396.1 GE/5–1954: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Embassy in Korea


87. Repeated priority information Department Secto 256, Tokyo 72. Department pass Defense. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. For Briggs and Dean. Re Seoul’s 93 and 94.1

USDel deeply gratified progress your efforts and hopes confirmation Rhee’s acceptance will come soon. Russians have been pressing for plenary on Korea today or Thursday2 which we managed stave off. Doubt we can hold off beyond Saturday, possibly not beyond Friday. Urgent have US-ROK final agreement draft basic proposal Friday at latest. Our position on being unable present single proposal backed by 16 is becoming increasingly untenable. Unless we can do so by next plenary, situation likely deteriorate to point where we will have abandon all hope united support for single proposal. World opinion would then say we could not agree with Communists because we could not even agree among ourselves. In meantime, we will hold off further discussions with ROK delegation or others and schedule no meetings committee of 9 or 16 pending confirmation Seoul and Washington on revised text.
ROK delegation is so upset by Eden’s speech (as noted our previous telegrams), which they interpret as sinister device obtain UN commission similar in composition to NNSC or NNRC, that they may reverse previous recommendations to Rhee. Eden has assured us several times ROK delegation completely misunderstood and misinterpreted his position and that no such inferences should be drawn from his fourth point of May 13 speech in plenary on Korea. Important Rhee understand in view our experience concerning implementation [Page 288] armistice agreements, US would join with ROK in refusing accept any such commission.
USDel has following comments on Seoul’s redraft basic proposal:
Last two sentences paragraph 1 seem confuse constitutional action necessary before elections provide for them again in ROK territory and possible constitutional action after elections on amendment or supersession ROK constitution by expanded National Assembly. Suggest ending paragraph after “National Assembly” in next to last sentence, but can take paragraph as is if necessary.
We regret deletion “supervise and” in paragraph 3 because undercuts Allied reiteration in plenary as well as in one restricted session on Korea genuinely free elections require UN supervision. This is what Communists have unequivocally rejected. However, last clause second sentence, paragraph 3, is supervision in effect.
Insertion phrase “before the election” in paragraph 4 concerns USDel. Instead complete ambiguity in timing of withdrawals before and after elections, paragraph can be interpreted only mean 15 UN members committed make specific arrangements for withdrawal all UN forces as well as Chinese Communist forces before elections. If true, appears conflict with present US policy and JCS views favoring retention some UNC forces Korea until after elections. USDel hopes you can still change this key wording by (1) deleting phrase “before elections” and making withdrawal plural so as to not imply total withdrawal or (2) in addition (1) reinserting phrase “and establishment of government of unified Korea”, as in Secto 200,3 or (3) substituting “the establishment of government of unified Korea” for the words “the election” after “before”. Changes would give us needed flexibility on UN forces remaining Korea after elections and not appear commit US general principle total withdrawal in advance any negotiation on arrangements.
USDel agrees delete paragraph 6. Such report to UN is part commission’s terms reference laid down in resolution October 7, 1950 as well as prior GA resolutions on Korean independence.
Re final paragraph Seoul’s 93, if it would help your discussions with Rhee, inform him USDel opposes coalition of any sort with Communists in Korea. This idea of Rhee’s is nonsense. In all meetings here as well as Washington prior Geneva, US Government has strongly supported sole legitimacy and sovereignty of ROK in Korea and necessity maintain constitutional structure ROK state. As we indicated in our 57 to Seoul repeated Secto 140,4 and 29 to Tokyo our proposed plan B deliberately avoids collaboration between Communist puppets in North and legal sovereign Government of ROK. All safeguards for free elections and representation on basis population should ensure non-Communist results elections precluding any coalition. Same is [Page 289] true basic principles. USDel confident Allied delegations here will continue support these views. As far as USDel concerned, ROK agreement basic proposal and presentation with Allied endorsement has nothing to do with any 90-day period. If Rhee signs statement question then is one of discussion in 9 and 16 to obtain their endorsement draft proposal and then its presentation for maximum advantage our side Geneva.
Re proposed reply described Seoul’s 94 USDel concurs, subject comments paragraph 3 (c) above.
  1. Both dated May 18, pp. 281 and 283, respectively.
  2. May 20.
  3. Same as telegram 74, May 13, from Geneva, p. 264.
  4. Dated May 7, p. 226.