CHAPTER FOURTEEN: A SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY
One of the most famous quotations of the Korean War is General MacArthur's "There is no substitute for victory." But MacArthur was removed from command for wanting to translate this philosophy into action; and a less well-known quotation became the prevailing American policy. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who set the new pace when she said: "One of the most painful lessons we have to learn is to adapt ourselves to the kind of war which ends without total victory. . . ."1
Until the United States became a member of the United Nations, of course, we had never fought a war that ended in anything except victory. And we could easily have achieved victory in Korea if it hand not been for our unnatural subservience to foreign interests. Since the Korean War is often cited as one of the outstanding achievements of the UN, it is worth our while to take a brief look at a few of the less obvious aspects of this tragic affair.
In 1947 General Albert C. Wedemeyer was sent to the Far East to make an official military appraisal of conditions there. In his report to President Truman, General Wedemeyer stated:
This, of course, is exactly what happened, but General Wedemeyer's report was, at Secretary of State George Marshall's insistence, suppressed and denied to both Congress and the public.
After we had withdrawn most of our troops in accordance with a United Nations resolution, our Army general headquarters in South Korea began sending repeated and urgent reports to Washington warning that there was an unmistakable military buildup just above the 38th Parallel. One such report even contained the date of the expected North Korean attack.3 In spite of these reports, however, and despite the fact that money had been appropriated by Congress for the purpose of building up South Korea's defenses, officialdom somehow managed to stall and delay for over three months so that no military equipment--not even ammunition--was delivered to reinforce South Korea.4 Yet, when the attack finally came Washington officials pretended to be surprised and taken off guard.
One thing is certain: if we knew that the Communists were preparing for over a year to attack South Korea, the Communists knew it too! That may seem too obvious to mention, yet nine out of ten Americans have never considered the possibility that the Communists wanted the United Nations to commit the U.S. to fight in Korea. If the Communists had not wanted the Korean War, they would not have started it. And if they had not wanted the UN to go through the motions of trying to oppose them, they would have vetoed the action in the Security Council. As part of the show, however, the Soviet delegation had stage-managed an impressive walkout supposedly in protest over the defeat of a motion to seat Red China. Consequently, when the attack came, the Soviets supposedly outsmarted themselves by not being on hand to administer the veto. But, as we have just stated, the assumption that the Communists did not know well in advance that the whole thing was coming is absurd. They planned it! The fact that they were conveniently absent when the issue came before the UN only shows that they needed a surface excuse to refrain from the veto.
The actual course of the war is well known by all. Our tiny occupational force had been deliberately kept unprepared for the sudden massive assault. It was overwhelmed, backed into the Pusan pocket, and hovered on the brink of being pushed into the sea. There is no doubt that the Communists fully expected to sweep us off the peninsula with hardly any opposition, which would have been quite a prestige-builder for them around the world. They would have done it, too, if it had not been for the independent Americanism of General MacArthur and the bravery of his troops. As MacArthur, himself, recalled: "The only predictions from Washington at that time warned of impending military disaster. Then, too, our ammunition was critically short. . . . General [Walton] Walker, at one stage, was down to five rounds per gun. His heroically successful efforts under unparalleled shortages of all sorts constituted an amazing military exploit."5
Hopelessly outnumbered by the enemy, General MacArthur conceived one of the most brilliant maneuvers in military history: the Inchon landing. It was a daring surprise flank attack aimed at cutting off the North Korean supply lines. It worked beautifully and, as a result, the enemy forces disintegrated and were nearly destroyed. As General MacArthur stated:
There was early evidence that the North Korean forces were being trained and equipped by the Soviets and, after the Inchon landing, that the Chinese Communists were providing actual combat troops by the thousands.7 Lt. General Samuel E. Anderson, commander of the Fifth Air Force, revealed that entire Soviet Air Force units fought in the Korean War for over two and a half years "to gain combat experience for the pilots." All in all, some 425 Migs were being flown by Russian pilots.8 The Soviets never even tried to conceal their part in the war. When United States Ambassador Lodge complained to the General Assembly's political committee that "Soviet planning instigated the original aggression, which was subsequently maintained by Soviet training and equipment," Vyshinsky, the Soviet delegate, calmly admitted the substance of the charge and replied, "Mr. Lodge is pushing at an open door."9
In spite of all this, the United States Government refused to allow General MacArthur to pursue the enemy across the Yalu River or even to bomb the bridges over which the Chinese Communists transported their troops and supplies. The official reason given was to prevent a war between the United States and Red China! The real reason, since we were already in a war with Red China, was simply that the United Nations did not want us to obtain a victory in Korea, and we had, by this time, agreed to go along with whatever the UN wanted.
The typical view of so many of our UN allies was expressed in The Fabian Essays, published in London in 1952, with a preface by Prime Minister Clement Attlee. On page 31 the author, R. H. Crossman, says: "A victory for either side [in the cold war] would be defeat for socialism. We are members of the Atlantic Alliance (NATO); but this does not mean that we are enemies of every Communist revolution. We are opposed to Russian expansion, but also to an American victory."10
In 1950, when Congress appropriated rather substantial sums of money to carry on the Korean War, and it looked as though we just might start thinking in terms of pressing for a victory, Prime Minister Attlee rushed to the United States to confer with President Truman. His mission was aptly described by the U.S. News and World Report which stated:
Mr. Attlee was needlessly alarmed, for on November 16, 1950, President Truman announced: "Speaking for the U.S. Government and people, I can give assurances that we support and are acting within the limits of the UN policy in Korea and that we have never at any time entertained any intention to carry hostilities into China."12
When the Chinese crossed the Yalu, General MacArthur instantly ordered the bridges--six of them--destroyed by our Air Force. Within hours his orders were countermanded from Washington. These bridges still stand. In his bitterness, the general exclaimed, "I realized for the first time that I had actually been denied the use of my full military power to safeguard the lives of my soldiers and the safety of my army. To me, it clearly foreshadowed a future tragic situation in Korea and left me with a sense of inexpressible shock."13
Not only did we forbid our army commanders to fight for victory in Korea, we denied them access to military assistance that was readily available. The free Nationalist Chinese on Formosa had offered to send between fifty and sixty thousand fighting men to push back the Chinese Reds. They were confident that with very little difficulty a crushing military defeat in North Korea could set off widespread rebellion in Red China itself. The Nationalist Chinese would have been a valuable help to our forces in any event, since they had a reason to fight and wanted desperately to get into it. They offered troops, but General George Marshall turned them down because it was not felt that Chiang’s troops would be effective, and "for other reasons." On June 27, 1950, President Truman announced: ". . . I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The Seventh Fleet will see that this is done."14
We not only denied our own troops in Korea much-needed reinforcements which would have spared us thousands of casualties, but we even sent the U.S. Seventh Fleet to patrol the Formosa Straits to protect the Chinese Reds from attack!
In spite of these unprecedented self-imposed handicaps, General MacArthur continued to spoil the Communist plans. At another crucial point in the fighting, the enemy once again began to fall apart. In the last half of May they had been driven back twenty miles with casualties estimated at one hundred thousand. In order to save them from complete defeat and to give them a breathing spell, UN Soviet delegate Jacob Malik proposed negotiations for a cease-fire at the 38th Parallel. And so, with our forces once again poised on the brink of victory, MacArthur was dismissed and our forward movement was halted. As negotiations began, our representatives carried a white flag into a formal assemblage of armed Communists in a spot held by the Communists. Pictures were taken and used for propaganda purposes all over Asia. The "paper tiger" was meekly suing for peace on Communist terms!
And make no mistake about it, they were Communist terms. One of the key issues of the early negotiations was that of a cease-fire line. We had insisted that the cease-fire line be that point where the fighting was going on when all other major agreements had been reached. The Communists wanted us to work it the other way around. The compromise: we gave into their demands. Then there was the matter of ports of entry into North Korea. We insisted that twelve major ports of entry be patrolled by our observers to insure that the Communists were not receiving military reinforcements. The Communists said that four ports of entry would be sufficient. The compromise: four ports of entry. Another issue was whether or not Chinese Communists would be permitted to remain in North Korea. We said no; they said yes. The compromise: they stayed. Another major issue was who would supervise the truce. We said the UN; the Communists said neutral nations. The compromise: neutral nations. These "neutral" nations, incidentally, included Communist Czechoslovakia and Communist Poland. As General Parks later revealed in testimony before a Senate subcommittee, this so-called neutral nations commission vetoed inspection trips to North Korea when they could, stalled the inspections that they could not prevent, and practiced outright collusion with the Chinese and North Korean Communists to conceal evidence of treaty violations.15
A UN group, of course, would have been little different. Consider, for example, the performance of the UN cease-fire negotiating committee which consisted of Iran, India and Canada. This group finally submitted a proposal to the General Assembly political action committee that the best solution to the Korean problem was to give Formosa to Red China and admit Red China to the UN.16 Incredible as this proposal may seem, the vote was fifty in favor, seven opposed, and one abstention. Even the United States voted for it. The only delegate present with the courage and the conviction to speak out against the proposal as "abject surrender to Communism and aggression" was Carlos Romulo of the Philippines. John Foster Dulles was, at the time, a member of the United States delegation that supported this resolution. The official reason given for this incredible vote was that we endorsed it in hopes of winning support for another resolution condemning Red China as an aggressor!17
One final tragic glimpse at this new American no-win policy, which was put into practice in Korea, was provided in a Department of Defense press release dated May 15, 1954. It described in detail how high-ranking Russian military officers were actually on the scene in North Korea directing military operations. This, of course, was not news. But then the release stated:
General Vasilev had been the chairman of the United Nations Military Staff Committee which, along with the office of the undersecretary-general for political and security council affairs, is responsible for United Nations military action under the Security Council. As we have already pointed out, the office of the undersecretary-general for political and security council affairs has always been filled by a Communist from a Communist country.
Just as the Russian delegates had stage-managed a phoney walkout in order to provide a surface excuse for not vetoing United Nations action in Korea, the Russian members of the Military Staff Committee had done exactly the same thing. On January 19, 1950, General Vasilev stormed out of the Military Staff Committee, supposedly because he suddenly objected to having a representative from Nationalist China on the same committee. As the previous Defense Department statement revealed, he next showed up in North Korea as one of the top military planners directing the war against the United Nations--the very organization he had just a few months earlier served supposedly in the interest of international peace and brotherhood.
Once the war had gotten under way, the Russians returned to their seats as members of the United Nations Military Staff Committee. General Vasilev was not among them, however. He had turned over his position to another Communist, General Ivan A. Skliaro. In effect the Communists were directing both sides of the war!
This shocking piece of information was mentioned on the floor of the United States House of Representatives by Congressman James B. Utt of California, and was thus brought to the attention of the American people.19 For the most part, however, the nation's press played down this news.
Secretly directing the anti-Communist side in this world-wide struggle is probably the most important single facet of Communist strategy. As long as they have a comfortable degree of control over their own opposition, they are perfectly willing to allow some realistic-looking anti-Communism to occur. Otherwise, the anti-Communist followers would soon become impatient with their leadership and take measures to replace it. But by allowing the anti-Communists to go through the motions of fighting the Communists and, if necessary, even allow them a few minor victories here and there, the Communist agents within our ranks can be assured that ultimate victory will be theirs. No better illustration of this strategy can be found then by merely observing the pattern of United States history since the 1930's. It was this pattern in Korea that prompted General Mark Clark to state that he feared Communists had wormed their way so deeply into our government that they were able to exercise an inordinate degree of power in shaping the course of America. "I could not help wondering and worrying whether we were faced with open enemies across the conference table and hidden ones who sat with us in our most secret councils."20
Here, then, are the significant results of the Korean War:
This is what advocates of the United Nations hold up as the UN's greatest single achievement! The whole situation should have appeared absurd, even to the casual observer. The Communists attacked a peaceful country; the United Nations went through the motions of pushing the aggressor back to his border but did everything it could to make sure that there was no punishment for the crime. At the conference table, it treated both the attacked and the attacker as respectable equals. It is like having someone enter your home, attack your wife and shoot your children; and when you call for help, the police merely place the intruder outside your house and tell him not to come back. When he breaks in a second time, stabs you in the shoulder and sets fire to your house, the police react by setting up a neutral committee to negotiate your differences.
Do we really want this kind of UN justice? Apparently we do, for when South Korean President Syngman Rhee wanted to drive the Communists across the 38th Parallel and liberate all of North Korea, President Eisenhower wrote to him and said: "It was indeed a crime that those who attacked from the North invoked violence to unite Korea under their rule. Not only as your official friend, but as your personal friend, I urge that your country not embark upon a similar course."21
While we have been following Eleanor Roosevelt's advice and learning "to adapt ourselves to the kind of war which ends without victory," the Communists have done just the opposite. While Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson declare that the United Nations is the cornerstone of United States foreign policy, Nikita Khrushchev boasts:
What an uneven contest it is when one compares that with the utterances of our own United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson:
One can almost hear the following exchange:
Khrushchev: "Americans are criminals for having used germ warfare in Korea!"
Stevenson: "I hadn't seen it in that light before."
Khrushchev: "We will bury you!"
Stevenson: "I had no idea you felt so strongly about this."
Khrushchev: "Americans are filthy capitalist war mongers."
Stevenson: "That's a point I hadn't fully appreciated."
What Mr. Stevenson apparently has failed to understand is that when dealing with the Communists, every time we move the traffic of man an inch away from the point of collision the Communists then move the point of collision back an inch closer to the traffic of man. In other words, every time we appease them in hopes that they will now stop acting like Communists, they merely consolidate the gain we have granted them and then press forward for more. In any contest, if one of the parties is willing to fight if necessary to win, and the other states in advance that, not only is fighting unthinkable, but also that he has no intention of trying to win, can there be any doubt as to which will triumph?
On November 12, 1951, General Matthew Ridgway submitted to the United Nations a report stating that about eight thousand UN military personnel had been killed by North Korean forces--many of them defenseless prisoners of war.24 It was revealed that most of these had been American soldiers who were shot in the back of the head and dumped into mass graves. Many were tortured until they died a merciful death. In some instances, gasoline was poured upon the wounded men and then ignited by hand grenades. When the United Nations General Assembly finally got around to passing a rather weak resolution condemning such practices, it even avoided coming right out and saying that the Communists had been guilty of any of them. Yet, in spite of the watered-down tone of the resolution, sixteen countries either refused to support it or actually voted against it.25
General Mark Clark reported there was solid evidence that after the fighting had stopped in Korea and after the prisoner exchange had been completed, the Communists still held 944 American soldiers believed to be alive.26 United States officials who sent these boys into battle in the first place made no formal protest and took no action to obtain their release; nor was anything said about the matter by the advocates of justice and human rights at the United Nations. Finally, the Chinese Communists themselves brought the issue to public attention by announcing that eleven American airmen captured in January of 1953 bad been sentenced as spies. The Eisenhower Administration acted in its usual manner and courageously submitted the fate of these American boys to the United Nations. On December 10, 1954, the General Assembly passed a resolution against the detention of the eleven Americans and called on the Secretary-General to intercede on our behalf to see if he could persuade the Chinese Reds to live up to their treaty agreements. Dag Hammarskjold traveled to Red China to plead for the release of American military men being held illegally by a Government that Hammarskjold was doing everything possible to have admitted to the United Nations. It was a perfunctory visit at best. He did not even ask to see the captives or to survey the conditions under which they were imprisoned. Needless to say, his mission was unsuccessful.
The following year the Red Chinese "magnanimously released the flyers as a propaganda wedge to be used at the opening sessions of a series of discussions with the United States in Geneva. Instead of pointing out that these flyers never should have been detained in the first place or demanding the immediate release of the hundreds of other Americans known to be still rotting in Red prison camps, United States officials hailed the move as a gesture of good will and spoke glowingly of the future prospects of easing world tensions.
What has happened to Americans? While Khrushchev boasts, "We spit in their faces, and they call it dew," Adlai Stevenson says, "We must get used to it--we who suffer from having had things our way for so long."27 While Communists around the world shout at the top of their lungs that they are the wave of the future, Walt Rostow, the special assistant to former President Kennedy for national security affairs, proclaims: "The role of the United States in determining, the outcome of the world's history over coming decades will, of course, be marginal, and success cannot be assured."28
What kind of insane urge for self-destruction prompted an American UNICEF official to say: "By working through UNICEF, the U.S. removes the possibility of criticism for any self-seeking ends. UNICEF itself is permitted to take the credit for the accomplishment."29 Likewise, at the second general conference of UNESCO, an American delegate took the floor and said:
In 1904 a naturalized American citizen by the name of Ion Perdicaris was taken as hostage in Morocco by a lawless Arab brigand named Raisuli, and held for ransom. The sultan, Abdal-Aziz IV, was apparently not too concerned over the incident. President Theodore Roosevelt immediately sent a U.S. warship to Morocco and delivered a message to the sultan that was both short and to the point. It read: "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!" Within a very short time Perdicaris was safely aboard the U.S. warship.
Fifty-four years later a similar situation arose. In Cuba a bearded bandit by the name of Fidel Castro kidnapped not one but forty-five American citizens, including sailors and marines from the nearby United States naval base at Guantanamo. In this case, however, President Eisenhower sent no telegrams nor did he dispatch any warships to pick up our captured citizens. The United States Government, in fact, did nothing, for under our commitment to the United Nations Charter, such an act would have been illegal.
In 1904 we had not invented the nuclear bomb and we had not sent over 100 billion dollars of foreign aid around the world. Nevertheless, at that time the American flag and the citizens who gave it allegiance commanded and received respect and admiration everywhere. Today, it is not unusual for Americans to receive instead the jeers and taunts of the rest of the world. Our embassies have been burned, our officials have been spat upon, and in the capitals of the world "Yankee, go home" is chanted in the streets. What better proof could there be of the wisdom of General MacArthur's words: "There is no substitute for victory."
1. Eleanor Roosevelt, "The U.S. and the UN," ADA Guide to Politics--1954, P. 61.
2. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports (New York, Henry Holt & Company, Inc., 1958), p. 475.
3. Military Situation in the Far East, hearings before the Senate committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations (1951), pt. 1, pp. 436, 545; and pt. 3, p. 1991. Also, "Accept Chiang's Troop Offer, Knowland Urges," Los Angeles Examiner (July 11, 1950), sec. 1, p. 4. At this time Senator Knowland was a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
4. Military Situation in the Far East, hearings before the Senate committees on Armed Forces and Foreign Relations, final report (August 17, 1951), pt. 5, p. 3581.
5. Speech by Anthony T. Bouscaren before the Congress of Freedom, Veterans War Memorial Auditorium (San Francisco, April 1955).
7. Department of State Bulletin (December 11, 1956), p. 926.
8. "Soviet Jet Units Defeated in Korea by U.S. Flyers Air Chief Discloses," New York Times (September 19, 1953), sec. 1, p. 1.
9. As quoted by Manly, pp. 82-83.
10. As quoted by Alice Widener, Congressional Digest (Washington, D.C., August-September 1960), p. 217.
11. U.S. News and World Report (December 15, 1950), pp. 11-12.
12. Speech by Anthony T. Bouscaren before the Congress of Freedom, Veterans War Memorial Auditorium (San Francisco, April 1955).
13. Charles A. Willoughby and John Chamberlain, MacArthur, 1941-1951 (New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1954), pp. 401-402.
14. American Historical Documents, p. 406.
15. Soviet Political Agreements and Results, SISS publication (1959), p. XI.
16. Lie, p. 359.
17. Manly, pp. 67-68.
18. The Truth about Soviet Involvement in the Korean War, Department of Defense press release #465-54 (May 15, 1954). Also, "U.S. Reveals Russ Ordered Attack on Korea," Los Angeles Examiner (May 16, 1954), sec. 1, pt. A, p. 2.
19. Congressman James B. Utt, Congressional Record (January 15, 1962). On March 21, 1960, the State Department issued a formal statement which said: "The United Nations Military Staff Committee had nothing whatsoever to do with the Korean War and it did not receive any classified military information on this subject. Nor was the Military Staff Committee involved in any way with the direction of the forces in Korea. . . . The United States did submit periodic reports to the United Nations on the conduct of the fighting in Korea, but these reports contained no classified information and were limited to a factual chronicle of events."
Incredible as it may seem, the State Department was asking the American people to believe that the UN had absolutely nothing to do with either planning, directing or influencing its own war in Korea! However, General George Marshall admitted that the "hot pursuit" policy of the United States of allowing our pilots to pursue attacking enemy aircraft back into their own territory had been abandoned because this policy failed to receive support in the UN. Secretary of State Dean Acheson further revealed: "There have been resolutions of the General Assembly which make clear the course that the General Assembly thinks wise; and the United States is endeavoring to follow the course which has tremendous international support and is not contemplating taking unilateral steps of its own."
It is clear that while the United States was theoretically responsible for the military direction of the "unified command" in Korea, in reality we were going along with whatever the United Nations decided. See Military Situation in the Far East, hearings before the Senate committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations (1951), pt. 3, pp. 1937, 1940; also, pt. 5, p. 3583.
20. Mark Clark, From the Danube to the Yalu (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1954), p. 11.
21. As quoted by Manly, pp. 75-76.
22. "Will UN Keep Freedom?" Rockford, Illinois, Register-Republic (October 29, 1961).
23. United Nations Guardian of Peace, Department of State publication #7225 (September 1961), p. 35.
24. UN Security Council official records (supplement for October through December 1951), p. 41-42.
25. Manly, pp. 91-92.
26. Clark, p. 298.
27. United Nations Guardian of Peace, Department of State publication #7225 (September 1961), p. 9.
28. Speech before the National Strategy Seminar held at Asilomar in Monterey, California (April 28, 1960).
29. Testimony of Virginia Gray, Citizens' Committee for UNICEF, before the Congressional Appropriations Subcommittee (1955).
30. Records of the General
Conference, Second Session Proceedings, UNESCO document #2/C (Mexico City,