Sunday, June 12, 2022

Postblogging Technology, March 1952, I: Man Mountain

British Pathe covered this? Past, another country, etc. 

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

If  you detect a certain brevity in my treatment of Aviation Week this time around, it is because my subscription was held up by troubles at the office, and I had to use the public library copies, which, being current, I had to keep to an hour. I hope things are back to normal next week, but it sometimes seems like these things always get worse.

On the bright side, Man Mountain Dean is running for a Congressional seat as a Republican on a platform of "making Communism a national crime!" Given the possibilities, (and you'll see The Economist go  nuts below as it weighs a contest between Richard Russell and General MacArthur), I'll settle for Kefauver. At least he's got a wife, Governor Stevenson!

Your Loving Daughter,


The Economist,  1 March 1952

"Security Second" "There are men in the Kremlin"! So it says! The most surprising thing has happened, as it turns out that Bevan was wrong wrong WRONG all along.  By which we mean that the Tories have decided that Bevan was right about the defence programme being unsupportable, but he is wrong because he was right for the wrong reasons, or maybe because it was too early to be right. 

That is, the Tories have released a White Paper detailing how they intend to delay the three year Labour rearmament programme, but delay is the same as cancellation, we we are about to see, and so actually the British are cutting back rearmament, and those men in the Kremlin can figure it out, so it is not fair that readers should not know, and The Economist will explain, while pointing out that Bevan was wrong. 

In 1950, British defence expenditure was running at £800 million. Labour decided to double that for the next three years, meaning that the "famous £4700 million" rearmament effort would include £2400 million that would have alredy been spent, and another £2300 of once-and-for-all effort to catch up on spending. Since the "real" effort was only £2300 million, it was obviously not too much for Britain, compared with the American effort, which may have been to big for America. And yet "the strain proved to be too much." The original programme was £500 million last year, £800 million this year, and £1 billion in the third year. Between inflation and delays, £300 million (additional to the original £800 million, which is to say, £1.1 billion) was spent last year, and now only £500 million of the additional (or £1.3 billion) will be spent this year, leaving two thirds of the additional original rearmament effort o be spent in the third year of 1953. This be with apparently £800 million of the original effort (it gets confusing because of inflation) already spent last year or budgeted next year, two-thirds of the money will have to be spent in the third year of the progamme, and that seems unlikely. Extending what was supposed to be a short burst of effort seems counter-productive, so, in effect, "slowing down" the programme means cutting it. 

The original programme, The Economist reminds us, "only" absorbed about a quarter of the British economy, so it was affordable if enough cuts were made. Labour did not want to make the cuts to subsidies and so on for which The Economist has so long lusted, and, Bevan pointed out, if it didn't, it the British economy could not absorb all that rearmament spending. Now, of course, we have the latest balance of payments crisis, and that means that Britain will end up roughly where Bevan said it should go, with a permanent cut in the rearmament programme to free the economy to export or die some more, if not to keep up food and housing subsidies and free dentures.

"Lisbon Illusions" Something about the United States of Europe? It might not actually be just around the corner, and the Lisbon Conference shouldn't have said it was. That was very misleading, and the Conference should go stand in the corner and think about what it has done. 

"Commonwealth with Solvency"  People in Britain are talking about Imperial preference again, this time in terms of a customs union. The Economist reminds everyone once again that the Commonwealth does not exist to make sacrifices for Britain. (I'm not sure that it doesn't sometimes need  a reminder, too!) The Commonwealth is held together by self-interest, it points out. Being in the sterling bloc makes sense because Britain is a market for colonial products and a source of investment capital, and it isn't exactly pulling its weight on the last bit as it is, because the external dollar deficit eats up the available investment capital. Everyone would prefer if there were American capital investment to balance purchases of American goods to end the dollar trade imbalance, but that seems to be a far-off, sunny upland. Then, since one good, old-fashioned, "everything is awful" Leader deserves another it is off to the Exchequer's report that spending on British universities will increase by between a million and a million-and-a-half each year to a total of about £25 million in 1956. a good part of this, through 1956, will be absorbed by the steadily rising wage bill, as the youthful teaching staff, currently with an average age of 35, gets older, more senior, and better paid. After that, there will be  more budgetary room for more spending on research. The Economist worries that it will all be absorbed by rising costs, and more besides, and explains why. (More medical students, who are expensive; more classrooms for more students; more and better student accommodations.) Also, the universities should take more students because the United States has more university graduates, even if many of them have graduated from terrible schools, and Britain cannot compete with human waves of Idaho State graduates with a thin red line of LSE graduates. 

"No Business in Moscow" The Russians are going to have a business conference in Moscow in six weeks, and invitations have gone out suggesting that it will be a normal economics conference to talk about investment and opportunities and world trade, and not about the world-wide revolution of the proletariat that will happen any day now if the NKVD and the Cominterm and the Red Army have anything to say about it. The Economist would be happy if a conference of Communists and western businessmen were to point out that the Battle Act was stupid, but suspects a trap of the propaganda kind, leading to the usual lot of youth, intellectuals, literary types and musicians forgetting that Communism is terrible. Therefore the Communist business conference can go hang unless and until it is organised according to the criteria that The Economist will now helpfully lay out. (Mainly, it needs to be co-organised by the International Chamber of Commerce to prove that there are no Communist monkey shines going on.) 

Notes of the Week

The Economist leads off by strenuously arguing that the Prime Minister was able to answer his critics in the House on the charge of committing Britain to supporting American escalation against China. Apparently Morrison said something of the sort, so Churchill wasn't just being a senile old man. Which is definitely more important than the budget being held back a week after being brought forward in the first place to address the current exchange crisis. Even the magazine says that it looks like fumbling. Also there was the debate over Hardie's resignation from the iron and Steel Corporation and the putting back of the National Health Service bill, which all looks like "malaise," which is not what you expect from a brand-new government. On the other hand, there is "impudence," as demonstrated by Communist negotiators at Panmunjom claiming that the Soviet Union is neutral in the Korean conflict and that the UN is committing germ warfare by dropping infected insects behind the lines. Oh, and the crisis in France continues and it is somehow a matter of debate whether or not Britain has "guaranteed" the security of Europe, which seems to matter because the Germans and French are fighting again still. On the bright side, there were some cuts in civil expenditures, and while The Economist of course wanted more, it is pleased to see it. After that, it is time to undermine Steven Hardie's resignation letter and explain that it is all down to the fact that even Socialist millionaires hate socialism.

"Luminaries in Cairo" Talks in Cairo over somehow replacing British troops in the Suez with troops of the "five powers," which might include good, Muslim troops from Pakistan, continue. However, Sudan is an even bigger sticking point, especially since the Sudanese are currently up in arms with each other over what, exactly, they want. 

"Trade with the Communists" America still doesn't like the idea of trading with Communism, leading to pressure to actually apply the Battle Act and cut off aid to any country that sells Communism "strategic materials," which means just about everything. It's all a bit silly, since the United States also trades with Communist countries. especially China. It is off the hook with Russia, where the trade is entirely in imports of Russian goods (giving the Russians plenty of dollars to spend on the international black market for things like rubber), but its exports to China are much larger than Britain's. Also, the Germans are getting grumpy about having to bear the costs of the Allied occupation, since they think that the Allies are not being particularly frugal with German taxpayer Deutschmark, being laid out at about a half-billion a year. The Economist reminds everyone that if the Germans aren't happy, the British Army of the Rhine might suddenly start costing £180 million a year in hard currency or gold. Oh, and the latest town and county planning bill is before the House, while the High Court has ruled that the British police can't ask to see your identification card, which probably means that the wartime British national identity card is on its way out, which I  think The Economist claims to favour on the usual economic grounds, even though it constantly talks like a smelly, fat old man who doesn't like being told what to do by weedy Socialists. Marriages and divorces are also being talked over in Britain, with a report  from a Married Women's league or conference or congress or something like that.

"Help Not Wanted" and "Pressure on Indonesia" covers the sudden fall of Dr. Sukiman's cabinet in Indonesia, which was being pressed to take American aid at the cost of  concessions that Indonesians don't like, and reflects similar if less serious developments in Mexico, Burma and Persia. The surprisingly civil moral is that the government of Indonesia is doing its best, and that western powers can't be going around "forcing their hands" on things like foreign policy that only serve to get the populace stirred up. (Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, are grown up enough to sign their own defence agreements with America.) 

Hubert Henderson, an academic economist who only wrote one book in his life and was mainly famous for editing The Nation for a while, deserves a log obituary at the bottom of Notes because he was very charming. 

From The Economist of 1852 comes a blast against the new government of a hapless Prime Minister named Lord Derby, who is guilty of forming a cabinet out of men the magazine doesn't like. A quick trip to the reference desk tells me that Lord Derby to be Edward Smith Stanley, he of the "Who? Who? Ministry," a hilarious joke based on the fact that the Duke of Wellington was hard of hearing.


Correspondents think that Britain might be able to grow more food at home either if there were more capital to invest in tractors and so on; or if there were higher taxes on farm land to make sure it was used effectively; or if the farmers were told to sod off with their whining and their subsidies were cut off. I don't tink that the last would work very well, but at least Ewen Stewart of Edinburgh is expressing clear and firm opinions! 

Books has a long review of Paul Einzig's Inflation, which explains that inflation has so many causes and is so pernicious that really nothing can be done about it and it will cause the collapse of civilisation. Fortunately, the late Paul Grieve wrote a funny book about a boat trip on the Amazon that you will like. R. G. Hawtrey has given enough lectures since his last book to publish another one, which proposes solving the world's problems with an international commission on economics of some kind. C. L. Boltz's A Statue to Mr. Trattles is a work of popular science and The Economist cannot explain the story about Mr. Trattles because it is laughing so hard. Archibald MacLeish's Freedom is the Right to Choose is a poet explaining that America should be more like President Roosevelt and less like Senator McCarthy, which I absolutely agree with, but is it the kind of book a poet should be writing?

American Survey

"Atomic Rivals --Or Partners" Senator McMahon very nicely said that now that Britain has atom bombs, or will have soon, it can be America's atomic partner instead of its atomic rival. Especially Lewis Strauss has left the AEC and the sun is shining and the birds are singing again. Did you know that Strauss got his start as an assistant to Herbert Hoover? Of course he did! Also, and I don't know if you have heard this, but there is going to be an American presidential election this year, and Eisenhower, Taft, Warren, Harold Stassen and possibly MacArthur will be contesting the GOP nomination. Taft claims to have almost all the votes he needs to be nominated,  but there are signs that he is counting his delegates before they hatch, and President Truman might be in trouble with party machines if he runs, too. From here it is noticed that British readers might not have heard enough about the primary system, so The Economist explains for a while. If the world is going to be deprived of America every four years (two?) while it explores its own bellybutton like it was a boat trip up the Amazon, why not invite the rest of the world along?

American Notes

"Troop Dilemma" The Berry Resolution has passed the House of Representatives, and so the Secretary of State has to explain any commitments that might have been made by, or to, Churchill during his visit, with an eye to making sure that the armistice negotiations at Panmunjom aren't cover for a war with China, which complicates a "United Nations" war and the armistice negotiations all at once and is probably just plain a hole in the US constitution over who is in charge of warmaking, and which should be fixed before something terrible happens. Also, the US Court of Appeals has upheld the death sentences against the Rosenbergs, because they were convicted under the 1917 Act, which prescribes death for espionage in wartime, and not the  act that limits sentences for espionage in peacetime to twenty years. The HUAC is very concerned that this is  "cruel and unusual punishment," and recommends that the various acts be reconciled so that from now on Americans can be executed for espionage in peace or war. due to no Americans having ever been executed for espionage in peacetime before. It also wants to be able to use wire-tapping, hidden microphones, and "censorship of private papers" in the courts, which, "to many people . . . [has] the aura of a police state." No, really! There follows a Note on the latest developments in "closed shop" rules, which will have some bearing on railways, when they are run by the government, but not steel, which is excluded. (The steelworkers postponed their strike again last week.)

"Labour on the Farm" American farmers are at odds with Mexico again. Mexico won't renew the Bracero agreement, which, unnamed here, is a long-term agreement sending its nationals across the border for seasonal farm work. The problem is that they are not protected from illegal Mexican workers, who take low wages and undermine the legal ones, but also because the "braceros" are deserting the fields, because they can earn more in factory work. Farmers are desperate for the labour, so some kind of compromise might be found over the "wetbacks."

The World Overseas

"What is the European Army?" I don't know, and you can't make me want to know!

"Soviet Farming Record"  Soviet agriculture is stagnating and underperforming. Collective farming is still not popular, and Nikita Khrushchev's signature plan to erase the gap between town and country dwellers with "agricultural towns" implies eliminating the private plots which are so important to Russian farmers, and has "probably roused a slumbering volcano." So it has been put in cold storage, with, for example, only 400,000 rural homes built last year, less than the five year average.

"Renegades in Trade" Europeans have been advancing towards some kind of free trade area ever since the first US postwar "inventory overhang recession," which underlined that Europe could not depend on the "unstable American economy" and needed to easy trade within the continent. But there are all sorts of difficulties which are, I am sure, completely insuperable and which The Economist is eager to explain for a column or two. 

"Holland: From Disinflation to Unemployment" First the Dutch were fighting an adverse balance of trade with belt tightening in the form of taxes, restricted credits and higher discount rates, and then suddenly it was seeing unemployment, which is probably due to arcane developments in world trade and not at all to austerity. Probably because of automation all those unskilled workers will never work again and so they should all go on the half pay scheme somehow.  Follows our monthly look at Italy, where some people are fighting other people, but at least de Gaspari is still in charge and land reform will probably come in any day now. That was so much fun that next we do it for Poland. Did you know that Communism is awful? It says so here! Iron and steel up, pigs and chickens down, but everything will be fine as long as the peasants don't care.  

The Business World

"Purchase Tax and Utility" I think we can all agree that what is needed right now is three pages explaining where the scheme to exempt "utility" designs of clothes, furniture, and so on, from a huge purchase tax to restrain domestic spending has gone in the last few years. After that, The Economist pokes the unresponsive reader with  a stick to see if the reader is still alive, concludes that they probably are, and unleashes a second blow: "Lower Prices for Used Cars?" (Down in the Notes we get a third taste of the truncheon as we get into Lord Waverley and the 
Royal Commission on Taxation. In case you don't know who "Lord Waverley" is, the British have done that renaming trick again, and he is the once-upon-a-time John Anderson of the Anderson Shelter. 

. Business Notes

The lead three Notes delve into the budget a bit more, pointing out that a good part of the cut in the civil estimates are from running down strategic stockpiles under the Ministry of Supply budget, which might be better considered a defence expenditure, finds that the budget surplus is misleadingly large due to book-keeping, and finds that the main cause for underspending on defence is a shortage of workers. It is interesting to see that the Admiralty and Royal Ordnance Factories are doing a better job of attracting workers than the aircraft and machine tool industries, perhaps because their factories are better located. The aircraft industry is only at 177,000, 8,500 less than needed, and needing 50,000 more than that by March of 1953 when rearmament peaks. Aircraft deliveries continue to be of Meteors and Canberras rather than the new fighters, and Canberra production is short of where it needs to be, due to lack of labour at the English Electric plant in Preston, which has to compete with an ROF and the new tank factory being built in the district.

"Realism in Steel Prices" The Economist has been calling for higher steel prices, and it is very happy to dance on Steven Hardie's grave over them, especially since it is upset at the loss that would have been incurred selling the emergency import of American steel at the price set for British steel under the old regime.

"More Uranium from South Africa" The Prime Minister says that we need a full atomic armament programme, the Navy wants atomic submarines,  which they have been working on for two years now, so Britain needs more uranium, and the South African gold mines are ideally placed to provide it, as the ores have 1 to 2% uranium, and have already been refined to get at the gold, making it cheaper. There's also a note about how people are talking about British coal exports again, as if they ever stopped, and about the "recoil from the Australian pound," which is about how Australia might have to follow the rest of sterling into devaluation against the dollar, after all.  London Transport is raising bus fares. The Economist then explains why "pool petrol" is a bad idea. Breaking out higher octane petrol would allow British automakers to follow the American lead and produce high compression engines, it would justify exclusive branded filling stations, and it would save some money by allowing the refineries to operate more efficiently. It's just that I'm not sure that The Economist is that good of a petroleum engineer. I mean, if Iranians can't master the trade at all, how will Geoffrey Crowther fare? The Economist is also in a tizzy over a bill introduced in Parliament that might have the effect of giving the film industry another £2 million in loan guarantees, as I scan it, which is obviously too much, because if British films were worth anything private industry would be stepping in on its own. As long as the British taxpayer is footing the bill, it might be better to do it directly, the magazine thinks. 

No-one knows where copper, lead, and rubber prices are going, mainly because Americans are crazy, for example having suddenly decided for some reason that natural rubber is good, after all.

Aviation Week, 3 March 1952

 News Digest reports that GE and de Havilland have entered into an agreement for joint engine development, and GE also has the contract to develop armament for the B-47C.

The Navy has decided to get in on the advertorial action, with a full page spread about their "700mph-plus F7U-3."

Industry Observer reports that  the USAF and USN have agreed on new standards for landing speeds for floatplanes, while the USAF is interested in cockpit stall warnings, with stick shakers going into the new Beechcraft trainer and Navion. The first production versions of the big new Allison turbojet, the former J35, current J71, are "probably forthcoming" soon in the F-89. 

Selig Altschul has been hauled out of retirement to do a long one on aircraft production finances in the wake of the "stretch out" in rearmament production, Admiral DeWitt Ramsey to look at the impact on industry, and William Kroger to look at "the Military View" on stretch out. Aviation News also checks in with Martin, where the new management team has arrived and got down to work. 

Aeronautical Engineering has a look at Rensselaer's Professor Neil Bailey, whose new thesis "upsets thermodynamic fundamentals," and will make aerodynamics a more exact science, "eliminating much of today's cut-and-try," with the headline, "Revolution Brewing in Aviation Design." This seems more like a Newsweek science page to me, in the sense that it looks like the magazine handing a few pages over to a crackpot making vague claims. On closer inspection, it is an attempt to turn the mechanics of aerodynamics into thermodynamics, which Reggie says makes sense, because the work is done by fluids, and fluids are well-modeled by the right kind of thermodynamics, which unfortunately this is not, at least in the lengthy Aviation Week write-up, notwithstanding a lot of math. (The problem, my husband tells me, being the lack of a statistical treatment of molecular movements.) On the other hand, Professor Bailey puts a lot of words between the ads, and isn't that what counts?

"Highlights from IAS Conference" continues with articles on Aircraft Design, electronics, and more helicopter papers. 

Avionics has Philip Klass reporting on "New Autopilot Going on Navy Jets," by which is meant the GE autopilot going into the Douglas F3D2, which is improved with altitude control, a yaw damper, and better stabilisation. The tricky part is often getting a signal that allows altitude control without producing a positive feedback in the pilot, which would be particularly bad in a yaw damper, but it looks like GE has fixed that with a spring-restrained rate gyro. The autopilot can be driven by a stick, like the RAF one, and has power amplifiers for control in three axes, servo actuators, and arrangements so that the autopilot can't put the plane in a dangerous attitude if it fails, especially important with modern, high-speed aircraft, where the pilot might not have time to react.

  Equipment has George L. Christian reporting that "UAL Makes Major Engine Change." It is converting its 230 Pratt and Whitney R-2800s from the CA-15 to CB-16 configuration. I know! To be fair, this is actually an all-purpose visit to a big airline's maintenance shop, and I'm sure Christian didn't right the headline. Still. Big news, right! It has a new propeller and new turboblower transmission. More power, plus better maintenance times with low-tension ignition harness and better fuel economy with spark retardation. United is also adopting the Sperry A-12 autopilot, although it is evaluating the Eclipse PB-10 on the DC-6 to ensure competition. UAL felt that it had to move now, because with jets, automatic control will be necessary. The Eclipse Pioneer did not make the grade, in spite of its flight path control feature, because coupling between the autopilot and the localiser radio signal was causing excessive roll, although that is fixed now. 

Also, the British are doing tire tests with an ultrasonic tester, now. (Story not credited to anyone, but whoever "the British" are, they're working with GE and Dunlop.)

New Aviation Products has toddlers' beds for fitting in airline seats, from Pan Am, an accessories tester from U.S. Electrical Motors, Inc, and a treated tissue for lining aluminum sheets in transit and storage from Uncle Henry.

Air Transport looks into the airlines' experiments in adapting planes to military airlift standards, which will make emergency air evacuations faster in the future. From now on, no military causalities will be evacuated by ship, which will greatly relieve the armed forces' demand for doctors overseas and reduce mortality. Hospital ships will continue to be used, but as theatre base ships. 

General Doolittle assures the press that airport safety is being studied just as hard as it ever can be, while the nonskeds are bracing for a fight to the death with CAB (their death, because CAB wants them gone! CAB is also going after the charter airlines for carrying loads not allowed under their licenses.) The ALPA is fine with the 4-0-4.

What's New enjoyed Paul D. Freeze's  Bibliography on the Measurement of Gas Temperature. I wonder when Dr. Freeze realised what his life's work would be? The National Bureau of Standards continues to achieve new heights of boredom, this time with a bibliography, I imagine of important works on standards-setting. Advanced Electrics and Relays has a catalogue on same, but I have to mention that the Technical Data Sheet brought out by Metron Instruments covers miniature combination fixed and variable speed drives, because you might not get that from the title. Stevens Mfg's latest bulletin is on different Neoprene protecting seals for bimetal thermostats, while Astron's catalogue of capacitors, interference filters, and molded paper tubulars is perfect for anyone who needs a history of each type unit, use, and specifications. Herbert Herkimer's Engineers' Illustrated Thesaurus has been  received, along with the Tool Steel Handbook of Allegheny Endlum Steel Corporation,  and William C. Lazener's Wings in the Sun.

Robert C. Wood's Editorial has "Politics and Safety,"   a full-page blast at the Aviation Safety division of the Civil Aviation Authority, where the director is apparently playing political games and ruining morale while damaging aviation safety with the current reorganisation. 


The Economist, 8 March 1952


"The Opportunity" What with one thing and another, next year's revenues will be about £4700, estimated expenditures about £4215, meaning that Butler's budget has a built in "above the line" surplus of £400 to £500 million. It might look as though austerity isn't needed, especially since unemployment has suddenly ticked upwards, but nothing could be further from the case. Is housing short? It is because rents are too low, promoting excessive demand, and because building is funded by mortgages; and mortgages are not a "directly productive investment of new capital," and are the "least defensible idiocy in [the government's] economic policies." High inflation this year shows that Gaitskell underestimated the amount of budgetary saving needed last year, and the only way to push up the surplus still further is, of course, austerity. Import restrictions and export drives are inflationary, because they remove goods that could soak up the money. And while he is disinflating, would it kill Butler to get rid of socialism?

"Will France Face the Facts?" This long time reader couldn't possibly have been more surprised to find a Leader calling on the Chancellor to bring in austerity being followed by one shaking its head sadly over the crisis in France. The one change from an issue from, say, 1852 is that the third Leader following, shakes its head sadly at the way that too many Labour MPs are too far to the Left and vote for bad things (in this case, against rearmament), because its leader is a power hungry, idealistic, insane calculator. That Leader has only been in reruns since 1922. 

"The Phantom Divisions" I don't know if you've heard, but they want to have a European Army, but so far lots of the promised divisions are nowhere to be seen. Britain's contribution to a planned total of 50 is four regular and two Territorial Army  divisions, which seems practical, as the Territorial Divisions are in good shape, for a change, but The Economist is worried that there aren't plans in place to get the Territorials to Europe in good time. The Economist is a good petroleum engineer, and a great chief of staff! 

"Subsidies in Perspective: I: Cheap Housing" The Economist is very excited to talk about subsidies. The rate has just been increased from £22 to £3512s for all houses completed after 18 February, offsetting the increase in the rate at which the Public Works Board loans to local authorities from 3 to 4 1/4%, which I am not clear how that can be so, given that one figure is a number and the other is a percentage, and I would ask for clarification if I didn't feel as though, as an American law student living in California I am already stuffing more facts into my head than I have room or need of. The Economist disapproves because what is needed is "sensible standards in housing in return for reasonable rates." Why, local authorities have started building homes of 1100 square feet instead of the old 950 square feet! This "generous standard" of house is worth 48s or more a week, which means that it is suitable for a family earning £12 or more a week, which is too much, and the subsidy is too little and in conclusion the only way to be fair to rich people is to shove poor people in tiny boxes. Also, food. Poor people eat too much nice food like milk, eggs, and meat, and cutting the subsidies would stop that and be good for the country all around. Well, except for poor people, but someone has to make a sacrifice for the country, and why shouldn't it be the people who can't afford milk?

Notes of the Week

"Defence Justified" The Prime Minister's speech on rearmament was great, and it was lots of fun watching the Labour front bench defending its left flank against the Bevanites. Also, the superiority of the MiG-15 is enough of an argument all by itself for throwing money at the new Hawker and Vickers-Supermarine fighters. (It's interesting how the general suddenly turns specific when it comes to "boys and their toys.") Also, the only reason the backbench isn't in revolt over the urgent threat to the economy posed by not enough austerity is that they're having so much fun egging the Bevanites on. 

"Truce Chances in Indo-China" "There is a basis for a truce in Indo-China. Both sides would stand to gain and a clear division of territory could be made." But Peking and Moscow have to be persuaded. I thought it was the Viet Minh that was fighting? It seems not, because the reason the situation in Indo-China has collapsed is that China is sending more supplies and the French have retreated from Hoa Binh. Nothing to do with the Viet Minh at all! (They're about to fall apart any minute because the anti-communist members don't like the communists.) "[T]he one certain way for the French to lose any chance of a settlement on any but disastrous terms would be to relax their military and political efforts now." Or lose more battles. That would be bad, too. Also, Egypt has a new government as of 1 March, while Dr. Adenauer is facing down German critics of rearmament. 

"Unemployment and Unfilled Jobs" Unemployment in Britain has reached 378,000, including 162,000 women, the highest total of unemployed women of any January since the war, while the total for men is the lowest. This reflects the depressed state of textiles and the demand for labour in engineering. The Economist wants to make it clear that there is nothing to be worried about. Except strikes and protests by coal miners and metal workers due to the high cost of living and not Communism, which is bad but not in this specific way. 

Speaking of Communists, The Economist proceeds to let its odd, Communistic side out by launching yet another Note against the Central African Federation, although softened to merely urging that no-one be in a hurry over it. The magazine is also upset about Eastern Bloc governments restricting diplomatic freedom of movement and has strong opinions about the need for Nato, Europe, the Commonwealth, and the Atlantic community to all work together and not "cannibalise" each other. Which I think means that the foreigners should stand back and let the British do British things, which will work out for the best for everyone, honest!

"Nato and the Slump" Suddenly everyone is worried about an economic slump. The era of shortages is passed, the age of surplusses has arrived, and will only get worse as capacity built for rearmament is released to pursue consumer spending. Belgium, which is seeing rising unemployment in spite of its comfortable current exchange surplus, has called for a Nato conference to talk about a "realistic approach to rearmament." Could it have to do with austerity, considering that unemployment is rising in all the austerity countries and not in the inflation countries? Well, yes, as long as we're talking about foreign countries, The Economist will allow it. Also, it is a problem mainly in textiles, and textiles don't matter. The Economist doesn't explain why they don't matter, but I can guess.  The workers are mostly women.

Britain should do something about unsafe electric heaters and the Communist trial in Athens shows how dangerous a Communist underground can be, and here is just three paragraphs to remind everyone that Trieste still isn't settled. 

From The Economist of 1852 comes "Right of Asylum," which is about how the right of asylum doesn't extend to having anything to do with the politics of your home country once you're safe in England. 


American economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, has American Capitalism, which is about how the American system is actually one of imperfect, oligopolistic competition, in which the small number of competitors who dominate each market resist price cutting and promote technical progress, for fear of instability and the return of depression economics. The main opposition to the oligopolies is not their remaining competitors but the "countervailing power," mainly of unions and governments. He thinks that there is still need for a government employing Keynesian economics to fend off depressions, but doubts that government is stern enough to fight inflation with tax increases and spending cuts. "Inflation may therefore be the most persistent future tendency in the American economy." Hugh Clegg's Industrial Democracy and Nationalisation is all about how those two don't go together, sorry, optimists. Wage Policy under Full Employment is a set of four essays by Swedish economists, translated by Ralph Tuvey, showing how the right way of doing this is with control of this and that, and not not NOT inflation and repression. (That's when rich people earn less on their money than inflation takes away. That is, interest rates are lower than the inflation rate.) You can  just guess why The Economist likes this one! To show off that it reads all the languages, the magazine reviews an Italian-language book on the German-Soviet Pact ("Pact of Steel") by Mario Toscano, which turns out to be mainly about how smart the Italian ambassador to the Soviet Union was. Senator Kefauver has Crime in America out, and Gollancz has an instant British edition, because it is an election year. The review is, "We'll wait 'till New Hampshire to decide what to think." Marie Madeleine Martin is French historian, and I would stick up for her as a woman historian with male reviewers. If Histoire de l'unite Francais weren't dedicated to Charles Maurras. Ellis and Spotswood should be ashamed of bringing out the English translation reviewed here. 


H. V. Tomlinson and W. G. McClelland agree that The Economist is being a bit stuffy boycotting that Moscow economics conference on the grounds that communism might turn out to be bad. A whole round table of correspondents get well dug into the matter of Britain growing more food. It's very complicated. (Because it turns out that no matter where you stand, that's where the battle will be won.)

American Survey

I don't know if you've heard, but there is going to be a Presidential election this year, and the President, Senators Kefauver and Russell, and Governor Stevenson are, or might, run for the Democratic nomination. It is, of course, also a year in which "Dumbest Man in News" contest runs, the prize being awarded for the best story about next November, and The Economist is going for the prize, predicting that President Truman will prevail over Kefauver over the nomination, leading to Senator Russell running on a Dixiecrat ticket, causing a deadlock in the Electoral College due to Eisenhower being beat by Senator Taft, just like Taft says he will. The election will then be thrown to the House, which will elect Russell, the President America needs. Because if there is one thing all decent Americans can agree on, it is the need to head off the horrible, awful civil rights platform of the Fair Deal. Also, General MacArthur's speech at the Republican National Convention will be so good, and  Taft is so awful, that the delegates will be swept away and nominate MacArthur instead! It's no "Eric Johnston has it in the bag," but Ladd Haystead and Elliot Janeway are gone from Fortune, so the competition isn't as heavy this year. 

"Inflation or Recession?" The Administration expects another year of high employment and inflation, based on numbers like housing starts and projected 5% growth in GNP, which means that the Administration needs its wage and price control powers extended. However, people are starting to say that armaments spending can't rise as quickly as the budget expects them to, and that "monetary orthodoxy" and tighter credit will reduce consumer spending, leading to a recession or even deflation, unless some shock occurs, like "China entering the war." (Hopefully not by virtue of us attacking them.)

American Notes

"No forty-ninth State" Alaskan and Hawaiian statehood have been held back by the last minute decision of Senator Kerr to vote against statehood, instead of for, which can't have improved his chances of being recognised as Truman's heir. Southerners don't want statehood, because it would add two more pro-civil rights Senators. Alaska and Hawaii are in partisan balance, because Hawaii is expected to send two Republican, and Alaska, two Democratic senators, to Washington, but Senator McFarland of Arizona tried to pull a fast one by bringing Alaskan statehood to the floor, evidently hoping that Hawaii would then get frozen out, leaving the Democrats two senators up, which turns out to have been a mistake, or possibly a "mistake," considering that the Senator has Southern sympathies. Also, Newbold Morris has started work, and the subsidy for the two new American Export Lines liners has been cut. Along with other recent cuts, it is bad news for subsidies for American merchant shipping, good news for "other maritime nations." The Economist thinks that the New York state budget has been tinkered with on both sides of the line, with equal dishonesty cancelling out into no deficit, no new taxes. The assets managed by US life insurance companies keeps growing, and House of Representative committee hearings can't be televised this year, the Speaker has decided, because it is an election year, and some impressionable voter might see someone and decide to vote for them. 

Shorter Notes points out that the three camps being constructed in Arizona and Oklahoma to hold up to 3000 suspected spies and saboteurs in the event of war and emergency have been authorised already by the McCarran Internal Security Act, but that doesn't mean that the country shouldn't hold off until there is an actual war or emergency, because it looks bad. Steelmakers are impressed by the recent increase in national steel capacity to 108,600,000 tons, a million tons ahead of where it was expected to be, while the census says that there are 155,800,000 Americans, an increase of 4,668,000 since the last census. Let's see. There's hardly any immigration, people are still dying, so, carry the one, add two . . That's a lot of toddlers! No wonder the mood in the country  is "Because I said so!"

The World Overseas

"Canadian Plans for 'Transforming Nature'" A Canadian jokes about how "an Englishman" arrived in Ottawa one day last winter to discuss plans to move millions of British people to "other parts of the Commonwealth suitable for European settlement," and took one look around at the minus forty degree weather, banked snow and "biting wind sweeping down across the northern forest direct from the polar ice-cap," and asked whether Canada  really was "suitable." Ha ha! The point of the joke, to which we inch like an old Lincoln struggling with the snow (on Mount Shasta!), is that Canadians do outdoor work in the deep winter summer, so when we're talking about transforming nature, it's now or next year we're talking about. Those schemes include the railway serving the Labrador ironfields, which will load into a new port at Sept-Iles, the Seaway, "increasingly likely to be an all-Canadian project," Alcoa's aluminum plant at the "obscure and rather squalid Indian village called Kitimat," with its power plant inside a mountain, the new Trans-Canada section in the Fraser Canyon, the oil pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, and the railway to the Sherritt-Gordon mines in northern Alberta. There's also uranium mines in Saskatchewan and lots of other investments to the tune of $4 billion, but they don't really count as "transforming nature," but they do count as a good article in The Economist about how Canada really is "suitable for European settlement," black flies and muskeg and all.
Everyone agrees that the Greeks are a bunch of Communist-bashing, tax-cheating bums on the American dole, but someone named "Varvaressos" (it took a bit of digging, but his name is Kyriakos. You're welcome, The Economist!), who must be smart, because he is a Professor and an economist, has a solution. It involves firing 20% of the civil service, but not the army, because of, "circumstances." But this is only the first step, which also involves going back on the gold standard, more or less, import tariffs, agricultural investment, and deflation to restore the drachma, which even the magazine thinks is dumb.  Also, Tito officially wants guns for self-defence but not advisors or Balkan allies. 

"Central America --Five or One?" Guatemala and Britain are squabbling over the Mosquito Coast again, this time because British Honduras might join the West Indies Federation, while Guatemala has already joined the Organisation of Central American States. So which kind of federalism is better, and which should exclude the other? British Guiana has already decided not to join the West Indies, because it thinks that it is a bit much, while on the other hand the combination of the five Central American states is a miracle considering how different they are from each other, an observation that gives The Economist a chance to show off how much it knows about the region. Did you know that Costa Rica is of "mainly pure European descent," while Guatemala is "overwhelmingly Indian," and still lives as its ancestors did. (You mean in rich, rival city states ruled by proud aristocrats with a literary tradition and advanced astronomy and arts? No, it do not!) Honduras is poor and mainly empty, Nicaragua is also mainly empty, except in the central valley, El Salvador is a thickly populated city state surrounded by a lightly populated rural region. Guatemala has some industry, based on coffee and bananas, and a trade union federation that denies being Communist. This is because its industry is concentrated on the Pacific coast and is worked by Guatemalans, allowing Guatemalans to organise it and the government to get involved, while in the other countries the banana plantations are on the lowland Atlantic coast and worked by Jamaican immigrants. Guatemala seems to be setting a bad example for the others.

America will keep troops and installations in Japan under the peace treaty, and it turns out that the Socialists don't like this, and it is a position that might become quite popular with the Japanese, leading to an Egyptian sort of situation. Well, except for the "stealing canal dues from Egyptians" part, and the "taking Nile water" part, and the "being very racist to Egyptian employees in a slice-of-Britain industrial zone" bit. Apart from that, identical!

The Business World

"Rearmament and Engines" The article about how British rearmament in the air was being held up by the lack of Avon and Sapphire engines (Mambas coming along to demand) due to the difficulty of making the many, many compressor blades needed for axial gas turbine engines was so popular that The Economist runs it a second time. It also makes it a bit more explicit that the criticism about how Britain should consider going back to  centrifugal compressors, what with the success of the MiG-15 and all, is coming from Frank Whittle. Why isn't the government employing Frank Whittle, The Economist asks. Apparently, "because he is an Ovaltine-drinking maniac" isn't a good answer. 

Business Notes

Credit is tightening, and industrial output is sinking (Building Society and mortgage rates might go up!) and unemployment is up, but the stories are in separate Notes, so they must be unrelated. (Whitehall "now agrees that there was no significant increase in productivity.") But Britain's EPU deficit is falling and there is more steel to go around, and the IMF is stirring itself to do something about the sterling-dollar balance.  We also look, again, at the Douglas Report on the utility scheme and purchase tax, which might have been good for British textiles by promoting quality products, and the finances of the new British Motor Corporation merger of Morris and Austin, and the Federation of British Industries statement to the Ridley Committee on National Fuel Policy, which predicts an increase in demand for British coal from 219.5 million tons in 1951 to 293 million tons in 1961--65, in contrast to the Coal Board's estimated 230--250 million tons. The Economist thinks that there need to be pricing policies to move Britain away from coal, at least on the railroads. In particular, it might be that "electric fires" are more competitive with coal. Certainly, demand for electricity continues to grow, and probably the main thing holding it back right now is lack of transmission lines, not coal for burning.

Plans to build the Comet at Short Brothers in Belfast will relieve demand for the Comet, because Hatfield is not going to be able to pick up production very much, and with 45 orders on its books, the main problem right now is that other airlines won't pay for an airplane that can't be delivered before 1955. Also, de Havilland seems to be going in for an axial engine.

"Defence and Industry" The three civilian industries most affected by defence production in the next three years will be motors, radio and clothing. Tanks and vehicles will account for 20% of estimated defence expenditure of £727 million for the financial year, with actual deliveries doubling from last year's £49 million to £98 million, including delivery of "several hundred" Centurion tanks from ROF Leeds and the Vickers-Armstrong agency factory, with two new factories expected to come into production by then. Almost all other new Army vehicles will also come into production in the course of the year, and will count against the 230,000 commercial vehicles to be produced in the year, implying a significant fall in output for the civilian market. Production of radio equipment will come to £28 million for the Air Force and Army, with no estimate for the Navy, which will "likely affect production" of radios and television receivers. Demand for clothing will increase to £67 million from £42 million, which will actually come as a relief to the industry, notwithstanding small profit margins for armed forces work. Freight rates are down.


Aviation Week, 10 March 1952

News Digest reports that National Airlines has ordered four Douglas DC-7s, that Lockheed has just been assigned the letter "V" by the Navy, replacing "O," because the Navy won't give up on its stupid standardised naming system that no-one understands, and the Air Force has opened a Special Weapons Centre at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Northwestern made a loss last year, so it is possible for an air mail contractor to make a loss.  

Industry Observer reports that North American has delivered the last of its AJ-1 Savage bombers from its Downey, California plant, switching all production over to the Columbus plant. Lockheed's new special projects centre at Burbank will have the Air Force XC-130 turboprop as its first assignment. The 36 Handley Page Marathons originally ordered by BEA will be fobbed off on the RAF and West African Airlines, instead. SNCA Nord will be the second French firm to build an American helicopter under license, the Bell 47, while SNECMA will build the Hercules under license. Did they lose a bet? The Navy-owned Wisconsin engine plant designated to produce J40s for the Navy will begin production next year, while the first Martin B-57 Canberras will be delivered in August, 1953, the same month McDonnell will fly its first XF-88A Voodoos. 

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Insider reports that she had drinks with Admiral Thach[?], who explained it all. The Navy's "silent defence" against the Air Force continues. The Navy thinks it has an airtight case now based on the Korean War, worldwide commitments, Russian advances, and its plans to fly atom bombs from aircraft carriers. (Which are not new, and, I think, still crazy, and not just because they're still asking my husband to fly a P2V off a Midway, although I might change my opinion when it is a Savage off a Forrestal.) The heartwarming thought is that any atomic attack on the US will be launched by submarines or intercontinental bombers. As opposed to, what, an atomic cannon smuggled into the Russian legation in Tijuana? Dogsled delivery across the Pole? If this is what it takes, I want a "Washington Insider" column! Anyway, Admiral Thach says that the Air Force's promise to stop half the Russian atomic bombers, given an "adequate" air defence, just isn't good enough. The Marines, meanwhile, remind everyone that you win wars by holding ground, and it needs tactical air support to hold ground, and everyone should have an argument about whether the best kid of tactical support is jet or prop-driven. The Navy meanwhile thinks that the aircraft carrier task force has a bright future, and since the Russians don't have much of a navy, Admiral Thach says that we should use our strength against their weakness.

Aviation News reports that "[The} USAF Reveals Role in new Nato Plan," which is just Aviation Week getting into The Economist's godawful "Let's Talk about Talking about a European Army" beat. General McNarney has been tapped to run Convair, NACA is asking for $75 million for 1953, and Douglas is going to build the R-66 in Chicago. 

Aviation Week found A. W. Jessup in a Tokyo bar and told him it was about time that he turned something in, so write an article or come on home, and the result is "Korea: Field Test for Tactical Air Power." Because, no, WWI was a field test for tactical air power. Korea was a test for "Excuses for not spending enough on tactical air power/excuses for not spending enough on artillery and then asking the Air Force to do the work when it would rather be strategic bombing, which is actually really tactical, because of railroads." Title correction and summary! (The Air Force also has a bunch of excuses about not being able to win air superiority and for the F-80, which amount to the same thing. Who would have figured that pinko Commies would be able to make fast airplanes? Also Air Force Ordnance isn't so bad even though it slept through WWII and all that stuff about better guns, bombs and rockets.)

Aeronautical Engineering notices that the first Comet is ready for delivery, and meanwhile the first Avon Comet (Atlantic away!) is flying, so it is time to take the desperate step of ordering an advertorial from a British company. Tally-ho, by Jove! Hopefully the Comet proves out in trial service with BOAC, as otherwise it will be a great blow for British aviation. The main concern is still range, with all sorts of considerations coming into play as the paring knife is applied to fuel costs. These include better arrangements for taxiing, since the Comet burns 70lbs of kerosene a minute just idling, weather forecasting, to get flight altitudes right, although flying at the highest altitude is no longer considered as vital to bringing down fuel costs, icing, due to the need to climb through ice-forming altitudes as quickly as possible (2000ft/minute is the regular climb rate, and is not expected to be too uncomfortable for passengers.) Route applications are limited by the Ghost engine, which restricts the Comet IA to a takeoff weight of 110,000lbs, with an empty weight of 46,500. Furnished for 36 passengers and with allowances for one thing and another, that allows it to carry 52,600lbs of fuel, short of maximum capacity of 56,000lbs, capping still air range to 2000 miles at altitude (at 0.0677 air miles per pound of kerosene) plus another 368 miles climbing and descending. It can fly across the Atlantic, but not run Atlantic services because there is not enough reserve after basic minimums for stacking, diversion, and taxiing are taken into account, especially considering special requirements at the arriving airport to minimise stacking time.

"Highlights of the IAS Conference" include papers on rotary wing aircraft, meteorology, transport safety, rocket propulsion, and turboprop propulsion. 

Equipment has George L. Christian visit Southwest Airlines for "SWA Theme" Get Them On the Quick"  Just the thing if you want to read about a tiny regional airline turning its DC-3s around fast. (There's also a bit about SWA using FIDO, if you want to read about ancient aviation technology history for some reason.) Also, Alcoa wants us to know that it has licenses available for its hard coatings. 

New Aviation Products has a fuel coupling from E. B. Wiggins Oil Tool Company, a pneumatic valve from James Pond-Clark, sealed rectifiers from International Rectifiers Corporation, and a cabin leak detector set from Engineering Associates that attaches to the inlet air valve and shouts, "Hey, Stupid, your air is leaking!" if the rate goes up too much. Or words to that effect. No charts, no complicated dials, the company promises.  

Letters hears from Edwards Air Force Base, which is upset that people still call it "Muroc." Several correspondents are incorrectly worried that the Goodyear break discs on a Martin 4-0-4 are screwed in wrong. Goodyear explains that the negative was reversed. Some of the people who got favourable stories in the last month or so write i n, including Donald Nyrop, who has more important things to do. Mary Anderson, airline customer, writes in to praise Captain Robson's praise for good coffee, and everyone in the industry is happy with Aviation Week's battle with "unfair headlines." 

Moving right along, Air Transport has F. Lee Moore reporting that "Crashes Spur Action on Prop Reversals" CAB hearings reveal "eight known instances of accidental reversals on transports in flight, 15 on the ground." A prop reversal caused the National DC-6 crash at Elizabeth, the NEA Convair crash at Portland on 11 August 1949, the NWA training flight crash north of Minneapolis on 13 October 1950,  and possibly the Convair crash near Reardon on 16 January of last year, where the props were found in forward pitch position, but different pitches, and the only clue to the cause was that a pilot radioed that "the wheel has gone nuts, going down fast!" A recovered rudder tab showing a 10 degree left rudder suggest that this might have been due to an unbalanced rudder due to prop or engine trouble. Some of the known episodes involve solenoid reversals, and there has been some pressure to unbundle the electrical circuits controlling prop motors from other circuits to stop short circuits, but the airlines have not responded to it. 

Also in CAB action, five airlines have been told to cut their night coach rates.

Shortlines reports that BOAC will be operating Comets on the New York to Nassau route within fifteen months, while Chicago and Southern has bought 3 more Convair 340s. 

Captain R. C. Robson's Cockpit Viewpoint has "Let's Face It, We Must Simplify Aviation/" Captain Robson's point is that cockpit procedures are too complicated, and this can get pilots into trouble. He has one specific suggestion, which is to  simplify all speed figures into knots and temperatures into Fahrenheit, so that pilots don't have to constantly do mental conversions. but probably his less specific suggestion, to simplify cockpit layouts, is more important.

What's New   is thrilled by the latest edition of the Gmelin Handbuch, Titan --System No. 41, which is a 511 page roundup of world literature on titanium with 100 graphs and a 22 page index. It is also reading Long-Wearing Machinery Parts by Union Carbide and Precision Bearing Catalogue, by McGill Manufacturing. (White Manufacturings' handbook on flexible power couplings for some reason doesn't have  title.) Received too late for attention were the ASTM Standards on Engine Antifreezes, Alfred Gessow and Gerry Myerson's Aerodynamics of the Helicopter, and Harry G. Armstrong's Principles of Aviation Medicine. 

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