795.00/12–153: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Representative for the Korean Political Conference (Dean)1

top secret

123. Assuming political conference is ever held, urtel 122,2 we are not certain it would be advantageous for it to be delayed until March or April. Undue delay will compound uncertainty re Korea’s future, give Communists pretext for continued accusations against UNC, prevent stabilization of ROK status if Korea is to remain divided. While we therefore feel advantages of delay are questionable we agree with you completely that we must continue publicly to press for conference in accordance with Article 60 of Armistice Agreement and UNGA resolution August 28. Your negotiations have already served to demonstrate to our allies and free world that we are making every reasonable effort to get conference convened, and that Communists are stalling. Even if talks now break down, they will have been most valuable for this reason.

We also agree that with presentation written counter-proposal along lines Deptel 1153 you will have made just about every possible concession consistent with our interpretation Armistice Agreement and GA resolution. We think you are now standing on strong position from which you should not recede. Our objective during remainder of GA should be to highlight unreasonableness of Communist position so as to fortify our position in world opinion. Consequently we agree thoroughly with pertinent parts three sentences your 122. Appreciate difficulties our making proposal in writing but believe this would be helpful in making our position perfectly clear by comparison with Communist written proposal and therefore hope you can see your way to present written proposal in near future. When proposal is presented you should make clear it constitutes complete and serious basis for settling outstanding issues on which we intend stand firm, without threatening at this time to break off talks. We will take same line here in supporting [Page 1634] statements, for which we need soonest your final text and estimate of timing.

USGA Delegation informs us Korean item will not be reached before Friday December fourth.

At briefing meeting group of sixteen just concluded, ROK not present, sentiment solidly behind our position. Several representatives made point progress had been made last few weeks, and all feel conversations should not be broken off.

  1. This telegram, which was repeated to New Delhi as telegram 608, to Seoul as telegram 463, and to Tokyo as telegram 1315 (to be passed to CINCUNC), was drafted by Popper and cleared with Drumright and Murphy.
  2. Supra.
  3. In this telegram to Munsan-ni, Dec. 1, Dean received a suggested text from the Department of State for his “package proposal” at Panmunjom. According to the proposal, a political conference would be held within 4–6 weeks after the conclusion of the preliminary discussions. The principle of the two-sided conference would be maintained because the two belligerents would have plenary authority over the proceedings, the two sides would vote, and the Soviet Union would be included as a voting member on the Communist side. Nations with “current experience” in Korea (most particularly India) could take part in the conference, but without the right to vote, without the power to introduce proposals or motions, and with the stipulation that they stick to the agenda. For the text of the proposal as presented on Dec. 8, see Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 21, 1953, pp. 877–878.