396.1 GE/2–2754

Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat ( Kitchen ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Smith )

The Secretary has designated Douglas MacArthur to coordinate preparations for the Geneva Conference.

The Secretary has also approved a recommendation originally made by David Key that two “Task Forces” be established to begin substantive preparations. It is expected that Mr. Kenneth Young will head the group making preparations on the Korean item and Mr. Philip Bonsal the group making preparations on the Indochina item.

A meeting has been scheduled for today at 12:30 in the Secretary’s office to discuss preparations and receive additional guidance from the Secretary.1 In particular, the following should come under discussion:

MacArthur anticipates that virtually no progress can be expected on the Korean items and the Communist will not concede anything. Therefore, he believes the question of the designation of a senior officer to advise the Secretary on Indochina (and you if you succeed the Secretary at Geneva), is of vital importance. This person must have a balance of experience and knowledge divided between the Franco-EDC complex and the Indochina-Communist military drive complex. It has been suggested that some one like Ambassador Alex Johnson would be ideal on Korea and what is needed is someone comparable to him on Indochina.
The use of UN administrative and technical machinery and the cost of this operation has been discussed by Mr. Key, Mr. Popper and others in UNA. There is agreement that we should make as full use as possible of the UN machinery both because of the magnitude of the Conference and to avoid procedural squabbles between the two “sides”. [Page 426] The question of whether the entire UN membership, the membership participating in the Conference, or just the four host powers should pay the cost of the Conference has also been considered. In general, Mr. Key is inclined to believe that having the four hosts pay the costs (estimated at approximately $250,000 or $80,000 each) would be preferable to an assessment of either participants in the Conference or the UNA membership since the establishment of an assessment against Red China and North Korea is bound to have political implications.
The question of participation in the Conference by small nation belligerents such as the Netherlands and Greece has also been raised. Doc Matthews has reported that the Dutch have indicated they would accept our guidance on this if we desired to reduce participation to keep the Conference more flexible. The Greeks have also inquired as to our attitude.

J. C. K.
  1. See memorandum by Kitchen to Smith, Mar. 1, p. 427.