396.1 GE/5–3154: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea (Briggs) to the Department of State


1270. Repeated information Tokyo 753, Geneva 139. Geneva pass USDel, Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Re Deptel Tosec 298, repeated Seoul 963, information Tokyo 2651:1 and Geneva’s Secto 280, repeated Seoul as Deptel 964 and information Tokyo 2652.2 It appears from here that time to terminate Korean phase of conference is whenever we can do so with clear cut demonstration of issues involved, maintaining unity now prevailing and placing onus for break on Communist intransigence.

Issue on which we should not hesitate to break, namely authority of UN, was defined in early allied argument. By characterizing UN as belligerent, Communists have given us exceptionally wide target. Furthermore, unity among allies on 14 points is probably now near maximum (and might disintegrate in debate, over point 12 for example).

Agreement on new detailed allied proposal before breaking off seems unnecessary unless Communists shift position drastically, and might result in obscuring fundamental issues. While some other allies may argue that break-off on Korea would imperil Indochina discussion, [Page 326] it is not clear to us here that it would do so. In any event, I do not see how we can tie termination of the Korean discussions with termination of Indochina discussions without impairing Korean prospects.

Prince Wan’s formula would probably exacerbate rather than improve our relations with Rhee.

I think Korean termination should be complete and in terms stated at opening of Secto 280.

  1. Dated May 28, not printed. In it, the Department of State indicated that it had been considering the questions of timing and method in terminating the Korean phase of the Conference. Dean’s memorandum of May 25 on this subject was being forwarded to Geneva. The telegram also stated that a recommendation would be presented to Dulles by June 2. The message said that at a meeting of the 16 on May 27, the Colombian representative at the Department’s request had made a strong case for terminating the Conference over the issue of the Communist challenge to the U.N. role in Korea, which would help the Allied side to win a public opinion victory. (396.1 GE/5–2254)
  2. Dated May 22, p. 314.