The Ambassador in Korea (Briggs) to the Department of State
810. Repeated information Tokyo, London, Paris unnumbered. From Young. Reference Department telegram 230 to Munsan-Ni.1 Ambassador Briggs and I briefly saw President early afternoon today just before his departure Chinhae. Pyun also present. We gave President copy Berlin communiqué already delivered to Pyun at noon immediately after receipt in Embassy.
We emphasized to Rhee all points in reference telegram, stressing Berlin agreement on Political Conference along lines US has sought [Page 19]and he has supported, particularly re composition, neutrals, and Geneva.
Rhee expressed appreciation prompt information. His general reaction was perhaps one of “more in sorrow than in anger”, though he did not express opposition in principle to arrangements. He showed discouragement over Korea’s future and fear his friends and allies were forgetting his country. We stated this was certainly not intention of President and Secretary. Regarding conference itself, he expressed dismay over additional “indefinite delay” unification Korea, concern over probable duration conference, and his long-standing conviction is useless and will fail. However, he repeated what he has said before—that he will go along with it if his American friends insist. He did not indicate specific ROK reaction to its attendance Geneva Conference.
In connection his discouraged mood, Rhee told us with some anger of alleged efforts by certain Americans and Japanese bring about trusteeship in Korea. He said this supported by newspaper articles and editorials in US. Ambassador and I told him we knew of no official backing any such project.
- Dated Feb. 18, not printed. In it, the Department of State directed Briggs and Young to see President Rhee as soon as possible and convey to him the text and significance of the Berlin agreement to hold a Far Eastern conference at Geneva. (396.1–BE/2–1854)↩