795B.00/5–854: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea ( Briggs ) to the United States Delegation


62. Sent Department 1137, repeated information Tokyo 672. Geneva for USDel. Tokyo for CINCUNC. For Smith from Dean. Acting Foreign Minister Cho called in person and handed us following authorized message dated May 8 from President Rhee for transmission our government.

“After the Communist aggressors have withdrawn from my country so that genuine free elections can be held throughout Korea under UN observation I will recommend to the National Assembly the adoption of such amendments to the constitution as may be necessary to have national elections for the National Assembly.

The withdrawal of Chinese troops should be completed and the Korean Communist Army should either leave the country or surrender to the ROK Government and the USA should pledge to act on the USAROK Mutual Defense Pact immediately if Communist forces invade Korea again.

There should be no repetition of the Communist aggression of 1950 which took place after the withdrawal of the USA forces in 1949.”

(With respect to foregoing statement President adds parenthetically that although no reference to elections for the presidency are to be included, when proper time comes he will personally ask National Assembly to amend constitution to include election of president, and “I may be willing run for re-election”.)

Pointed out to Cho first this wording would presumably require phased simultaneous withdrawal in south of all UN forces before [Page 234] election; second, along lines Deptel 8981 said would prefer use UNCURK since no Communists on present commission appointed 7 October 1950 resolutions and other side would certainly insist on Communists if Secretary General appointed today; and third, in view our conversation with President Rhee this morning, was my clear understanding if this message satisfactory to our government, President Rhee would authorize Pyun to have plan B, modified along these lines, presented at Geneva.

Cho confirmed this was his understanding of his conversations President Rhee; stated President Rhee did not wish issue instructions Pyun until sure this statement satisfactory our government.

Assume you can devise appropriate language with respect to action on Defense Pact. Sorry about inclusion surrender North Korean Communist Army but without this I am afraid can get no statement whatsoever and further believe necessary avoid rupture after plan is announced.

Sincerely hope this statement which really represents maximum effort our part and pushing President to limit can be used to put forward plan B at Geneva promptly with full approval our allies and we can iron out essential details later.

General Van Fleet has been south on inspection trip all day and will have no opportunity discuss messages with him until probably very late tonight or tomorrow morning. Fully recognize his tremendous influence but hope you won’t push President too far or he apt to ask firmer commitment on ROK build-up.

Hope you appreciate the suggested statement sent Embtel 11342 drafted not only to accomplish practical result we want but so drafted that when public statement issued here will receive public approbation.

  1. Dated May 7, p. 225.
  2. Dated May 8, p. 226.