Truman Library, Truman papers, Department of Defense Material Relating to the Korean War

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

top secret

C 62217. With reference to my C 62064 of 23 Jan,1 the following is submitted for consideration in the conferences referred to in your DA 92631 to me dated 23 Jan.2 There is in my opinion a measurable chance of achieving real progress on acceptable armistice terms, providing there be no slightest indication revealed to the Communists from any authoritative or even normally reliable official source, that further United Nations or United States concession is forthcoming, or even under consideration. With the well known timelessness of Communist tactics in seeking their objectives, every time they gain knowledge of concessions decided, or even considered by the United Nations, or knowledge that some new course of action, not necessarily a concession, is up for decision, the Communists become more obdurate and less willing to negotiate.

We have suffered in this manner on several occasions, and on at least one item believe we lost substantial gains then almost secured.

Even high level meetings in Washington, when it becomes known that armistice negotiations were discussed, occasion, I believe, further delays, as the Communists each time wait to see what else they may possibly find conceded.

I therefore offer the view that we should be permitted to pursue the program outlined to you in part 1 of my C 62009 of 22 Jan3 without further directed concessions, new instructions or even the holding of high level conferences to discuss our negotiations. If this is done, and authoritative speculation concurrently eliminated, it might be the Communists would move in our direction.

I believe this course has little of disadvantage except some further delay.

I recommend its adoption for approximately two weeks, unless other developments intervene.

  1. Supra.
  2. Not printed, but see foonote 3, supra. In telegram DA 93043, Jan. 26, Collins informed Ridgway that his views would be considered at the conference on Jan. 29 and it was not necessary for him to send a representative. (Truman Library, Truman papers, Department of Defense Material Relating to the Korean War)
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 5, supra.