740.00119 Control (Korea)/10–2147

The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary General of the United Nations ( Lie )43

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to the facts that on September 17, 1947, the United States Secretary of State announced that the United States was placing the problem of Korean Independence before the General Assembly and on September 23, 1947, the General Assembly voted to place that problem upon its agenda. On September 26, 1947, the Chief Soviet Delegate on the Joint United States U.S.S.R. Commission meeting in Seoul, Korea, made the following statement, in translation:

“Therefore, the Soviet Delegation considers that it is possible to afford the Koreans an opportunity to form a government by themselves without the aid and participation of the Allies under the condition of withdrawing the American and Soviet troops from Korea.”

The United States Government desires to take any practicable step which will further the speedy establishment of a truly independent Korea. The only concern of this Government is to make certain that its responsibilities to the Korean people and to the United Nations are properly carried out. It will be recalled that after negotiations in the Joint Commission had reached a stalemate the United States Government proposed that the question of forming a government for Korea be discussed in Washington by representatives of all powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement on Korea, China, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R. and the United States. China and the United Kingdom accepted this suggestion but the U.S.S.R. did not. It was only after this that the matter was presented to the United Nations. It is believed that inasmuch as the General Assembly has already voted to consider the problem of Korean independence, its attention [Page 833] should be called to the most recent Soviet proposal, referred to above, as well as the suggestions for a solution of the problem which the Secretary of State said the United States Government would be prepared to advance. With these proposals before it the General Assembly will, it is hoped, be able to recommend measures for an orderly transition from the present systems of government in north and south Korea to an independent, united Korean government and the consequent speedy withdrawal of all occupying forces.

There is therefore transmitted herewith a Resolution which contains the suggestions the United States Delegation will submit for the consideration of Committee 1 of the General Assembly when the problem of Korean independence comes before that body. It is considered that an arrangement of the nature indicated in this Resolution should make possible the early establishment by the Korean people themselves of their own government and the withdrawal of all Soviet and United States armed forces from Korea.

It is requested that copies of this letter together with its enclosure be circulated to the various delegations to the General Assembly for their information.

Accept [etc.],

Warren R. Austin


The General Assembly

Recognizing the urgent and rightful claims to independence of the people of Korea;

Having in mind that it is one of the purposes of the United Nations to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples;

Having noted the international obligations undertaken with respect to Korea, including the Cairo Declaration of December 1, 1943, in which China, the United Kingdom and the United States stated their determination that in due course Korea shall become free and independent, the Potsdam Proclamation of July 26,1945, in which China, the United Kingdom, and the United States reaffirmed the terms of the Cairo Declaration and to which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics adhered upon entering the war in the Pacific, and the Moscow Agreement of December 27, 1945, in which the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States, with the adherence of China, provided that there shall be set up a provisional Korean democratic government with a view to the reestablishment of Korea as an independent state;

[Page 834]

Believing that the national independence of Korea should be reestablished and all occupying forces should be withdrawn from Korea at the earliest practicable date;

To this end, Recommends that the occupying powers hold elections in their respective zones not later than March 31, 1948, under the observation of the United Nations, as the initial step leading to the creation of a National Assembly and the establishment of a National Government of Korea in conformity with the procedure set out in the Annex to this Resolution;

Further Recommends that immediately upon the establishment of the National Government of Korea referred to above, that government will constitute its own national security forces and will arrange with the occupying powers for the early and complete withdrawal from Korea of the armed forces of the U.S.S.R. and the United States;

Resolves, that the responsibilities assumed by the United Nations under this resolution should be discharged by a United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea, consisting of the representatives of (names of states). This United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea shall (1) be present in Korea during the elections in each zone with the right of freedom of travel and observation throughout all of Korea, (2) be available for such consultation as may be appropriate in connection with the elections, the organization of the national assembly, the formation of the national government and the conclusion of agreements for the withdrawal of the occupying forces, (3) report to the General Assembly or if in its judgment developments so require to any competent agency of the Assembly with respect to its activities under the terms of this resolution, and make any recommendations that it may wish concerning further UN action in maintaining the independence of Korea;

Calls upon the member states concerned to afford every assistance and facility to the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea in the fulfillment of these responsibilities.


Recommended Procedure for the Holding of Elections and the Establishment of a National Government of Korea

The elections to be held by the occupying powers in their respective zones not later than March 31, 1948, shall be for the purpose of choosing representatives to a National Assembly. The number of representatives elected to the National Assembly from each zone shall bear the same proportion to the total membership of the National Assembly as the population of that zone bears to the total population of Korea. Subject to this principle, the number of representatives to be elected [Page 835] from each zone shall be determined by the United Nations Commission on Korea in consultation with the occupying powers.
As soon as possible after the elections the National Assembly of Korea shall meet and form a Government and shall notify the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea of the formation of this Government.
Upon notification to the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea of the formation of a National Government of Korea, that Government shall take over the functions of government from the military commands and civilian authorities of North and South Korea, respectively, in accordance with arrangements to be agreed upon under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Korea between the Government of Korea and the respective occupying authorities.
The United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea shall be available for such consultation and assistance as may be requested and appropriate in connection with the decisions and actions contemplated in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) above.
  1. Delivered on October 17 to the Secretary General of UN and released to the press the same day; text transmitted to Moscow in airgram A–360, October 21, and copies sent to London and Nanking. Printed as U.N. doc. A/C.1/218, October 17; Department of State Bulletin, October 26, 1947, p. 820. Texts were sent on October 10 and 15 to Seoul, with instructions to read them to the Joint Commission.