February 16, 1951 – A day filled with Cold War, Korea and uncertainty.
Starting with word from Soviet Premier Stalin, voicing his opinion for the first time in a while, that the U.S. was fighting a losing war in Korea and needed to stop, withdraw and allow Communist China to join the U.N.
In his first major statement on Foreign Policy in over two years, given to Pravda and broadcast by Radio Moscow, Stalin also said it was “shameful for the UN to brand China an aggressor”. He went on to add that the UN was being branded as an instrument for war and that war was not inevitable at this time.
All this was going on as correspondents were reporting a lull in fighting in Korea. The Chinese and North Koreans made some effort to creep down allied flanks, but were stopped. The results, reported by military sources was that in four days, UN forces inflicted some 22,000 enemy casualties; the equivalent of almost three Red divisions.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill. Secretary of State Dean Acheson went before two Senate Committees to urge not holding back American troop deployments in Europe. He said if we did, it could spell suicide for the U.S. The Secretary indicated this was the time to send the additional troops over, expecting the UN to double its defense forces within a year. Additionally, Acheson hoped that Spain, Greece and Turkey could be linked to NATO. He also told the Senators that we had not, at any time, made any commitments to send troops to Europe. The committees then heard from General Omar Bradley, who explained why he favored sending four divisions to Western Europe.
All that, and a lot more news for this February 16, 1951 as reported by the legendary Edward R. Murrow.