Memorandum by the Ambassador at Large (Jessup) to the Planning Adviser, Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs (Emmerson)

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Subject: Permanent Neutralization of Korea

I am much interested by the memorandum of October 19th on the question of permanent neutralization of Korea as referred to in NSC 81/1.1

I do not quarrel with the exposition of the legal concept of permanent neutralization. I think it is pertinent, however, to recall the [Page 1003] background of the suggestion which appears in NSC 81/1. When this provision was drafted, urgent consideration was being given to the problem of providing reasonable assurances to the Soviet Union and to Communist China that the United States did not intend to make Korea a base from which hostile operations could be carried on against either of those two countries. It was felt that some undertaking along these lines might be helpful in deterring communist intervention or promotion of guerrilla activities. As I recall the discussions at the time, thought was given to the possibilities of undertakings given by the Republic of Korea, restating its obligations under the Charter, and not to use force and not to engage in any aggressive action against its neighbors. As paragraph 30 of NSC 81/1 says, it was thought that parallel undertakings might be given by other states.

It is of course clear that we are not committed by the NSC paper to support such a solution, but I think we are obligated to suggest the idea to the UN Commission. In determining our policy on this matter, I think we can agree with the conclusions of Mr. Snow’s memorandum that the neutralization itself will not by any means be a guarantee of peace or security in the long-run. It may still be possible that a gesture along these lines would be helpful in the short-run. The very fact of our suggesting that the UN take this under advisement would be a contribution toward the result which we had in mind.

Philip C. Jessup
  1. Dated September 9, p. 712.