501.BB Korea/1–948

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of British Commonwealth Affairs ( Wailes ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Lovett )

secret

Subject: Canadian Participation in the Korean Commission.

Ambassador Atherton telephoned from Ottawa at 12:00 noon today and stated that he had just seen a copy of Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s reply to the President’s letter of January 5 concerning Canadian participation in the Korean Commission. The reply which constitutes a compromise in view between Mr. King and his Minister for External Affairs1 takes the line that the resolution setting up the Korean Commission provides that the Commission shall deal with all of Korea and not just South Korea. If, on arrival in Korea, the Commission finds that the USSR is agreeable to its dealing with Korea as a whole, the Canadian appointee to the Commission will carry on as a member. If, however, the Soviet Union bans the Commission from considering North Korea, the Canadian appointee will request that the Commission call upon the Interim Assembly for instructions.

Ambassador Atherton asked me to inform you that Mr. King’s letter, which is being carried by courier to Washington today, was written after a very heated session with the Secretary for External Affairs, Mr. Saint Laurent, and, therefore, its language appears somewhat stilted and contains considerable “face saving” on the part of the Prime Minister. This was not the intention of the Prime Minister, however, and Ambassador Atherton hopes that we will bear this in mind in our consideration of the letter.

Edward T. Wailes
  1. Louis S. St. Laurent.