320/1–251: Telegram

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

secret   priority

Delga 475. Re Korea—cease-fire. Confirming telecon report to Hickerson,1 following is account of Gross2 and Ross3 conversations with Rau and Fawzi4 and later with Chauvel5 on Sunday, December 31.

Conversation with Rau and Fawzi, representing Asian group, was most harmonious, the clear theme being necessity of maintaining both integrity of UN and unity of its free world membership in face of clear and present danger.

Gross outlined three alternative factual situations which might confront us: (a) most unlikely possibility that ChiComs would accept cease-fire, in which case we would, of course, move forward on road of peaceful settlement; (b) probable situation of massive assault across 38th Parallel by ChiComs; or (c) standstill which would be neither cease-fire in formal sense nor continuation of large-scale hostilities.

With regard to possibility of mass attack Gross made clear and reiterated throughout conversation assumption that every loyal free-world member of UN would find it necessary to take action which in terms of a resolution would condemn aggression, call on members [Page 5] to give every assistance to cope with aggression and provide, probably through CMC, machinery for determining what collective measures should be taken.

Fawzi quite readily assented to this assumption. Rau did not dissent; although he gave no explicit assent, Rau seemed rather forlornly to acquiesce in inevitability of such UN action in circumstances of mass attack south of 38th Parallel.

We discussed at very considerable length possible action in Assembly in event standstill or stalemate situation continued. Rau indicated that most important considerations in his mind were necessity of maintaining clear historical record that UN had made every possible and conceivable effort to bring about peaceful solution of Korean affair. He also indicated that second primary consideration in his mind was very great responsibility UN bore in terms of human life. With such thoughts in mind Rau proceeded to indicate that Asian group was anxious to know whether we would associate ourselves with objective of giving precedence to twelve-power Asian resolution. Fawzi concurred, adding point that Asians would be prepared to accept amendment of twelve-power resolution6 which would make clear that cease-fire is prerequisite to any discussions. Gross made very clear inadequacy of twelve-power resolution as we saw it in light of circumstances as they have developed. Rau and Fawzi pressed their view of the matter.

Ross explained USUN view which had developed during Gross’ absence in Washington; namely, that six-power resolution7 seemed to us much better vehicle for Committee One proceedings on assumption, of course, that stalemate situation continued. This did not mean, however, that we had closed mind and would be unwilling to consider modifications of six-power resolution which would preserve essential unity of free world in UN provided at same time integrity of UN could be preserved. Rau, and in particular Fawzi, expressed objection to six-power resolution as a vehicle.

After some discussion back and forth of two resolutions it became apparent that some new approach in thinking on both sides might be necessary. We then discussed fundamental principles on which there seemed to be agreement, namely, that there should be (a) cessation [Page 6] of hostilities; (b) that ChiCom forces should be withdrawn and that UN forces should not remain longer than necessary; and (c) that there should be negotiations.

Gross suggested wholly personally and on clearly understood ad referendum basis, possibility of cease-fire group adding to their report8 recommendations incorporating these principles. Fawzi objected largely on technical grounds. Gross then altered his suggestion to possibility of cease-fire group including statement of these principles in their report. It was thought that such action by cease-fire group would provide basis for adjournment of committee for few days to provide opportunity for consultation as result of which it should be possible to formulate resolution that would be generally acceptable. Such statement of principles by cease-fire group would also provide basis substance of resolution which in sense might be considered composite of six-power and twelve-power resolutions.

Both Rau and Fawzi seemed to be intrigued with this possibility and gave us to understand they would consult their respective colleagues on cease-fire and Asian groups.

We ran over foregoing conversation with Chauvel in afternoon. Chauvel very much liked idea of statement of principles by cease-fire group on assumption, of course, that there was not mass attack by ChiComs. Chauvel wondered whether, if it were possible to work out resolution based on such statement of principles, a formulation such as set forth in his own draft resolution9 might not be considered as adequate as second step in event mass attack occurred. We told Chauvel we felt that in circumstances of mass attack his resolution, with particular reference to paragraph identifying ChiComs as aggressors, would not be adequate to the situation.

  1. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs.
  2. Ernest A. Gross, U.S. Deputy Representative at the United Nations.
  3. John C. Ross, U.S. Deputy Representative in the U.N. Security Council.
  4. Mahmoud Fawzi Bey, Egyptian Representative at the United Nations.
  5. Jean Chauvel, French Representative at the United Nations.
  6. Concerning the 12-power draft resolution, see footnote 8, p. 2.
  7. Reference is to a draft resolution (U.N. document A/C.1/638) introduced in the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on December 6, 1950 by the representatives of Cuba, Ecuador, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, calling for a cessation of Chinese Communist aid to North Korea. It was not voted upon during 1950, although la similar draft resolution had been vetoed in the Security Council on November 30 by the Soviet Union. For the texts of these resolutions and related documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, pp. 12681634, passim.
  8. The Cease-Fire Group, composed of Nasrollah Entezam of Iran, President of the Fifth Session of the U.N. General Assembly, Lester B. Pearson of Canada, and Sir Senegal Rau of India, had been established by General Assembly Resolution 384 (V), approved on December 14, 1950, to make recommendations on the basis for a satisfactory cease-fire in Korea. For related documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, pp. 1542 ff. The report of the Cease-Fire Group was submitted to the General Assembly’s First Committee on January 3; see the editorial note, infra.
  9. Not printed, but see footnote 1, Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, p. 1627.