loosen credit in an election year are also under way.  

"Eisenhower's Coat-Tails" Specifically, the question is whether a strong popular vote for Eisenhower will sweep the GOP into a majority in the Senate. There are three seats promising for pickup, but five vulnerable seats that must be held if the world is to benefit from having Senators Bridges, Wiley, Capehart and McCarthy running committees.  

The President wants the service overseas absentee ballot simplified, to improve returns/. The waiters of the Waldorf-Astoria are filing suit for allegedly withheld tips. Governor Dewey is removing the New York state law against yellow margarine. "The law of supply and demand was the reason why" sundials, bowling pins, dinosaur bones and "non-edible" foods were recently price decontrolled. Sales are so small as to have a "trifling effect" on living standards. How much wax fruit and plastic turkey can people use?

The World Overseas

"Ferment in Italy" Italy is in ferment! It says so here! There are "complicated manoeuvrings" in the government and the Communists are regaining lost ground! Also, General Eisenhower says that Nato is going great in his valedictory speech, but warns that everyone must be more public spirited and patriotic. Germany has somehow found an enormous amount of capital to finance its extraordinary recovery since 1948. How? Arcane financial trickery involving revaluation of assets. However, all is not well, as either defence buildup will continue, causing great strain to German industry, or it will end, bringing a glut of competition onto the international scene and causing a fall in the standard of living.  Doom! Doom everywhere, all the time!

"A Code for the World Press" More on the proposed world code of conduct for the world press, which The Economist takes a very dim view of, especially with the Soviets involved. It's "Like Nuns talking of love"! 

"The Ukrainian Resistance" We review the Ukrainian exile community and the resistance movement that it is fostering within Ukraine. The "Banderivtsi" of Stefan Bandera are the most successful group, or, at least, the most violent, and thus deserve the leading role in the council of Ukrainian exile organisations. Most of those disagree, but the Banderivtsi's activism has won them friends in America, where Stassen has endorsed them and President Truman sent greetings to the 1949 Congress of American Ukrainians.

The Business World

"No Respite for Sterling" It seems like there has been a respite for sterling, but you can be sure there isn't! The whole fuss of the last year wasn't just a bunch of bankers moving money around to influence the election. No sir! 

"Radio Industry and Defence" The government decided to reduce this year's deliveries of radios and televisions by a third at the end of January, probably on a quota basis. The radio industry's output has reached £110 million from £75 million over an unspecified period, probably from 1950 (uncommonly sloppy writing from The Economist). Defence orders make up £30 million of this, compared with £6 million in 1950. Domestic sales made up £45 million, up from £42 million, and exports were £22 million compared with £18 million in 1950. A reduction in domestic sales by a quarter will not be made up by defence orders, which are expected to rise to only £45 million by 1953--4. The numbers are approximate, since they will depend on the number of tanks, aircraft and artillery built. The industry is also in the dark about how much of its capacity the armed forces will use, if not total expenditure, because radio equipment for military use tends to be complicated, special-purpose equipment not suitable for the kind of  assembly lines that produce radios and televisions for domestic use. This is in contrast to the relatively simple radios used in large numbers in planes and tanks in the last war. In fact, the greater part of the programme will be re-equipping the radar chain. And while this equipment is assembled by electrical engineers and not factory workers, there is some carryover to the wider fields of electronic engineering, in the form of television transmitters, cinema-television projectors, electronic calculators, high-frequency hearing apparatus and portable radio transmitters. 

Much of this equipment will be monopolised by the defence industries at the expense of exports, and if you are wondering about the common denominator in the last few examples, it is small, high-duty valves, which must be kept dust free, and so are hard to manufacture. The Select Committee on Expenditures is now upset about the cancellation of two contracts for high speed production lines for small valves placed in 1946.  Mullard, which was involved in them, says that it has continued its research and can build high-speed machinery to make miniature valves the equal of any produced in the United States, which is luck in case guided missile demand continues to increase. We conclude by showing that, in spite of rapidly rising demand for domestic televisions and radios and good export prospects, that the industry is probably overbuilt and that expected production will be well in excess of demand. Doom!

Business Notes

We hit up taxes (and the purchase tax/de-rationing mess over textiles) in the first three notes. 

"A Grower's Lot" This one is about taxes, too, since the EPL applies to United Sua, the big rubber company reporting its profits this week. The Company is quite upset about the Communist insurgency, but also at the United States, where the DPA has held the import price of rubber down to only 113% of the 1939 level for fear of "being gouged," even though the price for its tobacco, maize and wheat exports are up three-and-a-half times over the same period. Thanks to the EPL, "It is not only in Johore that this vital dollar-earning industry is meeting murder on its way." Also, do you want to hear more about sterling balances? Here is more about sterling balances! Hurray! 

"Extra Blast Furnaces" Steel production continued to recover in March, reaching an annual rate of 16,648,000 tons, compared with 15,234,000 tons in February. The Economist guesses that the decline to another bad year is about to begin, since least year's decline started in March. Doom! The check in production in pig iron in February turns out to have been temporary, while the amount of coke available for smelting is increasing, and it is the limiting factor on production now that British steel is being mainly made from pig iron, which is being produced in more blast furnaces.

There's a long Note on arguments within  accountancy over how to account for changes in  historic price levels. Things are more complicated than you think even when it comes to things you've never thought about! 

"Remedy for Tuberculosis?" The Ministry of Health is looking into Roche's Rimifon, but also rival tradenames like Nydrazid, but all are forms of nicotinic acid hydrazide. It is much cheaper than streptomycin and can be taken orally. If useful for treating animal tuberculosis, it could be make possible enormous improvements in cattle herds.

"New Shapes for Ships" The Economist popped into an Institution of Naval Architects session the other day to hear Basil Sanderson on "Britain's Deep-Sea Liner Trade, 1945--1950," which presented some interesting findings on improving ship hulls in various ways to make them less deadly in war, but also more efficient in peace time. 

"Metal Fatigue in Aircraft" The Air Registration Board has just decided to impose a service life on certain aircraft structures, and this has alarmed the public. An accident in Australia recently (1945, says Reggie, so not exactly recent!) revealed unexpectedly fast metal fatigue in an aircraft. The first aircraft to have its service life reduced, with a call to replace the wing spar central section every 10,000 hours, was the Vickers Viking. The Hermes is now undergoing the same testing, and other aircraft will follow. No-one should worry, because these pre-service limits are going to make flying safer, not the other way round! 

Responsibility in the Mines" The inquiry into the Knockshinnoch Castle disaster in September, 1950 is, in a sense, a trial, after charges of negligence against management and the sub-area production engineer were dismissed by the courts. It is not clear who might finally be able to be held responsible, but at least there is one conclusion that The Economist can take on with relish, which is that the Coal Mining Act of 1911 needs to be revised to establish "satisfactory new principles."

The National savings rate is unchanged, it is taking forever for former coalowners to get their compensations, and the Ministry of Agriculture has published a bill to regulate precautions for protecting farm workers from "the more dangerous farm chemicals."

Aviation Week, 14 April 1952

News Digest reports that Dayton is bidding for the 1953 air races, that the USAF is asking bids on 62 surplus machine tools stored at Marietta, Georgia, that the Bell 47D-1 has been licensed in Italy.

Industry Observer reports that  Fairchild is going to give its big wing C-119H its first test flight in May, and is continuing development of the XC-120 Flying Packet with detachable cargo pack. Navy aircraft attrition rates of 1% to 2% a month have not varied as a result of combat operations in Korea. The Air Force is upgrading its C-45s under all designations to the new C-445G standard and is ordering drogue parachutes to brake B-47 landings. The RAF will order either or both of the Gloster GA-5 and De Havilland DH110 off the drawing board to  increase quantity production more quickly. The Air Force has ordered 14,000 GE J47 engines as spares for the B-47 fleet. The Navy reports that all three of its new carrier classes have a top speed of about 32 knots, while Republic seems to think it  has an order for a trainer based on the F-84, and the second Vickers Valiant prototype has been delivered to the RAF, replacing the prototype that crashed last fall. Sweeping changes are implied by the fact that Vickers is warning publications not to interchange pictures of two prototypes. 

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup reports that Congressional sentiment is moving towards "cutting everything," summarises Eisenhower's valedictory to Nato, already reported by The Economist, with the additional detail that Nato will have 4000 operational jets by the end of 1952, and reports that Congress is hot on the tail of former Washington insiders connected with the decision to operate the Arnold Engineering Development Centre on a for-profit basis. These include former Secretary of State for Air Stuart Symington and Lieutenant General E. E. Partridge. Congress, specifically the Senate Appropriations Committee, is on the CAA over its reorganisation, and the Korean airlift is being phased out. 

"House Group Asks Slash in Plane Funds" As reported by Katherine Johnsen, the upshot may be a cut of 500 aircraft deliveries for the Air Force. Air Force Magazine reports from the front that, get this, I couldn't believe it when I read it, that the MiG-15 is superior to the Sabre in some respects. Breaking!!!!

"Grumman Plant Bursting Seams" Grumman explains lower net income in spite of rising sales; it has a backlog, and it is not because the F9F-5 was a dog and they had to hurry to switch over to the Cougar.  Which will be shown at the SAE Air Review, because it is so fresh and new!

Alexander McSurely reports for Aviation News that "Engineers Scarce in Top OAS Jobs" This is more about the troubled CAA reorganisation at the Office of Air Safety, where the old guard seems mainly qualified by its industry connections. In other news, Pioneer Air Lines is thinking about buying some Convair 340s to go with its 2-0-2s, and the Air Force is continuing its study of flying saucers to figure out what is up with them, the arrangements for satisfying Martin shareholders are laid out, and P and W confirms that Ford has a license to produce the J67. 

Nat McKitterick reports for McGraw-Hill World News that "RAF vs. MiG" is big news in Britain, because it looks sort of like the new British fighters and had an (improved, old) British-designed engine. It is no threat to Britain, and really is a second-rate knockoff of British ideas. Harrumph! By Jove! Specifically, it can't shoot down a Valiant or the new Avro and Handley Page types. Fighters will have to fly at substantially supersonic speeds to intercept these planes, which can fly at in excess of 45,000ft and bomb from as high as 60,000ft with their new bomb system.  Beyond that, the bombers will become "airborne aimers" for radar-controlled missiles, making them even harder to intercept, because they will not have to fly over Moscow to hit it. Thus, a small British "rapier" air force will be as, or more effective than a "bludgeon" air force of the new intercontinental American types. Or so the British say. It's not like they can afford a bludgeon air force, anyway. 

David E. Anderton reports for Production that "GE Cuts Bottlenecks at New Jet Centre" GE Lockland is a very nice new het engine factory. We also get a history of its first decade, starting as a plant for producing British designs back in the war. We get a general tour, and some specific details about how GE is dealing with the blade bottleneck, including a move to produce stator blades by fabricating them, and the usual lot of automatic, time-saving production tools for contouring and finishing. The tour group was not allowed to see the bright, shiny new J53.

Lockheed, Boeing, and Republic follow Grumman with year's end financial report tries to explain why more sales means lower income. Backlog boosts costs! United, on the other hand, blames taxes, since it doesn't have much to talk about production-wise.

Rudolf Modley surveys the subcontractors for Aviation Week, finds that they are being "strangled" by regulations.  

Philip Klein reports for Avionics that "Pilots Back Approach Couplers" As we heard in the article about the new arrangements in Pan-Am's Atlantic DC-6s, a "hook-up" between ILS and autopilots is "one of the keys" to all weather operations, finds an All-Weather Operation Problems symposium held as part of the recent IAS conference in New York.  Pilots, meanwhile, are quite excited by the "most-weather" possibilities of the new technology, although they think that the tower needs to get better at telling them what the weather is like. That is, tower-declared ceilings and visibility often does not agree with what pilots are seeing. (The Weather Bureau is experimenting with putting televisions in the towers to remedy this.) Studies show that DC-4s miss up to 25% of their first approaches under 500ft ceilings, half-mile visibility conditions, and that auto-approach couplers that convert ILS signals into autopilot feeds would reduce this to 5%. TCA, testing Eclipse-Pioneer autopilots instead, reports that coupled planes do better under 100ft ceilings than manually piloted ones do under 200ft ceilings. Should planes even be trying to land under 100ft ceilings? I guess if there's no alternative, which, up in Canada, there probably isn't . . . In other news, they are still talking about the ideal runway lighting and are still waiting for a good precision radar. Airports, in particular, are not likely to buy a radar until they are sure that it is going to be accepted by regulators, as they have been stuck with non-regulation equipment before. 

Haledy Electronics thinks that its cold-cathode control is very easy to trigger with no warm-up delay, while GE's new germanium rectifier is 1/35th the size of existing selenium rectifiers.  

There's an article about progress in using airborne radar to prevent damage from flying through clouds and thunderstorms (starting with not running into mountains hiding in clouds) is rather ruined by postal damage to the first page, but which might be about American Airlines specifically, although I will never know who the author is. American is also having trouble building radomes into its airliners. The problem seems to be the same as it always was; the pilot can either look at the radar, or fly the plane.

New Aviation Products reports that Sponge Rubber Products has lighter seat cushions, that Continental Dimaond Fibre's plane grommet is lighter and more fireproof than ever, and that Westinghouse's mounting rack is the best mounting rack ever. 

Facts for Filing tells us about "the structure of Army Aviation," but I am not going to waste time and space on something that is likely to change so quickly. Right now, an infantry or airborne division is supposed to have 26 liaison aircraft and helicopters.

F. E. Moore reports for Air Transport that "ALPA Proposes Prop Reversal System" The fact that the Airline Pilot's Association is intervening in the discussion of prop reversal systems tells you everything you need to know about how much pilots trust them. It is a pretty simple manual cut-out to be installed in the Hamilton Standard equipment to prevent unintentional reversal. 

Letters has lobbyist Wayne Weishaar of the Aeronautical Training Society writing to say that he doesn't make anywhere near as much money as Aviation Week says, and could they please print a correction. "CAA Employee in the First Region" thinks that the CAA is out of touch, Randall Rice catches a badly cropped photograph, and E. E. Henkel, Public Relations Manager for Fairchild, writes to point out that Fairchild, and not Convair, as reported by Aviation Week, had the first exclusive guided missile factory in America.  

What's New is almost too excited by its brand new copy of the CAA Seaplane Facility Directory to read it, but has to read it before it can go on to the even more exciting Airworthiness Directive Summary. 

Robert Wood's Editorial admits that "Everything Depends on Safety" after the United C-46 cargo plane crash in Jamaica, New York on 5 April.  It turns out that there isn't enough attention being paid to air safety! Air safety is a problem! Everyone who said it was, was --well, let's let bybones be bygone. Wood ends the column with a hearty apology to the railroad interests and a promise to take the train from now on. Just kidding!

He also can't help repeating Look's joke that the MiG-15 is so good even the Russians don't know how they built it, which is why the Air Force has classified it top secret. If they let the details slip, the Russians would figure out how they built it, and improve it! Wood is also appalled that Admiral C. F. Horne, Administrator of the CAA, is more interested in "counteracting one-sided editorials" than in fixing the problems at the Organisation for Air Safety. 

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