795.00/1–3152: Telegram

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief Far East (Ridgway)

top secret
operational immediate

JCS 92059. From JCS. Reur CX 61348.1

We concur in your views part 2 A.
Your comment part 2 B confirms our doubt on practicability of such a procedure, but we wish to reiterate that all practicable steps should be taken to reduce to minimum the time between any concession on airfields and final agreement on armistice.
Your planned procedure part 3 approved.
Re part 4, as a final position, which is currently approved at highest govtl level, you are authorized to agree to an all-for-all exchange of mil POWs except that no forceful return of POWs would be required; however, prior to taking this position it should be clear that all other possibilities have been exhausted. Furthermore, since President must be informed prior to an actual breakoff, you should report to Wash before precipitating or accepting such a breakoff in negots. It is possible that in face of pressures which could develop on this issue wherein loss of some 3000 UN prisoners is balanced against the welfare of an indefinite number of Communist prisoners in our hands, the govt might find it necessary to further modify our stand. Nevertheless, you should act as if current position were final position, keeping next [text] preceding sentence strictly for your own guidance.
Accordingly, before adopting final position you should seek an agreement which makes provision for return of selected UN and ROK civilians held by Commies. Such provision for return of civilians need not be on a one-for-one basis against POWs held by UNC but should clearly place obligation on Commies to return or account for civilians listed. It is assumed that prior accepting any all-for-all agreement on POWs you would make every effort to ascertain that lists of living POWs provided by Commies contain names of all UN POWs who can reasonably be presumed to be alive and all ROK POWs whose return it is practicable to expect. Additionally any agreement on POWs must provide by one-for-one exchange or otherwise that POWs held by UNC will not be turned over to Commies until satisfied UN and ROK POWs Commies have agreed return will in fact be delivered to UNC. If in your judgment clearly no agreement whatever on civilians possible to achieve under agenda item 4 you will include specific ref thereto in formulation under agenda item 5 together with an expression of intent by MAC to facilitate and assist within limits its authority return of civilians [Page 26] to their homes. Instructions paras 10 and 12 part 4 JCS 900832 in conflict with this msg are hereby rescinded.
In order exhaust every possibility obtaining agreement on civilians under agenda item 4 or, if impossible, at minimum agreement on principle voluntary repatriation POWs only, it is suggested that at time deemed appropriate by you and consistent with objectives para 4 JCS 916003 you transfer negots on unresolved issues all agenda items to full delegations and handle concession on airfield issue in such manner as to require Communist concession to our final position (para 4 above) on POWs and, if feasible, civilians. Your comments this point requested.4
In order remove any possible genuine misapprehension that UNC intends utilize voluntary repatriation principle as pretext for retaining all or most of POWs held by UNC, and to counter Commie propaganda this subj, request your comments re possibility of immediate poll of prisoners, if practicable, under ICRC supervision to determine approx number who would definitely desire repatriation.5 Commies could then be assured that at least the number determined by such a poll would be returned.
Re part 5. Suggest any possible ambiguity last part your proposed formulation would be removed if amended to read as follows:

“The articles and paragraphs of this armistice agreement shall remain in effect until expressly superseded either by mutually acceptable amendments and additions or by provision in an appropriate agreement for a peaceful settlement at a political level.”

  1. Dated Jan. 12, p. 17.
  2. Dated Dec. 19, 1951; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1377.
  3. Dated Jan. 10, p. 13.
  4. See CX 61829, Ridgway to JCS, Jan. 19, infra.
  5. Ibid.