396.1 GE/4–2754: Telegram

First Meeting of the Deputy Representatives of the 16 Allied Delegations, Geneva, April 27, Morning: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 17. Repeated information Seoul 9, Tokyo 7, London 79, Paris 127, Moscow 15. Tokyo for CINCFE. Department pass Defense. At first regular meeting deputy representatives of 16, Johnson outlined [Page 147] in general terms US position on substantive questions, following document GK D–439 [D–4/9], April 14.2 Johnson emphasized we should not be willing to set forth detailed proposals lest Communists pick on details and divert attention from their failure to accept fundamental principles.

Allen (UK) said his government subscribes general objectives although there might be differences in emphasis and method of achieving them. He stressed need for treating these objectives as genuine, not merely propaganda, and have proposals towards these objectives also genuine and appearing reasonable to world opinion. Proposals should be difficult for Communists to reject so that if conference fails, it will be clear failure due to Communist rejection reasonable proposals.

Watt (Australia), supported generally by Allen (UK) and La Coste (France), stressed desirability of avoiding impression that all 16 reach identical positions and speak with one voice. He said so long as objectives are common, there is virtue in degree of variety in tactics and presentation.

Sarasin (Thailand), however, questioned whether it was wise to have difference of opinion appear in public and favored common approach.

Johnson (US) supported Sarasin, noting Communists will be operating as one side and no reason why 16 should not work as one side. He said that while there would, of course, be no identity of language, it is important to avoid appearance that Communists are creating differences among us.

In reply to Philippine question, Johnson gave us impressions as to probable Communist position. He said they would probably insist on withdrawal foreign forces, and unification by joining North and South Korean assemblies, which would give Communists large majority in Assembly although North Korean population only small fraction of ROK. In regard to withdrawal of forces, Johnson said that even if Communists carry out in good faith, Chinese withdrawal would be only across the Yalu, whence they could come back at any time.

Turning to tactics for afternoon meeting, group agreed with US suggestion that if Molotov seeks to bar ROK, which is inscribed as first speaker, from speaking first, point of order would be made by Colombia, but extended floor fight would be avoided.

Johnson informed group that Secretary inscribed himself so that he could speak in event it became necessary to reply to any statements Molotov might make as chairman; otherwise he would probably withdraw his name and not enter debate today.

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Johnson also said he anticipates possibility Molotov might raise question of agenda. He noted that Prince Wan had stated yesterday that purpose of meeting was set forth in Berlin communiqué. US believes we should insist on Berlin communiqué as only agenda, but Communists might propose instead paragraph 60, Armistice Agreement.

Yang (ROK), when called upon by Ambassador Johnson to give ROK views, merely took occasion to express gratitude Korean people to 16 nations which came to their aid. In reply to inquiry by Allen (UK) as to what ROK intended to say in opening statement, Yang said that it would be general historical presentation stressing unity of Korean people, North and South, and United Nations action to achieve unification.

Urrutia (Colombia) said his Ambassador will also make general presentation along lines of substantive views expressed by Ambassador Johnson.

  1. No minutes of this meeting have been found in Department of State files. The telegraphic summary printed here indicates that the meeting was held in anticipation of the Second Plenary Session on the afternoon of Apr. 27 (see infra).
  2. Ante, p. 97.