S/P Files: Lot 64 D 563

Memorandum by Charles Burton Marshall of the Policy Planning Staff

top secret

[Subject:] Memorandum of meeting at which Messrs. Matthews, Rusk, Nitze, Davies, and Marshall were present:

It was fully agreed that the procedure outlined for liquidating the Korean difficulty was correct in principle. Mr. Rusk expressed the view that some cease-fire arrangement along the lines of the December cease-fire proposal1 must be made as the basis for the mutual withdrawal, however, as otherwise there would be no way to ensure that the Chinese Communists would carry out their part in good faith. Mr. Davies and Mr. Marshall pointed out that this put the Chinese Communists in the position of having to accept formally what they had previously rejected. This would involve a loss of face and make it difficult for them to accept. In a later discussion on this point Mr. Nitze pointed out that the Chinese Communists position could be compared to our own. We were anxious to withdraw but still we would not withdraw unless acceptable arrangements were made for our withdrawal. If such arrangements could not be made, we would have to dig in and wait the matter out.

Mr. Davies gave the opinion that in these circumstances it would be necessary for us to rely on air patrols to ensure compliance with the informal withdrawal. Mr. Matthews expressed doubts of reliability of air observance for such purposes. Mr. Davies said we must put first things first, however, and that the highest desideratum was to be able to get out of Korea gracefully and expeditiously and that this was paramount over nice arrangements about policing a mutual withdrawal. Mr. Nitze said as an alternative we might consider the idea of announcing publicly our intention not to go beyond the 38th parallel if the adversary withdrew beyond the 38th parallel and to faze out a withdrawal matching the adversary’s withdrawal beyond the Yalu River with air patrols to observe the enemy’s compliance. Mr. Rusk had left before these points were made and the matter was deferred until the next day for further consideration.

It was also brought out it would be necessary to get some evidences of status from Third Party before proceeding much further with the contact. This might be done by testing him out on the proposition of getting the Chinese Communists to release a missionary, Dr. Wallace,2 [Page 1545] recently taken into custody by them. This last suggestion was made by Mr. Rusk.

It was suggested also that we inquire into Third Party’s views as to whether recent military views stem from the position of the Chinese Communists as reported in [name deleted] letter. We should also get his views as to whether intervening events have washed up the possibilities suggested in that letter. The developments as indicated in the letter have not precisely materialized. How does Third Party explain this? It was suggested that the relay of these questions be deferred at least until Thursday so that we would not appear over-anxious.

Mr. Matthews was informed of the plan to have Marshall talk to Mr. Harriman. He gave his approval.

The idea of having someone go out “in ten days or so” to Hong Kong to begin informal discussions with representatives of the Peiping régime was discussed. Mr. Nitze suggested it should be “some one like Marshall”. Mr. Matthews agreed. Mr. Davies said that Marshall or whoever else went should not be the one who was in direct contact with the Chinese but should be a source of guidance to the man we already have on the spot.

The question also was raised as to the point in the memorandum to the effect that evidence tended to confirm the reports as given from [name deleted] letter. It was agreed that circumstances did not justify this conclusion inasmuch as the Chinese had not withdrawn above the 38th parallel or evacuated Seoul.

Mr. Nitze suggested that to show the evidence of our good faith in this approach we should tell Third Party that we would delay action in the Collective Measures Committee3 for a stated period, say, one week and then carry through on that delay.

  1. For documentation concerning efforts made in December 1950 to obtain a cease-fire in Korea, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, pp. 1237 ff.
  2. Dr. William L. Wallace, a Southern Baptist missionary, was Superintendent of Stout Memorial Hospital in Wuchow, Kwangsi Province.
  3. Nitze was apparently referring to the Additional Measures Committee, authorized on February 1 by the U.N. General Assembly in numbered paragraph 6 of Resolution 498 (V), printed on p. 150.