Dean–Briggs–Rhee Meeting, Seoul, May 17, Morning: The Ambassador in Korea (Briggs) to the Department of State
1191. Repeated information Tokyo 705, priority Geneva 89. Tokyo for CINCUNC. For the Secretary from Dean. Geneva for Smith. [Page 276]Reference Department’s 9231 and Geneva’s 74.2 After Secretary Defense Wilson and his party left President Rhee this morning Ambassadors Briggs and Dean conferred with President and acting Foreign Minister Cho on a Presidential redraft of the proposal left with President Saturday which redraft Ambassador Dean received from President this morning. Considerable progress made but President insisting members Communist Party and its members shall have no right to vote, new immigrants from China be excluded voting, UNCURK to have no right “to interfere in the elections,” objects to UNCURK making any certification with respect to when unified government has been established, and added clause in which he insists no specific mention of North Korean Government can be made which in effect provides that neither the ROK nor its western and northern Communist neighbors will invade or infiltrate the other or interfere in any way with the internal affairs of the other and in case of a military attack UN parties to the statement of principles shall at once take steps to end the aggression. In modification paragraph 5 suggested in Department’s 923, President changed “non-Korean forces” to “aggressor forces”.
Succeeded this morning in arguing him out of number of points and he suggested we redraft proposal and bring back this afternoon.
After combined group from National War College had called on him, Ambassadors Briggs and Dean again stayed and submitted revised draft substantially in line with draft submitted Saturday except changed his new paragraph to read “ROK and its immediate neighbors shall agree not to invade nor to infiltrate the other and not to interfere in any way with the internal affairs of the other. In case of a military attack the UN parties to these principles shall at once take adequate steps to end the aggression in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.” Struck out specific exclusion Communist Party and its members and provided right to vote should be in accordance with the appropriate electoral laws and struck out provision UNCURK could not interfere with elections and again provided supervision should be in accordance with appropriate electoral laws.
He took our draft for reading but then launched into exceptionally long criticism of our entire economic aid program, requirement Korea must buy from lowest bidder which in practice often means Japan, failure of Congress to appropriate all money promised, criticism of provisions of proposed power contract with Bechtel organization and tirade against Japan’s actions in connection proposed resumption Korean-Japanese negotiations. (During 3 weeks of negotiations this is first time Rhee has raised issue of aid program.)[Page 277]
In view urgency getting agreement on declaration of principles, we made no reply his statements but again urged him give prompt consideration draft we left this afternoon and again outlined urgency.
As we left acting Foreign Minister Cho explained President wanted Minister Defense to see revised draft before committing himself.
Will see later this evening. Hope to obtain substantial agreement your draft but it is hard uphill going all the way and won’t be easy.