320/1–551: Telegram

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

secret   priority

Delga 488. On basis of telecons this morning with Hickerson and Bancroft,1 Ross informed Riddell2 that as cease-fire group knew, we have consistently wanted in every way to facilitate their effort. At the same time it appeared clear that a good many members of the UN wanted some intermediate step taken before proceeding with the program which we consider essential in condemning the aggression in Korea. In these circumstances we felt that if it were considered essential to take an intermediate step, we felt that the preferable step might be a simple resolution based on principles such as cease-fire group had in mind which could be forwarded to the Chinese Communists. If there were going to be an intermediate step, we felt very strongly that in order to avoid delay in proceeding with our preferred program, such an intermediate step should be taken as early as possible; we had in mind that if it were not possible to get a vote today, it would be desirable to get a vote tomorrow.

In the light of these considerations we did not wish to complicate matters or make Pearson’s talks in the cease-fire group any more difficult than it is by suggesting changes in the draft statement of principles which they gave us last night.

I said that it was possible that Ambassador Austin might make a statement if cease-fire group should decide to present a statement of principles. I said that if he should make a statement, it seemed clear to me that he would have to indicate our strong feeling that the UN must face the facts of life. I said, on the other hand, I thought we would not oppose but would probably abstain on a resolution incorporating the principles such as the cease-fire group was considering; I did not say whether we would be prepared to vote for such a resolution.

Riddell subsequently telephoned to say that Pearson was pleased with our attitude. Meanwhile, Rau had requested that a meeting of the cease-fire group be held at noon today. Rau did not indicate whether he had received instructions from Nehru; Pearson assumed, however, that he must have received something. It was not at all clear to Pearson whether Rau would be able to join in informal sponsorship of a statement of principles. If Rau could not so join, Pearson was very [Page 24] actively considering trying to get the principles before the committee today in some way.

Riddell asked our views about timing in introducing a condemnatory resolution; he having in mind presumably Pearson’s desire (as well as Rau’s) to go to London Saturday night.3

Ross replied that we wanted to move ahead as rapidly as we could with the program we consider essential. If it were possible for the Assembly to take immediate action on Saturday, presumably the committee would wish an adjournment for a few days in order to give the Chinese Communists an opportunity to respond. This might take us to the middle of next week. In any event, we felt very strongly, assuming a negative response from the Chinese Communists that we should move ahead with our preferred program next week.

  1. Harding F. Bancroft, Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs.
  2. R. G. Riddell, Canadian Representative at the United Nations.
  3. January 6.