Truce Talks – Bluff Talks – July 10, 1951

 

Mohammad Mossaddegh - soon-to-be-thorn in Britain's side.

Mohammad Mossaddegh – soon-to-be-thorn in Churchill’s side.

CBS Radio – Edward R. Murrow News With Don Hollenbeck – July 10, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

July 10, 1951 was an interesting day – not so much for what it represented in the present, but what it foretold about the future. The situation in Korea was looking hopeful-but cautious as truce talks were heading into their second day of what had been termed by the United Nations team as productive talks. Radio Peking announced the Communist delegation had introduced some concrete suggestions for ending the war, including establishment of a de-militarized zone of about 6 miles between North and South Korea on either side of the 38th Parallel. Fighting was continuing, and would continue until all sides agreed to an armistice. However, the Communists (as well as the United Nations negotiators) stressed that nothing can happen unless a ceasefire is in place.

Despite the talks and the signs of optimism, the U.S. announced there would be no relaxation of the military buildup and the draft-call for August would be increased from 22,000 to 35,000 with an additional 34,000 called up in September. Of the August call-up, some 7,000 would be assigned to the Marine corps. This was the first time since World War 2 that the Marines resorted to the Draft. The revised call-ups would bring to a total some 634,000 draftees called up since the beginning of the Korean conflict. The Defense Department said the increase in draftees was the result of a drop in enlistees.

But the story which foretold the future took place in Iran. Democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, among his many reforms, declared the Persian Oil fields the sole property of Iran and no longer a co-venture with Britain (the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company/Anglo-Persian Oil Company or British Petroleum as it later came to be known), as it had been since 1935. The move to nationalize Iran’s Oil output caused a huge stir at 10 Downing Street, with repercussions felt as far away as Washington, who offered to send Secretary of State Dean Acheson to the negotiation table. Mosaddegh said “thanks, but no thanks”, and it was looking like the story would soon be over. Unfortunately, not by a long shot. Mosaddegh had jump-started Iran’s national self-esteem, and as was the case with many of the former “Protectorate countries” in the Middle-East, Iran was showing Democracy could work. Some saw that as a dangerous sign.

And that’s just a small slice of what went on this July 10th in 1951, as presented by Don Hollenbeck, substituting for Edward R. Murrow and the News from CBS Radio.

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