Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Officer in Charge of Korean Affairs (Emmons)


Subject: Chinese Communist Intervention in North Korea.

Participants: Mr. Hume Wrong, Canadian Ambassador.
Mr. Charles Ritchie, First Secretary, Canadian Embassy.
Mr. Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs.
Mr. Arthur B. Emmons, 3rd, Officer in Charge, Korean Affairs.

The Canadian Ambassador, Mr. Hume Wrong, called on Mr. Rusk at 3:30 this afternoon at the Ambassador’s request to discuss the question of Chinese Communist intervention in North Korea.

The Ambassador stated that the subject of Chinese Communist intervention would be discussed in the Canadian Cabinet this week and wished to have the Department’s views in relation thereto. Mr. Rusk summarized the information which the Department had on the size and capacity of the Chinese Communist forces now in North Korea, comparing them with the forces available to the Unified Command. He then gave the Ambassador an analysis based on eight possibilities concerning Chinese Communist motives in intervening, ranging from limited objectives which the Chinese Communists might be [Page 1066] seeking up to and including an all-out effort to throw UN forces entirely off the Korean peninsula. This latter possibility he tended to discount as not being very practicable from the Chinese point of view.

The Ambassador then raised the question of General MacArthur’s recent communiqué on Chinese intervention1 and implied a Canadian criticism that General MacArthur (might be overstepping his role as a military commander. Mr. Rusk pointed out that the General was up against some hard, cold facts in North Korea and must have felt the importance of setting forth his ideas on how to meet the new situation, adding that perhaps a communiqué, however, was not the best manner in which such ideas should be put forth.

The Ambassador expressed the opinion that there was danger that the Unified Command might go ahead too rapidly in its reaction to Chinese intervention and thus might endanger some of the support provided by other nations contributing to the United Nations action in Korea. Mr. Rusk reassured him that it was not our intention to do this and that we would be in consultation, specifically with the British, on the situation. He assured the Ambassador that any concrete steps to meet the new developments in North Korea would be taken only after consultation with the other interested UN nations. In this connection he brought up the subject of a special meeting of the Security Council scheduled for November 8 in which the question would be discussed and handed the Ambassador a copy of a draft Security Council resolution on Chinese intervention which our delegation was now studying.

Mr. Rusk asked that this draft resolution be kept in strict confidence within the Canadian Government and pointed out that the terms of the resolution did not directly charge any specific foreign regime by name with intervention. He also stressed that this resolution called for no concrete action against the Chinese Communists, commenting that the presentation, however, should be no weaker than the minimum of what “the traffic would bear” in relation to United States public opinion. The Ambassador countered that it appeared to be about all “the traffic would bear” in regard to the state of opinion in the United Nations at this time.

The Ambassador expressed relief at Mr. Rusk’s summary of the limited extent to which Chinese Communist forces appeared committed in North Korea thus far, and added that his summary of the situation and our line of approach on the question of Chinese intervention would be conveyed to the Canadian Cabinet.

  1. See footnote 3 to telegram 2344, November 6, 2 a. m., to London, p. 1051.