795B.5/9–2750: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State


617. Remytel 593, September 22, USUN despatch No. 298 and USUN Doc US/S/1439.1 There follow texts two letters dated September 26 from Limb, ROK FM, to Austin re future line of action Korea. Request Department’s comments regarding reply to be made.

First letter:

“Following the discussion which I had with you on the morning of September 25, in which there was a cordial and understanding exchange [Page 787] of views on the situation now existing in Korea, I am pleased to set forth briefly the views of my government which were then expressed to you. I trust that this expression may serve in some degree to assist in the attainment of the fullest of mutual agreement between the Governments of the US and the ROK on the issues involved in the present situation.

The views of my government on certain basic issues involved in the present situation in Korea may be briefly summarized as follows:

My government believes that the UN forces now fighting in Korea should proceed beyond the 38th parallel and continue their police action against the Communist enemy until the entire Korean nation has been liberated and reunited
My government would oppose any proposal to settle the present fighting in Korea by negotiation or compromise with the aggressors, but believes on the contrary that unconditional surrender of the Communist forces and leadership comprises the only proper and effective basis for a just and workable settlement;
My government has always considered and now considers itself to be the only legitimate government of all Korea. Only force majeure has kept this government from exercising its authority north of the 38th parallel in the past, just as currently force majeure prevents it from exercising its authority in large areas south of the 38th parallel. Any ambiguity which may have existed in the views of the GA concerning the jurisdiction of the ROK over the total area of Korea should be resolved in favor of recognizing the sole jurisdiction of the Republic in all parts of the reunited Korean nation;
My government believes that there will be no difficulty in deciding, with mutual agreement, on the terms concerning the time and the methods for holding a general election in Northern Korea, after a free atmosphere has been established, under the observation of the UN Commission, in order to complete the membership of the National Assembly of the ROK;
My government assumes that the principle and practice are already fully established that under no circumstances will individuals or groups of individuals purporting to represent Northern Korea be permitted to participate in any UN consideration of the Korean question, since no legal government exists or ever has existed independently in northern Korea;
It is the expectation of my government that no form of trusteeship or other limitations of Korean sovereignty will be accepted by the UN or by any nation or group of nations over any portion of Korean territory;
It is the hope and expectation of my government that UN forces, perhaps comprising a portion of the permanent UN police force which has been envisaged by Secretary Acheson in his address to the GA, shall remain in Korea by agreement with the ROK until such time as the security of the nation may reasonably be assured by its own armed forces;
My government welcomes and desires the continuance of the UN Commission in Korea for the observation of elections at a proper time and under suitable circumstances in Northern Korea and for the observation and report of any threat to the peace in Korea;
My government urges prompt consideration and enactment of adequate relief measures to care for the millions of people who have [Page 788] been driven from their homes without adequate food, shelter, or medical facilities, whose homes have been destroyed in the fighting, and who face terrible deprivations and suffering in the winter weather which is already commencing;
My government is hopeful that adequate measures will be adopted by the UN providing for the reconstruction of devastated areas of the nation and for the rehabilitation of economic processes sufficient to provide a reasonable basis of continued stability and well-being;
Finally, it is the ardent hope and expectation of my government that a method will be found by which the ROK may take its proper and rightful place as a full and equal member of the UN.
Although our conference did not extend to further considerations than those which I have listed, it seems appropriate also to call attention to the fact that my government would be utterly unwilling to accept any settlement which necessarily involved the establishment of a coalition with Communists or which interferes with the free operation of the constitution.
With fullest appreciation for the noble role which the government of the US has played and is playing in the liberation and rehabilitation of the Korean nation, and with particular appreciation for the spendid efforts which you made as chief of the Delegation of the US in the UN to insure justice and helpful measures for the reconstruction of Korea, I am, (signed) Ben C. Limb.”

Second letter:

“In elaboration of certain views which I had the honor to express to you in our conference on the morning of September 25, I should like to present certain reasons why the ROK Government considers it essential that the jurisdiction of the Republic should be extended fully and immediately over the entire area of the nation, both north and south of the 38th parallel.

The Korean nation is an entity, as it has been for over 4,000 years, and this entity has never been divided by any international agreements or by any consent of the Korean nation or people;
The 38th parallel division has never been declared by either of the parties originally agreeing to it, the United States and the Soviet Union, as constituting any permanent political division of the nation;
The UN explicitly proposed re-unification of Korea in its resolution of 14 November 1947. The resolution of 26 February 1948 of the IC explicitly called upon the temporary commission of the UN to observe elections ‘in all parts of Korea accessible to it’, thus carefully avoiding any implication of recognition of a permanent or even temporary political division of the nation. In the resolution of 12 December 1948, the GA explicitly recognized the ROK as ‘the only lawful government’ in Korea. In the resolution of 21 October 1949 the GA once again reconstituted the Korea Commission with the function of seeking to extend free and fair elections throughout Korea;
Jurisdiction of the ROK over all Korea has been solemnly affirmed in the constitution of the ROK and has repeatedly been assumed in several actions of the ROK in reserving 100 seats in the National [Page 789] Assembly to be filled by elections in the north, and by the continuous efforts of the UN Commission to secure such elections.
Such considerations as are here set forth, Mr. Ambassador, are but a pale reflection of the indomitable Korean will to complete unity and independence, a will which has been staunchly and determinedly manifest during all the period during which Korean independence has been wholly or partly suspended. It would be tragically unfortunate if the noble efforts jointly and generously made to restore the unity of the Korean nation should end in conflict over the basic principle of whether the Korean people were, in fact, to exercise jurisdiction over their northern provinces under their own lawfully constituted government.”
  1. None printed. Telegram 593 summarized and despatch 298 transmitted the text of a letter dated September 21 from Ambassador Chang to Ambassador Austin which was Identical to the letter of the same date from Ambassador Chang to Secretary of State Acheson, p. 748. US/S/1439 was a memorandum of conversation, dated September 25, concerning a meeting between Limb, Chang, and Austin; the points discussed were substantially covered in the letters of September 21 and 25 from Chang to Acheson and the two letters of September 26 from Foreign Minister Limb, texts of which are contained in this telegram.