795.00/7—2652: Telegram

The Commander in Chief United Nations Command (Clark) to the Department of the Army1

top secret

C 52204. Re DA 913958.2

I do not concur with any action that would disrupt the planned release of civilian internees now under way, and which is progressing satisfactorily.
While there are many reasons for continuing the present release program of those civilian internees who elected not to return to Communist control, I believe the fol are most pertinent:
As evidenced in executive sessions during the past several days, the key to a successful armistice has rather definitely been resolved to be the disposition of the 20,000 CCF POWs we now hold.
The advantages outlined in CX 696873 accruing to the UNC by releasing civilian internees, approved by you in your JCS 910811,4 are [Page 413] still valid. About 10,000 CIs have been released to date and by mid-August the remainder of the 27,000, except for those hospitalized in Pusan, will be freed. Any attempt to cancel or delay this program which we announced publicly, and to which we gave our full support, would cause an instant revulsion from ROK; destroy completely the favorable support received from ROK; provide the Communists with an excellent propaganda weapon; and probably most important from our point of view—there would certainly be incidents of riots among those civilian internees not yet released that we could not control without violence and bloodshed. Consideration must also be given to the possible reaction of the people of the nations of the free world.
If the Communists are seeking any face-saving device by increasing the total round nbr which they can claim have been returned to them or released to proceed to their homes in South Korea, it would be simple for them to include the 27,000 total in their announcement of final results.
In view of the above, I plan to follow the original release program without change.
  1. Marginal notation on the source text indicated that the Secretary of State saw this telegram, which was for G–3.
  2. Supra.
  3. Dated June 5, p. 314.
  4. Not printed, but see footnote 3, p. 316.