895.01/8—1848: Telegram

The Political Adviser in Korea (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State


681. Cite Zpol 1285. General Hodge and I met with UNTCOK delegates for about two hours morning August 17 and outlined to [Page 1280] them informally plans for transfer authority and training security force. We did not explain in detail but stated that transfer arrangements would be formalized in several agreements according subjects, such as financial, property and related matters in one agreement, arrangements for training security force in another, status of military forces pending withdrawal in third, and so on.

During course of conversation, various delegates asked questions concerning contemplated date of withdrawal of troops, how vested property would be handled and what functions, consultative and otherwise, UNTCOK might perform between now and time when General Assembly considers Korea problem.

Concerning withdrawal troops, we advised that there is in progress certain regrouping and phasing out of units which were no longer necessary as result of initial and early stages of transfer of authority. We added, however, that final and complete transfer of troops will probably depend upon results of General Assembly’s decision in regard to Korea. We endeavored to make clear that withdrawal troops is necessary as early as practicable if Korean authorities are to stand on own feet.

Concerning vested property, Paul-Boncour seemed to be particularly interested. We advised that our control of this property would be turned over to Korean authorities. Paul-Boncour seemed to entertain idea that Korean authorities would not dispose of property until after signing of Japanese peace treaty. We stated that we did not think this was necessarily so since according our thinking former Japanese property in Korea should rebound to benefit of Korean people.

Concerning duties which UNTCOK might yet perform, we stated that commission, or at least part of it, with some secretariat, should remain here until General Assembly begins discussion Korea problem and possibly after Assembly has reached decision there might be need for United Nations group in Korea. We endeavored make delegation feel that its accomplishments to date have been helpful and we especially emphasized, what we said they themselves and others might often overlook, fact that their mere presence in Korea acts as restraining influence upon subversive activities of Russians and their North Korean stooges. We said that it was unlikely that Russians would allow serious subversive activities as long as they knew there was United Nations commission in Korea to observe such activities. We also said that presence here of UNTCOK helped mold public opinion in United States and possibly in other important western democracies in favor of what was being done here to bring independence and economic stability to Korean people.

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Our remarks on possible future usefulness of UNTCOK seemed to strike sour note among most delegates. After we left meeting we learned through our liaison officer General Weckerling that Binnerts had just received telegram from Lake Success saying that delegates and secretariat might return Lake Success about Sept. 2 to complete report there. It seems that Paul-Boncour and Patterson and possibly some alternate members agree that some part UNTCOK should remain here but all others desire either repair to Lake Success (or some other place) to complete report or to disband commission entirely since they wish return home.

General Hodge and I feel strongly that some part of commission should remain here until General Assembly begins its discussion of Korea problem and probably even after that date. If Dept agrees with this point of view, it might wish make some informal approach to SyG in effort hold portion at least of commission and secretariat in Seoul. Otherwise it seems that commission will break up insofar as its work in Korea is concerned about Sept. 2.