396.1 GE/6–554: Telegram

Thirteenth Plenary Session on Korea, Geneva, June 5, 3:04 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 391. Repeated information Tokyo 114, London 250, Moscow 108, Paris 391, Seoul 115. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. Department pass Defense. Korean plenary Saturday, June 5, opened with Prince Wan (Thailand) in chair. First speaker was delegate of Ethiopia who rejoiced that the principle of collective security had been upheld in Korea through efforts of those nations contributing forces and other assistance, and stated that with signing of armistice military objective of UN had been achieved. Went on to comment on proposals of North and South Korea delegations. Referring to North Korean proposal, stated that it intentionally denied role of UN in supervision of elections, thus undermined UN authority, did not insure proportional representation, instituted power of veto in commission, was not workable and thus was not acceptable to Ethiopian delegation. Reference South Korean proposal, stated it was reasonable, provided a basis for discussion and had support of Ethiopian delegation because provided for [Page 349] all-Korean elections and UN supervision thereof. Urged all delegations to accept in principle role of UN and stressed necessity that public in all countries understand that this conference has not abandoned UN.

Nam Il then took floor and in long speech of primarily propagandistic content attacked ROK 14-point proposal and supported Chinese Communist proposal for NNSC as good basis for settlement. According to Nam, DPROK proposal re all-Korean commission good since it makes it impossible for one side to impose its will on other side. ROK proposals, on other hand, represent attempt extend authority Rhee regime to North Korea. ROK proposal that supervisory commission be under UN authority is unacceptable since UN was belligerent in Korean war. Supervision in Korea should be carried out by neutral nations, i.e., states which did not take part in Korean conflict. ROK proposal shows that ROK fears free elections since it provides for election to be held in South Korea prior to withdrawal US forces. Simultaneous withdrawal of US forces and Chinese Peoples Volunteers necessary to insure truly free election. DPROK not in principle against phased withdrawal foreign troops but considers that such withdrawal must be proportional. As already stated, DPROK delegation willing to negotiate re date by which withdrawal must be completed. ROK proposal for UN guarantee of Korea security is unacceptable and represents attempt drive conference away from proper course. Conference should not wait until unification achieved to undertake definite decision on method of guaranteeing maintenance of peace and security in Korea. As previously stated, DPROK favors guarantee by states most interested maintenance, peace and security in Far East.

Saying basic Korean law was matter for future all Korean assembly to decide and thus not within competence of Geneva conference, Nam then stated ROK proposal provided for spreading authority of ROK constitution to North Korea, and launched into long attack on allegedly anti-democratic, anti-popular nature ROK constitution, ROK failure carry out land reform, exploitation industrial workers, police terror, etc.

Chou En-lai then took floor2 and referred to three proposals put forward by Nam Il which were supported by USSR and CPR. Stated these provided broad possibilities for Korean unity through free elections. Added that on 22 May CPR made supplementary proposal that elections be supervised by neutral nations commission. Chou then referred to ROK 14-point proposal also submitted 22 May which he said [Page 350] sought unified Korea with support of foreign armies. Said this no basis for peace and condemned attempt of US and other delegations to seek support for ROK proposal by invoking illegal resolutions UN. Contended must seek other solution and common ground could be found. Further contended peaceful settlement Korean question could be found through free elections in accordance with principles of proportional representation. Re withdrawal of foreign forces, stated only few delegations differ in principle on this point. Cited Eden’s statement that common ground could be found and that conference should not despair of agreement. Claimed some delegations wanted to delay withdrawal of foreign forces, but stated there must be no delay since Korean settlement related to peace in Far East. To this end urged conference find concrete solution and not let ROK proposal stand in way.

Next section Chou speech devoted to attack on ROK and on Rhee regime. Denied assertion that ROK represents all Korean people. Charged that since it does not it fears free elections and opposes joint North-South Korean organ for all-Korean elections. Charged ROK still wants to dominate all Korea and impose its constitution while opposing withdrawal of UN, chiefly US, forces. Asserted Korean people should be enabled to settle Korean question themselves and cited NY Times article 28 May in support of charge that this issue being obscured by ROK and others.

Chou then continued in support of Nam Il proposal that free elections be prepared and held by commission composed by two sides. Further stated that because Korea divided for years and strained situation exists, necessary to have elections supervised by neutral nations commission saying that UN supervision untenable because UN a belligerent party which had lost its competence and moral authority to deal impartially with situation. Referred to successes of Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in supervising Korean armistice. Asserted that armistice formula for neutral (nation not participating in Korean hostilities) should be adopted. Said NNSC played positive role in armistice supervision, that it had worked out effective procedures in rotation of personnel and military equipment, has established regular inspections in North and South Korea, and has conducted specific investigations as requested by both sides. Stated that although commission has met with difficulties its contributions and achievements cannot be denied, thus no reason why neutral nations commission cannot carry out supervision Korean elections.

Further stated withdrawal all foreign forces prerequisite for holding free elections. Stated CPR and DPROK have stood for withdrawal foreign forces whereas ROK and US unwilling withdraw UN forces [Page 351] simultaneously. This is proof they plan to keep troops in Korea to interfere with elections.

In concluding, Chou cited statements several UN delegates (New Zealand, Australia, and UK) who expressed common desire withdraw forces Korea as soon as would be done without endangering peace. Stated to prevent recurrence fighting in Korea nations most interested in peace in Far East should assume obligation for peaceful development Korea and saw no reason why conference could not agree on withdrawal of foreign forces and guarantee peaceful development Korea by nations most interested in peace in Far East.

Philippine representative then made eloquent speech3 criticizing Communist spokesman for disregard UN authority in proposals for Korean settlement, strongly supported UN authority, validity its resolutions, etc., and expressed “hearty approval and support” for 14-point ROK proposal.

After recess Molotov took floor.4 Outlined following principles on which he said agreement could be reached now in principle and submitted draft resolution, adoption of which he indicated would be favorable influence on further work of conference:

“Participants in Geneva conference have agreed on following fundamental principles in regard peaceful settlement of Korean problem:

  • “1. With view to unifying Korea and to establishing united, independent and democratic Korean state, free elections shall be held throughout territory Korea.

    “Elections shall be held within six months after conclusion of present agreement.

    “Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot and universal suffrage.

    “Representation in all-Korean legislature will be in proportion to population of Korea as whole.

  • “2. With view to preparing and conducting free all-Korean elections and to facilitating rapprochement between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea, all-Korean body shall be set up composed of representatives of Democratic People’s Republic Korea and Republic of Korea.

    “Composition and duties of this body shall be subject of further examination.

  • “3. All foreign forces shall be withdrawn from Korea within specified periods.

    “Periods and phases for withdrawal of all foreign forces from North and South Korea prior to holding of free all-Korean elections shall be subject of further examination.

  • “4. An appropriate international commission shall be set up to supervise holding of free all-Korean elections.

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    “Composition of this supervisory commission shall be subject of further examination.

  • “5. Recognizing importance of preventing any violation of peace in Korea, it is deemed necessary for states most directly concerned in maintenance of peace in Far East to assume obligations for ensuring Korea’s peaceful development, so as to facilitate settlement of problem of Korea’s national unification.

    “Question of which states are to assume obligations regarding ensuring of Korea’s peaceful development and of nature of these obligations shall be subject of further examination.”

Molotov then noted outstanding differences of views expressed so far in conference and said importance of these should not be minimized. In particular in this connection mentioned difference concerning all-Korea commission and withdrawal foreign forces. Conference, he said, should proceed to detailed and concrete examination of these differences in effort to reconcile them.

Molotov then launched violent propaganda attack on United States whose representative on May 28, he said, had tried to present United States in light of defender principles of United Nations Charter, human rights, peace and security when “facts” showed that United States had undertaken aggression contrary to principles UN Charter, and even now while settlement Korea problem still under discussion was taking action in Southeast Asia which constituted new threat to peace and security. In conclusion, Molotov in current standard Soviet propaganda language drew contrast between UN actions allegedly undermining UN authority and alleged Soviet support for principles collective security, citing in latter connection Soviet policy prior World War II, Soviet European security proposals, offer to join NATO, and support for Chinese Communist proposals regarding maintenance of security in Far East.

Netherlands delegate spoke next. Noted that conference has been under way for six weeks and that positions are still far apart on some issues. Expressed belief of his delegation that common ground does exist. Cited as example that both North and South Korean delegations propose all-Korea elections. Found it encouraging that Nam Il agrees with principle of proportional representation but emphasized that central problem is how to organize free elections.

Cited DPROK proposal that elections should be organized by all-Korea commission and said Netherlands delegation believes this impractical and unrealistic. This conference convened because North and South Korea could not solve their problem. How then can we expect these parties to agree on the organization of elections? Said in his view conference cannot afford to give election commission responsibilities it never will be able to carry out.

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Further cited Chou En-lai’s admission of necessity for assistance in elections supervision from outside referring to Chou proposal for neutral commission, but noted this commission would take action only after all-Korea commission had agreed on conditions for free elections. Stated it doubtful that such all-Korea commission could ever reach stage of necessary agreement.

Then referred to ROK proposal for unification. Stated that Netherlands delegation feels it presents excellent possibilities for solution and that most important part of proposal is role attributed to UN in conduct of elections. Noted that several delegates had attacked and discredited UN as aggressor. Said he would not take up these allegations since Netherlands Foreign Minister previously dealt with them.

Labelled collective security cornerstone UN and principle that commands loyalty of peace-loving nations. Referred to action in Korea as ray of hope for freedom and peace of mankind. Stated that free elections were way to goal of settlement Korea problem, agreed assisttance from outside essential, and that this should be provided by UN.

In conclusion, stated that Netherlands delegation listened to USSR proposals made earlier in session and stated that Netherlands delegation will study them with care in light of statement just made.

Pyun, ROK, then took floor and spoke from notes for purpose refuting view Communist fallacy which, he said, appeared in Nam Il’s statement today among many old lies and distortions. Pyun took heated issue with effort Nam Il had made to support principle of equal representation in all-Korea commission (in spite of seven to one population ratio) by drawing analogy with US and Swiss historical precedent. Pyun emphasized division of Korea not administrative one like US states or Swiss cantons, but one brought about by foreign imposition.

General Smith spoke last. Verbatim text sent USIA for Wireless File.5 Although past 7 p.m., chairman permitted Chou make brief statement saying that views re NNSC quoted by General Smith had only been those of Swedish and Swiss members; that he would distribute letters from Polish and Czech members to delegations, and reserve his right to reply to other parts of General’s speech.

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Comment: Communist speeches seemed designed partly for immediate internal propaganda consumption, partly (in pretending to outline rational way for conference to pursue its work toward agreement) so that contrast could later be drawn between “sincere” Communist efforts achieve agreement and anticipated desire of other delegations to terminate Korean phase. In addition. Communist speakers, especially Nam Il, seemed to imply that security guarantees for Korea should be established whether or not agreement achieved on unification.

  1. A set of minutes of this meeting (US Verb Min/13) is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627. The minutes indicate that the meeting convened at 3:04 p.m. and adjourned at 7:10 p.m.
  2. For the text of Chou’s statement, see The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 137–141.
  3. For the text of the speech, see The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 141–142.
  4. For the text of Molotov’s statement, see ibid., pp. 143–149.
  5. For the text, see The Korean Problem at the Geneva Conference, pp. 149–153. In his statement, Smith criticized the Communist proposal for an all-Korean commission to prepare for elections in Korea, since, he said, North Korea would have equal representation on such a body, despite the disparity in size between the two Koreas, and hence would have a built-in veto on proposals for genuine, free elections. He also sharply opposed the Chinese advocacy of a Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to monitor the elections, stating that the NNSC agreed on for the Korean Armistice had been a dismal failure because of Communist trickery and intransigence. Finally, he emphasized that genuinely free elections in Korea could only be held under the supervision of the United Nations.