"The question remains, why did Buchen and President Ford change their minds? The available documents do not provide a definitive answer, but notes from key meetings in September and October provide clues to Ford's priorities - and these were far from government transparency. For example, handwritten notes of the first White House senior staff meeting presided over by Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Richard Cheney (September 30, 1974) [PDF] show Rumsfeld's rising concern about leaks, a discussion that takes up a major part of the meeting. Similarly, notes from the National Security Council meeting on October 7, 1974 [PDF] reveal Ford himself opening the session by complaining about leaks for a full two pages of the transcript, asking for 'recommendations on how to tighten up this system,' and telling his advisers that 'I could have ordered an FBI investigation on this, but Don and I thought it would be better to see what you could do first.'"
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and others in the Nixon-Agnew-Ford orbit left Washington believing that the imperial Presidency had been disastrously hobbled by a now imperial press. When they reappeared in 2001, under the auspices of George W. Bush, the Nixon-Agnew spirit was resurrected with them—this time without the Joycean wordplay.
This view was challenged by China and North Korea, who accused the United States of large-scale field testing of biological weapons against them during the Korean War (1950-1953). Their accusation is substantiated by Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman in 'The United States and Biological Warfare: secrets of the early Cold War and Korea' (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1998).
The Soviet Union, China, and North Korea accused the United States of using biological warfare against North Korea and China during the Korean War. However, there was no confirmation of these allegations, and no epidemiologic support to the North Korean claim of having experienced epidemics. The United States denied allegations and requested impartial investigations. The International Red Cross suggested the formation of a special commission to investigate, and the World Health Organization offered to intervene. However, neither China nor North Korea responded to the International Red Cross, and the World Health Organization’s offer was rebuffed as a disguised attempt of espionage. Although unsubstantiated, the accusations attracted wide attention and resulted in a loss of international good will toward the United States.
Editor’s note: The documents featured in this section of the Bulletin present new evidence on the allegations that the United States used bacteriological weapons during the Korean War. In the accompanying commentaries, historian Kathryn Weathersby and scientist Milton Leitenberg (University of Maryland) provide analysis, context and interpretation of these documents. Unlike other documents published in the Bulletin, these documents, first obtained and published (in Japanese) by the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, have not been authenticated by access to the archival originals (or even photocopies thereof). The documents were copied by hand in the Russian Presidential Archive in Moscow, then typed. Though both commentators believe them to be genuine based on textual analysis, questions about the authenticity of the documents, as the commentators note, will remain until the original documents become available in the archives.
The claim that two places were concocted to fool foreign visitors does not prove that all the sites of alleged biological warfare were also contrived.
The authors acknowledge that after 20 years of research they have failed to turn up a single document in American archives that provides direct evidence for their claim.
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