Notes


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biography

In the papers they presented, these Soviet experts drew attention to recent ominous shifts in the deployment of Chinese Communist military forces. There was an impressive buildup in progress in Manchuria. Intelligence reported that during August the number of "regular" (as opposed to "militia") Chinese troops in Manchuria had doubled  from 115,000 to 246,000. Moreover, there was every indication that the buildup was continuing. It was possible, the CIA paper suggested, that the Chinese troops might be ordered to aid the NKPA and would confront American forces at the 38th Parallel.

Even so, the momentum for crossing the 38th Parallel continued to build in Washington. "It would have taken a superhuman effort to say no," Harriman reflected later. "Psychologically, it was almost impossible not to go ahead and complete the job." While the precise details, orders, and caveats were being hammered out, Truman and Acheson launched diplomatic moves at the UN to gain support for this course. In a nationwide radio broadcast on September 1 Truman signaled American intentions: "We believe that Koreans have a right to be free, independent and united." The key word was "united."[8-69]

Nonetheless Truman was still very much concerned about possible Chinese Communist intervention in Korea. In the same speech he went out of his way to placate and court Peking. "We do not want the fighting in Korea to spread into a general war. . . . We hope in particular that the people of China will not be misled or forced into fighting against the United Nations and against the American people, who have always been and still are their friends." Since the speech came only a week after the furor over MacArthur's VFW message, he felt compelled to add: "We do not want Formosa or any part of Asia for ourselves."

There was no direct response from Peking. However, there were already indirect signs that Peking was edging toward more intimate association with P'yŏngyang. A Peking propaganda magazine, World Culture, wrote in August that the "barbarous action of American imperialism" in Korea not only menaced peace in Asia but also threatened the security of China in particular. "It is impossible to solve the Korean problem without the participation of its closest neighbor, China," the article went on. "North Korea's friends are our friends. North Korea's enemy is our enemy. North Korea's defense is our defense. North Korea's victory is our victory." At the UN, representatives of Peking, seeking recognition (and the "seat" held by the Chinese Nationalists) and abetted by the Soviets, increasingly intruded, covertly and overtly, into discussions relating to the Korean War.[8-70]