795.00/12–753: Telegram

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


501. Repeated information Tokyo 296, Munsan-ni pouched. Tokyo for CINCUNC. From Dean.

Briggs and I at conference President Rhee, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister presented our written proposal 1371 again with textual changes authorized by Department. They are unalterably opposed to not listing USSR on other side and definitely consider failure to do so makes USSR neutral. They ignore our condition USSR must vote with Red China and North Korea at time each vote is taken. They also insisted only ROK and US vote on our side and none of 15 United Nations members have right to vote. I explained this impossible but was sure we would work out satisfactory assurances to satisfy them on our side but naturally did not wish hand our foreign policy over to them. They expressed concern lest vote be by majority our side and they and we would be outvoted by 15 who would be perfectly satisfied to leave Chinese troops in North Korea and abandon unification Korea. Carefully explained we must stand together and again explained exact manner USSR would vote with other side without necessarily being listed on other side. They insisted I had gone back on my word and had labeled USSR as a neutral. Also charged me with eliminating term “non-voting observer.” I explained substance of the rights of the invitee nations remained the same as I had outlined and went over language carefully and reasons for not using term.

Finally President said he would give me carte blanche in arranging conference if US would enter into definite agreement US would unconditionally join in fighting along with ROK if conference held and in ninety days did not succeed in bringing about unification. I said that was utterly and completely out of question and American people would not tolerate renewal of hostilities except to repel unprovoked attack. [Page 1650] President said then why don’t your forces withdraw completely and you can quote me on saying we would be glad if that occurs. If you don’t want to fight, get out. And he then gave a long tirade on our relations with Japan and our lack of courage in fighting Russia.

I again said we believed in negotiation at conference table and not in resumption of hostilities and asked their cooperation. Said we must make proposal to Communists and if they agreeable would be willing to say would be presented on behalf of some of governments I represented and would they cooperate by not commenting until Communists had replied. They said they certainly would comment and would advise Korean nation they did not agree with my statement.

Again made explicitly clear to President there was no possibility whatever our being willing to resume hostilities. Very significant none of these made any mention of certain letter already delivered or of reply copy to [of ?] which none of us here has ever seen. In reply, Rhee made complete “sacrifice and unity by death” speech and renewed attack on wavering character of US and weak attitude toward USSR and our loss of leadership. Again went over ground patiently and about 1 o’clock President against objection of other two invited me back to see them at 3.

Briggs and I went back to see Prime Minister and Pyun at 3. Again went over proposal carefully agreeing to make certain changes and emphasizing under literal text paragraph sixty they had no right to come nor could we force USSR to come conference. Emphasized our insistence ROK be at conference at UNGA seventh session in fighting original Russian resolution. Also explained imperative necessity of our knowing exactly how USSR stood in each point at conference before we voted and we had to negotiate to get her at conference.

Young joined us at 4:30 and he and Briggs carefully went over all of our arguments. All of us very patient.

Finally Prime Minister after exchanging glance with Pyun said they would agree only if we would agree to resume hostilities ninety days after political conference convened if no unification was achieved. Said after that time they must be free to resume hostilities and that we must agree to join. Repeated there was absolutely no possibility of this and if administration were to agree people would repudiate. Again reviewed complete reasonableness our position and asked them to consider carefully.

Pyun said they would have to insist on, (A) listing USSR on other side, (B) other 15 UN members contributing forces could not vote, (C) no neutrals could be invited under any conditions whatever.

I said they were being non-cooperative and were running very grave risks of serious rupture in ROK-US relations which would only help Communists and do no one good.

[Page 1651]

Again asked if I could make offer on behalf of some governments and have them wait until Commies replied. They refused. Wanted me to give advance notice when I would make statement at conference so they could simultaneously issue statement before Commies could reply, and I declined. They said they would report to President tomorrow but they have recalled Cho and Li to Seoul and possibly they may make announcement tonight. Leaks are beginning to appear.

Quite apparent Prime Minister and Pyun had advance agreement to refuse. I argued quietly and reasonably three hours this morning and two and one-half hours this afternoon and we know of nothing I could have said further to convince. Believe President knows he can never achieve unification and thinks now is better time to force us into fighting than after conference convenes. He apparently believes we are building up Japan and do not plan support Korea and is using this threat in attempt to force our hand in fisheries dispute and in connection conference. His discussion of Japanese relations complete temperamental outburst. Recommend we do not make any concession to him. He will probably try to wreck our offer before we can make it. Plan make our offer on behalf of certain governments to Communists tomorrow.

Both Briggs and I feel they have made up their mind on some policy, though President has not yet made his final decision, and are using our desire for political conference as means of forcing us into new agreement.

  1. Presumably the drafter of this telegram meant to refer to telegram 149, Dec. 7, which gives the complete text of the overall proposal Dean was to make at Panmunjom the next day. (795.00/12–753) In telegram 137 from Munsan-ni, Dec. 4, Dean sent revisions of this proposal to the Department of State for approval. (795.00/12–453)