795.00/11–1353: Telegram

The Representative for the Korean Political Conference (Dean) to the Department of State

top secret

57. Reference Deptel 36.2 In view very short period between arrival Vice President and his meeting with Rhee yesterday afternoon, Young, in response instructions Deptel 36, drafted summary statement quoted below which I approved and, at my suggestion and without being able clear it with Embassy, handed it to Vice President with brief oral remarks following short general briefing at Embassy with Briggs, Dean, [Page 1608] Hull, Taylor, Wood, Young, Bond, Caraway, Watts and Herter. Same group present long discussion last night with Vice President at Embassy residence at which time Deptel 36 carried out in more detail. Thought it better not to ask Vice President to mention political conference. Summary statement follows:

United States Objectives and Policy in Korea.

It is the objective of the United States in Korea to establish and maintain a position of strength against Communism to the greatest extent possible, and to seek a political settlement that will achieve a united, independent and free Korea.
At this time, there are two primary problems in achieving our objective because of the attitudes of the Government of the Republic of Korea.
Observance of the armistice agreement—President Rhee threatens to ignore the armistice and move his forces north to unify Korea approximately six months following the signing of the armistice on 27 July 1953;
Holding of a political conference as soon as possible—President Rhee really opposes political conference, is making difficulties in convening it, has violently opposed India and Indian participation in any political conference and is maintaining such a rigid, provocative position as to frustrate in large part the holding of a political conference.
The major steps we need to take are:
To leave Rhee no illusion or ambiguous misconception regarding our opposition to any violation of the armistice against our judgment or without our knowledge;
To persuade him to cooperate with us in complete partnership, regarding the convening and operation of a political conference. This would mean relaxation in his attitude toward the governments who should attend the political conference on the non-Communist side, specifically India.
If President Rhee continues to threaten to, or if he should, violate the armistice or prevent the holding of a political conference, it would have the following effect on the United States objectives:
The first would involve us in military hostilities under circumstances not of our choosing and with possible severe consequences.
If he is the principal obstacle to the political conference he will be in effect forcing United States to tie up large military forces and tremendous military supplies indefinitely in Korea.
In conclusion, United States objectives in Korea can be best served if President Rhee and his government can be persuaded to observe the armistice and to work with us in holding a political conference.
It is of vital importance to US-ROK relations that armistice be observed in letter and spirit on UN side;
It is fundamental that President Rhee observe in all respects his commitments in joint communique of 7 August 1953 with Secretary [Page 1609] Dulles to leave his troops under the United Nations Command and to take no unilateral step to threaten peace;
Peace in Asia can be preserved only by the cooperative effort and understanding among the free nations in Asia. No one nation must be allowed, or has the right, to jeopardize or break that peace;
Full cooperation of the Republic of Korea will bring it the full support of all free Asia and give it a new position of dignity, leadership and strength, which it has shown on the battlefield against Communism.
  1. The source text did not indicate the time of transmission of this telegram, which was received at the Department of State at 2:22 a.m., Nov. 13.
  2. In this telegram to Munsan-ni, Nov. 6, the Department of State informed Dean of the existence of the Eisenhower letter of November 4 to Rhee (p. 1591) and the plan for Nixon to deliver it. Briggs was to show the letter and the related documentation to Dean, who in turn was to ensure that Young briefed the Vice President. (795.00/11–653)