396.1 GE/5–2254: Telegram

Eleventh Plenary Session on Korea, Geneva, May 22, 3:02 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State 1


Secto 286. Repeated information Seoul 96, Tokyo 82, London 203, Paris 318, Moscow 81. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Department pass Defense. Eleventh Korean plenary with Molotov in chair opened with speech by Chou En-lai,2 most significant aspect of which was proposal, later supported by Nam Il, that all-Korean elections be supervised by Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. Chou proposed following “supplement” to Article I of Nam Il’s April 27 proposals:

“In order to assist the all-Korean Commission in holding all-Korean elections in accordance with the all-Korean electoral law, in free conditions which preclude foreign intervention, a Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission be formed to supervise the all-Korean elections.”

In putting forward proposal, Chou acknowledged that war had “left deep scars upon relationship between North and South Korea” and consequently “necessary that neutral organization be set up to render assistance to Korean machinery in charge of holding all-Korean elections”. Rejecting United Nations as supervising agency because “a belligerent”. Chou said “neutral organization should be composed representatives from neutral nations to be agreed upon by Conference, that did not participate in Korean war”.

After submitting foregoing proposal Chou concluded speech by drawing attention his proposal of May 3 on non-repatriation prisoners of war, again asking Conference give it serious consideration since question of prisoners of war “can not be considered closed”.

In opening part of speech, Chou replied various attacks on his previous statements, particularly those relating Asian aspirations, attitude toward United Nations, and North Korean proposals. Reacting sharply to speeches by other delegations criticizing his pretentions speak for Asians, Chou denied Chinese Communists claim monopoly [Page 311] as “champions national aspirations in Asia”, but at same time attacked “delegates of some Asian States” who “sang praises of United States aggression”, claiming they constitute tiny fraction of minority among Asians. Said this “handful of people” typified by Chiang Kai-shek and Syngman Rhee cliques. Chou alleged overwhelming majority Asians would never agree Colonial policy United States aggressors and still less formulation military blocs using “Asians fight Asians”.

Calling Nam Il proposals “reasonable beyond dispute”, Chou again stated they should serve as basis for reaching agreement and warned that continued insistence, or “illegal” United Nations Korean resolutions at Conference “will not be able to settle anything”. Referring to criticism that Chinese Communist denunciation United Nations, Korean resolutions and request to join United Nations, self-contradictory, Chou then made definite in statement Peiping’s attitude on its admission to United Nations: “The question is not that the People’s Republic of China asks to join the United Nations, but that the right which the People’s Republic of China should have to participate in United Nations has been deprived and hence the rightful place of People’s Republic of China in United Nations should be restored”. Claiming such deprivation of People’s Republic of China “rights” constituted “flagrant violation United Nations Charter and seriously damaged vestige of United Nations”, Chou indicated People’s Republic of China absence made United Nations Korean resolution illegal and rendered United Nations incapable dealing with Korean question. He cited Colombo powers as supporting Peiping’s seating in United Nations.

Turning to procedure for unifying Korea, Chou said “not impossible find common ground” and that he had not heard opposition to principle question of unification should be settled by Koreans themselves. He again called for withdrawal of all foreign forces prior elections and within “specified period of time”, alleging presence United States troops Korea “not only threatens peace in Korea and security of China, but will inevitably lead interference in Korean domestic affairs”.

Referring next to criticism of all-Korean Commission proposed by Nam Il, Chou said same delegates “utilized principle of proportional representation to oppose principle of mutual agreement between two sides”, but this nothing but “attempt impose will of one side on other” and cited Nehru May 18 statement that unity cannot be imposed by one side on another.3 He said proportional representation problem for [Page 312] electoral law and no question its application to composition all-Korean Commission.

Nam Il, who had inscribed shortly before the meeting opened, followed Chou with a long discursive speech4 apparently intended as general refutation of past Allied speeches, discreditment of Republic of Korea, and endorsement Chou’s new proposal. Speech contained usual themes on illegality of United Nations resolutions, charges that United Nations was under complete domination of United States, and that it was impossible for United Nations to maintain an impartial position on the Korean question, since United Nations was one of the belligerents. Called for a rapid withdrawal of all foreign forces, and demanded right of Koreans to exercise all sovereign rights in internal affairs without outside influence. Alluded briefly as had Chou, to prisoners of war question, saying that over 48,000 prisoners of war, of whom 34,000 were North Korean, still held in South Korea in violation of Armistice Agreement. Contention of Canada and United Kingdom that prisoners of war question already resolved was contrary to facts.

Pointing out that United Kingdom, Australia and Colombia had already called for all-Korean elections, Nam Il said that ROKs, being subservient to United States, were afraid to give people opportunity to express their will. Then spun out series of allegations that May twenty ROK election was held under conditions of violence, police persecution, terrorism, et cetera, and cited number of press despatches to prove that both candidates and voters deprived of democratic rights. Followed this with lengthy discourse comparing political, social and economic conditions in North Korea with those in South Korea during which North Korea emerged as land of milk and honey while Rhee’s realm pictured on verge of bankruptcy and starvation.

As clarification of what he contended was distortion of earlier North Korean position on proportional representation, Nam Il distinguished between all-Korean commission, which would be composed of equal number representatives North and South Korea with the subsequent all-Korean National Assembly, which would have representation based on population. Opposed proportional representation in electoral commission by saying such an arrangement completely unacceptable because would enable South Korea to impose its demands on North Korea.

In endorsing Chou’s proposal for neutral nations commission for supervision of all-Korean elections. Nam Il used rationale that existing [Page 313] tensions between North and South Korea made rapprochement and unification difficult and therefore nothing should be overlooked which might make task of all-Korean commission easier. Recognizing he was on poor wicket because of earlier statements, added that it was understood that the establishment of such international supervision would not violate Communist principle that there be no intervention of “foreign states” into the internal affairs of Korea.

Pyun made relatively short statement directed primarily at refutation of Nam Il’s speech and proposal of April 27 and Molotov’s supporting statement of May 11. At conclusion, tabled 14-point proposal (contained in Seoul 84, repeated information Secto 239, Tokyo 675) with last phrase in point two amended, as we had hoped, to read “… in accordance with the constitutional processes of the Republic of Korea.”6 (Pyun informed USDel that Rhee had cabled approval revised wording.)

In statement, Pyun exposed Communist 50–50 electoral commission as device designed to permit infiltration and subversion entire country and pointed out that, while Nam Il proposal contained time limit for withdrawal of foreign forces, it avoided specifying time for elections. Defended UNCURK and US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty and charged that Communist-proposed security guarantee was aimed at communication of entire country. Pyun also charged that Chinese Communists were puppets of Moscow, that there were “tens of thousands” Soviet advisers in Communist China and that ROKs would seriously consider a Soviet guarantee only if USSR ordered Chinese invaders out of North Korea. Answered Molotov’s statement that Communist China, as one of 5 great powers, was entitled permanent membership on Security Council, by pointing out that Nationalists still occupied permanent seat and that Communists could not shoot way into United Nations with “guilty hands all red with its victims’ blood.”

After completion prepared text, Pyun made impressive refutation of Nam Il’s charges about May 20 election, emphasizing that: (1) 91 percent of the registered voters turned out for election in which 2,000 candidates were contesting 203 seats; (2) the Liberal Party elected only 131 members of Assembly; (3) two of Rhee’s strongest opponents (P. H. Shinicky, Chough Pyong Ok) had won in their districts despite widely-heralded charges of police intervention against them. Ended saying that the world outside the Iron Curtain was content to await [Page 314] UNCURK’s unprejudiced and factual report on election, and challenged Communists to permit similar election under UNCURK’s observation in North Korea.7

No definite date for next plenary set.

  1. A set of minutes of this meeting (US Verb Min/11) is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627. The minutes indicate that the meeting convened at 3:02 p.m. and adjourned at 6:19 p.m. This message was transmitted in two sections.
  2. The text is printed in Cmd. 9186, pp. 54–58.
  3. Reference is to a statement made on that date by Indian Prime Minister Nehru in the Council of States.
  4. Extracts from Nam Il’s speech are printed in The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 117–123.
  5. Dated May 17, p. 278.
  6. The text of the 14-point proposal is printed in The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 123–124.
  7. UNCURK’s report on the elections is contained in U.N. document A/2711, pp. 7–10. According to the report, the Liberal Party of President Rhee won 115 seats, the DNP 15, two minor parties 3 seats each, and Independents 67. The Liberal Party candidates won 55.3 percent of the total vote, the DNP 7.9 percent, and the Independents and minor parties 36.8 percent.