Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Ballantine)

Participants: Chinese Present: Liu Chieh, Counselor, Chinese Embassy; Dr. Kan Lee, Commercial Counselor; Yang Yun-chu, of the Chinese Foreign Office; T. L. Tsui, First Secretary; King Ching, First Secretary.
FE: Mr. Ballantine, Mr. Stanton,5 Mr. Dickover,6 Mr. Vincent,7 Mr. Williams.8

This meeting was requested by Mr. Yang Yun-chu, Director of the East Asia Department of the Chinese Foreign Office and one of the Chinese delegates to the recent IPR9 Conference at Hot Springs, to discuss informally some of the general problems relating to the treatment of Korea by the United Nations. Mr. Liu Chieh acted as spokesman for the Chinese and briefly outlined the reasons for the meeting; stating that Mr. Yang had discussed with Mr. Dickover in a series of meetings all the questions included in the draft questionnaire on Korea,10 and as Mr. Yang was shortly leaving for Chungking he desired [Page 1021] an exchange of general views on Korea with officers of FE to round out his impressions and observations on this subject.

After some general discussion of the number and location of Koreans now residing outside of Korea, the nature and scope of possible contributions these groups might make to the war effort and their potential usefulness in the immediate post-war period, Mr. Liu outlined the Chinese views on the Korean question as follows:

The Korean underground movement should be encouraged.
Efforts should be made to coordinate all the different Korean groups overseas. Here and all through the discussions particular emphasis was placed by the Chinese on the Provisional Korean Government group in Chungking as being the principal element which should be encouraged. It was apparent that the Chinese would welcome any encouragement from the Department on the matter of official support of this group, not as a de jure government but as representing the heart of the Korean resistance movement in China.
No matter which army enters Korea, the possible military civilian administration should be undertaken jointly by the three powers, China, the United States and Britain; and Soviet Bussia, if it has entered the war against Japan. Mr. Liu was very insistent on this view and repeated the above statement several times.
At the earliest possible date there should be set up a non-partisan Korean Government.

No commitments whatever were given to any of the above statements by any of the officers of FE, although Mr. Dickover pointed to the “liberated countries” section of the Yalta statement11 as indicative of our thinking in regard to joint action in liberated areas generally. Mr. Ballantine very carefully explained the difficulties involved in supplying overseas Koreans with military equipment but expressed accord with the Chinese view that Koreans should be used hi whatever manner and to whatever extent the Allied military authorities might find practical in the war effort.

Mr. Yang stated that he had hoped to obtain a more definite expression of the Department’s views on Korea before his return to assist him and his colleagues in the preparation of the numerous papers on Korea. Mr. Tsui stated that they desired to ascertain “how the wind blows” before compiling their papers. Mr. Ballantine intimated that he did not think Chinese views and our views were very far apart. He emphasized the importance of proceeding with [Page 1022] the preparation of study papers on Korean problems as a means first of exchanging views between officers of the Chinese, British and American Governments at an “expert level” and finally of providing policy making officers with recommendations.

From the comments made by the Chinese, it would seem that their papers on Korean questions will not be available for some months.

J[oseph] W. B[allantine]
  1. Edwin F. Stanton, Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. Erle R. Dickover, Chief of the Division of Japanese Affairs.
  3. John Carter Vincent, Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs.
  4. Frank S. Williams, Assistant Chief of the Division of Japanese Affairs.
  5. Institute of Pacific Relations.
  6. Not printed; but for summary, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 1297, footnote 18.
  7. Made on February 11, 1945, by President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill and Marshal I. V. Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union; for text, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 968, 971. Of special relevance to Korea are the briefing book paper on the post-war status of Korea which deals with the questions of military occupation and possible establishment of an interim trusteeship (pp. 358361), the Minutes of February 8 of discussions between President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin on trusteeship (p. 770), and a Department telegram of February 5 on Sino-Soviet conversations on Korea (p. 952).