Matthews files, lot 53 D 413: Telegram

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

top secret

CX 61135. Re JCS 928298,1 CX 608212 and C 59981.3

The course of action outlined in JCS 928298 may be of benefit in considering long range strategic and polit concepts, but from my point of view as a mil comdr charged with ultra-sensitive problems in guarding and admin 132,000 POW and civ internees, I am convinced that the ques of trials for post-capture offenders demands separate and immed consideration. Since my original proposal was submitted to you, and in addition to the factors outlined in my C 59981 and CX 60821, recent dev have accentuated the need for adequate judicial machinery being aval to camp auths.
The publication of our recent study4 on the use Communists are making of their captured pers held by the unclas part of their overall mil effort has raised the ques by the press, and certainly in the minds of our troops, as to why we cannot take disciplinary actions against clearcut murderers.
The incident reported to you in para 2b, CX 61076,5 is an example of vicious and premeditated murder for which we can only use solitary confinement as punishment
It is obvious that incidents of violence, riots and open defiance of our auth, including deliberate attacks against UNC security forces, are plotted and follow a definite pattern. That this problem will cont is indicated by late intel repts that pris at Koje-Do are planning demonstrations on 8 Feb in celebration of an NKA anniversary, and that other celebrations are planned for Communist holidays including May Day.
Our cont failure to exercise proper disciplinary measures against fanatical Communists is embarrassing to me and unexplainable to our trps and the public. This is true particularly when I insist on the highest standards of discipline among FEC trps and the prompt admin of mil justice for much less serious offenses.
I again urgently rqst that I be auth as a matter of highest priority to convene a UNC commission for the trial of POW and civ internee post-capture offenders. I am particularly desirous, in view of the increasing [Page 733] freq of attacks against members of the UNC scty forces, to bring to prompt trial and punishment those responsible for attacks such as that which occurred only last week, resulting in the death of an American soldier.
  1. Dated Jan. 9, 1953, to CINCFE. In this telegram the JCS informed Clark that they had recommended to the Secretary of Defense that the President be asked to appoint an interdepartmental committee to study the entire POW problem and submit recommendations through the National Security Council. The JCS advised him that they concurred in the measures Clark was taking to maintain control over the POWs. (JCS records, CCS 000.5 (5–12–49))
  2. Dated Jan. 5, p. 722.
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 1, ibid .
  4. The study was entitled The Communist War at POW Camps, and was published by the UNC in late January 1953.
  5. This telegram, dated Jan. 30, 1953, is not printed.