On January 17 2018, The Montanian printed my open letter to Kim Jong Un titled “Korean armistice still in place.” Lincoln County library procured the sources for that column through inter-library loans, including Sydney D. Bailey’s, “The Korean Armistice” from the Command and Gen-eral Staff College in Leav-enworth stamped proper-ty of the the United States Army. Bailey, a British diplomat involved in the negotiations, concludes with a chapter on “Problem of Coalition De-mocracy.”
Recently U.S. Ambas-sador to the U.N., Nikki Haley has demanded that the North Koreans re-nounce their nuclear pro-gram as a “pre-condition” of starting talks.
To start the armistice talks in 1951 Soviet Am-bassador Yakov Malik proposed that discussions between the belligerent be limited to the cease-fire, without drawing in issues like withdrawal of foreign troops, Taiwan, or seating China at the U.N. Negotiations between the military commanders, the only authorities recog-nized by both sides. Bai-ley quotes Alexis Johnson as saying the military ne-gotiators were “unpracticed in the arcane arts of high-pressure di-plomacy.” Ridgway, Joy and their colleagues were excellent officers but had little experience in as-sessing the potential po-litical ramifications of every small suggestion and change of nuance. They were not practiced in foiling propaganda ploys or keeping cool dur-ing deliberately offensive harangues about them-selves and their country, a common communist tac-tic.
A diplomat is paid to know when to disregard his instructions, but the military decidedly frown on “freewheeling” of this sort.
In short, the incredible complexity of the armi-stice negotiations under the U.N. Command suc-ceeded only because they focused on the cease-fire and left other issues off the table. The cease-fire has held up for 64 years now so, I think it’s safe to start talks on common ground.
Ron Carter is from Libby, MT