396.1 GE/5–854: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 149. Repeated information Seoul 58, Tokyo 31. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. For the Secretary from Smith. Following are comments on Tosec 97 [98] (to Seoul 898)1 and Seoul’s 54 to Geneva:2

Recommend against alternative course action suggested final paragraphs Tosec 973 except as last resort. To follow such course at this time would show up allied disunity and place us in highly vulnerable position. Doubtful Communists would fail realize and exploit situation, as at Panmunjom, where Communists, ignoring our proposals, were beginning capitalize on fact ROK not supporting our position when Dean broke off talks. Believe preferable delay presentation allied proposal until agreement reached within 16 even if means stalling until some time next week.
Speeches Eight Plenary Session leave us in stronger position for time being with three clear-cut issues but do not believe possible stall more than few days at best. While opening Indochina phase may divert attention away from problem Korean negotiations Seoul as well as Geneva, we about run out of speakers for general debate on Korea. We reaching stage of repetition general themes or presenting proposals on basis general position thoroughly developed in general debate. Can anticipate only one or possibly two more plenary sessions general debate on Korean problem. Can count on Allied Delegates again speaking in support general principles when we in position submit proposal. Accordingly, our immediate tactic is (1) obtain firm 16–nation endorsement draft proposal, but (2) not present it to Communists at this time unless they indicate willingness accept UN role in Korea. However, plan would in any event be tabled in plenary session before adjournment conference.
Therefore believe should complete work not later than Tuesday4 on US-ROK agreement draft proposal. We should inform Rhee we consider we must be ready present plan B proposal within next few days. His refusal to go along with it will have serious adverse effect our relations and may require re-examination (1) whether mutual defense treaty should be brought into effect and (2) extent our military [Page 231] and economic aid programs. Recommend this strong line only because convinced ROK interests fully protected by our proposal and failure present some such proposal would have extremely bad effect. Moreover, Pyun and other members ROK delegation appear convinced desirability ROK backing our proposal.
Hope arguments outlined Tosec 98 will convince Rhee desirability proposing UNCURK in first instance as UN body in Korea. Further point which should be considered and advanced to Rhee is fact his opposition might play into Communist hands by giving them reason propose new body perhaps including neutralist nations and even one including Communist China (see Secto 150 repeated Seoul 59, Tokyo 32 re Chinese reactions at press briefing on UN question).5 We would anticipate that if serious negotiations commence here on proposal we would be prepared agree creation suitable new UN commission but from tactical viewpoint seems best insist initially on UNCURK. Rhee’s objection to UNCURK does weaken our negotiating position, particularly since Communists will oppose UNCURK but may as concession later be willing accept UN commission with composition favorable Communist interests. Nevertheless, if Rhee adamant, we would reluctantly agree to phrase such as “appropriate UN commission”.
In order stem impatience growing among some Allied Delegations we are considering meeting of working group of nine, probably Monday, to discuss draft proposal for first time, whether or not we have Rhee’s approval by then. ROK Delegation would, of course, participate on ad referendum basis.

  1. Dated May 7, p. 225.
  2. Dated May 7, p. 215.
  3. Dated May 7, p. 224.
  4. May 11.
  5. infra .