396.1–GE/3–2454: Telegram

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

secret
priority

931. Repeated information Tokyo 571. Tokyo for CINCUNC. While Foreign Minister Pyun’s March 23 letter (Embtel 930) is couched in less assertive and distorted terms than his March 3 letter, it reemphasizes fact ROK Government considers its bargaining position stronger so long as it has made no commitment to attend Korean PC Geneva. I interpret Pyun’s last letter as [meaning?] none of considerations still regarded as unsatisfactory by ROK will necessarily be obstacle their attendance once they decide they have obtained maximum possible returns from their dilatory tactics. Consequently, I recommend we reply promptly and briefly without further attempt discuss points reiterated by Pyun.

It is also apparent ROK wishes to use its decision on attendance as bargaining level in substantive discussions and in that connection I recommend we make plain to them that there would be no useful purpose served by commencing substantive consultation until decision on attendance reached. It might even be useful begin substantive discussions with British and French in Washington to demonstrate our intention move ahead on Geneva preparations. I believe it would be helpful, however, to state in our reply that we are agreeable to having consultation, when held, take place in Seoul between Embassy and Foreign Ministry. I believe ROK desire have consultation here is probably sincere, being motivated in part by President Rhee’s real need for Pyun’s assistance in coming weeks, particularly in connection projected [Page 53]Asian anti-Communist conference, and Rhee’s reported fear Ambassador Yang might be too susceptible US influence if consultation held Washington and Pyun unable be present.

Briggs