FE files, lot 55 D 128: Telegram

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

top secret
operational immediate

JCS 914523. From JCS reur C 524931 and C 52553.2

JCS-State have noted termination of executive sessions and Communists proposal to initiate staff ofcr mtgs concurrent with open plenary sessions. This development necessitates reappraisal of our position. Feeling here is that Communists probably aim to extract some propaganda advantage from this move; in fact, timing of it on eve of Red Cross Convention opening in Toronto 26 July3 suggests that it may be part of broader Communist propaganda plan. We neither desire to provide [Page 420] Communists another propaganda forum at this time nor do we wish to see negots return to propaganda level if it can be avoided. We recognize that Communists will probably make strong propaganda statement at first open session. This statement may well require reply by UNC in similar vein; however, we consider it preferable from overall viewpoint that any UNC statement be factual and dispassionate résumé of UNC position. Assuming that question of Chinese POWs constitutes major issue, we consider it desirable to avoid giving undue prominence to it. We realize that some propaganda value might be gained from exploiting facts in this case; however, such exploitation can only make it more difficult for Communists ultimately to accept or to acquiesce in non-repatriation of some Chinese POWs. Accordingly, unless specific point is raised by Communists, we consider it desirable in public statements for UNC to speak in terms of overall 83,000 figure and avoid breakdown of figures as between Chinese and Koreans.
While we have no objection to resumption of open plenary sessions, we see no useful purpose in holding plenary sessions on daily basis at this time. To do so would probably result in negots reverting to propaganda level. At same time recess will probably cause some concern among Communists as to our intentions and may contribute to convincing them of firmness of principle on which we stand. Moreover, it will give us time we need to develop fully our next move. On other hand, daily staff ofcr mtgs will serve to refute possible Communist charges that by recessing UNC seeks to disrupt or terminate negots.
In view of foregoing, but subj to considerations that may develop within conference and any comments you may wish to make, JCS-State:
Have no objection to return to open plenary sessions and initiation of staff ofcr mtgs.
Desire that initial UNC statements in open plenary session be factual and dispassionate and avoid reference to Chinese POW issue. This should not be construed as restricting UNC in rebutting Communist charges.
Authorize you at an appropriate but early time (at first open session if you desire) to propose a 7-day recess in plenary sessions. If Communists reject this proposal, you are authorized unilaterally to recess for same period. It would be understood that staff ofcr mtgs would continue.
This msg transmitted to CINCUNC Adv for info in order to expedite handling at your end.
  1. In this telegram, dated July 25, Clark transmitted to the JCS Harrison’s brief report that the Communist Delegation had proposed to go out of executive sessions and that he had agreed (FE files, lot 55 D 128).
  2. In this telegram, dated July 25, Clark transmitted to the JCS the substantive record of the meeting in which the Communist Delegation proposed ending executive sessions and in which the UNC Delegation agreed (FE files, lot 55 D 128).
  3. Among the official delegations to the International Red Cross meeting in Toronto were the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China Members of the Department of State expected that these delegations would use the meeting for propaganda purposes (memorandum by Sargeant to Acheson, July 18, 1952, not printed; FE files, lot 55 D 128).