IO files, lot 71 D 440, “2nd Part of 7th Session, Position Papers”

Position Paper Prepared for the United States Delegation at the United Nations General Assembly 1



Korean Question

the problem

What should be the position of the United States in regard to the Korean problem at the second part of the seventh session of the General Assembly?

[Page 780]


The United States Delegation should seek to avoid any further General Assembly resolutions on the political and military aspects of the Korean question at the second part of the seventh session, with the possible exception of an appropriate, non-controversial resolution on the report of UNCURK.
In the absence of developments indicating a change in the Communist position, the United States Delegation should strongly discourage any further resolutions at this time seeking new formulae or making concessions to the Communists on the question of PWs and calling for a cease-fire, on the ground that they are futile and not calculated to achieve the objectives of the United Nations as set forth in previous resolutions, including the resolution of December 3, 1952.
The United States Delegation should not introduce any resolution of the Korean question. If, however, it appears necessary, as a tactical matter, to introduce a proposal in order to forestall other resolutions which the United States would not consider desirable, the United States Delegation should propose a resolution along the lines set forth in Annex A.
In the event that other Delegations raise questions in regard to the recent Presidential order concerning the mission of the Seventh Fleet in Formosa waters, the United States Delegation should explain the United States position along the lines set forth in the final paragraph of the discussion below. (A further elaboration of the United States position in the event the USSR proposes the inclusion of a separate item on this matter is contained in a separate paper.)2


The Korean item is again on the Agenda for the second part of the seventh session. At that time the General Assembly will continue the discussion of this question in the light of the report of the President of the General Assembly on the Communist rejection of the General Assembly Resolution of December 3 (UN Doc. A/2354, Dec. 20, 1952) and any further report from the President which might be forthcoming, or other developments. There will be before the First Committee the 21-Power Resolution and the Mexican and Peruvian Resolutions introduced during the first part of the seventh session; these were not voted upon, and it was agreed that they would be considered as technically still before the Committee.
There appears to be little prospect of Communist agreement to an acceptable armistice in the near future. Even assuming that the PW question remains the major obstacle to peace in Korea, the Communists [Page 781] do not appear to be prepared to make any concessions on this question that would make possible an agreement acceptable to the United States and to the United Nations. In the circumstances there appears little more that the General Assembly can usefully do to help bring about an early armistice in Korea.
At the same time there continues to be a strong desire on the part of other members to make further efforts to achieve an armistice. Some countries are particularly anxious to see an immediate end to the Korean fighting, especially since they fear that the United States might take measures which would result instead in extending the scope of hostilities. This anxiety will probably be increased by fears on the part of some delegations that the recent Presidential announcement concerning the Seventh Fleet portends further steps which would have the effect of enlarging the conflict. Also countries like India, Indonesia, and Burma are probably somewhat embarrassed to find themselves, as a result of the vote on the December 3 resolution, strongly aligned with the West on a major aspect of the Korean question. They may wish to resume an attitude of greater “neutrality” by sponsoring some proposal more acceptable to the Communists and less so to the United States, perhaps in the form of a revision of the resolution of December 3, or some “composite” resolution incorporating ideas from the Soviet proposal defeated by the General Assembly in December.
The United States Delegation should take the position that further efforts by the General Assembly at this time would be futile in the absence of a clear indication from the Communists that they are interested in an armistice which the United Nations can accept. The United States Delegation should take the position that nothing is gained by negotiating with ourselves in public; in such circumstances every concession made brings no concessions in return from the Communists, who remain uncommitted while the United Nations has whittled away at its own position. If after Communist rejection of the December 3 resolution new concessions are made the Communists would assume that further rejection will lead to further concession. If the United Nations gives the appearance of being over-anxious, it only makes Communist agreement to an armistice less likely. If, through diplomatic channels or at Panmunjom the Communists make it clear that they are prepared to accept as a basis for agreement some plan consistent with the principles of the United Nations including the December 3 resolution, progress could be made towards an armistice. At that time it could be decided whether it was necessary or desirable to seek Assembly approval.
The United States should therefore discourage strongly any effort to press to a vote either the 21-Power Resolution, the Mexican and Peruvian Resolutions, or any similar resolutions, which can only be futile gestures, and evidence of helplessness on the part of the United Nations and lack of determination. Further, none of these resolutions would [Page 782] obtain the kind of majority achieved for the December 3 resolution and it would be best to leave that resolution as the General Assembly’s last word on the Korean question at this time.
At the same time, there is little more that the General Assembly could do to aid the United Nations Command in prosecution of the military action in Korea. Additional troops are always desired, of course, but it is hardly likely that an Assembly resolution calling for such troops would bring in substantial contributions. Similarly, while certain additional measures to supplement the existing United Nations embargo might be of slight aid to the United Nations effort in Korea it is not believed that these would be of sufficient effect to warrant seeking such action at the present General Assembly. Such further military measures as the United Nations Command might desire to undertake should be rested on the authority of existing resolutions. To seek explicit authority for new measures might well imply unwarranted limitations in existing authority or even lead to efforts to diminish the authority of the Unified Command.
If, however, other delegations insist on pressing efforts, which the United States considers undesirable, to compromise further with the Communists in an effort to bring about an early armistice, the United States Delegation may decide that it is desirable to forestall such efforts by some counter-resolution. For this purpose the Delegation might propose an exhortatory resolution, noting with regret the Communist rejection of the December 3 resolution, and calling for further support of the Unified Command in a more energetic prosecution of the Korean action. Such a resolution might also establish a negotiating committee to obtain additional contributions of men and matériel towards the United Nations effort.
If other delegations should attack the United States or raise questions in regard to the Presidential order concerning the Seventh Fleet, the United States Delegation should reply along the following lines:

When aggression in Korea took place and the United Nations went to the assistance of the Republic of Korea to repel this aggression and restore peace and security in the area, the United States Government considered it necessary to take measures to protect the flank of United Nations forces in Korea, and to prevent an additional outbreak of hostilities in the area, which might become involved with the Korean action and lead to full-scale hostilities in the Far East. For that reason the President of the United States ordered the United States Seventh Fleet to assume the mission of preventing hostilities between the National Government of China on Formosa and the Communist Chinese forces on the mainland. This action, however, was taken by this Government before it was designated as the Unified Command by the Security Council.

Since the time of this action by the United States, the Chinese Communists have intervened in Korea and compounded the original aggression [Page 783] by the North Koreans. They have persisted in this aggression and to this day continue to refuse to give up their aggression and to enter into an honorable armistice consistent with United Nations principles.

The recent Presidential order concerning the fleet in Formosan waters implies no aggressive intent on our part.

Annex A

Draft Resolution

The General Assembly,

Noting with grave concern that, in rejecting the General Assembly Resolution of December 3, 1952, the Chinese People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China and the North Korean authorities have prevented the conclusion of an armistice in Korea;

Reaffirming the principles embodied in that Resolution as an acceptable and honorable basis for a settlement of the question of the repatriation of prisoners of war;

Calls upon the Communists to avert further bloodshed by accepting forthwith the resolution of December 3, 1952, or otherwise agreeing to an armistice based on the principles of the United Nations;

Affirms that it continues to be the policy of the United Nations to bring about a cessation of hostilities in Korea in accordance with United Nations principles and to achieve United Nations objectives in Korea by peaceful means;

Appeals to all members, pending the agreement of the Chinese People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China and the North Korean authorities to an honorable armistice consistent with United Nations principles, to continue and intensify their efforts in support of the United Nations action in Korea and in particular to furnish assistance, including additional troops, to the United Nations Command, pursuant to the Security Council Resolutions of June 25 and 27, 1950 and General Assembly Resolution 376 (V), of October 7, 1950.

  1. A covering memorandum attached to a draft of this paper indicated that Hickerson, Allison, and Johnson met with Dulles on the afternoon of Feb. 13, 1953, to go over the recommendations in this paper and that Dulles approved them. (795.00/2–1353)
  2. Not printed. (IO files, lot 71 D 440, “2nd Part of 7th Session, Position Papers”)