FE files, lot 55 D 128: Telegram

The Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Clark) to the Department of the Army1


CX 60418. 1. According to an AP dispatch of 14 Dec dateline Geneva, National Red Cross societies voted favorably on an Indian resolution for both sides in the Korean war to immediately exchange sick and wounded. As you are aware, this proposal was made previously by UNC negotiators and rejected by the Communists.

2. We have had under consideration here a plan to reopen this subject through liaison officers, but since this Red Cross proposal parallels generally our plan, the following analysis is submitted for whatever action you may care to take at Washington level.

A survey completed a short time ago indicated that, in our pro-Communist camps, there are about 6,900 POWs who may be considered under the provisions of the first para, Art 110, Geneva Convention relative to treatment of POWs.
There is no info avail on the nbr of UNC POWs held by the Communists who are in this category.
The possibility of Communist acceptance of such an exchange proposal is remote, but the fact of our supporting such exchange has obvious wide psychological and publicity advantages.
Should the Communists accept this proposal, we would benefit, only insofar as they desire, by the return of our own sick and wounded. However, we would have to be prepared, by full public coverage of the details of exchange at every command level, to counter exploitation by the Communists of the patients we turn over to them. In all probability, [Page 717] they would use many of these unfortunates, especially amputees and napalm-burn cases, as examples of UNC savagery, despite the fact that we have accomplished medical miracles in saving the lives of scores of these people.
It would have to be made clear that the total nbr of POWs and CIs returned to the Communists under this program would be deducted from the 83,000 previously reported.

3. Rqst we be kept informed of any action taken on the above.

  1. This telegram was for G–3.