795.00/12–2953: Telegram

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


172. Following from Dean. Reference your 175 and 190.2 Do you deem it advisable tentatively to explore with Thimayya, Haksar, and Singh precise basis on which they think Communists would be willing to resume talks, making it clear we are not making any offer? While we have reached no decision whether we would be willing to retract charge of “agents”, we don’t wish to eat crow and we certainly would not wish to be placed in position of making that offer and then having Communists reject it publicly without formally retracting “perfidy” charge. Do you think it possible that they do not quite understand full connotation of “perfidy” in English and that they might be willing to withdraw or expunge any charge or intimation that Lt. General Harrison when he signed the Agreement on Prisoners on June 8, had reason to believe that President Rhee intended to release the prisoners as he did later? In other words, without our having to make any retraction or expunging, would it be possible for you to explore whether they willing to withdraw or expunge their statement that General Harrison did not act in entire good faith? Don’t want to enter into debate with them as to precise wording or to put them in a position to reject any offer of ours but as far as we are concerned or American public opinion, it would satisfy us to have a statement on their part that General Harrison did act in good faith on June 8th or negative statement at time he did not know of Rhee’s intentions. Essential American public understand [Page 1676] charge of lack of good faith on the part of our Government on June 8 is withdrawn or expunged and that we don’t lose face in the process.

Assuming you believe feasible to work out through Indians or if you deem preferable through Swedish Ambassador at Peiping, precise arrangements for such withdrawal, what would your idea be for (a) appropriate time for resumption of talks, (b) do you think it would be wise for talks to be resumed before or after January 22? and (c) in view Seoul 585,3 what effect would resumption of preliminary talks have on our ROK relations in view recent Rhee statements and especially if we were to have to agree on Pakistan and India as non-voting observers and upon further assumption, which is by no means determined, that if we were sure other side would withdraw their nomination of USSR as neutral we might withdraw our insistence USSR be there as full voting participant and as signatory to any agreements so USSR would not be at conference in any capacity?

In view of fact on December 14 Huang was attacking our voting procedure as crooked and as paving way for the rest of our side other than ROK to vote which would allow ROK to violate vote with impunity, with no responsibility our side for subsequent ROK action which would then not constitute violation, do you think advisable mention casually we are prepared review voting procedures carefully and to distinguish between actual voting procedures at conference and subsequent substantive agreements needed to implement voting on substantive items?

In view your 1904 what do you think we would actually get out of political conference if convened? How clear is it Rhee would agree over-all plebiscite? Is there any information as to infiltration Chinese Communists into North Korea? What is best estimate population North Korea? Are Chinese attempting to build up North Korean army as such? Is there any evidence actual withdrawal Chinese forces? Assuming no possibility unification of Korea would Chinese Communists then be willing agree guaranty territorial integrity South Korea and not to send forces there? If USSR not a signatory to withdrawal forces and guaranty territorial integrity South Korea would Red China observe its terms? Realize these are really unanswerable questions but would like to focus your views on desirability having political conference with and without USSR.

[Page 1677]

Have not reached definitive view here as to whether wise to resume talks but some members UN, particularly UK, feel early resumption of talks and my presence there would be helpful. Jebb and Scott believe might be particularly helpful in defeating an Indian motion for reconvening UNGA to have talks resumed ten days or so before January 22 and if talks not resumed then may not be possible to do so for several months. Of course there would then be no possibility of conference itself convening by January 22.

We are trying to formulate policy on this matter and would be most helpful to have your views before taking any action. Have scheduled meeting sixteen for next Monday.5

  1. This telegram, repeated to Seoul as 552 and to Tokyo as 1538 for transmission to CINCUNC, was drafted by Dean and cleared with Drumright, Popper, and Murphy.
  2. In both these telegrams, Young relayed to the Department information provided him by the Indians on their discussions with members of the Chinese Delegation concerning the deadlock over the Korean Political Conference. (795.00/12–1853 and 795.00/12–2953, respectively)
  3. In this telegram, Dec. 28, 1953, Young reported that the Indians had been signatories of an interim report of the NNRC, released on Dec. 28, which stated that the failure of the explanations process was due, in part, to the influence of the Republic of Korea. (695.0024/12–2853)
  4. In this telegram, Dec. 29, 1953, Young reported that Thimayya had informally broached the idea of a double retraction of the “agent-stooge” charge of Dean and the “perfidy” charge of Huang to Communist military officers in Kaesong who stated that their delegation would not withdraw the charges. It was the opinion of Thimayya, Haksar, and Singh that the Chinese would never leave Korea and the political conference would not succeed in unification. (795.00/12–2953)
  5. Jan. 4.