APRIL 6, 1953
NEW YORK, Sunday—Everyone I meet, from the taxicab driver to my most intellectual friends, sooner or later begins to wonder what the new Soviet attitude means. Does Mr. Malenkov really want peace?
One thing seems to be different as far as Mr. Malenkov is concerned: His speeches are short and factual. To most of us who are accustomed to the flow of words which is usually essential to the explanation of any idea by a Soviet delegate, this terseness on the part of Mr. Malenkov is a surprise and, I must say, rather a welcome one.
But what does it mean? Is he willing to talk armistice in Korea because our new policy of replacing U.N. soldiers with South Koreans means that the real purpose for keeping up the war in Korea is over? Since U.S. power is not going to be used up, he really is not very much interested in Korea anymore. Perhaps the best thing he can do for his ultimate objective, which remains the same as Stalin's, is to lull the Western world into a feeling that the leopard has changed its spots. Then we need not be so fearful of war, we need not spend so much on war preparations.
How the European nations would welcome that thought, hard-pressed as they are with a million things they would rather spend their money on than armaments. Perhaps Mr. Malenkov hopes that even in the United States public opinion will force the reduction of expenditures for defense preparation. Then he hopes, above all, for that end which he has prophesied would come and which he longs for—a real economic slump in the United States.
Peace in Korea is going to call for as much leadership and statesmanship as the war has required, particularly in the U.S. We know that what we really need in this country is a very expensive kind of defense preparation, a network of radar and constantly patrolling planes. It seems to me a waste of money to be building shelters in our big cities for civilian defense. We should concentrate on training people in preparing for evacuation. But our real defense lies in preventing planes from getting through to our coastal cities and production centers inland. It will be harder to make people pay taxes to build this type of defense. Many of them won't be able to see it and many won't understand the need for it. Yet, whether the Soviets hold out the olive branch or not, this type of preparation should go steadily forward. It will not prepare us to make attacks on any nation, but it will make it practically impossible for any nation to get by our defenses and destroy us.
The Soviets won't be educated for the kind of "live and let live" world we hope for in many a long year. That is why we have to build this kind of defense, even though there may well come a day when we may all of us really believe in a world at peace.