August 23, 1951 – The news from Korea and the Peace Talks was one of utter confusion. The Communists called the talks off with the accusation that an allied plane attempted to strafe a car carrying members of the delegation in the neutral section at Kaisan. But at the same time, announced they were ready to resume talks once their conditions were met.
Allied commander Ridgeway dismissed the accusations as a frame-up and a fake on the basis of his investigation of the alleged strafing incident. Ridgeway went on to say that the supposed incident was planned in advance because the Communist negotiators were losing their demands and losing face in Asia.
Meanwhile, hopes were still pinned on negotiations continuing and that some form of a truce would be arrived at eventually.
In other parts of the world – the collapse of talks between Britain and Iran brought on a wave of pessimism that things were far from over. Britain announced they would be holding on to the oil refinery at Abadan indefinitely and use protective measures if necessary. As a reminder to Iran; there were 10 British warships around the Abadan area in the Persian Gulf, and an air fleet sitting on the ground in neighboring Iraq. Prime Minister Clement Atlee reiterated the position in a statement saying if Iran wasn’t going to protect the refinery at Abadan, Britain would do it themselves. The statement went on to say that perhaps it was time for Iran to “do something” about the Mossadegh government – the implications were self-explanatory. Troubling was a hint that Russia, based on its 1921 treaty with Iran, could intervene if disorders should break out.
Another August 23rd with the world on edge, as reported by Don Hollenbeck, substituting for Edward R. Murrow And The News, August 23, 1951.