Blockades and Embargoes

June 20, 1951

Report Outline
United State and Sanctions Against China
Blockades, Embargoes, and American Policy
Restrictions on Soviet and Satellite Trade
Special Focus

United State and Sanctions Against China

Advocacy of a Naval Blockade Against Red China

Naval action to blockade the ports and coasts of Communist China is being advocated in high places as a follow-up to the United Nations-sponsored embargo on shipment of arms and war materials to that country. Admiral Sherman, naval member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came out for a naval blockade on May 30, as the logical next step in application of sanctions against the Far East aggressor, but only if the move could be undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations. Gen. MacArthur had included a naval blockade, instituted by the United States “alone if necessary,” among measures which he said should be taken “to support our forces committed to Korea and to bring hostilities to an end with the least possible delay.” The MacArthur position was supported by Gen. Wedemeyer on June 11.

Gov. Dewey of New York asserted, May 10, that if the government rejected a naval blockade, it should seek to achieve the same end by urging every free nation to impose (as the United States itself has done) “an absolute and total embargo against the shipment of any goods or any trading whatsoever with Red China.” Five days later, when the Senate was considering a resolution, unanimously adopted the same day by both houses of Congress, which urged the U.N. General Assembly to recommend an arms embargo against China, a number of senators expressed regret that the resolution did not call for a complete naval blockade. It was stated in the Senate, however, that the U. S. delegation at the United Nations felt that an arms embargo was “the maximum which they can hope to get at this time.”

Since then, Congress has taken steps aimed to force other nations to impose tighter restrictions on their trade with Eastern Europe as well as Communist China. The recently adopted Kern (R., Mo.) amendment would deny American economic aid to countries which continue to export to Soviet bloc nations articles which the United States itself does not permit to be shipped to those nations. Although President Truman has urged modification of the Kern amendment, Speaker Rayburn (D., Tex.) expressed doubt on June 18 that Congress would comply. On the contrary, there have been proposals in both House and Senate that the terms of the amendment be broadened to cover military, in addition to economic, aid.

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