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Minutes of the Sixth Meeting of the United States Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly

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[Here follows a list of those present (42).]

1. Korea (US/K/CA/1897)1

Mr. Rusk explained that the British had given us a copy of a draft resolution on Korea last night. Since the military situation in Korea [Page 769]was going rapidly, it might be necessary for the Assembly to express overall policy for Korea in a few days and to give guidance to the Unified Command. Remarking on the commendable initiative of the United Kingdom in this matter, he explained that the purpose of the resolution was to give maximum flexibility to the military command and to restate the objective of a unified independent Korea, as well as to establish a new commission to act in behalf of the United Nations in Korea. In this connection Mr. Rusk called attention to the language of the resolution. Paragraph (a) avoided specific reference to a unified Korea as a war aim. Paragraph (b) regarding elections was also in broad terms, thus allowing the United Nations Commission on the spot to take up the question of elections and deal with it in terms of the actual situation. The language in Paragraph (c) was particularly clever in that it provided that any United Nations forces entering North Korea should not remain “otherwise than so far as necessary” for achieving the objectives in paragraphs (a) and (b); this language had been suggested by the British Solicitor-General.2

Referring to the contemplated commission, Mr. Rusk thought it should be strengthened both as to membership and functions, as compared with the present Commission, and expressed the hope that Asian members of the United Nations would be strongly represented. He pointed out that this commission would also supervise recovery and rehabilitation activities in Korea. An interim committee on Korea was contemplated which would permit the United States and the Unified Command in the field to get advice immediately from the United Nations, together with approval of action to be taken in the short range.

Mr. Rusk believed that the British draft required further elaboration with respect to Korean rehabilitation and to administrative matters. He explained that the British would like our general approval of the policy set forth in the resolution, after which India and Other Members would be consulted in the hope of getting a considerable number of widely representative joint sponsors. It was anticipated that this resolution could be acted upon quickly by Committee 1. In response to a question from Ambassador Austin about consultation with other Members and in particular with the Republic of Korea, Mr. Rusk explained that such consultation would be undertaken later in the day.

Mr. Dulles said his first reaction was very favorable. He asked whether the British wanted us to sponsor the resolution. The Secretary thought we probably would not want to sponsor any resolution at all. Mr. Dulles referred to the legal formula in paragraph (c) which referred [Page 770]to unification in a negative sense. He considered it rather adroit drafting and thought the resolution constituted a good start. The Secretary agreed that the language was appealing.

It seemed to Mr. Cohen that the resolution gave the United States the freedom it wished. However, he was a little concerned as to how it met some of the problems which Mr. Dulles had raised at the last Delegation meeting. Our position was difficult since we could not know how the Russians would appraise our intentions. He thought it important to consider how our desire to reach a solution in Korea without the military going beyond the 38th parallel could be indicated. This raised for him the question whether in some way we should not indicate our desire to resume negotiations with the North Koreans. He could not see a better basis for such negotiations than this resolution. He thought we should give at least some thought to trying to foreshadow what we hoped might occur after we restored the situation before the breach of the peace took place. This would make the situation clear not only for ourselves but for the Soviets, and we might thereby avoid the possibility of any future incidents.

Mrs. Roosevelt asked whether there was any possibility that the Republic of Korea would announce itself to be the Government of all Korea and thus create difficulties for us. Mr. Rusk did not doubt that would be the position taken by the Rhee Government and believed it would be necessary for the Assembly and the United States to make it clear to the Korean representatives that the rest of the world did not accept it as the Government of all Korea. We had not pressed that point during the fighting because of the importance of maintaining the Korean morale. He thought it essential that the United Nations should continue with the process it had started looking toward a united, free Korea. Mr. Dulles thought that the Republic of Korea had not contended that as it was now constituted it was the Government of all Korea. He recalled that there were one hundred vacant seats in the Korean legislature left for representatives of the North and believed that paragraph (b) of the resolution would cover the problem raised by Mrs. Roosevelt. Mr. Cohen believed that while the legal position was what Mr. Dulles had described, there was a danger in the war situation that the Republic of Korea might proceed to exercise provisional authority in North Korea. The Secretary observed that MacArthur would be the authority in the North until elections were held.

Senator Cooper referred to paragraph (c) of the draft resolution and asked whether it would be interpreted to limit military action north of the 38th parallel. Mr. Rusk replied that it would not limit permission to enter this area, but it was a restriction on the right to remain there. Operations could proceed north of the 38th parallel so that the objective of a free, democratic Korea could be implemented. Senator Cooper asked if this resolution would mark the first time the [Page 771]Assembly had authorized the entry of troops north of the 38th parallel. Mr. Rusk said this had been authorized by the Security Council resolution of June 27. In response to a question from Ambassador Gross as to the effect of this resolution on the Security Council situation, Mr. Rusk replied that the resolution had been drafted in such a way as not to intrude upon the Council’s authority. Ambassador Austin remarked that nominally the Security Council under the resolutions of June 25 and 27, and July 7, was obliged to maintain jurisdiction until the end of military operations. If the Assembly resolution interfered with this responsibility, it would require modification.

Mr. Bancroft suggested that some provision should be made for consultation between the unification commission and the Assembly, or even to establish a relation between the Security Council and the commission. Mr. Rusk agreed that such an addition would be desirable. Ambassador Gross asked whether paragraph (a) might not be constituted as a commitment to take the necessary military action to bring about the result of a unified Korea. Mr. Rusk did not believe that recommendations of a general policy character should be regarded as an order to Members to carry out the recommendations. He pointed out that no country had accepted the previous resolutions as a mandate.

The Secretary asked what affect the following modification of paragraph (a) would have: “that the purpose of all United Nations action shall be to ensure conditions of enduring peace throughout the whole of Korea”. Mr. Rusk believed this change would weaken the resolution and not put the General Assembly sufficiently behind the attempt to unify Korea. Moreover, it was important to emphasize the idea of removing the problem of the 38th parallel.

Mr. Cohen wondered whether there was serious objection to trying in some way to include the thought we would attempt to negotiate with North Korea unless military action was continued. He could not see any alternative to this except complete military occupation. For this reason, he believed there should be some provision in the resolution to indicate we would like to proceed this way if possible. Otherwise the resolution constituted a greater directive than was intended. Mr. Rusk observed that we had not recognized North Korea for any purpose. We hoped they would surrender. If negotiations were undertaken, the only purpose would be for the North Koreans to save themselves and that would involve restoration of the 38th parallel. The North Korean Government did not represent the people as evidenced by the influx of four million refugees into South Korea. Probably military action would be necessary to enter the North. Mr. Cohen suggested this position raised the question of a general conflagration.

The Secretary thought the situation had to develop over a considerable period of time. We might start with MacArthur calling on the North Koreans to surrender and then hold them responsible for order [Page 772]in the North until the appropriate government authorities or the United Nations could take over. This would indicate we did not intend to rush in with troops. Then if the North Koreans surrendered, units of the South Korean constabulary could be sent in and perhaps other Asiatic troops such as Indians employed for occupation purposes.

Mr. Rusk commented that the British representative in Moscow believed that the Soviets would not intervene in North Korea. Our position assumed that, and the British resolution was likewise based on Soviet non-intervention. Of course, if the Soviets interfered, we would be confronted by a different military and political situation. He explained that the British felt that, if we showed any lack of initiative, the Soviets would seize upon it to reconstitute and freeze the 38th parallel. It therefore seemed desirable to him for us to move ahead without further negotiation. In response to a question from Senator Cooper Mr. Rusk indicated that this resolution would constitute the first explicit authorization for the entry of United Nations forces into North Korea.

The Secretary suggested that the resolution be shown to the Indians in its present text in order to determine their reaction. In this connection, Mr. Rusk referred the Delegation to a telegram from New Delhi expressing doubt as to the wisdom of United Nations forces crossing the 38th parallel.3 Ambassador Austin suggested that the draft resolution should be taken up with other Asian countries, including China. Mr. Rusk said the British had mentioned our taking the lead with Romulo and with the Latin American states on this matter. Ambassador Austin suggested consultation with Sir Zafrullah Khan,4 but Mr. Rusk believed that the British should take the initiative with the Commonwealth.

Mr. Lubin5 referred to the fact that the Secretary’s opening speech had asked that the Economic and Social Council prepare plans for reconstruction of Korea, and asked whether a provision to this effect should be incorporated in the draft. Mr. Rusk indicated his willingness to consider such an addition: it was possible also that two resolutions might be needed—one strictly political and the other dealing with Korean recovery and rehabilitation. Mr. Dulles thought, however, that there were advantages in tying the two matters together. Referring to instructions from the Department, Mr. Lubin recalled that it had been felt the Assembly should request the Economic and Social Council to develop plans and recommend machinery. Mr. [Page 773]McKeever6 pointed out the advantages from the public relations point of view of including both points in a single package resolution.

[Here follows a record of the discussion on the other two agenda items: Chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Political Committee, and United Action for Peace.]

[Annex]

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US/A/G.1/1897

United Kingdom Draft Resolution on Korea

The General Assembly

Having regard to its Resolutions of 14th November 1947, of 12th December 1948 and of 21st October 1949;

Having taken note of the Report of the United Nations Commission on Korea;

Mindful of the fact that the objectives set forth in the Resolutions referred to have not been fully accomplished and in particular that the unification of Korea has not yet been achieved, and that an attempt has been made by an armed attack from North Korea to extinguish by force the Government of the Republic of Korea;

Recalling its Declaration of 12th December 1948 that there has been established a lawful Government (the Government of the Republic of Korea) having effective control and jurisdiction over that part of Korea where the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea was able to observe and consult and in which the great majority of the people of Korea reside; that this Government is based on elections which were a valid expression of the free will of the electorate of that part of Korea and which were observed by the Temporary Commission; and that this is the only such Government in Korea;

Having in mind that United Nations armed forces are at present operating in Korea in accordance with the recommendation of the Security Council of 27th June 1950, subsequent to its Resolution of 25 June 1950, that members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area;

Recalling that the essential objective of the Resolutions of the General Assembly referred to was the establishment of a unified, independent and democratic Government in Korea;

Recommends (a) that all necessary steps be taken to insure conditions of enduring peace throughout the whole of Korea,

[Page 774]

(b) that elections be held and other constituent acts be taken under the auspices of the United Nations to complete the establishment of a unified, independent, and democratic Government of all Korea,

(c) that any United Nations forces entering North Korea do not remain otherwise than so far as necessary for achieving the objectives specified in (a) and (b) above.

Resolves that

(a) a Commission consisting of——to be known as the United Nations Unification and Recovery Commission in Korea be established to (i) assume the functions hitherto exercised by the present United Nations Commission in Korea (ii) represent the United Nations in bringing about the establishment of a unified, independent, and democratic Government of all Korea (iii) organize and supervise United Nations activities directed toward the rehabilitation and recovery of Korea, consulting as may be appropriate in all these tasks with the Government of the Republic of Korea; the United Nations Unification and Recovery Commission should proceed to Korea and begin to carry out its functions as soon as possible;

(b) pending the arrival of the United Nations Unification and Recovery Commission in Korea, governments represented on the Commission should form an interim committee composed of their Permanent Representatives at the Seat of the United Nations to consult with and advise the United Nations Unified Command in the light of the above recommendations.

The General Assembly furthermore,

Mindful of the fact that at the end of the present hostilities the task of rehabilitating the Korean economy will be of great magnitude;

Recommends that the United Nations Unification and Recovery Commission in Korea should consult with the Economic and Social Council in preparing a programme of economic and technical assistance.

  1. See the annex to this document, p. 773.
  2. Sir Frank Soskice, Alternate U.K. Representative to the U.N. General Assembly.
  3. See telegram 755 from New Delhi, September 23, p. 763.
  4. Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Head of the Pakistani Delegation to the U.N. General Assembly.
  5. Isador Lubin, U.S. Representative on the U.N. Economic and Social Council.
  6. Porter McKeever, Public Information Adviser, U.S. Mission to the United Nations.