Matthews files, lot 53 D 413: Telegram

The Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Clark) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff

top secret
operational immediate

CX 61781. Refs: A. Z 36190 (HNU 4–1).1 B. CX 61773.2

I consider that the ques of categories in refs to Article 110 of the Geneva Conf by the Communists, as reptd in ref A, indicates that the Communists wish to establish the category of sick and wounded to be repatriated dirly through Pan Mun Jom; and that they did not wish to exchange figures until it was clearly established which categories were to be exchanged as defined in Article 110 para 1, subparas 1, 2 and 3; and para 2, subparas 1 and 2. The ref to neutral country I consider purely academic and unconnected with the Chou En-lai refs to a “neutral state”.
It was the impression of the liaison group that the Communists were not entirely prepared to exchange figures.
The preliminary est of UNC held sick and wounded pers transmitted to you by ref B included all seriously sick and wounded, fit to tvl, held by the UNC and desiring repatriation, including not only those eligible for dir repatriation under para 1 of Article 110, but those eligible for accommodation under para 2 of Article 110. An immediate breakdown into a category eligible for dir repatriation, and another category eligible for accommodation in a neutral country will be a time consuming process which must depend upon medical opinion. In order to expedite matters I intend to propose to the Communists that overall figures to include both categories, broken down by nationalities, be exchanged without delay. If the Communists insist upon a breakdown of figures by categories and sub-categories as listed in Article 110 I am initiating action now to obtain quickly percentage figures based upon the best medical opinion aval in the POW Comd. I intend to press for early exchange [Page 880] of the nrs of the sick and wounded pers held by the Communists, broken down by nationalities.
In the second and third sentence of the second para of part 5 of the text passed to you in ref A the Communists state: “It was solely because the Korean negotiations were suspended that there was no way to implement this agreement. In consequence it has not been possible up to the present to repatriate the sick and injured pris of both sides”. The inclusion of this statement is completely incongruous in view of the fact that armistice negotiations are still suspended, and may indicate some intention on their part to force a resumption of full delegation negotiations in order to reach agreement on the repatriation of sick and wounded. However, in the remainder of the para the Communists state that they are: “Now—prepared to repatriate all the sick injured—according to the provisions of—POW.” In view of this latter statement I do not propose to challenge the manifest absurdity of their statement that repatriation of the sick and wounded was impossible while negotiations were in recess.
I note that the third para of Article 109, which precludes forcible repatriation during hostilities of those pers required to be directly repatriated in accordance with the first para of Article 110 does not apply to those pers eligible for accommodation in a neutral country as set forth in para 2 of Article 110. This point may lead to some complication in the discussion regarding those pers to be repatriated directly even though they are only eligible for accommodation in a neutral country. I therefore intend to agree immediately to repatriate all sick and wounded entitled to be directly repatriated, and to further agree to repatriate all sick and wounded eligible for accommodation in a neutral country subj to the provision that no indiv in this category shall be eligible for repatriation except in accordance with para 3 of Article 109.
  1. Not printed, but see footnote 2 p. 877.
  2. In this telegram, Apr. 6, 1953, Clark informed the JCS that an estimated 5,800 sick and wounded prisoners (5,100 North Koreans and 700 Chinese) would be repatriated by the UNC, which was prepared to deliver and receive up to 500 persons a day. Clark also told the JCS that he had no indication of the number of POWs the Communists planned to repatriate. (Matthews files, lot 53 D 413)