The Secretary of State to the President1


Dear Mr. President: I am able to report to you some brightening of the prospects here in the UN debate on Korea as a result of developments during the past twenty-four hours.

For one thing, the British have prepared the way for agreement with us on modifications that must be made in the Menon resolution. We were pleased to note that Eden in his speech before the Political Committee today2 indicated a considerable measure of agreement with the [Page 664] considerations we had been urging upon him with some force. While endorsing the Menon resolution, Eden indicated support for major modification to provide for making the Repatriation Commission effective by strengthening the position of the umpire, and for the release of prisoners not repatriated to UNKRA or some other UN agency to care for and resettle them.

The other major hopeful development is that Spender of Australia is taking a strong initiative behind the scenes to solidify support among the 21 powers for a series of modifications of the Menon resolution. During the day Friday,3 Spender plans to put before a subcommittee of the 21 sponsors proposals to meet our main points. If there is general agreement on these propositions, he will then endeavor to get agreement on language for amendments. Spender is firm on position that Western nations must stick with these amendments, even if Menon himself should refuse to accept them.

In every respect except one, Spender’s propositions embody all the amendments which we have regarded as essential. The one exception is in not providing for one armistice agreement rather than a separate repatriation agreement. There may, however, be an opportunity to introduce this and other changes which we regard as desirable, although not essential, at a later point in the debate.

Deeply appreciate your kindness in making the Independence available for my trip to Ottawa Friday morning.4 I shall be returning to New York Sunday afternoon and it is my hope that debate will have advanced sufficiently so that it would be appropriate for me to speak in the committee Monday, clarifying our views on these amendments.


Dean Acheson
  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department of State for the White House as telegram Actel 7, Nov. 21, 1952, 8:37 a.m., from New York.
  2. For text of Eden’s speech, see UN document A/C.1/SR.526.
  3. Nov. 21.
  4. At Truman’s insistence, Acheson had accepted an invitation from Canadian Prime Minister St. Laurent to pay an official visit to Ottawa. Acheson arrived in Ottawa on Nov. 21 and left on Sunday, Nov. 23 (Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 700–704).