FE files, lot 55 D 128: Telegram

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief Far East (Clark)1

top secret
operational immediate

JCS 913758. From JCS.

In discussing here part 2 ur CX 514892 and possible other alternative plans to resolve POW issue the fol suggestion has been made:
We would offer to release all Chi POWs in accord with procedure whereby Commies would send reptvs to UN POW enclosures to seek to effect repatriation. It would be stipulated that Commies could not use force effect such repatriation. This procedure would be carried out under observation of reptvs of non-participating nation such as India. Those not repatriated would assume some such status as that of refugees or DPs pending their ultimate disposition.
Detailed arrangements to incl logistic assistance to be given by UN would be at ur discretion. As to UN prisoners in Commie hands we would be willing either to fol same procedure in Commie-held territory or accept delivery by Commies to UN-held territory provided all were made available to US.
Foregoing is based on assumption that problem of Korean POWs can be resolved separately by what now appears to be Commie concurrence to liberal interpretation of UNC of “home” of Koreans not desiring repatriation. If this assumption does not prove to be valid, foregoing proposal re Chinese could be applied all POWs.
Even if not accepted by Commies the making of such offer by the UNC and its rejection by Commies would place them in an increasingly weak propaganda position by refusing to accept challenge to their charges of forcible retention. Further objective would be to place Commies in position of being required to offer an alternative solution acceptable [Page 412] to UNC or unmistakably demonstrate their lack of desire for armistice.
Request ur comments.3
  1. This telegram, drafted during the State-JCS meeting on July 16 (see supra), was concurred in by the Department of State. The Naval Aide to the President advised General Bradley that President Truman approved the plan in principle as one to be sent to CINCFE for his comments. (Memorandum by Cams to Bolté, July 17, 1952; JCS files, CCS 383.21 Korea (3—19–45))
  2. Dated July 7, p. 380.
  3. For Clark’s comments, see CX 52284, p. 415.