330/11–2950: Telegram

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


902. Re Korea: Confirming Gross telephone conversation with Hickerson yesterday, following is report of Gross’ conversation with Jebb and Chauvel November 28 re Korean developments.

Chauvel has present authority to vote for six-power draft resolution and to support taking matter into GA following Soviet veto. When Chauvel learned of my intention to charge Peiping with aggression, he reported fact by telephone to Paris. Schuman “took grave view of step” and apparently instructed Chauvel not to support UN finding of Peiping aggression without specific authority from Paris. Chauvel also advised Gross in confidence that he had received telegram from French Foreign Office suggesting he seek interview with Peiping representatives here to discuss Chinese Communist intentions re Indochina, and particularly to inquire concerning significance Peiping accusations France engaged in “barbarous bombings” in Indochina. Chauvel suggested to Paris this was not appropriate time for such step, and instruction accordingly appears to have been withdrawn or suspended.

Chauvel stressed that because of fears of French Government re disastrous consequences of spread of war in Far East, it is necessary to use greatest caution in connection with either (a) UN condemnation of Chinese Communists re aggression, or (b) extension of military operations to Chinese territory or airspace. He said it was view of French Government that either of these steps or measures would necessitate “intergovernmental consultations”.

Jebb informed Gross that he had been instructed to attempt to obtain postponement of vote on six-power Korean resolution until there had been an opportunity to “put his ear to the ground” with regard to intentions of Peiping representatives upon their arrival here. He has not been successful in efforts to obtain contact with them, and complains that Peiping delegation is being closely watched and shepherded by so-called body-guards, apparently Czech or Pole. However [Page 1256]in view of urgency of situation, Jebb agreed to request authority to vote for SC resolution (Jebb advised Gross this warning [morning?] a. m., November 29, that he had received such authority).

Jebb took same position as Chauvel re necessity for intergovernmental discussions prior to condemnation of aggression or extension of military operations to Manchuria. Jebb added he is without present instructions re taking matter into GA but is asking for instructions.

Jebb outlined at some length his views concerning precarious position British Government in foreign policy debates scheduled in Parliament this week. He thinks Korean developments may affect governmental position adversely, commenting that if only a half-dozen or so Labor members absented themselves or abstained on a vote of confidence, the government might well fall. Jebb continued that particularly for this reason the UK position in the UN re Korea would probably be limited to support of pending six-power resolution without strengthening amendments and this might also apply to resolution in GA.

Gross stressed to Jebb and Chauvel in frankest terms absolute necessity for continuing solidarity, and expressed opinion that best chance of averting disaster is to maintain solid front based upon fundamentally common objectives. Jebb and Chauvel repeated familiar Western European thesis they were “on the front lines and wide open to Soviet military attack and that this fact accounted for growing public concern in France and England lest the Asiatic octopus squeeze out all our common strength”. They also expressed frank concern re “preoccupation of General MacArthur in Far Eastern matters”. Gross replied that common objective is to localize conflict in Korea and terminate it as quickly as possible, and that common problem was to agree upon most effective methods of deterring would-be aggressors. Both Jebb and Chauvel were visibly impressed by information relayed by Gross that Chinese Communists had prepared an offensive which was actually in motion at the time our offensive was launched and that accordingly Chinese military movements were not merely reactive.

Jebb and Chauvel both inquired concerning efforts to “talk matters out with Chinese Communists”. Jebb commented in particular that Bevin’s position would be greatly strengthened in the face of domestic criticism if he could say that genuine efforts had been made to develop an understanding with Chinese Communists and to ascertain their apprehensions. Gross told them in strict confidence of his understanding that efforts had been made directly and indirectly to establish contact with Peiping regime for these purposes. Jebb and Chauvel then stated that if this fact could be made known as soon as possible, that it would be of invaluable aid to the French and British Governments. Gross agreed to transmit their comments to Department for urgent consideration, pointing out that he was not familiar with time or nature of any [Page 1257]such approaches and that there might be serious difficulty in the way of giving publicity to them. Gross also advised Jebb and Ghauvel that we had informed Rau and Bebler of our willingness to talk with the Peiping representatives if they desired to express their views on any matters of concern to them and had also advised SYG Lie to the same effect.