JUNE 14, 1951
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Lieut. General Albert C. Wedemeyer has testified, according to the papers, that he would never have committed ground troops in Korea and would have used only air and sea power. He would withdraw our troops now from Korea and he even used General MacArthur's phrase that he would "go it alone" against the Soviet Union, if necessary. By that he meant that he approved General MacArthur's four points—economic blockade, naval blockade of the China coast, bombing of Manchurian and Communist bases and freeing Chinese Nationalist troops on Formosa for action.
This particular point of freeing Chinese troops for action is a trifle misleading. In order to get them into action we would have to arm these troops and get them to the mainland. Once we bombed Communist bases in China and Manchuria we would be at war with China and probably we would have forced the Soviets into open war with us. A Russian treaty with China requires the Soviet to aid China if she is attacked. World War III would then be on us and we would be to blame. The Soviets would have forced us to fight on ground they preferred, namely in China, where any number of men can be lost easily and where the problem of supply would be practically insoluble.
It may be impossible eventually to avoid war with the Soviet Union, but don't let's be forced into it in an area where carrying it on would be out of the question.
Lieut. General Wedemeyer has said that he did not think war with the Soviet Union was inevitable. But he thought there would have to be a showdown and he talked about taking a calculated risk.
It seems to me if we acted as he suggests, it would not be a calculated risk, but practically handing the Soviets a war where they want it and probably at the time that they have decided to have it.
What we are really trying to achieve is to have no war at all.
It looks as though before long we might be able to begin to negotiate in Korea. Negotiation is not appeasement, but it usually brings some kind of compromise and that is what we are looking for in almost all the very complicated situations that face us.
In Iran negotiations will have to go on between the British and the Persian governments. It is quite evident that the British will modify their original proposal and probably the Iranians also will make some concessions. That is negotiation but there will be no appeasement on either part.
In the questions under dispute between Israel and the Arab states some kind of negotiation must finally come. But it cannot be begun until the Egyptians modify their position, which seems to be that Israel does not exist because they have decided in the Arab states not to recognize its existence.
The fact remains that Israel does exist and that negotiations must go forward to make the best of the situation as it is. For the Arabs as well as for the Jews a peaceful future is essential for the improvement of living conditions in the Near East and for their safety.