320/1–1152: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations General Assembly1 (Roosevelt) to the Department of State


Delga 981. Re: Korea. Altho in agreement with Dept’s views Gadel 613, Jan 5,2 re desirability avoid discussion substance Korean prob at this time, believe USGADel as result debate on deferment Korean item Comite One,3 may increasingly face necessity discussion with other dels, and possibly in open debate, certain general views on progress and prospects for Panmunjom negots and on our willingness engage in polit talks immed fol conclusion satisfactory armistice. Some such discussion along general lines, altho it avoids substantive issues, is becoming increasingly [Page 16] necessary to fill void re Korea created by our insistence that Korean item be deferred. Sov bloc has attempted create suspicion that we have something to hide re our attitude not only towards negots but also towards polit future of Korea, and to leave impression that we are taking exclusive and negative approach to whole Korean prob. Despite favorable vote in Comite One,4 some weakening in support US position on indefinite deferment Korean item now becoming, apparent among friendly dels, and, we feel we have been placed in unfavorable propaganda position by Vishinsky’s speech in that comite. Brit and Fr have requested appointment with Gross tomorrow to discuss tactics re Korean item.

As GA concludes other business and draws towards a close, USGADel will be under great pressure to make clear position which it advocates re future handling of Korean question and wld appreciate Dept’s views and guidance on nature of statement which might be made, including degree to which it wld be advisable for USGADel to reveal our views on substance and tactics in anticipation armistice will be concluded.5

As we see it, 2 possible alternatives now face us in handling Korean item if adjournment is in immed prospect before negots concluded Panmunjom:

Place Korean item at end of agenda at this session with minimum essential US exposition our point of view on status armistice and subject of course to considerations prejudical to outcome Panmunjom negots;
Adjourn present GA without discussion Korean item but with recommendation reopening of session New York or convocation special session, preferably making it clear as soon as possible approx when this might take place.

Wld be helpful know background issuance Ridgway statement Jan 96 and to have Dept and Emb Moscow evaluation of current Chi Commie attitude at Panmunjom in relation Vishinsky line at GA. It appears to many dels that positions taken both places indicate Chi Commies fol common and well-coordinated policy line which cannot be dismissed as mere propaganda.

  1. The Sixth Regular Session of the UN General Assembly met in Paris, Nov. 7, 1951–Feb. 5, 1952.
  2. In Gadel 613, the Department of State not only suggested avoiding substantive discussion of Korea in Committee One of the General Assembly, but instructed the U.S. Delegation to state that such discussions would confuse and hinder the armistice talks. (320/1–552)
  3. For a summary of the debate, see UN document A/C.1/SR.486.
  4. The proposal to postpone consideration of item 5 (independence of Korea) on the Committee’s agenda was carried by a vote of 47 to 6, with 3 abstentions.
  5. A note on the source text next to the last four lines of this paragraph read: “done by Gadel 393”. For Gadel 393, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1282.
  6. According to Delga 1037, Jan. 15, not printed, Ridgway’s statement of Jan. 9 linked the Soviet Union with responsibility for lack of progress at Panmunjom. The U.S. Delegation protested this introduction of a political element into the discussions and noted that it was not helpful to its task at the UN General Assembly. (FE files, lot 55 D 128, tab 66)