320/11–952: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Department of State


Delga 156. Re Korea. For limited distribution in Department. Meeting Secretary with Eden (present Lloyd, Jebb, Jessup, Gross), discussed Korean developments in GA. Lloyd outlined UK understanding that principle of non-forcible repatriation must be kept clear and that nothing should be left for post armistice negotiation with Communists regarding repatriation. Repeated opinion that although Comms had it in power to sabotage any armistice agreement if they so desire, nevertheless agreement must be clear and self-contained so that responsibility for breach would be clear. Secretary of State stressed this point and Eden agreed. Nor did we want to risk armistice negotiations breaking down on some narrow “non-moral” procedural issue, such as how a POW repatriation commission would be composed or how it would operate.

We emphasized objections to a POW commission with Communist satellite membership. Lloyd thought the problem would be met by designating an umpire (such designation to be made prior to effective date of armistice). He believed (having talked again with Krishna Menon this morning) that Chi Comms had revealed to Indians their insistence on some Communist representation on POW commission.

Eden said he would probably include in his GA speech Tuesday reference to the two points made by Lloyd, summarized above. He stressed importance attached by both British parties to doing everything possible now to end Korean war, but on basis adherence to non-forcible repatriation principle.

Indian initiative could be useful to that end. Just prior to Eden’s departure, Indian HC brought message from Nehru expressing latter’s desire “to be helpful”.

Secretary of State said we were urgently considering whole question, and conferring with Defense Dept whose views were essential before decisions are made on matters affecting composition and operations of repatriation commission, relationship to UNC, etc.

Following lunch, Gross phoned Johnson, FE, giving general report of above and requesting Defense–State reactions soonest.

Schuman, Eden and Secretary held brief talk on Korea, in which Secretary outlined tactical situation here and principal points at issue. Agreement reached that decisions would be suspended until after Vishinsky [Page 595] speaks Comite 1 Monday1 a.m., and situation then reviewed in light of Vishinsky’s speech.

During afternoon, Gross also talked at some length with Hoppenot2 (Fr) reviewing tactical problems. Hoppenot’s views not inconsistent with ours as generally outlined.

At 5:30 p.m., Johnson, FE, advised Gross by phone new draft resolution3 had been discussed with Defense Dept with general indication of willingness to support on basis of following preferences:

Re repatriation commission:

designation of impartial commission,
GA designation of commission composed of equal numbers satellites, non-satellites and umpire,
leaving to negotiators to designate commission of unspecified nature.

It is understood satisfactory commission would have to be composed prior to armistice in any event.

  1. Nov. 10.
  2. Henri L. Hoppenot, Permanent Representative of France at the United Nations.
  3. Reference was to the draft resolution contained in Delga 151, Nov. 8, p. 588.