Learn about the beta

IO Files

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

secret

[Here follow a list of persons present (46) and a record of the discussion on the first agenda item: United Action for Peace.]

2. Korean Relief and Rehabilitation (US/A/C.1/1902; US/A/2581)1

Mr. Lubin explained that the Department position had favored separation of relief activities from reconstruction, but he suggested that if the present rapid military advances continued, the problem might become entirely one of reconstruction. After referring to the probable need for at least $115,000,000 for relief for the rest of the year in Korea, Mr. Lubin summarized the suggested position as being to get the members of the United Nations seriously to consider making immediate contributions to Korean relief so that its financing would be a joint effort. He observed that most countries had neither made nor even offered contributions; Australia, for example, was unwilling to [Page 777]take any action in this regard until machinery was established providing for efficient collection and distribution of relief; and it wanted to know what others were giving and whether requests made to individual countries were firm, or duplicated requests going to perhaps ten different countries.

It was proposed that a new item be placed on the agenda entitled “Korean Relief.” The Secretary-General would state the problem involved, and then we would hope for a dramatic speech to be made by someone like Romulo calling upon all members to help in the relief effort, somewhat on the order of a Community Chest drive. Then a resolution could be adopted calling upon all governments, members and non-members alike, and specialized agencies to do all they could to aid the civilian population in Korea. The Secretary-General would be asked to report back before the end of the Assembly as to the contributions pledged. This would cover the relief program. Mr. Lubin noted that the financing of the relief program could be done by funds of the Army, but that we would prefer that other Members share this expense.

On the reconstruction side, Mr. Lubin explained that the Department believed that plans and machinery for reconstruction should be worked out at a special session of the Economic and Social Council, which would report back to this Assembly, which could then take the appropriate action. The Department did not agree that the Commission projected in the British resolution on Korea should do anything more than formulate the first general plans, after which actual planning and operations would be lodged in another body. Mr. Lubin thought there might be some question about complete separation of the relief and reconstruction programs, as recommended by the Department.

Ambassador Jessup thought there was grave danger that, through separation of relief and reconstruction, we would lose the spirit and purpose of the approach in the Secretary’s speech in the general debate, which was designed to go beyond the Korean question in terms of the general beginning of a United Nations effort for improvement of conditions throughout the world. He agreed relief was the more immediate problem, but reconstruction followed closely on its heels. It would be unfortunate, he felt, to lose the spirit of the Secretary’s speech for the sake of trying to raise a few extra dollars in the early days. This operation should not be diverted into the ordinary type of humanitarian appeal. The Secretary considered that this was right, and Mrs. Roosevelt agreed.

Mr. Lubin thought the two could be separated successfully if the war continued, but in the present situation he was not so sure. He thought it important to push forward with a plan for reconstruction [Page 778]and believed the United States should be the first to come out with a commitment on reconstruction activities. He observed that unless the Korean people who had resisted knew that something was going to be done to put them back to work, we could not expect other peoples who were threatened to resist when they were attacked; this fact should be taken into account. The Secretary agreed action should be taken quickly. Mr. Lubin stated that the Department had recommended that the Economic and Social Council report back with plans about November 15, but he doubted whether we could afford to wait that long. Mrs. Roosevelt thought the basic relief job might have to be done before reconstruction could be undertaken. She believed plans could be made which would set the pattern for a similar operation anywhere in the world.

The Secretary asked how we could move ahead on this matter. Mr. Lubin suggested that the Assembly might ask the Unified Command to move ahead on relief. Mrs. Roosevelt thought there was no other way to proceed since no one else was in Korea to carry on relief Mr. Ross believed the single approach contained in the Secretary’s speech could be preserved by careful timing and tactics. Mr. Rusk hoped the Delegation was aware that a great deal of relief activity was already in progress through ECA, and contributions and commitments from other governments. As he saw it, the problem was to adjust the present effort in terms of a long-range United Nations program in Korea. Ambassador Austin inquired whether a plan setting up channels for relief offers was not already in existence. Replying in the affirmative, Mr. Rusk suggested that further relief plans could be developed out of what we already had.

Ambassador Austin asked whether we had not thought it might be better to separate the political and security aspects of the problem from relief and rehabilitation in Korea. Mr. Rusk recalled that Mr. Dulles had raised the question of tying all aspects together.

Mr. Lubin believed that something had to be done to stimulate activity on this side of the problem. Not all relief offers had been accepted. Action would stir things up, provide for expansion and get relief moving by making individual countries play their part in furnishing relief. The question of rehabilitation raised the further questions of establishing machinery, the kind of program, its extent, and its operation. He thought Korea should be treated as a unified problem for the sake of the psychological effects.

Mr. Dulles thought a unified Korea could be achieved more quickly through the use of doctors and engineers than by soldiers. If a resolution were adopted, he believed it would be a mistake to omit our intention to set up means for relief and rehabilitation. Mr. McKeever observed that from the public relations standpoint, separation would [Page 779]result in the loss of much of the impact in the Secretary’s opening speech. The Secretary agreed that relief and rehabilitation matters should remain in the political resolution. It seemed to him that this was the sort of thing which developed naturally if the resolution started with the idea that economic recovery was part of our projected Korean program. Then the next step would be to get some kind of group to start the actual program, perhaps a United Nations Recovery Committee. The thing had to begin somewhere, and there was no need to figure out the whole program in advance. It would grow as the United Nations got on with the job in Korea. A director would be appointed; he would collect rice and other materials offered and ask for more. Doctors, engineers, schools, public health officers would be started out. All that was needed was to set forth the program, get some people on the job and let them set up the organization in terms of the actual situation. He asked whether this was too simple. Mr. Lubin observed that there was such a United Nations Director now, but he was not equipped to do the job. The Secretary suggested that some other individual be gotten at once and put to work.

Mr. Popper2 believed that the steering group should continue its consideration of this problem. The Delegation could consider the matter further when plans had been developed.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Mr. Popper was Principal Executive Officer of the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. General Assembly.