795.00/2–1654: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 81. Re Tedul 46.2 I do not think it wise to inform Rhee at this time of the details of our proposals. I think however, it would be wise to transmit to him a personal message from me along the following lines:

“In reference to the negotiations that we are now conducting in restricted sessions of our meeting here on the Far East, I want you to know that I have taken no position which departs from the statements I made in the plenary sessions, the pertinent parts of which have been transmitted to you.”

If you concur would you authorize Embassy Seoul to pass message along this line to Rhee.3

  1. Dulles was in Berlin for the quadripartite meeting of Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union, which lasted from Jan. 25 to Feb. 18, 1954. For documentation on the Berlin Conference, see volume vii . Although the main business of the Berlin Conference was the German question, on which no agreement was reached, other matters, such as Austria and European security were taken up. In the course of the meetings, the Foreign Ministers also discussed the Far East, and, in particular, the question of an international conference to resolve the Korean problem. It is with Korea that this telegram is concerned.
  2. The text of this telegram, dated Feb. 13, to Berlin, read as follows:

    “Re discussions on Korean Political Conference, we wonder whether you would approve informing Rhee in general way of proposal now under negotiation. Various aspects of proposal have been leaking gradually to press, and we understand DeJean has informed Bao Dai and others re Indo-China aspects. We fear that if Rhee first hears of result your talks through press, he may react in harmful manner. Our recommendation is you authorize us to have Embassy Seoul informally advise Rhee in confidence substance Western proposal, stating it still under negotiation.” (396.1–BE/2–1354)

  3. The reply to telegram Dulte 81 was contained in telegram Tedul 56, Feb. 17, to Berlin, which stated:

    Dulte 81. Believe inadvisable transmit personal message now in view of highly offensive letter Rhee has just sent to President and which we are trying to persuade him to withdraw. Would prefer, unless you object, await close of conference before filling him in on Far Eastern discussions.” (795.00/2–1654)

    The letter from President Rhee, dated Feb. 4, was withdrawn by Rhee at the request of the Department of State and was not delivered to President Eisenhower. In it, Rhee had stated that Korea saw no hope in the U.S. Government because of the unwillingness of the United States to back the efforts of the Republic of Korea to unify all of Korea, because of the weakness of the United States in the face of Communist intransigence, and because of pro-Japanese policies which the United States pursued at the expense of Korea. (Lot 66 D 204; “RheeEisenhower Correspondence”) For the text of the letter, see volume xv .