320/11–1952: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Department of State


Delga 225. Limited distribution. Re Korea. Fol conclusion of Menon speech in Comite 1 this afternoon. 8 power subcomite (Delga 209)2 met at UN headquarters.

Spender (Australia), in chair, opened with statement that events have forced us to consider Menon res first. He stated Australia not prepared to accept Indian res in present form, particularly as to para 17. While it was important to gain Asian support, it was at least as important that co-sponsors not reveal open differences with US. Hence subcomite task was to mold Indian res to meet essential US points.

Gross stated US was in somewhat difficult position. Its public opinion viewed Korean situation with deep emotion; it wld be disastrous to reveal differences of opinion among us. We appreciated free world public opinion desire for conclusion of armistice agreement. Question was what contribution UN cld make. US did not overlook value of gaining broad support, but Gross wondered what objective wld be served by this particular Indian initiative and what effect it wld have. The present Indian draft was unacceptable. By pushing it, Indian Govt has damaged our efforts in Korea by weakening our stance in face of intransigent Commies and by forcing those who want an armistice to negotiate with Indians, with underlying uncertainty whether Menon might not after all withdraw support for his own res when amended. By tabling draft he knew was unacceptable to US, Menon has deflected public opinion from simple, understandable and moral 21-power draft stressing an intelligible moral issue. Menon, Gross continued, did not in his speech agree that GA shld appoint umpire if 4 members of Repatriation [Page 660] Comm did not do so, even though he had earlier told Gross this was a “natural assumption”. Menon’s para 17 did not provide clearly for release of PWs unwilling to return home; it did not include a rigid time limit; and it did not include useful point that UN agency shld be able to care for released former PWs without retaining custody over them. Gross concluded by stating that if desirability of Asian support was considered to be so great we had to compromise with principles, then it was fruitless to discuss details in Indian res, since US cld not agree.

After Spender had repeated his belief that Menon res cld be modified if group wished to do so and that it wld be tragedy if difference over this point divided co-sponsors, Gross circulated informally among members of subcomite fol tentative redraft para 17, Menon res:

“Within 90 days from the signing of the armistice agreement, any POW whose return to his homeland has not been effected in accordance with the procedures set out above shall be released by the Repatriation Comm.

The Repatriation Comm shall assist UNKRA in caring for such persons and in arranging for their settlement and return to peaceful pursuits.”

Jebb agreed it was desirable to maintain common front, but stressed importance considering UK public opinion. Jebb said Brit public wld not understand it if Menon res not taken as basis for GA action, if basic principles were safeguarded. Para 17 was not entirely satisfactory, but Menon did not exclude idea of amendment. Jebb has no doubt that after discussion and possibly another mtg of subcomite, Menon cld be persuaded on para 17. Perhaps the Americans thought a tough, firm policy wld be best means of obtaining armistice; Brit disagreed. If it was helpful to take measures to save Commie’s face and to negot with Menon, that was acceptable. Jebb hoped US wld not insist on any alterations except to para 17 and possibly para 14. Re umpire, it was better to keep rest of res in “Menonese” which wld appeal to Commies.

Jebb suggested another mtg tomorrow morning.

Gross pointed out that lapse of time drove us farther and farther away from prospect of voting on present 21-power res. We had delayed in doing this and hoped Menon wld table an acceptable res. How much damage had been done through submission Menon’s unacceptable draft. The matter must now be brought to a head. Unless Menon draft was properly amended we wld have to adhere to idea of priority for 21-power res. Martin (Canada) attached greatest importance to what Menon had said. Martin stated he had talked frankly with Menon over past month and latter was at almost every turn most willing to accept reasonable suggestions. Martin suggested he and Lloyd shld sit down with Menon and attempt to persuade latter to change paras 17 and 14.

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Other suggestions for change shld not be carried out through formal amendment procedure but in some other informal way.

Restrepo3 (Colombia) voiced his suspicion of the Indian res. He pointed out that lengthy conversations with Menon has not succeeded in reaching satisfactory arrangements re release of PWs and umpire. These points were still obscure in res. Colombia wld prefer to adhere to the 21-power draft but wld yield, if others desired, to acceptable Indian res.

Hoppenot (France), stressing the need for the broadest possible support for res, contended that the Menon text now met the one fundamental principle—that there shld be no use of force. We shld not now formulate new principles, such as those relating to umpire and unconditional release of PWs. It was true that some parts of the Menon res were objectionable, but nothing in it was now unacceptable. Even if suggestions for amendment of paras 14 and 17 were not adopted, he wld be disposed, subject to instructions from his govt, to vote for the present Menon draft and wld in any case vote for priority for the Menon res, since he laid great weight upon the explanatory statement made by Menon today. It seemed to him a barren procedure to go back to the 21-power res.

Amby4 (Denmark) stressed the importance of the 21 powers standing together. If the Menon res were utilized, he said, it was essential that necessary amendments be included even if Menon did not agree. He strongly objected to going to Menon to negot with him because inevitable result wld be to cut down 21-power demands. He voiced satisfaction with formulation para 17 circulated by Gross, and closed with a sharp warning against pushing matters to point where US cld not vote for a res on Korea. Sarper (Turkey) took same gen line but less strongly. He doubted Menon res wld necessarily obtain priority in comite if stood together against that. He challenged French suggestion of voting for present Menon draft as a complete surrender. The more the 21 powers yielded, he declared, the lower wld be the point from which UN wld have to start bargaining with the Russians. Before a decision was taken on priority, he felt, group shld attempt to find out whether Menon wld accept necessary amendments.

Spender intervened again to stress inadvisability of seeking to prevent Menon res from gaining priority. He believed it was necessary to agree now on alterations which must be made in Menon draft, and wld recommend that his del not support Menon res unless it were suitably amended re paras 14 and 17. Speaking re para 17, Hoppenot stated he preferred draft suggested earlier by Selwyn Lloyd but was willing, if 21 [Page 662] were so disposed, to seek more substantial amendment. He did not believe we had to accept conditions from Menon, but reiterated that even if suitable amendments were not accepted that wld not affect his gen support for Menon res.

Jebb appealed for some delay to reach decisions on amendment and priority problems and for going to Menon thereafter. Gross repeated argument that passage of time prejudiced position of those who preferred priority for 21 power res and emphasized fact group shld not negot with Menon—a view echoed by Martin.

Mtg closed with suggestion of Spender that subcomite report to 21-power group at mtg which might perhaps be held Nov 20.

  1. The dateline of the file copy read 11:59 a.m., an obvious error corrected here by the editors.
  2. Dated Nov. 17, p. 645.
  3. Cipriano Restrepo, Colombian Ambassador to the United States and Representative at the Seventh UN General Assembly.
  4. Kristan Amby, Member of the Danish Parliament and Representative at the Seventh UN General Assembly.