740.00119 Control (Korea)/1–2546: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State36


From Harriman for General MacArthur, information Secretary of State. On 23 January when I met with Stalin he said he was of the opinion that there had not been a favorable start in our relations in Korea. He read a telegram to me which he had received from Korea which reported that the US representatives there were advocating that the decision to set up a trusteeship be abrogated; that meetings were being held in public at which demands were being expressed to this effect, and that articles had been carried by the Korean press which stated that only the USSR and not the US had insisted on a trusteeship. General Lerch,37 Chief of Civil Administration, was named by him as being specifically implicated with the above.

I told him I would certainly have to ascertain the facts from the US side before making any comments on his reports and that I felt certain it was not necessary for me to tell him that the alleged statements which were attributed to US representatives in Korea were not representative of the US Government’s position.

He in turn replied that the Government of the USSR would be forced to disclaim the statements that only the USSR had advocated the trusteeship, since this had not been done by the Government of the US.

  1. Sent through military channels. Ambassador Harriman was in New Delhi en route from Moscow to Washington; his resignation was accepted February 14 by President Truman.
  2. Maj. Gen. Archer L. Lerch, U.S. Army.