320/11–852: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Department of State


Delga 150. Re Korea. Following summarizes results of several discussions Friday1 and Saturday a.m. centering around Menon’s proposals for settlement POW question, including mtg of Lloyd with Secy, Gross et al., Friday a.m. and mtg of Gross, Young, and Allen with Pearson, Lloyd and Menon Friday afternoon:

Except for Comite 1 mtg Mon a.m. to hear Vishinsky, no further mtgs Comite 1 planned until after conclusion of Plenary debates to be resumed Mon afternoon. Thus, unlikely Comite 1 will meet before Thurs, Nov 12 at earliest. Menon states he will not table any res until Thurs at soonest.
Secy made clear to Lloyd and Gross to Menon that while US not unreceptive in principle to idea of giving suitably composed repatriation comm some appropriate role in connection with repatriation process, Ind proposals as outlined orally (see Delga 149, Nov 82 for approximate text) are so ill-defined and raise so many problems, it is impossible decide whether any part of proposals are feasible or meet essential minimum conditions without some more definitive written text, which could be considered by Depts of Defense and State.
Menon, who assures us he speaks for GOI, feels that wld compromise any chances success GOI effort to give us concrete written text his proposals now without submitting text simultaneously to Chi Coms which he claims has not been done and which he is unwilling to do this stage. It is clear, however, that GOI has been in contact with Chi Coms on this matter and has at least to date recd no strong negative reaction. Assurance with which Menon predicted Chi Com reaction to certain ideas offers further confirmation this. (Although Menon dodges question GOI contact with Chi Coms, UK reports Chi Coms recently advised Indians that undoubtedly the 13,000 Chi unrepatriates include a number of Chiang Kai-shek agents and that of course Chi Coms wld not want such persons returned to Commie China.) Menon assures us that if reasonable middle-of-road proposals developed, India would probably proceed submit them to GA even in face of negative or evasive attitude Chi Coms.
Gross made clear to Menon US views re indispensable condition of any proposals (along lines Delga 133)3 including unacceptability indefinite detention NKs. Menon seems to understand US concerns and sticking points and remains flexible as to form and words to be employed. Nevertheless he persists in views that following are basic to his proposal:
Avoidance of language which would force Commies openly to admit existence of unrepatriates. This includes avoidance any reference to resettlement of unrepatriates or their removal even temporarily from Asia, along lines Mexican proposal which in Menon’s view would confirm worst suspicions of Chi Coms.
Provision for intermediate release of PWs from custody of detaining powers to custody of some third body, prior their return home or other disposition.
Agreement that this “repatriation comm” must have “balance of forces”, i.e., be composed of equal number of countries Chi Coms would regard as being on their side and countries acceptable to UC, with provisions for comm to appoint an umpire. (Menon is strongly wedded to Pol, Czech, Sweden and Switz as countries both sides have accepted as having something to do with armistice.) He proposes this umpire be chosen prior to coming into force of armistice and if deadlock arises on this issue, armistice wld not come into effect. In this event we would at least have narrowed the issue. Menon is quite firm that wld be impossible obtain Chi Com agreement to any “impartial” comm (Swedes, Swiss and Indians, for example) since Chi Coms do not regard any country as “impartial”.
In course of discussion Gross sketched out as personal idea rough outline of res along lines being sent separately to Dept. Except for strong opposition to having GA itself establish comm and fix composition, Menon seemed receptive to this general approach to form of res. Mtg ended with Menon’s expressed desire continue conversations soon.
Pearson and Lloyd continue to offer encouragement to Menon and to indicate much greater receptiveness to his basic points outlined para 4 than USDel. They convinced of real likelihood that by incorporation some such ideas through amendment to 21-power res, overwhelming support can be obtained in GA to modified res with principle of non-forcible repatriation clearly stated.
In brief mtg with Lloyd at 11:00 a.m. Nov 8, Gross expressed concern lest continuation of present situation of doubt and indecision would have dividing and demoralizing effect among dels generally and expressed view that within 48 hours or so we should, at least between UK and ourselves, come to understanding on specific points. He restated our objections to PW comm including satellites. Lloyd does not share these objections on basis that comm could be composed which included satellites, but which nevertheless could operate under an [Page 588] umpire. Lloyd agreed in general with approach reflected in draft res which Gross outlined to him, but refused to leave with him. Draft res being transmitted to Dept separately.4

Main points are: (1) statement of repatriation principle in unambiguous form, and (2) recommendation to negotiators to establish a PW comm (without GA attempting to fix composition such comm) and to state general purpose of such comm without GA attempting to fix specific terms of reference or method of operation. Lloyd intends to discuss whole problem with Eden during course of today and will communicate with us.

Gross emphatically objected to line of reasoning of Pearson (with which Lloyd had agreed preceding mtg) that if there were to be a deadlock, it would be better to have that deadlock “over narrow issue of appointing an umpire”. Gross pointed out this would have demoralizing consequence of removing clear moral issue of non-forcible repatriation now involved and generally supported and would substitute for it an apparently minor procedural issue as to which it wld be difficult to maintain moral unity and general support.

  1. Nov. 7.
  2. Supra .
  3. Dated Nov. 6, p. 579.
  4. See Delga 151, infra .