On October 23, the First Committee of the Seventh Session of the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to place the Korean item, officially known as “Reports of the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea”, first on its agenda. Opening debate on the same day was marked by protracted discussion as to whether North Korea should be invited to participate and a resolution to that effect introduced by the Soviet Union was overwhelmingly defeated. The Committee then proceeded to vote to invite the Republic of Korea to send to its sessions a nonvoting representative.
On the next day, Secretary Acheson made a long statement before the First Committee detailing the background of the Korean question and presenting a 21-power resolution calling upon the People’s Republic of China and North Korea to agree to an armistice based on the principle of voluntary repatriation. For Acheson’s assessment of the speech and the events at New York which preceded it, see his Present at the Creation, pages 696–699. Also of interest in Acheson’s memoirs is the text of a report to President Truman by the Secretary made the day after the speech to the First Committee, ibid., pages 765–767. For an excerpted version of Acheson’s 4-hour speech, see Department of State Bulletin, November 3, 1952, pages 679–692 and ibid., November 10, 1952, pages 744–751. For the text of the 21-power resolution, see ibid., November 3, 1952, page 680.