• U.S.

CEASE-FIRE: New Location

2 minute read

For 40 days, the Kaesong cease-fire talks had been stalled. Matt Ridgway was fed up. Over the radio “Voice of the U.N. Command,” which he uses when he doesn’t want to put something in writing, his headquarters warned: “The time is fast approaching when resumption or conclusion of the [truce] talks may well turn on one reply.” In other words, put up or fight. With that, U.N. forces launched an offensive.

Two days later, the Reds rejected Ridgway’s request that talks be moved from Kaesong to Songhyon, eight miles closer to U.N. lines. Then they made a counterproposal: Why not meet in Panmunjom, a village just a mile away from Songhyon? Ridgway promptly agreed that Panmunjom met “the fundamental condition of equality of movement and control.” Once again it was left to juniors to work out the details. But in Seoul and Tokyo, U.N. commanders continued in their optimistic belief that the Reds genuinely want a ceasefire.

As cease-fire prospects brightened once again, two things appeared certain. One was that the U.S. has no intention of settling on the 38th parallel, but will insist on the present battle line, though willing to give & take a little. The other is that if the Reds reject peace, and U.N. forces push forward in a full-scale offensive, there is only one safe place they could stop: the Pyongyang-Wonsan line across the narrow waist of North Korea. At that place, there would be no doubt who won the war.

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