795B.00/5–1954: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Korea1


932. Seoul’s 1202, 1203 and 1204 sent Geneva 93, 94 and 95 and Tokyo 710,2 7113 and 712.4 Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Language para 4 proposal Seoul’s 1202 clearly implies withdrawal all non-Korean forces before elections. This is not acceptable Defense. See Deptel 902 to Seoul sent Geneva Tosec 107 and Tokyo 2465.5 Reluctant request Defense reconsideration since still no assurance proposal as whole will be acceptable President Rhee and since both here and in Delegation Geneva considerable doubt exists concerning desirability proposing total withdrawal before elections. Original formulation Secto 200 sent Seoul 74 and Tokyo 586 was blurred in order avoid posing this issue and do not see how can be accepted when phrase “before the election” makes it explicit. Can that phrase be dropped?

As pointed out in Seoul’s reference telegrams, supplementary secret understanding proposed by Rhee is of course completely unacceptable.

Also concerned over deletion “supervise and” in para 3 of proposal since this is major substantive change. Effective UN supervision is essential ingredient which all Allied delegations have emphasized in their speeches and on which our present position rests. Addition of reference to UN resolutions as suggested Seoul’s 1206 sent Geneva 97 and Tokyo 7147 does not help since they call only for observation and consultation.

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Central issue at moment appears to be question of withdrawal of Chinese Communist forces and disposition North Korean forces. Possibly undesirable raise problem re supervision in para 3 unless some satisfactory formulation can be found for question withdrawal in para 4. However leave this Seoul’s discretion. If Rhee should accept proposed para 4 in Seoul’s 1202 and if Delegation Geneva agrees Department will ask Defense reconsider question total withdrawal before elections. If Rhee and we can agree on some formulation re withdrawal non-Korean forces, perhaps issue re supervision can be handled through drafting discussions at Geneva with subsequent presentation this single issue to Rhee.

We recognize this still leaves issue of North Korean forces unsettled and may therefore not solve Rhee’s problem as clearly stated concluding portions Seoul’s 1204. Nevertheless believe this is problem which we cannot solve and which must be fuzzed over if there is to be agreement among 16 on proposal embodying basic principles for unification.

Department believes it clear 90-day period began on April 26 and knows of no oral or written statement to anybody which would imply new 90-day period starts running with introduction new plan or proposal at Conference.

  1. Also sent priority to Geneva as telegram Tosec 213 and repeated to Tokyo as telegram 2566 for information.
  2. Dated May 18, p. 281.
  3. Dated May 18, p. 283.
  4. Dated May 19, p. 284.
  5. Dated May 8, p. 234.
  6. Dated May 13, p. 264.
  7. See footnote 2 to telegram 95, p. 287.