795.00/1–754: Telegram

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

top secret

639. At small private dinner given by Commanding General Air Force last night President Rhee present. He looked extremely worn and haggard. While personally friendly he made no reference to meeting described Embassy’s telegram 635.1

I suggest that for next few days at least we take no further step with Rhee concerning matters discussed, leaving him to reflect on consequences of statements made and attitude he adopted yesterday. In particular, I believe it would be undesirable for Young and me to call on Rhee with reference to proposed resumption of Panmunjom talks. Department’s telegram 570, January 7,2 just received. This is in reply to Young’s 6333 which was drafted before my call on Rhee yesterday at which President characterized as “childish” attempt resume negotiations. Department will recall he likewise expressed his opposition to resumption in public New Year statement. Furthermore, presence of Ambassador Yang at January 4 meeting can be interpreted as official notification to Republic of Korea.

While there is always chance Rhee may issue public blast denouncing resumption and disassociating his government therefrom, this prospect would probably not be noticeably diminished by proposed visit.

Young agrees and I suggest therefore, that we postpone approach to Rhee, at least pending Department’s consideration of this message.4

  1. Supra.
  2. In this telegram, Jan. 6, the Department of State informed Briggs and Young, inter alia, that it did not wish to become involved in drawn out negotiations with Rhee on resumption of the Panmunjom talks. (795.00/1–654)
  3. In this telegram, Jan. 6, Briggs suggested that some understanding was needed with the ROK regarding resumption of the preliminary talks for a political conference. (795.00/1–654)
  4. In telegram 574 to Seoul, Jan. 7, 1954, the Department of State approved Briggs’ recommendation to defer conversations with Rhee regarding resumption of Panmunjom talks and asked the Ambassador to inform Young. (795.00/1–754)