Secretary’s Daily Meetings, lot 58 D 609

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant to the Director of the Executive Secretariat, Department of State (Meloy)


top secret


  • 9:30 Meeting in the Secretary’s Office


  • Mr. Acheson
  • Mr. Matthews
  • Mr. Bohlen
  • Mr. Jessup
  • Mr. Sargeant
  • Mr. Nitze
  • Mr. McFall
  • Mr. Howe
  • Mr. Martin
  • Mr. Kitchen
  • Mr. Meloy

. . . . . . .

Item 2. Neutral Observers for POW’s in Korea

The Secretary discussed with Mr. Matthews a letter to Secretary Lovett which was before him for signature.2 His only criticism was that the letter made it look as though we had not very seriously tried to do what the President had told us to do in the matter of obtaining neutral observers to inspect the prisoners-of-war camps in Korea. He left the letter in Mr. Matthews’ hands and asked that it be revised.

Item 3. Briefing

Mr. Howe reported on the truce negotiations in Korea, on the situation in Germany and on Soviet press treatment of the situations in Egypt and Iran.

Item 4. Approach to Soviets on Korea

Mr. Matthews said that the problem of a possible approach to the Soviets on Korea had been under discussion in the Department. A new telegram3 had been worked out asking for Kennan’s comments. Should an approach be desirable we did not know whether we should talk to Vyshinski or to Stalin. If Kennan agrees that an approach would be useful, we would then consult some of our trusted allies before making the approach. The Secretary agreed to read the draft telegram.

Item 5. Red Cross Meeting in Toronto

Mr. Sargeant brought up the matter of whether or not we should use the 13 treaties4 in the Red Cross meeting in Toronto in light of the [Page 422] approach to the Soviets. How should we tie this in with the proposed approach? Mr. Matthews stated his view that it had been agreed that use of the 13 treaties in Toronto would not preclude an approach to the Soviets in Moscow. Mr. Bohlen thought that in light of the approach it would be better to use the treaties in Toronto but not in the Korean armistice negotiations. Mr. Matthews pointed out, however, that it was our intention to follow up in Korea any use of the 13 treaties in Toronto. Mr. Nitze felt that it would be better to tell Toronto to hold off on any use of the 13 treaties until further word from the Department. The Secretary said that after he reads the proposed telegram to Kennan he will then talk to the other interested officers as to instructions on the use of the treaties. The Secretary stated that he feels we should not hesitate to do what we have to do, and that the results of any approach to the Soviets are so uncertain that we should not hamper our movements elsewhere for fear of compromising these problematical results. He will discuss the matter.

. . . . . . .

Francis E. Meloy, Jr.
  1. The following additional topics were discussed: ANZUS military, Egypt, wheat for Pakistan, money for Israel, and consultation with Congress.
  2. The letter is not printed, but see the memorandum by Allison to the Secretary of State, July 14, p. 405, for more information.
  3. For the text of this telegram, which was sent later on July 25 as telegram 92 to Moscow, see infra.
  4. In a State-JCS meeting July 9, 1952 (see p. 386), the question of using for propaganda purposes early treaties, signed by the Soviet Union and embodying the principle of non-contemplated forcible repatriation, was discussed. In a summary of the “facts” about the POW issue, prepared by Johnson in connection with telegram 92 to Kennan, the treaties were listed. They included Brest-Litovsk and others signed between 1918 and 1921. This summary, which was attached to a memorandum by Johnson to Matthews, July 25, 1952, is not printed. (795.00/7–2552)