No U.S. biological warfare in Korean War, Soviet documents show
March 11, 1999
From CNN World Affairs Correspondent Ralph Begleiter
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newly released documents from the Soviet Union's secret archives reveal that North Korea this week repeated charges it knew to be false -- alleging U.S. use of biological warfare during the Korean War.
On Wednesday, North Korea charged in a letter to the United Nations Security Council that the United States used "chemical and biological weapons" and conducted "massacres of innocent populations" during the Korean War. The North Korean government gave CNN a copy of the letter.
The United States and North Korea are negotiating over inspections of an underground North Korean facility that America suspects houses a nuclear weapons program.
The documents show Soviet, Chinese and North Korean officials knew the Korean War germ warfare charges against the United States were false, almost immediately after the communist nations issued them during the war in 1952.
The documents include memos in which Soviet leaders promptly informed Chinese leaders of the falsity of the accusations and even tried to shut down a propaganda campaign based on the charges, which had begun during the last year of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's life.
The newly available Soviet documents show that today's North Korean government continues to raise the allegations more than 45 years after their Soviet allies dismissed them.
While North Korea may have been able to discount denials by the United States, it would be much harder for the Stalinist-style government of North Korea to dismiss Moscow's own admission of the falsity of the charges.
The documents amount to a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a Cold War propaganda campaign, told in the words of the very Soviet leaders who dealt with it at the time.
The documents are being published by the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Center in Washington. They were translated by historian Kathryn Weathersby.
Highlights of the documents include:
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