Saturday, December 2, 2023

Postblogging Technology, August 1953, I: Snack-bars, Milk Bars, Baby Booms

The Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

This letter finds you from a delightful summer vacation with Reggie and Uncle George's arrival on the Minto last week to enjoy August before we leave for London from Revelstoke on the 3rd. We've now made housing arrangements. We'll be rooming with  Nat McKitterick! It's very strange to think that we will be living across the hall from the man I've quoted in these letters so many times, but he finds he has space to spare and the dollar is starting to go a little less distance in London these days. He says, anyway. I hope we won't arrive and find that he's gone to booze and seed  like the dissipate journalist I hope he is! However, the connection was made through one of Uncle George's Glenn Martin friends, who has not steered  him wrong before. It certainly won't be the kind of palatial quarters we've been enjoying here in Nakusp, and I do wonder about the food, but we're to be in London for two years as Reggie does his vaguely defined liaison duties which are absolutely not cover for developing the "carcinotron" and flying it into Russian radar stations to see what's up over there. I'm not sure what I think of poking the bear when the bear has atomic bombs, but at least they're not hydrogen bombs, and I am told that Lockheed and the CIA have a swell trick that the Communists can't beat in a month of Sundays. 

Sure. Absolutely. Anything the Dulles brothers touch is sure to turn into something. 

Your Loving Daughter,

The Economist, 1 August 1953


The Korean War is over and it is all thanks to American patience and firmness, so everyone who thinks that the UN should trade Chinese recognition and membership in the UN for Korean unification should shut up because they are just mushy emotionalists and also want to give away the store before we even start to negotiate. And stop saying mean things about Secretary Dulles, who is doing the best he can! Then it goes on for awhile bout how the post-armistice conference should work. I hope it doesn't all end in deadlock, or The Economist will have wasted a whole page of text!

"Canada's Time to Change?" The Economist sure hopes that Canada will finally elect a Conservative government, like a real country. However, because the Liberals are for financial repression and the Conservatives  have promised national medical insurance if they are elected, it isn't really as right-versus-left as it is in America, sigh, and there's not actually much chance of it happening, sigh some more. 

From The Economist of 1853 comes an extract worthy of being promoted to Leader: London should get rid of the new cab regulations with their set fares, because the free market is better and everyone should go on haggling over fares every time they flag down a cab. 

"Guardians of the Straits" The ongoing "Straits Crisis" is worsening. And by that The Economist means that the Russians are moderating their position on the straits and the Kars border, which is obviously just a sinister ploy to draw the Turks away from NATO.   

Hmm. Promoting the "100 years ago" feature to a Leader, talking about a Canadian election, getting excited about how the apparent end of the long-dragging Straits Crisis with the fall of Beria is somehow a new beginning --how do we get even more inconsequential ahead of Notes? I know, a page-and-a-half about guide books amounting to complaining that Britain doesn't have a Michelin Guide, probably because everyone would get upset if some village came in ahead of another village maybe. We don't know. But Spain has one now, so Britain is feeling left out.


"Lord Salisbury's Refutation" Lord Salisbury's refutation is not high, and falls when you hear him speak, and . . . Oh, no, it says refutation. The Bermuda Conference is off because Lord Salisbury didn't impress Dulles and Eisenhower, but they did agree to some things, and in another world in which Winston was there, The Economist supposes that he would have trouble, too, so actually Salisbury did fine in Washington! The Bevanites might be whining, but they're as bad as the China Lobby! Also, everyone is talking about Germany under the new European Defence Community, which might actually be a United States of Europe because the French will not get as upset, and maybe we won't link the Saarland to the Oder-Neisse boundary because that would just lead to ill will, and those stupid Americans are still a stumbling block because they're worried that a unified Germany will disarm, and stop worrying about that, America! And oh Good Heavens even more on along that line.

"Welsh Mountains out of Molehills" The Bevanites are obviously completely unreasonable in opposing the introduction of time limits on unemployment benefits but not so obviously that The Economist is having much luck explaining why it is obvious. But now they are taking up the case of Welsh miners with black lung who are already provided for by the industrial injuries scheme, so it is obviously obvious! And the government having overridden all objections, the Central African Federation is a reality, so that's all over and done with forever. Africans should shut up, and the European leaders i nthe two capitals of Salisbury and Lusaka should get on with "establishing the new federation in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance." Because that's the problem here; the lack of mutual tolerance.

"Traffic and Safety" The Commons debate on road policy has set The Economist to wondering about how all the work involved in solving London and Manchester's traffic congestion problems is going to get done. It'll be like railways in the last century. Now, of course, traffic congestion and traffic safety are different issues, and something should be done about safety too, but that's not nearly as interesting and anyway it's all the drivers' fault for being so unsafe, and the police, for there not being enough of them. Also, the French parliamentary reform bill is just a "weak compromise" driven by "mounting public criticism. Although it's good that it weakens the Communists by reducing the role of proportional representation. Because that's the problem with democracy. Too many Communists! The Economist is worried that the release of "Naumann and Bornemann" will strengthen German nationalism and lead the nationalist to try to use rearmament and American aid for "reviving Germany's might." 

That certainly does seem to me to be something that could happen. Also, in a politer world it would be "Dr. Werner Naumann and Dr. Friedrich Karl Bornemann." 

"Decision on Gatwick" The White Paper says that Gatwick is it. The next London airport, that is. £6 million will be spent in the first stage of development, offset in the Ministry of Civil Aviation budget by the sale of Croydon and £450,000 in savings on operations elsewhere. It is expensive, but necessary, and the taxpayer will see the money somehow, sometime, somewhere. 

"Workers in 1952" The Ministry of Labour's annual report for 1952 shows that the British working age population fell by 22,000 to 23,292,000 over the year. An increase in the number of male workers was more than compensated by the loss of 27,000 women, mainly leaving the textiles industry during the recession. Apart from a 3.5% increase in the mining population, the work force continued to refuse to follow national priorities. Disinflation required a fall in the china and glass, paper and printing, and rubber industries, which all saw gains, and a fall in central government employment, which did not happen. Declines in agriculture, fishing, and transport and communication were not called for, and an increase in employment in the engineering industries was wanted, but was only achieved in defence and aircraft, although, again, not as much as was wanted. It also turns out that formal joint labour-management consultation is not a substitute for whatever that mysterious thing is that leads to "better human relations in industry and so higher productivity." 

Nehru's visit to Karachi did not solve the Kashmir problem, there is going to be a bumper crop in Eastern Europe, where the Communists are trying to ease the burden of collectivisation; the zone in which Britain is going to enforce its restrictions on ships discharging oil tanks is going to extend twelve hundred miles out in the Atlantic along the whole coast of Britain, and more besides, and those who do not like it can complain to exactly nobody, even if it would be better if this were all international somehow.  Lord Denning is very upset at BOAC for trying to avoid liability for an airport injury, especially because the public corporations are doing it so as to escape any obligation by way of a statute of limitations. Until Parliament does something about it, the Law Lord thinks that the corporations have a responsibility to be adults. The crisis that the Benelux countries was going to have is now not going to happen, so we can all stop worrying about Benelux and worry about Jugoslavia's border with Albania, where Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu appear to be on the way out, due to be replaced at Kremlin insistence by more collective leadership. The rest of Jugoslavia's borders are being worked out by border commissions, although that does mean sinister dealings with Communists. Except that Jugoslavia is Communist, too! Does that mean that East Bloc countries are having sinister relations with Communists? It's so confusing! 


Frederick Kuh points out from Washington that even though America is boycotting China and is upset that its allies aren't doing the same, it is also issuing exemptions to the boycott left, right, and centre, so they're a bunch of hypocrites. P. H. Frankel writes from London that the oil industry needs new pricing formulas or there will be chaos and anarchy on world oil markets. Hector Hughes thinks that the only way of sustaining Scottish outports and their fisheries is a more favourable "freight equalisation plan." Apparently if you read the Note for 25 July you would understand exactly what this means. (I did. I don't.)


Have we heard about Kenneth Boulding's The Organisational Revolution? Probably not, probably another book with the same title by a completely different author who is the same man, writing about democracy and pluralism and capitalism and large corporations and ethics and politics. In America, we are done with individualism and believe in talking it out. Not that you'd know it from the press! (I think the difference here is between those who fought the war and those who covered it in Washington.) John Lough has very confusingly edited John LOCKE's letters from France and Cambridge has published them as Locke's Travels in France, 1675--9, in case you wanted to read all the letters no-one ever cared about before. Margaret Ashdown and S. Clement Brown's Social Service and Mental Health: An Essay on Psychiatric Case Workers is a fine treatment of an important new profession. Gustav Munthe and Gudrun Uexküll have collaborated on The Story of Axel Munthe. It occurs to The Economist that we might think, "Who?" and so it subtitles the review, "A Gifted European." Unfortunatelly, it isn't a very good book about this Gifted European, author of The Story of San Michele and founder of an international Munthe cult. That is, a cult of people who think that Axel Munthe is a very important person and a great . .  . something or other. Besides a psychiatrist, I mean. I've never even HEARD of him!

American Survey

"Eisenhower's Armistice" Senator Douglas says that Truman would have been impeached if he'd come up with the armistice that Eisenhower is being celebrated for. Which would be an interesting point if Senator Douglas weren't such a complete idiot. Korea isn't unified, and we have told Syngman Rhee to go hang, which we would never do to Chiang. The Hearst and Scripps-Howard papers are upset, but no-one cares, because the boys can come home and taxes can go down, and Church ladies and the exiles in San Francisco can go hang with Rhee. 

"Summer School" About a third of students take extra courses in the summer, which is about as many professors who are young enough and underpaid enough to teach them. 

Ann Blyth
"Summer Students" No-one wants to work in August, but some people are too keen to go to the beach, so they go to summer school too; and since nice colleges are nice, so did The Economist. "they are popularly supposed to be attended primarily by spinster teachers secretly hunting husbands. all that the observant doubter can say with certainty is that, if true, the spinster school teacher is better looking than she used to be."  Hey! It beats the New York office! Also, some people take practical courses to improve their earnings. It's the American dream, says The Economist. 

American Notes

"Congress in a Hurry" Congress needed to get out of town for the 1st, so the President's increase in postal rates has to wait until the next session, we've given in to McCarran on immigration and cut the total from 240,000 over two years to 209,000 over three. On the bright side, the Administration has ducked Bricker's constitutional amendment limiting the President's treaty making powers, and Simpson's tariff bill, although the trade bill it did get is disappointing. In other good news, the national debt might not ris

e through the current ceiling next session, forcing the President to ask Congress to raise it again. We are talking about universal service again as the number of men available for selective service continues to fall, the deadline for selling government rubber plants has been extended, the College Man has been recalled to study reforming government to save money again, and Hollywood lobbying has spared cinemas that 20% admissions tax, saving about an eighth of what the industry lost to the President's long and bitter struggle to keep the excess profits tax. 

The World Overseas

"A Year of Naguib" General Naguib has been in charge for a year. He has done well on the economy, but he keeps saying mean things about the British and implying that he wants them out of Suez, which is obviously not on, because then the Communists would strike. Kwame Nkrumah is into his third year as premier of the Gold Coast, where he has been much more moderate and sensitive to Northern concerns than expected. South Africa's Finance Minister is in a difficult situation because South Africa is having trouble attracting foreign investment due to everyone expecting a race war to break out there any minute. I may be cynical before my time, but I am very much afraid that it is a "Dutch versus English" war they're worried about, and if that can be settled, the Coloureds will have to fend for themselves. Germany has cut steel prices because the rest of Europe says it has to, we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Bolshevik tendency, and we bring you one last bit of coverage from Panmunjom. Did you know that Pravda once sent a correspondent in his own car? It was the talk of the bullpen! A full page of coverage ends, fatally (concluded.)

The Business World

Three solid pages on the latest Quarterly Economic Report shows that last year's recession wasn't as hard on British business as it looked like it would be, because they got away with not issuing any dividends thanks to "disinflation." Or something like that. It's not as though The Economist writes financial news for reading, because if the layperson understood what was going on (for example, that this article is praising industry for not investing), they would probably get upset or something. 

"Oil by Sea --I: Tankers Galore" New tankers are being delivered at an unprecedented rate, 3.5 million tons deadweight per year even assuming significant building delays. And they're all coming along even though the world has surplus tanker tonnage right now. The world tanker fleet has just about doubled since 1939, much of it is held by private owners, and The Economist looks at the numbers and tries to understand why they are ordering so many without getting anywhere. My theory, which is mine, is that it is because there is more oil being shipped these days. Go ahead, tell me I'm a silly girl who deserves to be pawed at work by an incognito prince/drunken boor. 

Business Notes

So far the truce hasn't let to falling commodity prices, and is completely unrelated to Ayr County Council's bond issue not being taken up, and British production so far this year is up 74% on the first quarter of 1952, 7%  on the second quarter, while employment has recovered. Bank deposits seem to be rising, South Africa is implementing new taxes to cover the budget, the United Kingdom is issuing Pakistan a £10 million credit to cover its "dire" lack of sterling, something is up in copper prices and investment trusts, no-one knows what to make of movements in Middle Eastern oil prices, which seem to anticipate the "differential between the rate equivalent to USMC minus 20% and the rate equivalent to USMC minus 50%" widening, which "might happen in a number of different ways." More sterling is being transferred to third party countries, which is good, the match trade with Russia is up to £500,000 this year, the Federation of British Industries and the British Employers' Confederation are not merging, sulphur seems to be scarce still, although who knows because the statistics aren't very good, the cocoa market is booming, and Alcoa is finally getting a listing on the London Stock Exchange so that it can raise money over there. 

Flight, 7 August 1953


"Smoothness all the way" Flying is nice; it's the bit getting from being comfortable at home to being as comfortable as possible in your plane that's annoying, and Something Should Be Done. At least for those who want to  pay a bit extra. 

Nobody has died at the National Gliding Championships so far. 

I only regret that Baron Shackleton's long career in public service 
deprived us of more 'Horace the Tame Stressman' cartoons
From All Quarters reports that Sefton Branker's son, John, has joined the IATA. The Ministry of Supply has denied suggestions that it might order the Folland Gnat, which it could get at 900 for the cost of 215 Hunters or Swifts because that is not really true, as it ignores engines, and anyway the plane isn't wanted because it isn't very good. This did not impress Arthur Henderson or Ernie Shackleton. Air France will be buying 3 Comet 2s, and is interested in the Comet 3. The first Avon-Sabre and Avon-Comet have flown. The radar research establishments at Malvern will be combined as the Radar Research Establishment under W. J. Richards, for efficiency reasons. Exercise MOMENTUM will exercise the air defences of the country against high and low altitude attacks and convoy defence.

Here and There reports that J. D. Profumo, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Civil Aviation, will be a member of the crew of the BEA Viscount in the London-Christchurch race. RAF Calshot is losing its Sunderland squadron and becoming a maintenance base., but the Saunders-Roe Princesses won't have to change their mooring. Richard von Mises, the former Professor of Aeronautics at Harvard, has died. 
A story about a Vampire flying to South Africa for some very good reason follows, much less interesting than trials of of the Decca Storm-Warning Radar Type 40 at Entebbe in Uganda. The first production model will be delivered soon in Southeast Asia. 

"Boeing's New Airliner" America's first attempt to catch up with the Comet (says Flight) is a very Boeing plane. It is the same low-drag section, 35 degree sweepback wing seen in the B-47, which means that it will continue the steady increase in skin gauge thickness that brought the B-47 to a 75S machined hard aluminum 3/8" gauge and will likely lead to a 20,000lb wing in the 707, posing major problems of manufacture. It will require very precise and difficult rivet work, and although it will give a mach 0.9 wing, but at the expense of handling and stowage. Still, the 707 will carry most of its fuel in the wing, but the undercarriage  will apparently retract into the undercarriage rather than pods between the engines, as first reported, and their axles will be only 21ft apart, with stabilising outrigger wheels and 170lb pressure wheels. The fuselage will be massive, with true hull length of 122ft 2" and an 11ft diameter upper bubble with 89ft useable passenger length. Doors will be small, and inward opening. The tail is striking, control is through irreversible jacks, flaps resemble those of the B-52, power will be from Pratt and Whitney JT3Ls. An expected fuel load of 50t will support useful range. Accommodation, all on the upper deck, will be 100, in a 3 by 2 arrangement. First rollout will be next June or July, and the first production plane will come in 1956 with an expected price of £1,430,000, "very much more than will be asked for our second generation of jet transports."

Aircraft Intelligence reports that the two-seat Venom is coming along, that the Convair Sea Dart XF2Y-1 has been doing public trials in San Francisco, that the loss of the Convair XP5Y was due to the failure of its inflight trimming system, that Doman Helicopters will absolutely start building its H-31 soon.

"Armstrong Siddeley Viper" Armstrong Siddeley's tiny little Viper turbojet is just the cutest little thing. More seriously, it is for throway pilotless drones, so it isn't some massively engineered monstrosity. The really interesting thing is the various economies and control simplifications, especially in the fuel system, where power can be controlled by a single electronic actuator in the pump system for remote control. 


G. A. Broomfield hopes that we will continue to remember those long ago days before the war with airport names and museum exhibits. George Cook and "Ex P.R. Mosquito Pilot" reminisce about those days. Patrick Johnson has an opinion about what to call a "heliport," the Chairman of Air-Britain is offended at the idea of foreign planes at Farnborough Walter Matthew elaborates on aerial top-dressing from New Zealand, while Pat Sloan of the British Soviet Friendship Society liked the recent article on aviation in Russia in the old days, before the wars. 

The Aeronautical Bookshelf has received a memoir about gliding from the still-living-somehow Philip Wills, a picture book from Edward L. Throm and James S. Crenshaw, Album of Aviation, and Arthur C. Clarke's Prelude to Space, an unusually-grounded piece of science fiction featuring the first manned moonship, taking off from the Australian desert in 1975, and the thrilling story of RAAF 77 Squadron in Korea, Across the Parallel, by George Odgers

"Sikorsky S-52 Series" The Sikorsky S-52 is a very successful helicopter, the one page version. (There's a similarly pointless article on the Provost trainer following.)

Civil Aviation reports that Jan Smuts Airport has been opened in Johannesburg, that South Africa's charter airlines are fighting with the National Transport Commission, that BOAC bookings are up, that a BEA Viscount has set another record, that airport activity is up and the passenger tax is gone, that the Hurel-Dubois HD32 is quite a plane, and that El Al is improving the performance of its C-46s with auxiliary Turbomeca Marbores under the fuselage. 

The Economist, 8 August 1953


"Second Session" Will there be an autumn election? There doesn't need to be. The second session of parliament went well, and all these illness are no matter because what if Labour had had Bevin and Attlee out at the same time in 1947? That would have been worse! On the other hand, the Tories haven't been  nearly free-market enough. If they start being "more forceful" they won't need to go to the country until 1954! This week in "conclusions we wanted to draw enough to steer an entire column there"! 

"The Voice of Molotov" The Soviet missive on the proposed conference on Germany shows that Molotov is still at the office over there, because it sounds just like him. The Russians are willing to talk about German unity on condition that the borders of Germany are settled, which means that they want the Oder-Neisse line. They say they are open to bases, but not that the removal of British and American bases adjacent to Russia will be exchanged for the closing of Russian bases on the Black Sea and Baltic. They want China at the "general" session, but can't be expected to see Dulles there, if so. They want a global discussion at that session, which the Western Allies won't do, because it would divide the alliance, which otherwise isn't a ploy much used in the missive. That probably shows that the Soviets are serious. 

"Diplomacy's Left Hand" The Berlin food parcel "play," in which West Berlin authorities issue food parcels to East German visitors, has led to $15 million in American food reaching East Germany. Is this a local initiative? A Western propaganda initiative? Why is the East Bloc so terrified by it? Is it because of all the initiatives directed at the Bloc, the balloons, the radio broadcasts, the fake newspapers and rewards to defecting pilots? Because this looks like someone doing something, ostensibly for the Western alliance, over which the governments of the West do not seem to have much of a say. What's the plan? For Russia to withdraw from eastern Europe? Then we should stop destabilising their allies! To overthrow the Communist governments of eastern Europe? Then we shouldn't gape in stunned surprise when an uprising actually breaks out, as last month in East Berlin. The right hand must know what the left hand is doing. 

From The Economist of 1853, "Peace or Appeasement?" The only way to stop a war with Russia is to be as aggressive towards Russia as possible. 

Edward Burra, The Snack Bar (1930)
"Food at the Bar" Here's a slice of British life that completely passed me by, even though I've definitely eaten at snack bars in my visits. The Economist points out that snack-bars are one of the easiest businesses for a would-be businessman to start, and likely to be the most successful. They can feed up to ten times as many people as a restaurant in the same space, and the labour cost is lower. Rationing encourages people to eat out, and the postwar inflation made them more profitable, peaking in 1947. They seem to exist beside restaurants, catering to people who "have never developed a devotion to table service." "Devotion?" As a result, there are 15,000 snack-bars in the country. Some are nice, some are not. Okay, so much for that; but here is where it gets interesting. "Snack-bars can . . . employ women almost exclusively, and need only pay them 70% of a man's wage." The girl behind the counter at a London snack-bar gets only 74s 6d and a free lunch for her 47 hour week, or £5, tips included. This is a lot better than the prewar 35s for a 54 hour week, but still means a much lower snack-bar wage bill than for a restaurant. On the basis that some of the money should go to the customer so that they will keep buying, and some to the businessman so that he will grow rich, the target in the industry is to spend 40% on food and a profit of 7%. Getting into the business with a large (Italian) family means no worries about labour, especially after 7 and on the weekends, when competitors close to avoid paying time-and-a-quarter. There is some overlap with cafeterias and milk bars, especially the latter, which when they started appearing in 1935 had the advantage of support from the Milk Marketing Board for their milkshakes and milk-based soups.  Now they don't, but with a milk surplus emerging, maybe that will change? As for snack-bars, the margin on tea and coffee will cover items where customers are more resistant to price, such as sandwiches, which rarely go for more than 4s, even though a salmon sandwich is better value than a lettuce or tomato sandwich.  Fruit squash is also popular, especially the best-known brands, but the popularity of ice cream has fallen since the war as other sweets have become available. Ham sandwiches have become popular. There is concern about health risks, especially with potentially bacteria-contaminated sandwiches, milk, cooked meat, salads, synthetic cream, and ice-cream. "None of the recent outbreaks of food-poisoning has been attributed to a snack-bar," but rather schools and industrial canteens, but it is a risk, especially because the infections are  harder to trace. 

So that's the snack-bar story. Crikes! 

Notes of the Week

"Conscription and Commitments" The 1948 National Service Act will expire in the next session, although it could be extended by an order in council. That means a debate, since Labour wants to talk about the two-year period. The Government proposes a five-year extension of the two-year service, and a new bill extending reserve liabilities, with ex-National Servicemen gradually replacing the WWII conscripts currently making up the reserves. Labour wants to know what we need all the manpower for given the current international situation, but The Economist points out that commitments haven't changed. We hope they will, with the Korean armistice and an agreement with Egypt, but until that happens, the argument for the 1950 (Labour) extension of 18 month to two-year service remain. The Army and Air Force are 42% National Service, and if the service period were cut, the turnover at overseas postings would compromise efficiency.  
Wilma Montesi

There is to be a review of the Civil Service. Mr. Attlee is against it, so The Economist is for it, even though there will be no "overhaul" of the Civil Service, which it might like. The Russians are being awful in Austria by offering the Austrians a peace treaty in an underhanded bid to divide the West. De Gaspieri has fallen because he could not get support from the Left; now Attilio Piccioni will try to put together a Gasperi government without Gasperi by appealing to the Monarchists. I certainly hope there's no raging scandal involving Piccioni of the lurid kind that The Economist wouldn't deign to cover, even though everyone else is!

Nigerian politicians are meeting in conference with the Colonial Office to sort out north-versus-south conflicts, while in Kenya, The Economist shakes its head sadly at the settlers' failure to come to grips with the "new era." (That is, the "Mau Mau era.") Instead of being "constructive," the "energies" of settlers and government are "absorbed" by "bitterness and . . . a sense of grievance." Settlers are concerned with the lack of manpower after the Lancashire Fusiliers leave the colony, which underlines the fact that they depend on Britain to maintain Kenya's "frail settlement policies." Talk of the settlers taking "full power" has died down. Nothing will happen until "circumstances permit," "circumstances"  involving "all races" in conference about "the political future." A future for which "no political framework" has emerged. Except some welfare policies of the kind that settlers used to reject. That's an awful lot of circumlocution for such a short Note, but it takes a good long walk to go all around the big, nasty block in the middle of the road that is labelled, "Maybe the Mau Maus have a point?" Also, Libya is going to be independent, and get a nice rent cheque for British air bases, but it is not likely to cover the national deficit, and the Libyans are upset about Egyptian intrigues in Benghazi. Malaya is also showing a budget deficit, but that's because of the Emergency. Turkish politics are getting lively again. 

"Morning Calm in Korea" The prisoners are coming home, the guns are silent, casualty lists are being closed, Syngman Rhee is  hanging from the barbed wire, but that doesn't mean that there's no clouds in the distant sky, such as Communists and South Korean intransigents being difficult. Also, the Supreme Soviet is meeting to hear a budget that cuts the tax on farmers' private land to assuage peasant unrest. It also carries forward the cut in the turnover tax that reduced the cost of consumer goods, and cuts state borrowing. In spite of this, it budgets a higher expenditure and a large surplus, apparently in hope of efficiencies in state enterprises and higher profits. There is, however, going to be cut in defence spending from 23.9% of the budget in 1952 to just above 1950's 20.1%, itself a postwar high. 

"Subsistence Through Assistance" Too many people (1.7 million people are getting allowances, 1.1 million on top of assistance!) are getting assistance on top of their national insurance payments, and if this goes on and the rate is set to "subsistence plus rent," which is apparently the all-party consensus, there will have to be major increases in the national insurance contribution soon. Food rationing is ridiculous and made possible by ever increasing subsidies. The Economist disapproves. Mental health services are more important than ever, but there is a severe shortage of mental hospital nursing staff, which can only be made up with untrained nursing assistants, which is not very satisfactory, although I'm not sure what to say about a "solution" that involves training the assistants just a bit, and if we boost their pay to reflect their training, won't we  have to boost nurse pay, too? The Medical Research Board has come out with its recommendations on how medical research should be conducted in Britain. They're still a bit vague, so I won't go into them with the kind of detail I save for important subjects like snack-bars. 


Peter Baker writes to explain that "Boothbyites" aren't nearly as bad as "Bevanites." The Economist disagrees. It's not Sir Robert Boothby's economics it disagrees, and it agrees that Boothbyites and Bevanites certainly aren't a minority. That's the problem. Because what the magazine is worried about is their "soft" foreign policy. Cornelius O'Dwyer of the Mutual Security Agency defends his agency against accusations that it is maintaining an obsolete oil pricing system. S. J. Langley points out that reforming the transit fee structure for Middle Eastern oil could enrich some of the poorest regions of the world. Gordon Evans argues for extending the UN's Technical Assistance programme and increasing its budget. L. Russell Muirhead, an editor at Blue Guides, politely points out that The Economist has no idea what it is talking about with respect to travel guides. Andrew Rothstein argues that Communist intellectuals aren't a bunch of lying shills. Robert Moore has some fairly airy ideas about why Jerusalem should be a united, internationally-administered city. The Economist offers a pragmatic additional reason. If you  have two  Jerusalems competing for the tourist dollar, money gets left on the table.
I have been unable to find an image of Dorothy Salmon Pickles on the
Internet, but "salmon with pickled strawberries" sounds interesting!


Dorothy Pickles (which is a real name) and Brian Chapman both have books about French governance and politics. Pickles is good, but too nice to the Communists, it says here by greatly underestimating the 20,000--90,000 executed during the epuration at a mere 3000. Robert Hale's Limits of Economic Liberty explains that you need some government to have true economic freedom, but only advances to the limits of the "frontiers between economic and political theory," showing just how much work needs to be done.  Arthur Campbell's Jungle Green is supposed to be an authentic picture of National Servicemen fighting in Malaya. The Economist thinks it is more polite to spend a few paragraphs implying that it is mostly made up, and not just come out and say so. Leon Edel's Henry James: The Untried Years, is the first of a proposed three volumes, is about the great author's childhood, and is, the magazine says, "Freudian." At the command, "EYES . . . ROLL!" I should have been a drill sergeant, but instead us ladies have to be wives, instead and really stick it to men. W. Grey Walter's The Living Brain is about the rarest of all things. It presents the latest evidence from cerebral electrophysiology and the author's own mechanical models of human behaviour, and seems very up-to-date, with lots of "homeostasis," "feedback," and "scanning." A. G. N. Flew has edited Logic and Language in a second edition for Blackwell, collecting nine works by current scholars on the relationship between philosophy and language. They're pretty good articles even if the reviewer has no time for all this "philosophy is a language game" stuff. Edouard Bonnefous has L'Europe en face de son Destine, which is about what is keeping the United States of Europe, I bet before even reading the review. After reading it, I think you owe me five bucks. 

American Survey

"Congress Marks Time" This year between the fight over the debt limit and "deep shock and sorrow at the death of Senator Taft," the final days of a Congressional session seem even more frenzied in British eyes than usual. The 83rd Congress was supposed to be the one that brought a revolution in government, but the whole reducing the power of government agenda is now put off onto the new Hoover Commission or the next Congress, or, anyway, sometime in the distant future. As though cutting appropriations were somehow not enough! Conservative Republicans have their various concerns about State and foreign aid, but The Economist gives the game away when it mentions "taxes . . . not cut." Unfortunately, Eisenhower is a lot more popular than the Republican party. Perhaps that means that he will have more power over Congress in the next session leading up to the '54 midterms than Truman did in 1950, when he was poison to his own party, at least in the South. At the very least, even if the President can't get anything done (Hawaiian statehood, amending Taft-Hartley), at least he can fend off the friends of chaos in his own party. We hope!

American Notes

"Republicans Without Taft" Senator Knowland is the new Senate Majority Leader because, incredibly, he is the candidate most likely to get Senate Republicans to support the President. In practice the President is probably going to have to rely on Democratic votes, especially since Taft's (interim)  replacement will probably be a Democrat and Senator Wayne Morris will probably switch parties, giving the Democrats a majority. 

"Reprieve For Foreign Aid" The Senate has restored most of the House's cuts, although the big cut in military aid for France in Indo-China remains, and Dulles' plan to make South Korea a "showcase for democracy" was scuttled on fears that US troops would be used for "forced labour." Also, Democrats in the Senate were able to kill the President's request for an increase in the debt ceiling, which is a neat partisan blow to an Administration that promised to reduce the debt, and which will force either a debate over raising the ceiling ahead of the '54 midterms or a special session in the fall, since the Treasury has to fund the government with loans until tax receipts begin in the new year. 

The World Overseas

"Turn of the Tide in Pakistan" That ten million pound credit will solve all Pakistan's problems by satisfying demand for consumer goods and spurring private investment. Meanwhile, New Zealand is the only Commonwealth country to manage a surplus with the non-sterling area with high wool prices and currency rationing. So now New Zealanders are free to demand an easing on import controls and lower taxes. There hasn't been a revolt in Poland yet, probably because the memory of the war weighs on people. Nehru's visit to Pakistan is unlikely to solve all the subcontinent's problems. The proposal for an American grant of $200 million to rebuild Korea is welcome at the UN, which doesn't have the money to do it, itself. It is hoping that other governments will step in to give further support, which will also encourage more American aid. 

"Synagogue And State" The Israeli Knesset has ended the female exemption from military service, which was granted on to religious Jews. These have in any case been fighting a pitched battle against secularism since the founding of the state,, but since the Ben Gurion government also depends on their parties for his majority in the Knesset, it hasn't seemed like a good idea to draft the roughly 2000 extreme Orthodox girls in the annual class, and some people are still pushing for a compromise. 

The Business World 

The big story is the resumption of free trading of copper on the London Metal Exchange. The Economist scoffs at, and mocks all those who thought that free trade in metals would be bad for Britain based on the first day of copper trading. (Tin, lead and zinc were freed earlier.) 

"Oil by Sea, II: Too Many Tankers?" The conclusion from last week was, I thought, pretty definitive. There are too many tankers right now. But is that REALLY true? Maybe, maybe not, which is why the actual point of this Leader is to call for the return of the prewar international tanker pool to meet sudden increases in demand for oil. 

Business Notes
"The First Steel Sale" The private resale of Templeborough Rolling Mill to its former owners is just the beginning, because it was a very profitable operation and it had very respectable owners. Most privatisation will be through the sale of United Steel shares. The dollar surplus continues to increase, amongst other financial news.

"The Supersonic Gyron" The De Havilland Gyron was noticed last month but gets a bit more attention here. It is believed to be the most powerful jet engine in the world, and is a bid to make up the ground the De Havilland Engine Company lost by continuing to put its faith on the centrifugal compressor in the face of the Avon, Sapphire, and now the Olympus and Conway. The Conway in particular is said to give more than 10,000lbs in sustained runs on the test bed, so the Gyron must give 15,000--20,000lbs. It is said to be simple and sturdy for a jet engine, and to be designed specifically for supersonic fighters. It is also remarkable in that De Havilland began development with its own money, at an estimated cost of £4 million for the preliminary work. 

"Atomic Trials at Woomera" The Ministry of Supply has announced that British atomic trials will be carried out at the Woomera rocket range in Australia, where various rockets and such have been tested recently. The Australians seem happy with the rockets, but aren't going to help pay for the atom bombs, much to The Economist's disappointment. (It's in the name!) On the other hand, while the experimental pile being worked on right now is to provide a prototype for future aircraft and ship engines and to provide plutonium for bombs, it is also a prototype for civilian power production, and plutonium for bombs can always be burned for power later. Air traffic is up, various stock purchases in the auto industry are interesting, the Commons is arguing the Labour position that "private" cotton spinners are really private when they buy through the Raw Cotton Commission, which should have the power to prevent private raw cotton purchases. The Tories would rather reopen the Liverpool Cotton Exchange, but have reluctantly accepted that this is impossible without convertibility. The Bureau of Standards has had to get involved in what was hoped to be a move to voluntary standards in the furniture and cotton industry. Germany is piling up a foreign exchange surplus and people are getting cross. 

Flight, 14 August 1953


"Jets All Through?" The RAF might need a jet basic trainer and a new advanced jet trainer. 

From All Quarters reports that there are plans for an experimental helicopter service from London Airport to Waterloo station, following the Thames to avoid the danger of engine loss over occupied areas. A BBC television show about the noise from low flying aircraft featured interviews at Biggin Hill and the explanation that it is necessary for the defence of Britain that planes fly really low and make very loud noises a lot. The first Prestwick Pioneers to be delivered to the RAF have been sent off to Malaya. Britain has some  new and improved air marshals. The RA14 is the latest fully type-tested and already flying Avon, giving 9500lbs without reheat. Glenn L. Martin has put a revolving bomb bay into its XB-51, which solves all problems with bomb bay doors opening at high speeds. Two-thirds of the planes at Farnborough this  year will be turbine-powered. The BEA Viscount for the London-Christchurch flight will be crammed with even more famous crewmembers than the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Civil Aviation

Here and There reports that the RAAF is lending GCA and DME equipment to Christchurch Airport for the Race, that Curtiss-Wright is setting up a subsidiary in Europe to handle the J65s going into NATO F-84Fs, that Flight Refuelling has developed fuel packs that can go into a bomb bay, allowing an bomber to work as a tanker, that the crew of a downed C-119 in North Africa was recently rescued by helicopter, that two RAF Sunderlands will be resupplying the British North Greenland Expedition for the third year in a row, that the Iron Ore Company's desperate appeal for more air transport for its KNob Lake project is being met by three chartered RCAF North Stars, that Russian Air Force Day was afflicted by bad weather and rumours caused by the absence of Vasily Stalin

Terrence "Dumbo" Williams distills his experience teaching parachuting for Flight in a three page article. It is an aviation sport, so they're supposed to cover it, and it actually means less work for me as I don't have to read it, so it's a good thing! The same can be said for the articles on the "World Model Championships" and the national gliding championships a bit later. I wonder if sport parachuting is as dangerous as gliding?

"Non-Destructive Testing: Latest Developments in the Ultrasonic Method of Flaw Detection" This is an advertorial from Kelvin and Hughes, although per Flight practice it was edited by a staff writer and signed "A.G.T." Ultrasonic flaw detection was developed during the war years to find proof failures in armour plate, and was based on reports of Russian work. It celebrates the release of the Mk 5, which improves on earlier work with dual transverse wave probes by combining two into a single vertical probe. We're briefly treated to an account of how various sound reflections show flaws and laminations, then given a full commercial for the Mark 5, which, of course, is simple, light, and easy to use. 

Aircraft Intelligence reports that the RCAF and the USAF have both shown interest in the De Havilland Twin Otter, that the Convair jetliner is the subject of discussions between Eddie Rickenbacker and Convair, and will have a swept wing rather than the delta of the B-58. The first Martin B-57s were air tested in June, flying with Wright-licensed J65s built by the Buick Division of GM. The Republic F-84G is the photo-reconnaissance variant of the MDAP straight-wing jet, and will be a photoreconnaissance variant. 

"Entomological War in Switzerland" Pest Control Limited is conducting an insect-spraying campaign in Switzerland again this year using a fleet of Hiller 360s and three Auster J.5G Cirrus Autocars to spray 15,000 acres in Valais. The story requires two pages because there are mountains in Switzerland, which makes aerial spraying harder than it is in countries with no mountains.  


Last week raised a major matter of the old days before the wars, so Gerald C. Maxwell writes further. (About SE5as, if you were wondering.) J. Nicholls notes another helicopter rescue in heavy winds in Scotland. Hugo Hooftman wonders about those mysterious supersonic bangs. Nat McKitterick, of, as we know, the London office of Aviation Week, wants us to know that he did not violate British security regulations by covering the Hawker Delta and "Short Bros. forthcoming long-range patrol aircraft." He cleared his story before despatch, and, as the only American air correspondent stationed permanently in Britain, always does so. 

The Industry reports that English Electronic and Cable and Wireless are buying Canadian Marconi. British Standards have a new set of specifications covering cable-end assemblies on pre-formed steel wire rope complying with BS W. 9 and W. 11. Goodyear Aviation is making dollars by selling tyres to US aircraft operating in Europe. English Electric's Problems in Four Dimensions is a historical brochure about its relationship with Marconi. GE's new two-cell focussing torch is equally suitable for office, home and factory. 

Civil Aviation reports that BOAC is getting ready to receive the first of 26 Britannias next year, and is testing the Avon on Comets. Aquila Airways has some new flying boats, which are all Sunderlands with some little fiddle making for a new name, and which will be flying holiday-makers ("tourists") to Madeira and the Canaries. BEA really likes its new Viscounts. 

"Proteus Development and The Treasury" The third annual report of the Committee on Public Accounts has a remarkable section on the development of the Proteus that explains how public money goes into these things. The story of the Proteus starts with a 1944 requirement from the Ministry of Supply for a gas turbine engine suitable for a long-range jet transport for service in 1952. By 31 March 1942, contracts for £13 million had been placed, and £10 million actually spent. The Ministry did not know how much it was going to cost to develop a jet engine at the time, although the fact that the Avon has so far cost twice as much suggests that it was in the right range of numbers. Complicating things was that the designers had to work to the Britannia requirement. Flight has concerns, but I have to say that I'm not clear what they are even after reading them. It probably has something to do with Bristol getting all that money while De Havilland had to develop the Gyron on its own. 

It's August, and Fortune isn't wasting any time getting this one out the door. So it's page over from the cover and right into Fortune's Wheel, which explains the reason that there are articles about the d "Robert Taft's Congress" and in the form of a long explanation from some academic about how conservatism is the shiny new (old) political programme that Americans are just now thinking about trying out, and that the first Leader is devoted to "the first six months of Eisenhower." It's because this might be a business magazine, but politics is so important these days that we're just going to have to spend a lot of time --oh, who are we kidding, politics is easy to write and that Russell Kirk guy is cheap. Cheaper than something they could have run instead of "It's Robert Taft's Congress now, so straighten up, you sad-sack liberals?" 

Yes, there is some reporting in this issue, an article on "The Changing American Market," and a gallop through the latest in optics, but it's pretty thin. 

Business Roundup reports that yes, there is going to be a recession in the last half of the year, but look what's going on behind the Iron Curtain. It's much more important than the fact that the first Republican President in twenty  years has led the country right into a downturn, just as predicted! The dollar gap is disappearing, American exports (particularly oil) are lagging, inventories are building up, and the only place where tight money isn't hurting is car loans, because everyone needs a car and America needs to keep building them or who knows what will happen. 

Defence and Strategy reports that the MSA is shifting focus to building up a domestic European defence industry, focussing on ammunition, and "closing the air gap" with 1200 British, Belgian-Netherlands and French planes, with $300 million US in seed money. An "Autopsy of Willow Run" promises to show how exactly the same thing happened there in 1950--3 as in 1942-44 (and that's leaving out WWI's Eagle Boats, because who besides Uncle George remembers that far back?). The conclusion certainly isn't that everyone lined up to get a piece of the action, at Willow Run and at the tank factories, and in the heavy press programme. The Navy, we're told,comes out of this looking pretty good, because I guess this is not the day to talk about jet engines failing. And speaking of boats, the Russians showed up at Spithead with their new cruiser, the Sverdlov, and it was very fancy. 

Leaders San Francisco is boosting parking costs in prime business hours so that commuters will stop parking on the street and crowding out business. Someone is upset at the FHA for not approving loans to house designs with too much "apple-crapple." New Eisenhower appointees have saved the General Service Administration. The Administration has noticed that it has somehow caused a recession with its wholesome-as-apple-pie policies of high insurance rates and slashing government spending, and now proposes to roll out a highway-building scheme to stimulate the economy back to where it was before it started screwing things up. 

Charles V. Murphy, "The Atom and the Balance of Power" Since this is a business magazine about business for businessmen (and maybe sometimes there long-suffering secretaries), naturally our business stories are about business and not the airy-fairy stuff we  used to publish back when we were interesting. And that's why it is time to give Charles V. Murphy a soapbox so that he can denounce Robert Oppenheimer for getting in the way of the H-bomb.  Business!

And then it is off to talk about the "Changing American market," which means babies (Americans are having twice as many second babies as in 1940), marriages, a growing population, and more money for everyone. Also, everyone is moving to the suburbs. 

But let's stop and talk about babies a bit more. America's birthrate fell during the Great Depression, and this, combined with the end of mass immigration, seemed to suggest a stagnant, or even falling population. This was also true overseas, notably in France, but was foreseeable in the near future in Britain. I'm bringing in details that aren't in the article here, so I'll end with one more, which is that Nazi Germany started to see an increasing birth rate. To get back to Fortune, America saw the beginning of an uptick in 1937. There was a spurt once war began, and a further acceleration when the troops came back. All of this was reasonably predictable, and did not affect demographic projections. But then it didn't stop. By 1953, 67% of American women were married, compared with 60% in 1940. The 1.3 million first children of this year will be 47% over 1940, the 1.17 million second children will be a 91% increase, the 620,000 third children an 86% increase, the 310,000 fourth children a 61%. The total, about 4 million, will be the highest in history. New household formation has risen too, although it is off its 1948 peak, but is still 50% above prewar. There are more old people, fewer in the 10--30 group than in 1941, and an actual decline of 400,000 in the 10--19 group. That means a smaller market for young people for years to come. Demographers expect 165 million Americans in 1960, but some predict 180 million. The question is when, and if, these high birth rates level off, which is hard to predict given that the reason for them is completely mysterious and obviously has no relationship with the growing incomes reported elsewhere in this article. (Because that would imply that when you "disinflate,"  you depopulate, and thank you, we're not taking that lesson on board!)

Location wise, America is both equalising, with incomes rising in regions like the South and the West to match the Northeast, and concentrating in the metropolitan suburbs. We're going to hear more about suburbs in this issue, but here the magazine asks whether they might be a factor in the birth rate --or that they might be a result of it?

So, enough of that, time to talk about a family business in Kansas that is building a better dishwasher. From the article, much more important than the "Slinkie," the remarkable coil-steel toy (have  you seen one? They're hilarious!) that gets a paragraph. 

"Optics: Sharper Than Ever" New lenses and such from the war are very good, especially the Japanese ones, although German firms are roaring back. We cover efforts to make "aspheric lenses" to the same 1-in-500 accuracy which has been achieved with optical lenses, the development of diffraction grating engraving, a virtual American monopoly, infrared spectrometry, which is not, anti-reflective coating, which is big at Eastman-Kodak, and also its "glass without sand," which achieves new levels of accuracy, high refractive indexes and low colour dispersion. Similar glass is now available from Schott in Germany and Chance in Britain. Corning and Bausch and Lomb can now meet refractive index specifications to five significant figures of accuracy. That's hard! Also, photographic lenses are getting better and the widescreen projection system is making demands on optics designers. Periscopes and bombsights are another demanding field for optical designers. 

The fourth part of William Whyte's look at Forest Park is a detailed investigation of the way that friendships form between neighbours. It turns out that it is mostly between people whose children play together, and that tends to happen on the street out front of the house in spite of best-laid plans. No-one ever meets the person across the back fence. 

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