695A.0024/1–554: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea (Briggs) to the Department of State


627. Repeated information priority Tokyo 373, priority Taipei 45, priority New Delhi 47. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Re Embtel 6251 and previous telegrams this subject.

Within fifteen minutes of delivery General Taylor’s letter to President Rhee (see reference telegram) latter telephoned Taylor to say whole incident of Pyun’s note of January 4 (Embtel 617, January 42) and subsequent developments had been misunderstanding. He said he accepted Taylor’s letters (second letter delivered this afternoon reiterated [Page 1695] offer re unarmed Korean Police proceeding to DZ to participate in DZ patrol). He added that he was sending General Won Yong Tok [Duk] (ROK Provost Marshal General) to see Taylor immediately re latter.

At meeting one hour later between General Taylor and General Won, which I attended, Won said he was prepared to send “his men” (that is, Korean Military Police outside UNC control) to DZ immediately. Taylor replied he not prepared receive Won’s men but would permit enter DZ not exceeding 100 ROK Marines who would replace equal number US Marines. They would be under UNC in strict accord with letter quoted Embtel 625. It was left that detailed plans to effect this would be worked out tomorrow between General Won and General Bryan, Corps Commander.

I later called on Pyun at his request but declined to enter into further discussion of matters settled by Taylor letter and Rhee’s acceptance thereof. Pyun notably subdued and turned to separate unrelated matter. Of interest, however, that as I left I encountered in Pyun’s anteroom General Won who after proceeding from Taylor’s office to Rhee had obviously come to consult with Pyun regarding situation. This confirms my view that those two largely responsible for campaign which terminated for the moment this afternoon with Rhee acceptance Taylor letter.

  1. Telegram 625 from Seoul contained the following text of the letter from Taylor to Rhee, Jan. 5:

    “In reply to Foreign Minister Pyun’s communication of January 4, 1954, the Commander-in-Chief, UNC, directs me to inform the Government of Republic of Korea that entrance into demilitarized area by South Korea armed police as outlined in the aforesaid communication is totally unacceptable as it is in direct violation of terms of armistice agreement. The UNC is morally obligated to carry out both in spirit and letter the terms of armistice agreement. This the Commander-in-Chief of the UNC intends to do to limit of his ability.

    “The custody of the prisoners of war for present is in hands of custodial forces India which under terms of armistice agreement, has full custody of prisoners of war while they remain in that category. Under paragraph 6 of terms of reference, the UNC is responsible for ‘preventing and restraining any armed forces (including irregular armed forces) in area under his control from any acts of disturbance and intrusion against the locations where the prisoners of war are in custody’. This responsibility the UNC will carry out even though it requires the use of force.” (695.0024/1–554)

  2. Not printed, but see footnote 2, supra.