In a speech that’s by turns confrontational and sarcastic, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declares that the United States won’t “cringe or become panicky” when confronted with Soviet nuclear weapons. Dulles’ speech indicated that although Korean War had lastly reached a peaceful conclusion, the United States would continue its policy of containing communist expansion, by force if essential.
Secretary Dulles started his speech to the American Federation of Labor by observing he believed world peace was inside reach, but was threatened by “communist leaders who openly repudiate the restraints of moral law.” The United States, he declared, “does not believe that salvation can be won merely by making concessions which enhance the power and increase the arrogance of those who have already extended their rule over one-third of the human race.” Acknowledging that the Soviets now possessed a nuclear arsenal, Dulles countered that the United States wouldn’t normally “cringe or became panicky.” Turning to the problem of labor, Dulles then spoke at length in what he named the communist “swindle.” The secretary spoke derisively of the “hoax” played on Russian workers by their very own government. “The Russian worker,” Dulles stated, “is the most underpaid, overworked person in any modern industrial state. He is the most managed, checked, spied on, and unrepresented worker in the world today.”
Dulles’ speech indicated that although new administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower had lately completed negotiating a cease-fire in Korea, the United States had not been backing faraway from its stated Cold War commitment to containing communism. The speech also hinted at two points that could become mainstays of the Secretary’s Cold War diplomacy. First was the idea that the United States wouldn’t normally back off from the Soviets just because of the fact of the risk of nuclear war. This notion eventually became named “brinkmanship”-the notion that the Soviets, if pushed to the “brink” of nuclear war, would at some time down back. Second was Dulles’ often repeated assertion that the people surviving in communist nations have been essentially “captives” of repressive communist regimes. In the a long time, Dulles would expand on both suggestions in far more detail.