501.BB Korea/2–948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Australia 1


36. For your private info we learn that Assistant Secretary Hoo, Secretary of Korea Commission, on Feb 2 telephoned from Seoul to [Page 1099] high Secretariat official of UN that KC by end of this week would probably refer two questions to Interim Committee for consultation on:

Extending deadline of March 31, 1948 by which date under GA resolution elections should be held in Korea; and
Expediency of holding elections at all, in light of anticipated Soviet refusal to permit election in Soviet zone.

Our present view is that even though KC may not be successful in observing elections through all of Korea it should observe elections in that part of Korea accessible to it, i.e., south of the 38th parallel where two-thirds of the population reside.

Until KC has made formal approach to IC we do not desire to undertake an official démarche with other members of IC. However, as occupying power in South Korea and as sponsor of GA resolution establishing KC we are desirous that it continue its labors and that elections under its auspices be held in south Korea.

Please informally inquire of appropriate officials in FonOff if any word has been received from that Govt’s representative on KC. You should lead conversation to point where, on a purely informal basis, you may communicate our hope IC will express view that KC may observe elections wherever conditions in Korea permit despite fact that Soviet obduracy may make fulfillment of Commission’s original mandate impossible.

Please report results of this approach by telegram.

  1. Sent to USUN, New York, as 49; Damascus as 19; Manila as 176; Nanking as 208; New Delhi as 89; Ottawa as 20; Paris as 394; and San Salvador as 10; repeated to Seoul as 31. In the telegram to Ottawa, a final paragraph was added: “Foregoing sent capitals other countries represented on KC. Canada presents a particular problem in view of Prime Minister’s instructions on role of Canadian member of KC. We are still hopeful, however, that position set forth above can be fitted into framework of Canadian instructions.” A circular telegram on the same subject was sent on February 10, 1 a. m., to Seoul, Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Belgrade, and Managua for information only and also to 50 other posts, including New York.