501.BB Korea/2–1248: Telegram
The Political Adviser in Korea (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State
80. Cite Zpol 178. For the Secretary, Under Secretary and Butterworth only and such other distribution as they may direct. Following [Page 1106] are top secret observations on UN temporary commission on Korea and related matters:
- Chinese delegate has (as I have reported otherwise) been playing Chinese “politics” in local political milieu by attempting to bring local leaders together and giving “face” to Kim Koo who is Korean leader favored by Chinese. This activity however has not given cause for concern and is not likely to do so as long as Chinese delegate continues to argue strongly, as he does, for proceeding with elections in South Korea and combatting efforts of other delegates to raise extraneous issues. This Chinese “interest” in Korean politics however needs to and will be watched.
- The Filipino alternate Luna has been most helpful in the commission in presenting and arguing for early elections without reference to Interim Committee and in defending our administration and policy in South Korea against unjust and unfair criticism of certain other delegates.
- French delegate Paul-Boncour and alternate Manet have also been helpful in taking strong stand for proceeding with elections and in defending our administration. However they usually abstain from voting on crucial matters largely, it seems, from a feeling that they do not want to take sides in what seems to be a conflict between British and US interests and what is obviously conflict between US and USSR interests.
- Salvadorean Vallé generally supports US in commission debates on police and other conditions in South Korea but his approach to entire problem is that of lawyer, which leads him often to criticize ambiguities of UN resolutions and to say that UN commission here cannot continue to function without renewed mandate in more explicit language. Also he is homesick and does not feel that Salvador should be represented here.
- Syrian delegate Djabi and his alternate Mughir are definitely opposed to proceeding with elections in South Korea and highly critical of our administration and conditions in South Korea. It is he who first raised question of release of political prisoners and who has argued strongly, siding with Jackson, for reporting back to interim committee that South Korean is a police state where no free atmosphere for elections exists. Already he is being quoted by Moscow and Pyongyang radios. He refers often to his experiences in prison as a political prisoner so that is difficult to say how much his attitude is due to his own unfortunate experiences and how much to real pro-Communist and pro-Soviet leanings.
- The attitudes and position of the three remaining delegates, Jackson for Australia, Patterson for Canada and Menon for India, can [Page 1107] be dealt with together. They have all along constituted what might be called a “British bloc” or “anti-American bloc” with which the Syrian Djabi has, in my opinion, sided for reasons other than those which motivate this bloc. Also, I am not quite sure whether Menon is a member of this bloc for pro-British reasons or because he is a visionary and falls for the arguments of Jackson, Patterson and Djabi. In any case his statements at Lake Success are almost certain to be colored by the views of this group. Such statements will embarrass us and play into Soviet hands. Patterson’s support of this bloc is somewhat negative in that, while he says little during the arguments and little outside, he always votes with Jackson and Menon.
- Our big problem among the delegates is Jackson, the Australian. He is definitely anti-American and clearly came to Korea with the preconceived idea of “showing us up”. From the beginning he has taken the lead in commission to find “dirt” on our administration here, under the guise of trying to discover whether a “free atmosphere” exists in South Korea for the holding of fair elections. He began his efforts even before giving commission time to consider whether it would hold such elections. He is still pursuing that course even though that question has not been decided and he expects to continue while interim committee is deliberating at Lake Success whether such elections will be held.
- Following is background against which we attempt to evaluate Jackson’s motives: First, we know that before he came to Seoul he had been in Japan for some time and he seems to harbor ill-will towards Americans, stemming from the general feeling of Australians that they were not given a larger role in Japan. He may wish to give vent to his feelings by criticizing our role in Korea. Second, we know on good authority that prior to his coming to Korea, he conferred frequently with Hugh Dean of American Labor News, Gordon Walker of Christian, Science Monitor, Joe From of World Report and Costello of Columbia Broadcasting System who are known to be antagonistic to military government here and reported by all who know them to be leftist in their sympathies. This leads me to believe that Jackson himself may be a leftist sympathizer. Third, British Consul General here has said of Jackson “he is man of very strange and wild ideas, in many cases very radical”. Fourth, he has been insistent that Menon take back to interim committee a report criticizing American administration here to the extent that when commission as a whole has opposed that course he has come around to it again and again in some other form. He is reliably quoted as having said on one occasion, when his proposal was defeated, that he certainly would get back to UN the situation with respect to police state conditions in South Korea and absence of free [Page 1108] atmosphere for elections. When, after General Hodge had appeared before commission (the only American who has appeared and he only after commission had decided to refer back to Lake Success), one member strongly supported General Hodge’s remarks as a correct rebuttal of Jackson’s arguments, Jackson remarked “sheer nonsense”. Fifth, he has even questioned authenticity of recent Communist strike incidents but fact that Pyongyang radio has referred to them as leftist outbursts against UN and US administration, he cannot deny Communist responsibility.
- There is also strong circumstantial evidence (not conclusive but sufficient to cause General Hodge and me concern) that some of our own people (State and War) may be feeding information to Jackson. Judging from reports of his remarks in the commission he certainly has more information than he has gotten from Korean leaders so far called to testify. Shortly after my return here I told our State officers that during critical period ahead all political activity should center in me as political adviser because some officers are inclined to be loose in their criticism of certain aspects of our administration here, especially the police. So far we can prove nothing. These cases may merely be usual cases of Americans who cannot distinguish between the propriety of discussing family secrets in the family and discussing them outside the family.
- All of foregoing adds up to fact that General Hodge and I are very much worried about developments that may arise at Lake Success if Jackson has his way and Menon springs “extraneous” matters in Interim Committee. Accordingly unless Dept feels certain that it can control developments at UN, Hodge and I feel that I should be on hand to assist and advise in the difficult discussion which will ensue—discussions which may well change whole course of events here.
- In submitting these observations neither General Hodge nor I want to convey any impression that we are seeking to hide anything here. We know that imperfections exist but we insist that unless and until UN is prepared to go ahead with elections in South Korea any criticism, however mild, of conditions in South Korea and of our administration here is not at issue. When UN decides to go ahead we shall spare no effort to take such remedial measures as UN commission may suggest to guarantee as free and fair elections as anyone can reasonably expect in the peculiar and trying circumstances that exist in South Korea.
- Also in submitting these observations I wish to say that worst we fear may not happen because Doctor Liu, Luna and Paul-Boncour are putting up valiant fight in commission and the Jackson group [Page 1109] may not have its way. Situation however is so fraught with dangerous possibilities that both General Hodge and I feel we would be derelict in our duty if we did not advise you.