The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France1
3780. For Bruce from Secretary. Pls deliver soonest fol personal msg addressed either to Pleven or Schuman whichever you consider preferable:
I am happy to note we are in entire agreement on situation which wld be created in event of a renewal of the attack in Kor fol an armis and on steps which wld be necessary meet it. We also seem be agreed it is important that Commies clearly understand consequences if they return to the attack in Kor.[Page 3]
The only difference which appears remain between us relates to degree to which countries participating in Kor hostilities publicly make explicit their determination this regard.
On this question I am entirely convinced, and most of other countries have already agreed that statement shld make completely clear to Commies as well as to rest of world what the consequences of such a flagrant breach of armis wld be. Only by such a clear statement our intentions can we achieve maximum deterrent effect upon Commies and thereby safeguard our forces against treachery; only by such a clear statement can we make clear to peoples of world where the responsibility wld lie for serious consequences which wld fol upon a renewal of the attack. We do not think statement we have proposed wld provoke Commies or constitute an ultimatum any more than did our joint declaration on West Germany in Sept. 1950.2 We do think that, so far as words can do it, such a statement of our determination wld give Commies pause before they embarked on new acts of aggression.
It is the considered judgment of the highest polit and mil authorities in my govt that only if we can count on a clear public statement to deter Commies from renewing the attack can we afford accept armis terms which in themselves wld not provide UN forces with that degree of protection we wld otherwise have to demand. It now seems clear from course of armis negots that Commies will not agree to the safeguards our mil authorities had considered essential. Therefore, without an unequivocal statement, we cannot see how it will be possible to conclude an armis. At this juncture highest interests of free world require that we seize this opportunity to end hostilities in Kor.
I therefore hope you will reconsider as matter of urgency ur objections to last sentence3 our projected statement in order that when it is issued it will carry the great weight of unanimous approval by all countries participating in Kor hostilities.
You may inform FonMin approval of proposed statement has thus far been received from UK, Aust, NZ, SoAfr, Canad, Neth, Greece and Turkey. Formal reactions Belg and Lux not yet received but approval anticipated. Thai was approached only within last few days. Because of security reasons and differing degrees of interest, Phils, Colombia and Ethiopia have not yet been approached but no objections to statement anticipated.
You may also in ur discretion and in whatever manner you consider desirable indicate to FonMin that USGovt places greatest importance and value upon Fr agreement to issuance this statement.
FYI it is matter of greatest urgency that Fr agreement to statement be achieved soonest in order that Dept may inform JCS issuance of statement is assured and accordingly instructions to Ridgway amended in manner that shld permit expeditious conclusion armis. Also for ur own background only you shld bear in mind Fr action on this statement [Page 4] will inevitably influence attitude USGovt upon Fr problems in Indochina and elsewhere.
- This telegram was drafted by Henkin, Popper, and Johnson; cleared by Matthews, Bonbright, and Hickerson (in draft); and signed by Secretary Acheson.↩
- For documentation on the joint declaration on West Germany of September 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, pp. 1108 ff.↩
- For the French objections, see telegrams 3850 and 3910, Dec. 28 and 31, ibid., 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, pp. 1458 and 1471, respectively.↩