795B.00/5–454: Telegram

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


1110. Repeated information priority Tokyo 654, priority Geneva 41. Tokyo pass CINCUNC exclusive for General Hull. For the Secretary from Dean. Ambassadors Briggs and Dean called on President Rhee and acting Foreign Minister Cho this morning and delivered copy of tentative draft.1 In retyping we omitted brackets and left in text words formerly in brackets. In II–D we left in “throughout Korea” and struck out “in Korea”. We also handed President following statement:

“Our draft for establishment of united and independent Korea, if it meets with President Rhee’s approval, would give American delegation and ROK strong negotiating hand versus Communists.

“It would help US and ROK to direct and control negotiating situation at Geneva, and enable US and ROK to take initiative among 16 UN nations contributing troops in proposing sound and constructive plan. An appropriate time and auspice for use such proposals at Geneva conference has not yet been discussed with other delegations. Draft paper contains essential principles on UN observation of elections and troop withdrawal, but leaves room for changes as situation develops.

“Proposed plan is in accordance with UNGA resolution of 14 November 1947, of 12 December 1948, of 21 October 1949, and of 7 October 1950: ‘that all constituent acts be taken, including holding of elections, under auspices of UN, for establishment of unified independent and democratic government on sovereign state of Korea.’

“At this stage of conference we and ROK have advantage of UK and French views which are apparently similar to our tentative plan. These views include specific reference to UNCURK, to elections within the ROK constitutional structure, and to permissive provision for newly elected National Assembly to amend ROK constitution as provided by its terms.”

[Page 201]

President Rhee read out loud above statement and tentative draft proposal. He asked two specific questions:

Will the Communists accept it?
If he agreed to it could he have the Secretary’s assurances that we would stand on this and that we would not feel compelled to go to some other proposal in order to appear reasonable before the world in relation to the Communists?

He feels that the more intransigent position the Communists take the more we feel we should make concessions in order appear reasonable before the world and since Communists are not impressed by the concessions he wondered whom we were trying to impress. In answer to first question we said that at closed meeting Molotov and Chou En-lai had supported Nam Il’s proposal of merging two Assemblies and rejecting UN supervision and at present could not see much real prospect of Communist acceptance. As to second question we said we would ask instructions. President very pleasant and agreeable throughout.

  1. See telegram 32, May 2, from Geneva, p. 178.