Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Hickerson)1



  • General Assembly Action in the Event of Continued Inconclusive Armistice Negotiations in Korea.


  • Mr. F. S. Tomlinson—British Embassy
  • Mr. John D. HickersonUNA
  • Mr. U. Alexis JohnsonFE
  • Mr. Ward P. AllenEUR
  • Mr. David H. PopperUNP

Mr. Tomlinson came in at my request. I handed him copies of the Working Paper on General Assembly Action in the Event of Continued Inconclusive Armistice Negotiations in Korea, explaining that this was a staff paper not yet seen by the Secretary, although the Secretary was familiar with its general nature. I stressed our desire to consult with the United Kingdom, the four Dominions with troops in Korea, and the French on this subject2 before our position was firmed up, in order that we could have the benefit of their views at the earliest possible stage. I also emphasized the importance of not mentioning the contents of this paper to representatives of other countries until, at a later date, we were able to extend the scope of our preliminary negotiations.

I pointed out that we had concluded that if we did not ourselves take the initiative in bringing up the Korean problem at the forthcoming Assembly session, the Soviets would undoubtedly do so. We therefore thought that we should propose action along the lines covered by this paper. We were not proposing in the paper that anything be done which went beyond what we have ourselves already put into effect. We could not pretend that the steps proposed in the paper would in themselves produce an armistice, but they might constitute an increment of pressure upon the Communists which would help to tip the balance in favor of an armistice.

Mr. Tomlinson stated that he would transmit the paper at once to London and that he would prefer to reserve detailed comment until he had his Foreign Office’s views. He could forecast, however, one reaction: that London would feel that the preservation of Hong Kong was of greatest importance to the free world and that the steps indicated in the paper would place Hong Kong in an untenable position, unable to carry on the trade with China necessary to provide foodstuffs for the one million Chinese refugees in the Colony. We agreed that this was one of the problems which must be faced.

[Page 454]

I told Mr. Tomlinson that, in the absence of Mr. Johnson and myself on leave, Mr. Sandifer and other officers would be glad to discuss the British comments on this paper. Early next week we expected to give the same group of six states another paper based on the assumption that an armistice would be concluded by the time the General Assembly meets.3


[Attachment 1]

Working Paper on United Nations General Assembly Action in the Event of Continued Inconclusive Armistice Negotiations


The General Assembly should take action early in the Seventh Session along the following lines:
The first step should be to seek passage of a General Assembly resolution which would:
Express the full support of the General Assembly for the gallant efforts of the United Nations troops in Korea;
Express full confidence in and approval of the conduct of the armistice negotiations by the United Nations Command;
Approve the position taken by the United Nations Command in regard to the question of repatriation of prisoners of war and call upon the North Korean and Chinese Communist authorities to accept an honorable armistice which recognizes the principle of non-forcible repatriation;
Request the President of the General Assembly to transmit this resolution to the North Korean and Chinese Communist authorities and to report to the General Assembly within——days on any reply received or on the absence of such a reply.
Upon receipt of a negative report from the President of the General Assembly the Additional Measures Committee should meet immediately for the purpose of recommending additional measures to the General Assembly. The Additional Measures Committee should recommend the imposition of a total embargo. (For detailed recommendations see annex.)
After the Additional Measures Committee has made its recommendation to the General Assembly, the Assembly should adopt a resolution which:
Condemns the aggressors in Korea for their continued refusal to accept an honorable armistice in accordance with United Nations principles;
Reaffirms the determination of the United Nations to continue its action in Korea to meet the aggression and to restore international peace and security in the area;
Urges upon all states the need to increase and intensify assistance to the United Nations action in Korea and in particular to contribute additional forces to the Unified Command;
Calls upon all states and authorities to refrain from giving any further assistance to the aggressors in Korea;
Recommends that all states sever, limit or refuse to enter into diplomatic relations with the aggressors in Korea;
Approves the report and recommendations of the Additional Measures Committee;
Recommends that all states take the following action recommended by the Additional Measures Committee. (For detailed recommendations see annex 1, Economic Embargo.);
Requests that Member States and other cooperating states report to the Additional Measures Committee within 30 days on measures taken to implement the present resolution;
Directs the Additional Measures Committee to report to the General Assembly with recommendations as appropriate, and, at its discretion when the General Assembly is not in session, to the members, on the manner in which these states are implementing the measures recommended;
Reaffirms that it continues to be the policy of the United Nations to bring about a cessation of hostilities in Korea in accordance with United Nations principles and the achievement of United Nations objectives in Korea by peaceful means.
Obviously an agreement should be reached on the plan outlined in recommendation 1 above in its entirety, before General Assembly consideration of the first phase of that plan.
If at the time of the opening of the Seventh Session there are clear and immediate prospects of agreement upon an armistice in the immediate future and negotiations are at such a stage that discussion in the General Assembly might prejudice the outcome, the General Assembly should postpone the consideration of the Korean question until a more propitious time.

Annex 1

Recommendation for Action by Additional Measures Committee on an Economic Embargo

The General Assembly might recommend that every state prohibit all direct or indirect exports, re-exports, trans-shipments to, and imports from, Communist China and North Korea, and impose the following ancillary controls:

Prohibit vessels and aircraft of its registry from proceeding to Communist China or North Korea.
Prohibit the use of free ports within its territorial jurisdiction for the trans-shipment of any goods to or from Communist China or North Korea.
Prohibit the sale or charter of vessels and aircraft to the Chinese Communist regime or to the North Korean authorities, or to their nationals, or to any person or entity acting for them.
Deny bunkering and port facilities to vessels owned or controlled by the Chinese Communists or North Koreans, and to vessels of any nationality believed to be proceeeding to or from Communist China or North Korean ports.
Prohibit the insurance or reinsurance within its territorial jurisdiction of vessels included in paragraph 4 and of all cargoes destined to or proceeding from Communist China or North Korea.
Block all assets and sterilize all gold resources of the Communist Chinese and North Korean regimes and of persons subject to their control; suspend all payments to these regimes or to persons subject to their control; prohibit loans, credits, and capital flotations likely to benefit these regimes or persons subject to their control.

  1. This memorandum was drafted by Popper.
  2. Reports of these consultations can be found in memoranda of conversation by Hickerson, Aug. 14 and 15, 1952, not printed (795.00/8–1452 and 795.00/8–1552, respectively).
  3. A copy of this paper, which is not printed, was attached to a memorandum of conversation by Sandifer, Aug. 25, 1952, not printed (795.00/8–2552).