396.1 GE/5–1054: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1


Tedul 52. Personal from Secretary to Under Secretary. For the first time today, I have had a chance to give thought to Korean phase of Conference. The general lines of my thinking are: [Page 243]

We should not attempt coercive pressures on Rhee to compel him to accept a plan which he with some justification feels might jeopardize the non-Communist status of the Republic of Korea. I am quite aware of the fact that there is very little chance that Plan B would be acceptable and that therefore to propose it is a good gamble. However, it is one thing to gamble with something affecting one’s own country but another thing to force a gamble on the government of the country which is itself at stake.

Am suggesting that the present impasse might be overcome by dropping out of Plan B the provisions dealing with the withdrawal of forces and suggesting paragraph to general effect that obviously the free elections will require withdrawals of foreign forces and such disposition of domestic forces as will insure non-intimidation and that this will be dealt with at a subsequent stage.

At the Berlin Conference, the Western allies ducked the question of troop withdrawals, as proposed by Molotov, and I see no reason why the Western allies should not permit Rhee to do the same.

In view of our desire to develop a strong anti-Communist position, with particular relation to Indochina, and the prospect that we might still intervene there and that this might involve a clash with Communist China, I think it important that we basically follow a line which will keep the confidence of our anti-Communist allies in Asia rather than seem to be working against them with a view to winning favor of Western European countries which are not disposed to be very helpful to us in Asia.
Am disposed to proceed with exchange of ratifications of Korean Treaty, as I told Pyun, and as was indicated to Rhee when he agreed to send delegation to Geneva. I doubt whether we should get in position of trying to get him to try to buy same horse twice.

  1. The file copy indicates that this telegram was drafted by Dulles. It was repeated for information to Seoul as telegram 907 and to Tokyo as telegram 2481 with instructions to pass to CINCUNC.