Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Allison) to the Secretary of State1

top secret


  • Chou En-lai’s proposal for turning POWs resisting repatriation over to a neutral State2

In connection with our consideration of this proposal, I think it interesting to recall that General Clark made a very similar suggestion in July, 1952. At that time he suggested that “upon signing the armistice the supervision, control, and responsibility for determination as to the ultimate disposition of all POWs of both sides who have not been previously repatriated or released would be passed to a group of neutral nations,” both sides to abide by the decision of such group for disposition of non-repatriates.

Similar suggestions were also at various times informally considered within the Department and the Department of Defense but dismissed at the time because of the practical difficulties. However, some of these practical difficulties are, of course, lessened if there is agreement by both sides to such procedure. We are urgently working on all aspects of this matter and the foregoing is for background information only.

The full text of that portion of General Clark’s telegram referred to is attached.3

  1. A marginal note by O’Connor indicated that the Secretary of State saw this memorandum on Apr. 4, 1953. It was drafted by Johnson.
  2. See the editorial note, p. 824.
  3. Attached to the source text was an excerpt (Part 2) of telegram CX 51489, Clark to JCS, July 7, 1952; for the complete text of the telegram, see p. 380.