Memorandum by Mr. John M. Allison of the United States Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly to the United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin )




Subject: Korea

Korean Foreign Minister Limb’s letter to you of September 261 raises in specific form certain questions which I believe should be resolved as soon as possible.

In paragraph 3 of Mr. Limb’s letter he states “My Government has always considered and now considers itself to be the only legitimate government of all Korea.” This position is in direct conflict with the position taken by the United States Government and by the other Members of the United Nations in the previous Resolutions and particularly in the Resolution of December 12, 1948 which says specifically that the Government of the Republic of Korea has “effective control and jurisdiction over that part of Korea where the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea was able to observe and consult …”. Members of various delegations at the General Assembly have approached me within the last two days to make clear that they did not recognize the right of the Republic of Korea automatically to assume any jurisdiction in North Korea. Mr. Dening of the United Kingdom Delegation told me this morning that in discussing the draft United Kingdom Resolution with possible sponsors the chief difficulty was in connection with the desire of these possible sponsors to make clear that the Republic of Korea would not have jurisdiction in North Korea and that the Resolution should specifically provide for the holding of elections in South as well as in North Korea after the termination of hostilities.

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This latter point (the holding of elections) is dealt with in paragraph 4 of Mr. Limb’s letter where it is made clear that the Government of the Republic of Korea will only consent to elections in North Korea. In his discussion with me this morning Mr. Dening went so far as to say that in his opinion it was probable that if it were insisted that no mention be made of elections in South Korea and if there were insistence upon the right of the Government of the Republic of Korea to function in North Korea, there would be no sponsors and no Resolution. I explained to Mr. Dening the reasons which led me to believe that it was important to leave the question of the extent of any elections to be decided by the United Nations Commission on the spot but lie maintained that India, Norway and Australia were all insisting on making the matter clear in the Resolution.

I believe that an early opportunity should be found to make clear without any question to the representatives at the United Nations of the Republic of Korea that the fact of the matter is that their Government is not at present recognized as having jurisdiction throughout Korea and that whether or not it eventually receives such recognition will depend in large part upon how it conducts itself during the coming days and upon its cooperating wholeheartedly with the United Nations in achieving a solution of the Korean problem. We should continue to maintain that the Republic of Korea is a legitimate government properly elected and that in all efforts to reach a solution it should be consulted but we should leave no doubt in its mind that it cannot expect to take over North Korea automatically and that whether it does so rests upon the impression it makes upon the rest of the United Nations. If we do not have such a clear understanding at the outset I am afraid that there will be recriminations and charges of bad faith which will make our position difficult not only with the Koreans but with all of our friends in the United Nations.

Most of the other matters treated in Mr. Limb’s letter of September 26 deal with points on which there is no disagreement and we can reassure him on those points.

  1. Reference is to the first letter quoted in telegram 617 from New York, supra.