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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957
Volume XXIII, Part 2, Korea, Document 222


222. Record of a Meeting, Department of State, Washington, June 17, 1957, 4 p.m.11. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/6–1757. Secret. Drafted by Nes.

  • SUBJECT
  • Modernization of United States Forces in Korea
  • PARTICIPANTS
  • Embassies
  • United Kingdom—
  • Sir Harold Caccia, Ambassador
  • Mr. A.J. de la Mare, Counselor
  • Canada—
  • Mr. S.F. Rae, Minister
  • Mr. J.R. Maybee, First Secretary
  • Australia—
  • Sir Percy Spender, Ambassador
  • Mr. M.R. Booker, Counselor
  • New Zealand—
  • Mr. G.D.L. White, Counselor
  • Mr. N.V. Lough, First Secretary

  • State
  • Mr. Walter S. Robertson, Assistant Secretary, FE
  • Mr. Jacob D. Beam, Deputy Assistant Secretary, EUR
  • Mr. Howard L. Parsons, Director, NA
  • Miss Elizabeth Brown, IO
  • Mr. David C. Nes, Officer in Charge, Korean Affairs, NA

  • Defense
  • Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Mr. Mansfield D. Sprague, Assistant Secretary, ISA
  • Captain Berton A. Robbins, OSD/ISA

Mr. Robertson opened the meeting by providing the Embassy representatives present with copies of the MAC statement.22. The statement, as delivered in the Military Armistice Commission on June 21, is attached to the Special Report submitted to the U.N. Secretary-General on August 9 by the Unified Command. (U.N. doc. A/3631) The August 9 report and the June 21 statement are printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1957, pp. 1183–1187. After waiting a sufficient time for them to read the statement, Mr. Robertson asked whether there were any comments.

Sir Percy Spender, saying he had one comment to make, suggested the addition of the words “created by your breach of the provisions of Article 13(d)” after “this situation aggravates the imbalance” at the bottom of page 2.33. The change suggested by Spender was incorporated in the joint State–Defense instruction sent to Ambassador Dowling and General Lemnitzer on June 17, directing them to arrange for a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission to deliver the message cited in footnote 2 above. (Army telegram DEF 924736, 172257Z June; Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/6–1757) Apart from that, Sir Percy said that the text seemed to be similar to the document discussed before. Mr. Robertson agreed to Sir Percy’s suggested language and confirmed that every effort had been made to incorporate in the text the suggestions made by the Embassy representatives during previous meetings. Sir Harold Caccia agreed with Sir Percy’s suggestions as did Mr. White. As a result of Mr. White’s query as to the timing of the MAC announcement, a discussion ensued during which Admiral Radford stated that the meeting could be held between 24 to 48 hours after the receipt of the instructions by UNCMAC. Mr. Robertson confirmed that prior to the MAC meeting, the remainder of the Sixteen would be informed as would the Swiss and Swedes.44. Robertson also met separately on June 17 with representatives of the French, Thai, and Turkish Embassies to discuss the impending MAC statement. (Memorandum of conversation by Nes, June 17; Ibid., 795B.5/6–1757) On June 18, circular telegram 983 was sent to 27 Embassies, including those in the remainder of the Sixteen as well as Switzerland and Sweden, providing details concerning the MAC statement for use by the Embassies once the statement was made. (Ibid., 795.00/6–1857) In response to a further query from Mr. White, Mr. Robertson said that an attempt was being made to issue the statement at Panmunjom Wednesday or Thursday.55. June 19–20.

Mr. Rae had no comments to make on the substance of the note but asked what the plan was with respect to continuing to report to the NNSC. Mr. Robertson, reviewing the reasons for discontinuing reporting, said that on balance it had been decided to cease reports to the NNSC.

In reply to Sir Harold’s question as to informing Secretary General Hammarskjold, Mr. Robertson confirmed that a UNC report would be submitted to the United Nations. Subsequent discussion developed that this report would be submitted as soon as possible after the MAC statement and no later than August 1, 1957.

Sir Harold then asked what plans were being made to inform not just the United Nations but the press and the world at large of the Communist violations of the Armistice. Mr. Robertson said considerable thought had been given to this point but that the Defense Department felt and the Secretary of State concurred that at the MAC meeting it would be inadvisable to submit any supplementary data on violations. A good deal of the information now at hand is classified and would have to be declassified before public use. Furthermore, the Secretary felt very strongly that the release of such information would give the Communists ammunition for their propaganda. We would not, therefore, submit any evidence to accompany the statement. Such evidence had, after all, been presented time and time again and we had charged violations throughout three or four years.

Admiral Radford offered that the Defense Department was working with the White House on a supplementary statement to cover Communist violations which would be ready to use after the announcement broke in Korea.

Sir Percy said there were two aspects to the general problem, presentation to the public in order to make the best first initial impact and second the submission of evidence to the United Nations to support the first general statement. He expressed the hope that in the Defense-White House statement two or three glaring examples of Communist violations could be made. With respect to the United Nations, however, a bit more was necessary and the case should be developed in more detail.

Mr. Robertson said that it would be extremely helpful were the Governments concerned to issue supporting statements following the announcement at Panmunjom. Sir Percy, Sir Harold, and Mr. Rae all agreed but pointed to the necessity of having at hand the U.S. supplementary statement so that there would be “no cross play of cards.”

Mr. White suggested that there would be inquiries as to the type of weapons to be introduced and asked how the U.S. would deal with such queries. Admiral Radford said “We are not going to answer that. We are going to say that we are not going to comment on that—that is a military problem and we will not comment.” Sir Harold pointed out that this was the first question which would arise and Sir Percy said that it might just be answered by saying that the U.S. forces ii: Korea were going to be equipped in such a way as to put them in balance. Admiral Radford said “We can’t get too specific, and we might as well let people draw their own conclusions.”66. In a June 20 memorandum assessing the June 17 meeting on modernization of forces in Korea, William Leonhart called Assistant Secretary Bowie’s attention to the possible significance of Admiral Radford’s unwillingness to “get too specific”: “Admiral Radford and Mr. Robertson met with the Commonwealth Ambassadors on June 17. This meeting produced a further retraction in the position we have previously discussed with them. [4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]” (Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 62 D 1, Korea, U.S. Policy Toward (NSC 5702, 5702/1, 5702/2)) Sir Harold again mentioned that everyone ought to get together on the answer to such a question.

Mr. Rae, referring to the current London disarmament discussions77. The Subcommittee of the U.N. Disarmament Commission was meeting in London to conduct disarmament negotiations. said that the question of timing was worrying some Canadian officials because of the relationship between the action in Korea and the talks in London. Admiral Radford expressed the view that “The inference might be drawn that we had better be careful in London. We have been burnt over in Korea, and maybe people realize this will sort of advertise the fact that we made a mistake over there that we don’t want to repeat in London.” Mr. Robertson said he did not feel the action in Korea would adversely affect the London talks.

The meeting was adjourned without further comment or discussion.

1 Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/6–1757. Secret. Drafted by Nes.

2 The statement, as delivered in the Military Armistice Commission on June 21, is attached to the Special Report submitted to the U.N. Secretary-General on August 9 by the Unified Command. (U.N. doc. A/3631) The August 9 report and the June 21 statement are printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1957, pp. 1183–1187.

3 The change suggested by Spender was incorporated in the joint State–Defense instruction sent to Ambassador Dowling and General Lemnitzer on June 17, directing them to arrange for a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission to deliver the message cited in footnote 2 above. (Army telegram DEF 924736, 172257Z June; Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/6–1757)

4 Robertson also met separately on June 17 with representatives of the French, Thai, and Turkish Embassies to discuss the impending MAC statement. (Memorandum of conversation by Nes, June 17; Ibid., 795B.5/6–1757) On June 18, circular telegram 983 was sent to 27 Embassies, including those in the remainder of the Sixteen as well as Switzerland and Sweden, providing details concerning the MAC statement for use by the Embassies once the statement was made. (Ibid., 795.00/6–1857)

5 June 19–20.

6 In a June 20 memorandum assessing the June 17 meeting on modernization of forces in Korea, William Leonhart called Assistant Secretary Bowie’s attention to the possible significance of Admiral Radford’s unwillingness to “get too specific”: “Admiral Radford and Mr. Robertson met with the Commonwealth Ambassadors on June 17. This meeting produced a further retraction in the position we have previously discussed with them. [4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]” (Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 62 D 1, Korea, U.S. Policy Toward (NSC 5702, 5702/1, 5702/2))

7 The Subcommittee of the U.N. Disarmament Commission was meeting in London to conduct disarmament negotiations.