APRIL 13, 1951
NEW YORK, Thursday—The replacement of General MacArthur by General Ridgway was the only thing, I think, that the President could do under the circumstances. It was unfortunate, indeed, but it was a decision he had to make. And I thought the President's message on Wednesday night was a very kind one. He stated that as one of our great generals, General MacArthur had earned his place not only in history but in the hearts of his countrymen.
Unfortunately, General MacArthur apparently felt that he had certain rights, which never have belonged to a military officer. Under the circumstances it was not considered wise to keep him in his post, and his dismissal followed. It is quite natural that the Republicans should consider it a tragedy and play up in their statements their feelings against the President and his policies.
It is the feeling of some of our Congressmen who have cared to comment that General MacArthur should have resigned first and then spoken. No one would deny him that right. But it saddens one that for partisan political reasons many Republicans will stand back of a policy that so evidently would make trouble with our allies, would make diplomatic action practically impossible, and might possibly start World War III in the Pacific area.
I feel that we have more chance for peace now than we have had in recent months. The Soviet Union knows well that it will still face a resolute general who has been very successful in holding them in check.
The hope is that the Chinese Communists and Russia will recognize that what they have paid in losses is too great a price and that they will see that they must revise that policy since it is evident that they miscalculated both the ability and the determination of the United Nations forces in Korea.
I would disagree with the British in their desire to recognize the Chinese Communist government, at least for the present. I still believe that it makes sense to let the Chinese, who are accustomed to trading with each other, use diplomacy to settle their own difficulties. I cannot quite understand why the British want to settle the Chinese difficulties for them, unless their interests in Hong Kong make them cling to the hope that in this way they will succeed in bringing about a more friendly and cooperative attitude toward themselves in the Chinese Communist government.
It would seem to me that we have learned by now that no appeasement earns any concessions from Russian-controlled governments. Any signs of weakness or conciliation bring more stubborn resistance on their part. Only when we act from strength, saying that our position is such, that we hope they will consider settling peacefully the problems between us, do we get any kind of reasonable cooperation from them.
Look at the length of time it has taken to discuss an agenda for a meeting of the Big Four Ministers. The Soviet Union wanted this meeting but it has done what it always does. It has made all the difficulties it could and delayed conclusions because time means nothing to the Russians. When they think the patience of the Allies is worn too thin, they make a concession and keep the discussions going. Those are old tactics and we should have learned how to face them by this time. If they can wait, we can wait. But while we wait we must never let up on our preparations for defense.