795.00/5–1654: Telegram

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

confidential
priority

85. Repeated information Department 1185, Tokyo 702. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. For Smith from Dean. Sent following letter by hand to President Rhee early this morning in effort get them off dead center and not wait outcome May 20 elections or Van Fleet mission.

“In the proposed draft statement of principles I handed you yesterday you will note the words in paragraph 3 ‘by the United Nations (or UNCURK)’.

“In one of our earlier conversations you will recall you objected to supervision by UNCURK so I suggested to Geneva, in order to meet [Page 275] your views, the use of some phrase such as ‘United Nations or an appropriate committee or commission thereof.’

“As you know the existing membership of UNCURK is made up of representatives from Australia, Chile, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Turkey, all of whom constitute members of the free world.

“If we get away from UNCURK and use another agency of the UN, the Communists or nations somewhat more friendly to them than to us may demand representation.

“So in our own interests let’s stick to UNCURK.

“Nothing in this world is perfect but the draft of principles we left with you Saturday enables us to proclaim the free world solidarity against communism and you affirm your moral willingness to let the people of all Korea decide under UNCURK supervision. Further we maintain the ROK constitution and sovereignty, a cardinal article of our faith.

“Time is running out. It is important that we issue this statement of principles promptly at Geneva. We can work out the details later.

“While I have no authority to make commitments to you with respect to your army or its equipment, it seems to be quite apparent there must be no rupture in the US-ROK relations here or at Geneva if we are to get the most propitious results from the Van Fleet mission when its recommendations are announced at home so you will be in a position to repel any attack within the framework of our mutual defense pact.

“And in view of our other commitments against communism in the free world, it is essential we and you have no break with the rest of our allies at Geneva.

“As Benjamin Franklin said. ‘If we don’t hang together, we will all hang separately.’

“I will be glad to call any time you wish to see me.”

Since drafting letter, Geneva’s 80 (to Department 216)1 received. Appreciate clarification. Very helpful.

Reference subdivision 5, dispatched letter in attempt to overcome Rhee’s previous irritation at Eden and Philippine suggestions, and his insistence complete withdrawal prior to elections. Local military consider withdrawal toward ports somewhat dubious. Will continue press hard as we dare.

Briggs
  1. Dated May 15, p. 271.