MacARTHUR CONTEMPLATES THE "BOMB"
With the on-coming defeat a distinct possibility, talk of using the Atomic Bomb was
making the rounds. Hoyt Vandenberg, speaking for the Air Force, suggested they were prepared to use
it. MacArthur suggested a plan to use numerous bombs. The U.S. had a stockpile of nearly 300 air-burst
bombs. Only President Truman could order them used. MacArthur insisted on bombing the Yalu power plants
with multiple strikes by B-29s. Suggestions came from all services and every General offered his own
plan. Headlines in all the papers gave the impression that MacArthur had already received the go-ahead
after Truman said the U.S. was considering use of the Atomic weapon in connection with the war in Korea.
The world watched and held it's breath following the media frenzy. A state of affairs was rapidly going
from bad to disastrous. In a conference in the war room Vandenberg dismissed the idea of sending MacArthur
further orders. "What good would it do? He won't obey the orders." Ridgeway exploded. "You
can relieve any commander who won't obey orders, can't you?" Thus the idea of relieving MacArthur
was on the table. MacArthur requested that the Pentagon grant him a field commander's discretion to
employ nuclear weapons as necessary. He wanted them stockpiled in Okinawa. He explained he would drop
between 30 and 50 atomic bombs- strung across the neck of Manchuria, and spread behind us, from the
Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea-a belt of radioactive cobalt-for at least 60 years there would be no
land invasion of Korea from the North. The Russians, he claimed, would be intimidated by this and do
nothing. He continued to seek authority to deploy the bomb.