396.1 GE/5–1154: Telegram

Ninth Plenary Session on Korea, Geneva, May 11, 3:05 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 177. Repeated information Tokyo 48, London 151, Moscow 63, Paris 241, Oslo 7, Seoul for information 66. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Department pass Defense CINCPAC, COMSAC. Ninth plenary session Korean phase May 11 consisted speeches by Molotov (USSR), Spaak (Belgium) and Pyun (ROK).3 At conclusion four-hour session Eden presiding announced understood Indochina meeting scheduled tomorrow and that Secretariat would inform delegates time next Korea session.

Molotov propaganda speech lasting nearly two hours flatly rejected UN role Korean unification claiming all UN activities in Korea from beginning 1947 illegal. Other two chief points were status Communist China as one of Big Five and vague statement on desirability collective security arrangement for all Asian peoples.

Molotov attack on UN role Korean unification developed from lengthy historical review Korean problem 1945 to present. Noteworthy specific charges included alleged US proposal of trusteeship for Korea for 1945 Moscow agreement, lack of competence under Article 107 of Charter to deal with Korean problem 1947–1949, and Asian nations’ reluctance participate UN military intervention 1950 and non-independent status those which did.

Following historical commentary he concluded that UN, as result of illegal Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, became a belligerent in Korea and thereby deprived itself of competence to serve impartially in solving Korean problem. Asserted Geneva conference had no relation to UN and that Communist China clearly belongs on Security Council as one of Big Five, this status being shown [Page 250] by its position as one of only five powers participating both phases Geneva. Made somewhat plaintive note of fact that while “torrents of speeches filled with excessive and persuasive praise of US” no word said by any non-Communist power on “seizure of Formosa”. He specifically attacked October 7, 1950 UNGA resolution establishing UNCURK, saying it was intended to impose South Korean regime on North Korea. Also asserted UNCURK membership composed primarily of interventionists and colonial powers.

Recapitulated Nam Il proposal and added that USSR prepared to cooperate in implementing paragraph 3 concerning peaceful development of Korea. Replying to criticism of all-Korean commission he said agreement by both sides is essential to any solution Korean problem and DPROK cannot be asked subordinate itself to South Korean regime. Then described the virtues of DPROK regime in improving welfare of people and contrasted alleged defects in South Korea. Said all-Korean Commission would preserve DPROK achievements and that plans based on extension of undemocratic and corrupt South Korean regime to North Korea are unacceptable.

Saying US attitude is key to solution of Korean problem Molotov led into attack on US hostility to Communist China and plans of US and others to form aggressive military bloc in Southeast Asia. Comparing situation with Western Europe he said all Asian States should unite to ensure collective security arrangements for all peoples of Asia.

Spaak outstanding brief address on high note reminded conference that problem before it was Korea, not world or even Asia. Rebutted Communist aspersions on UN collective security efforts in Korea and on alleged US imperialism. Noted inconsistency Chinese Communist desire for admission to UN at same time it condemned UN. Said everyone apparently agrees goal is united, free and democratic Korea and that everyone also advocates free elections. He said point at issue is whether (1) there should be no international supervision and foreign forces should be withdrawn before elections. (2) There should be no prior withdrawal foreign forces and elections should be under international supervision and under UN auspices. He supported latter. Closed with appeal for moderation and a little mutual trust among conference participants.

Pyun’s speech largely rebuttal to previous Communist speeches although fundamental importance UN role in solving Korean problem emphasized throughout. Challenging professed Communist desire prevent any international intervention in Korean unification, Pyun rejoined that point 3 of Nam Il proposal calls for intervention by “appropriate states” and concluded Communists wanted only foreign [Page 251] intervention by nations they chose. He again attacked Nam Il proposal for All-Korean Commission as “legislatural [legislatorial] coalition”. Chiding Chou En-lai on professed concern over security of China from Korea, Pyun asserted ROK has no aggressive intentions and went on to describe Chinese Communist imperialism in North Korea, mentioning mass deportation North Koreans and forcible marriage of Korean women to Chinese men. Rebutting Chou accusation of aggressive US intervention in China (Formosa), Pyun said that US intervention in China prevented Japanese conquest and thereby saved base of operations for Chou.

Saying that Korea “terribly eager for success” of conference, Pyun said important in case conference fails that people of world know Communists are to blame. Defined fundamental question as whether Communists would lower iron curtain in North Korea and permit free elections under UN auspices. State ROK had held four elections and May 20 elections are under “close and direct observation of UN”. “Whole problem of unification would be solved” if UN could observe elections NK. Left somewhat obscure whether talking about single nation-wide elections or separate elections NK.

Reiterated earlier statement 45,000 anti-Communist Korean and Chinese mentioned by Communists are no longer POWs but citizens recovered from illegal Communist domination. Then proceeded to make long eloquent plea that Communists permit International Red Cross send representatives behind iron curtain to find, assist and repatriate civilians abducted from South Korea in 1950.

In additional comments drafted during meeting in response Molotov address Pyun defended October 7, 1950 UNGA resolution, said if aggressive USSR military bloc dissolved other blocs would disappear also, and deprecated Soviet role in defeat of Japan. Castigating uncomplimentary references by Molotov to President Rhee, Pyun repeatedly called Molotov a liar.

  1. A set of minutes of this meeting (US Verb Min/9) is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627. The minutes indicate that the meeting convened at 3:05 p.m. and adjourned at 7:02 p.m.
  2. The transmittal time indicated on the source text, noon, is obviously in error.
  3. Extracts from Molotov’s speech and the text of Spaak’s statement are printed in The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 91–105 and 105–109.