Janury 17, 1951 – Amid Chinese rejections of a UN Peace proposal, an eerie calm falling over Korea this day. Anticipation of another major offensive by the Chinese, as evidenced by a massive troop buildup near Seoul kept U.S. and United Nations forces on alert, not wanting a repeat of the Chinese assault in November, where a lull preceded an attack. Action along the 130 mile front was confined to small skirmishes. In the meantime, the Chinese offered the UN their own peace proposal which the U.S. called “unacceptable”.
In Indo-China, the French claimed a great victory over communist troops who had fallen back north of Hanoi, citing “tremendous casualties” after four days of battle. The ongoing war between French and loyalist troops and Communist forces was escalating in recent years. The country we now know as Vietnam would be a full-scale conflagration in a short time. We would know all about it soon enough.
In Burma (Myanmar), Dr. Seagrave, the American doctor known as The Burma Surgeon, was convicted of High Treason and sentenced to six years in prison. Dr. Seagrave told reporters he sincerely hoped the American people would not judge the peoples of Burma by the actions of a few. He was appealing the decision.
And Secretary of Defense Marshall formally asked Congress for permission to draft 18-year olds. He promised that none of that age group would be sent into combat before they were 19, except in a dire emergency. But he did not want a ban on sending 18-year olds overseas, feeling it would cripple the services in meeting the sudden ruthless and violent action by the enemy. Senators also heard testimony from the heads of five colleges; MIT, Princeton, Tufts, Williams and Johns Hopkins in support of the 18-year old draft proposal.
And that’s a very small slice of what went on, this January 17, 1951 as reported by Edward R. Murrow and The News.