The Ambassador in Japan (Murphy) to the Department of State

top secret

428. Eyes only for Allison. Deptel 268 or 92 to Moscow.1Clark and I have discussed reftel and he is telegraphing views to Defense with statement that broad lines his suggestions are also in accord with my views. We are of course as yet ignorant of Kennan’s reaction and we realize that there may be important factors about which we have no knowledge. Based on what we know about situation we earnestly hope Kennan will find suggested approach inadvisable at this time.

Clark is apprehensive that his rejection of idea would be wrongly interpreted as undue belligerence or brashness his part. He wants it understood that he is sincerely striving for cessation of hostilities.

Sentence in second paragraph Deptel that “we are inclined to feel time has come for strong effort to determine whether Commies do or do not desire armistice” leaves us cold because we are convinced that if opponents really desire armistice they have had for months ample material on which agreement could be based. We feel that manifestation by UN of less eagerness to bid for truce coupled with success of relentless [Page 447] attacks should be conducive to better terms. Premise in Deptel that we do not want to give impression that we are weakening on our firm position seems to be belied by very nature of approach to Vishinsky and/or Stalin which is suggested. We doubt seriously that it could or would be interpreted as anything but a weakening of our attitude. In light of history of these negotiations beginning with Malik’s public statement2 Soviet authorities have had more than ample opportunity to contribute to satisfactory solution. They have not only failed to do so but have used every conceivable opportunity to defeat our purposes.

It would seem to us here reasonable to assume that for American representative in Moscow, hat in hand, at this stage to approach Vishinsky or Stalin wld be to court, if not a rebuff, at least cynical exploitation by Soviet authorities of gratis opportunity.

At risk of demonstrating ignorance and volunteering, may I inquire whether possibility of a personal approach to Mao Tse-tung would not be preferable and whether that idea has been thoroughly explored? No doubt it has. What I have in mind is question whether suggested approach to Russians would not also exercise undesirable effect on Chinese.

  1. Dated July 25, p. 422.
  2. The reference was presumably to Malik’s radio speech of June 23, 1951, “The Price of Peace”, the thirteenth in a series sponsored by the United Nations. For more details, see the editorial note in Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 546.