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Memorandum of Conversations, by Mr. Charles P. Noyes, Adviser on Security Council Affairs, United States Mission at the United Nations 1

secret

Subject: Korea—Conversations, separately, with:

Participants: Sir Terence Shone, United Kingdom
Ambassador Jean Chauvel, France
Ambassador B. N. Rau, India
Ambassador Fawzi Bey, Egypt
Mr. Bredo Stabell, Norway
Mr. L. N. Palar, Indonesian Representative
Mr. Adnan Kural, Turkey
Mr. K. C. O. Shann, Australia
Messrs. Cordier and Feller, UN Sec’t2
C. P. Noyes, United States Mission

Before the meeting started,3 I showed a copy of our draft resolution to Sir Terence Shone, Ambassador Chauvel, Ambassador Rau, Fawzi Bey and Stabell. There was general reaction against the use of the words “act of aggression”.4 There was also considerable hesitancy to take a position on which party was responsible for the invasion. In particular, Fawzi Bey and Stabell urged that we did not have enough information to justify placing this responsibility. They pointed out that they had been and would be unable to reach their foreign offices to get instructions; that this was a very serious decision for them to take [Page 145]on their own responsibility. They also took the general line that this was a fight between Koreans. In its essence, therefore, it was in the nature of a civil war and they objected to the use of the word “aggression” since that implied aggression of one State against another State. Fawzi Bey indicated that if we dropped the word “unprovoked” and took out the words “act of aggression” he might feel able to support the resolution.

During the meeting, Chauvel indicated his desire to change the language of the resolution so that both sides would be ordered to cease fire rather than only the North Koreans. He said he was pushed in this respect by Fawzi who was sitting next to him; he though it a reasonable change. I argued vigorously against this on the ground that the South Koreans should not be asked to cease fire until the invaders themselves had obeyed the Security Council’s orders.

During the intermission5 I had quite a long talk with Palar. At first he expressed anxiety that his people might think that the Security Council had acted without full information in making a finding that the Koreans had invaded South Korea. I gave him a good deal of background information based on our telegrams and told him that Mr. Lie had had to suppress part of the Commission’s telegram6 which indicated that the North Koreans were the aggressors. Palar expressed anxiety that the Security Council having passed this resolution should back it up with strength.7 He was convinced that the North Koreans would pay no attention to the Security Council’s order and wanted to know what we would be prepared to do if that should occur. I indicated we had no instructions on that point but that in any case it was a matter for the United Nations to decide. I thought it was of great importance for us to know what the Indonesians thought about this affair and what kind of action they would support. I said I wished the Indonesians were members of the United Nations, now. I hoped, in any case, we could have full consultation with Palar during the course of this crisis so that he would know what was going on in our minds and we would know the Indonesian position. Palar said he was most anxious to keep in close touch with us and would get in touch with his government immediately.

[Page 146]

At the end of the conversation, I asked Palar whether I would be correct in informing Ambassador Gross of his (Palar’s) position as follows: that he fully supported the United States resolution in the Security Council and the course of action which that contemplated; that he was somewhat concerned that his people did not have the full information that would be necessary to convince them of the serious significance of this attack. Palar said that was correct.

I spoke to Kural during the meeting. He was thoroughly in favor of our resolution and advocated a strong line. He was sorry that the resolution had been watered down. He considered this event of vital significance. It was the first time in his view that the Communists had undertaken direct military aggression without any attempt to cover it up. He thought this was an important test and that it was essential that it be met with strong action. He wanted to know what we would be prepared to do when it was clear that our resolution was being ignored. I indicated that we had no instructions on that point as yet; we had had a very short time in which to react; I thought, however, it was a United Nations matter and that it would make an enormous difference to us what the attitude of the other members of the United Nations was.

Shann indicated his view that the Security Council action was vital but that it was obvious that no attention would be paid to the Council’s resolution by the North Koreans. He wanted to know what we could do in the way of meeting force with force. He thought perhaps the Australians were in a position to help if the United Nations decided to take strong action.

Feller and Cordier were both delighted at Lie’s strong statement.8 It was obvious that they had had something to do with it. Cordier was quite frank in pressing the view that this would help Lie in the light of his present troubles with American public opinion. He hoped it would get good publicity. They both indicated that this event had made it possible for Lie to prove that he was a United Nations man right down the line regardless of which way the chips fell. Feller was very anxious to talk about the problem of what to do next. Both he and Cordier advanced the thought that the Security Council resolution would not be effective and indicated that they understood that a major decision had to be made whether to meet force with force. They both seemed to me to favor a strong line. Cordier indicated that it was clear to him that this event would completely upset all United Nations plans, [Page 147]including particularly the question of Seating the Communists, He thought it was out of the question, now, that the Communists would be seated either at the ECOSOC meeting on July 3 or at the General Assembly,9

C. P. Noyes
  1. The source text is a copy of a document in the files of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Department of State (hereafter cited as “IO Files”), bearing the designation US/S/1252 and the date June 26, 1950.
  2. Andrew W. Cordier, Executive Assistant to the U.N. Secretary General, and Abraham H. Feller, General Counsel of the United Nations.
  3. Reference is to the 473rd meeting of the U.N. Security Council, which met at 2 p. m. on June 25; for the record of the meeting, see U.N. document S/PV.473.
  4. The U.S. draft resolution, not printed, referred to the “armed attack on the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea” as constituting “an unprovoked act of aggression” (see Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1969), p. 404); this language was altered in the U.S. draft resolution as read by Ambassador Gross at the Security Council meeting (see U.N. document S/1497).
  5. The U.N. Security Council meeting recessed at 4:15 p. m. and reconvened at 5:25 p. m.
  6. Reference is to the message from UNCOK to the Secretary General alluded to in telegram 938, June 25, 8 p. m., from Seoul, p. 133; UNCOK’s message had been distributed as U.N. document S/1496 and placed on the agenda of the 473d meeting of the Security Council. For the complete text, see telegram 541, June 26, from New York, p. 171.
  7. At the time of the intermission, amendments had already been proposed to the U.S. draft resolution (S/1497), but voting on the amended version did not take place until after the Security Council reconvened at 5:25 p. m. For the text of the resolution finally adopted by the Council (S/1501), shortly before 6 p. m. on June 25, see p. 155.
  8. Text in U.N. document S/PV.473, p. 3. At the conclusion of his statement, Mr. Lie said: “The report received by me from the Commission, as well as reports from other sources in Korea, make it plain that military actions have been undertaken by North Korean forces. … The present situation is a serious one and is a threat to international peace. The Security Council is, in my opinion, the competent organ to deal with it. I consider it the clear duty of the Security Council to take steps necessary to re-establish peace in that area.”
  9. For documentation on the question of Chinese representation in the united Nations, see vol. ii, pp. 186 ff.