320/1–1152: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation at the United Nations General Assembly


Gadel 171. Repeated to London 3357 and Moscow 484. Korea, Delgas 932,1 981.2 Dept can only speculate significance recent Sov moves which appear to be directed towards initiating Korean discussion in UN at this time. It may be, of course, that Sov does not really desire discussion Korea either in SC or GA. Entire maneuver may have been attempt confuse us, disrupt unity and support behind our CMC proposal,3 at same time achieving Sov propaganda victory as country interested in peace in Korea and making every effort achieve it. This step might also be designed raise doubts among our friends and with people of world as to UNC handling of negotiations. It may also be intended as maneuver force UNC make concessions at Panmunjom in order keep UN from discussing Korean question.

Further possibility is that Sovs actually desire discussion Korea at this time, preferably in SC but, if necessary in GA. In such discussions, they might hope to exploit among UN Membs any dissent from or doubt about UNC handling negotiations or UNC position on specific questions. Sov may consider that by playing on universal desire for armistice they cld get expression in UN in favor dropping such questions as airfields which might force UN hand to make concessions. Further possibility that Sovs may seek inject other polit questions (e.g., withdrawal foreign forces from Korea, polit conf for other Far Eastern questions, propose solutions for Formosa and Chi representation) in effort gain concessions these questions as price for armistice. It is also conceivable, of course, that purpose is to smoke out UN attitudes re such polit questions to determine desirability armistice in light what can be expected on these polit questions after such an armistice.

Possibility always exists Sov does not desire armistice, has gained all it can from negotiations, and using device of taking matter to UN where it can inject unacceptable polit conditions as method of breaking off negotiations without incurring onus for doing so.

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Though these hypotheses seem plausible, we do not regard any as completely satisfactory.

Dept’s view remains (Gadel 613)4 that nothing to be gained from discussing Korean item until armistice negotiations are successful or take clear turn indicating failure. It shld be possible make clear other dels that discussion at this stage cld not aid negotiations in Panmunjom but cld only hamper achievement armistice which all desire. UNC continuing in good faith make every effort bring about armistice in accordance UN principles; despite Commie intransigence UNC hopeful such armistice will be achieved. You cld also make clear that if Sov wished aid negotiations, it cld easily do so by having Commie negotiators at Panmunjom take less intransigent attitude on basic points. If Sov purpose is to raise polit questions, it is premature to do so, so long as no armistice achieved and fighting going on. You shld state that US most desirous achieve polit settlement for Korea after hostilities have ceased, and will be prepared discuss in UN means for bringing about such settlement immediately after armistice put into effect.

In private conversations, you cld, as you have been authorized, indicate in your discretion to various dels as much as you think desirable of views contained in Gadel 393.5 Dept believes it shld be possible reassure other dels our intentions and to make clear that, as have repeatedly stated for many months, polit questions cannot be decided until fighting has stopped.

If at any stage in GA there is gen disposition to accede Sov insistence and discuss Korean item, you shld be guided by Gadel 718.6

Dept believes above suggestions shld obviate present need for measures suggested Delga 9807 in which Dept sees some dangers.

  1. Delga 932 is not printed. It was a report of a conversation between Ernest A. Gross and Y. A. Malik in Paris on the subject of postponement of the Korean item on the agenda of Committee One of the General Assembly. Gross, who favored placing Korea at the foot of the agenda, expressed concern that debate of Korea would imperil progress made at Panmunjom. Malik, who favored earlier consideration of Korea, countered that the truce talks needed “some assistance” from the General Assembly. Malik informed Gross that A. Y. Vyshinsky planned to discuss Korea “only in a very general way” to find out if the United Nations could help the armistice negotiations (320/1–852).
  2. Dated Jan. 11, p. 15.
  3. The CMC proposal refers to the Report of the Collective Measures Committee concerning measures to maintain and strengthen international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter, item 4 on the agenda of Committee One.
  4. Not printed, but see footnote 2 p. 15.
  5. For text of Gadel 393, dated Dec. 8, 1951, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1282.
  6. Gadel 718 of Jan. 15, 1952 is not printed. In it the Department of State reiterated that the U.S. Delegation should take the position that Korea should not be discussed in Committee One while the armistice negotiations were in progress. In the unlikely event that great pressure existed for early consideration of the Korean item, the U.S. Delegation was to keep substantive discussion to a minimum. (320/1–1552)
  7. Delga 980 of Jan. 12, 1952 is not printed. In it the U.S. Delegation suggested asking the Soviet Union to press for an armistice agreement in return for an assurance that the Soviet Union would participate in the political discussions on a Korean settlement which would follow. An even more hypothetical suggestion put forth by the U.S. Delegation was that the Soviet Union sought in the General Assembly a forum where it could act directly and without Peking. The U.S. Delegation suggested alerting Peking to this possibility in order to create potential differences between the two Communist powers. (320/1–1252)