FE files, lot 55 D 128: Telegram

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


C 52205. Ref C 52147.1

Gen Harrison’s comments on the armistice session, 18 Jul, as reptd in ref, were genly as fols:
The Communist statement is no different in substance from what they have been saying since 2 May.
The enemy’s actions in negotiations since the latter part of March appear to have been dird towards an armistice provd the terms are acptable.
The Communists may be bluffing at this time because they think they see indications of weakness or indecision on our part.
Firmness is essential if we are to convince them that we are not wavering from our psn of no forced repatriation.
Gen Harrison proposed making a strong statement reiterating our psn and indicating our intention of going out of exec sessions unless the Communists could present a convincing reason for retaining the exec nature of the session. I do not concur with our initiating action to change the nature of the sessions at this time for the folg reasons: [Page 414]
Communists presumably proposed the exec sessions for some specific purpose, the intent of which is not as yet apparent. Their reasons may be:
To ultimately present a solution to the armistice disagreement after feeling out our psn on minor changes to their previous proposal.
A psychological move to raise the hopes of the free world for an early agreement.
Tied in with the Chinese Communists expressed contention of recognizing the Geneva Convention with certain reservations.
To direct the attn of the free world to Pan Mun Jom, thus diverting attn from Communist actions in other parts of the world.
The four day recess rqstd by the Communists was undoubtedly for the purpose of securing instructions or a decision as to their future actions after our submission of the new figure of POWs to be repatriated. If the Communists operate in their normal manner, I doubt whether they would introduce their new proposal, if any, in the initial session after rec such instructions.
I have dird Gen Harrison to initiate no action to go out of exec session; however, should the Communists initiate such action, he is authorized to concur with their proposal. I have also suggested that, in addition to statement reiterating our psn, he question the Communists in a manner designed to clarify their proposals and endeavor to determine if there is a hidden meaning contained in them which we have not as yet detected.
  1. In this telegram, dated July 18, Clark transmitted to the JCS the substantive record of the executive session of that date. The gist of the meeting was the complete rejection by the Communist Delegate of the round figure of 83,000 (76,000 Korean and 6,400 Chinese) POWs desiring repatriation on the grounds that it was “unrealistic” and failed to include 20,000 captured personnel of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (FE files, lot 55 D 128). The UNC had presented the 83,000 figure on July 13 along with a proposal that both sides prepare up-to-date lists of POWs. The Communist Delegation had asked for a recess to study the figure and the proposal and then gave their answer on July 18 (Hermes, Truce Tent and Fighting Front, p. 274).