OTHERS

dated July 13, 1950: Choice before Stalin

If Premier Stalin was looking for World War III, he very well knew where to find it - in the rice fields of Korea. All he would need to do to strike the match that would set the world aflame was to send some Russian troops and fliers into Korea - send them in openly with the Red Star of the Soviet Union on their planes and helmets. But, there was a growing belief in Washington, London and Lake Success that Stalin did not want World War III, at least not immediately.

Firstly, the American fliers had won control of the Korean skies. The worst enemy for the United States Air Force's was not the Communists but the weather. Lt. Gen. George Stratemeyer, Commander of the United States Far Eastern Air Force, told a Press Conference in Tokyo on July 10, that he was about to lick the weather. He said his men had started round-the-clock bombing of the Korean communists and that this would continue regardless of the weather.

Secondly, American tanks, artillery and anti-tank weapons had already reached the front lines. Thirdly, America's South Korean allies had taken new heart and were in battle again. Fourthly, the British and American Navies ruled the coast of Korea.

There had been twice in recent history when Stalin had to retreat in the face of determined men with guns in their hands. Now, Premier Stalin might just abandon the Korean Communists and sit back and wait for a better time and place to perform what he called the ``liberation of the world proletariat.''