795.00/1–3152: Telegram

The Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Ridgway) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff

top secret

CX 61348. Re JCS 91600, 91602, 91606.1 This msg in 5 parts.

Part 1. The text of the proposed declaration contained in your 91602 which was, of course, entirely unknown here at the time of dispatch of my C 60961,2 strengthens my belief in the soundness of the views contained therein. While my comments on the joint declaration are not asked, conscience compels me to reiterate my conviction that with presently available military resources this command would be incapable of posing a threat to Communist China sufficient in itself to deter it from renewed aggression.

Part 2. A. From the beginning it has been intended that the armistice agreement be written in considerably more detail than could result from the incorporation of the agreed principles into one document. This UNC intention is in consonance with JCS 894733 which directs that the terms of the armistice agreement be formulated in such clear and detailed terms as not to require substantive decision by MAC. Examples of details required are: The numbers and locations of observer teams, their rights, duties and privileges; the organization and functions of MAC and the non-combatant supervisory organ; the methods of exchange of POWs; the “limit” of rotation of military personnel. It is impossible to predict what delays will be imposed in resolution of these details; an early agreement is possible, but more delays are probable. It would be dangerous for us to proceed so rapidly that we fail to provide for the implementation of the agreement in sufficient detail to preclude endless arguments in MAC and the relative ineffectiveness of either the agreement or the MAC.

B. The proposal contained in para 2 of your 91606 is considered to be a wholly impracticable procedure and offers no prospect for a favorable solution of the problem.

Part 3. A. In conformance with the instructions contained in your 91600, that the subject of airfield construction be isolated and deferred [Page 18] until it becomes the only unresolved point of issue, I intend to adopt the following procedure:

(1) The UNC delegation, at an appropriate time in the near future, will propose that, in view of the continued disagreement upon the question of rehabilitation of airfields, the discussion on this latter question be deferred and other topics of items 3, 4 and 5 be discussed and resolved.

B. Should the above UNC proposal be accepted, drafting on the staff level of the armistice agreement details derived from the agreed principles of items 2 and 3 will be attempted concurrent with the substantive discussion of items 4 and 5.

C. The acceptance by the Communists of this proposal is not probable. They have repeatedly, in the past, refused to proceed to new topics or items, leaving unresolved ones for consideration at a later time. The discussion by the subdelegates of item 4 was undertaken with considerable Communist reluctance. Additional reluctance in this instance may be occasioned by the unfortunate probability that the Commies anticipate concession on, the airfield question as a result of releases such as that quoted in my C 60961. It is doubtful that they will agree to discuss the details on item 3, even more doubtful that they will proceed to item 5, until the anticipated concession is forthcoming.

Part 4. Should the Communists agree to our proposal in Part 3A(1), above, it is important that the UNC delegation be in a position to exploit such agreement toward the successful culmination of other agenda items. Hence it is imperative that I know soonest the final positions upon the exchange of civilians and voluntary repatriation which will be acceptable to the US.

Part 5. Reference part 4, JCS 91600, subject: The duration of validity of the agreement, it is intended that the armistice agreement shall state: “The articles and paragraphs of this armistice agreement shall remain in effect until superseded either by mutually acceptable amendments and additions or until a peaceful settlement by action at a political level is achieved.”

  1. Telegrams 91600 and 91602, both JCS to Ridgway, Jan. 10, pp. 13 and 14. In telegram 91606, JCS to Ridgway, also Jan. 10, 1952, the Joint Chiefs expressed concern that any time lag between signature of the armistice and issuance of the sanctions statement would afford the Communists a propaganda advantage, since the U.S. public and the world initially would be unaware that the concession on the airfield question would be offset by the safeguards supposedly inherent in the sanctions statement. To eliminate this possibility, the JCS advised Ridgway it would be necessary for him to insist on concurrent signing of the armistice agreement as an essential condition on the airfield question. They requested Ridgway’s view as to the practicability of this procedure. (795.00/1–352)
  2. Dated Jan. 7, p. 10.
  3. For telegram 89473, JCS to Ridgway, Dec. 12, 1951, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1319.