320/11–1252: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Department of State


Delga 180. Limited distribution. Re Korea. Selwyn Lloyd (UK) called on Secy this afternoon and handed Secy in confidence draft text reproduced below. Lloyd stated he had used our draft suggestions (Delga 151 with modifications1) to clarify points in Menon’s text. Lloyd felt his text now reflected what we had in mind.

After reading Lloyd text, Secy stated it was indeed now almost frighteningly clear where efforts like Menon’s wld lead us. Even on cursory review of text it was clear to Secy that, though we had started on basis we would not use force to repatriate prisoners, we had now reached point where if this res were passed we would be starting PWs [Page 611] on road to forced repatriation. We would be compelled to turn over prisoners by force to Repatriation Commission which seems to have only one alternative, i.e., to send prisoners of war home. Comm is given no guidance whatever re fate of prisoners who resist repatriation and would presumably have to hold them indefinitely, subject them to Communist haranguing until they give up and decided to go home. Under this resolution, it is even possible that Comm might request Chinese Communist troops to guard prisoners now in hands of UNC. Also, text contemplates possibility that PW question might not be finally disposed of and might be submitted to Post-Armistice Conference.

Lloyd defended his text as designed to be acceptable to Chinese Communists and thus to produce armistice. This, he said, was the only way in which we cld avoid second phase of Korean problem in GA which we wld now have to face under new administration with unknown results. Lloyd stated he wld do nothing re his text until he heard further from us. Secy assured him we cld not ask Dept and JCS to accept anything like his draft.

Lloyd’s text follows:

Verbatim Text.

The GA

Having received the special report of the Unified Command of Oct 18, 1952,2 on the status of mil action and the armistice negots in Korea;
Noting that disagreement on the issue of release and repatriation of POWs alone prevents the achievement of an armistice on just and honorable terms and the ending of the fighting in Korea;
Believing that the release and repatriation of POWs shld be effected in accordance with international law and practice, including the Geneva Convention on POWs of 1949, and with the provisions of the tentative agreements already reached between the Central People’s Govt of the People’s Repub of China and the UNC;
Requests the Pres of the GA to transmit to the Central People’s Govt of the People’s Repub of China and to the North Korean auths the fol suggestions put forward as a basis for agreement on this sole remaining issue:
A commission on repatriation of POWs should be established consisting of the reps of blank or any other four states to be agreed;
All POWs should be released to the commission by both sides in groups of appropriate size at agreed exchange points in demilitarized territory;
Force shld not be used to prevent or compel the repatriation of any POW. The commission shall carry out the obligation laid upon detailing powers by Art 13 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 relating to the humane treatment of POWs;
POWs shld be classified by the commission according to nationality and domicile;
Each side shld have access to the POWs when under the control of the commission to inform them of their rights and to explain to them any matters relevant to their return to their homelands;
Red Cross teams of both sides shld have access to the POWs as provided in the tentative armistice agreement already reached;
[sic] The terms of the armistice agreement relating to POWs shld be made known to all prisoners and in particular their right to return to their homelands;
The commission shld
Before the armistice agreement is concluded agree upon an umpire to decide if disagreement shld arise on any issue between members of the commission;
Before the armistice agreement is signed shld make arrangements with the umpire for an adequate staff;
Before the armistice is signed agree with the commands on each side the location of and arrangements for any camp or camps necessary for the discharge of the commission’s responsibilities;
Before the armistice is signed agree with the commands on each side the size of the groups referred to in para 3 of this res and the arrangements for their transportation and administration while under the control of the commission;
Have the right to request from the commands on either side or from any other state resources in personnel or material necessary for the discharge of their duties;
Notes, from the report of the Unified Command (A/2228, Annex A), that the negotiators at Panmunjom have tentatively agreed to the fol recommendation:

‘In order to insure the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, the mil commanders of both sides hereby recommend to the govts of the countries concerned on both sides, that, with [within?] three (3) months after the armistice agreement is signed and becomes effective, a polit conference of a higher level of both sides be held by reps appointed respectively to settle through negotiation the questions of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea, the peaceful settlement of the Korean question, etc.’

Recommends that any matters relating to repatriation of POWs unsettled at the end of 3 months shld automatically be referred by the Repatriation Commission to the above conference;

Decides that upon the coming into effect of the armistice agreement, if the GA is not then in regular session, the SYG shall convene a special session of the GA at the headquarters of the UN to consider the implementation of such a recommendation;

(Alternative to 8) Requests the President of the GA and the two immediate past Presidents to take steps to convene within the prescribed time the polit conference referred to in para 5 of this res and to enter into negotiations with the parties concerned for this purpose, and [Page 613] to take into account proposals submitted by the del of the USSR on the 10th Nov.”

Eden and Lloyd are seeing Secy this evening. Menon has asked to see us Thurs a.m. re new draft on which he is working. We are planning to consult with sponsors of 21-power res later Thurs and are disposed to take line we must for present at least stand firm on 21-power draft res.

  1. For Delga 151, dated Nov. 8, see p. 588; the principal modification of Delga 151 was transmitted in Gadel 48, Nov. 10, p. 597.
  2. For the text, see UN document A/2228.
  3. Numbered as received. [Footnote in the source text.]