14. Telegram From the Department of the Army to the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Hull)1

DA 975505. From G3 urmsgs C 712162 and C 713093 and Seoul’s 868 repeated Tokyo 591.4 This is a joint State–Defense msg.

Your views with respect NNSC and Korean Armistice Agreement as given in Refmsgs were thoroughly discussed at State–JCS meeting on 4 Feb 55.5
Re your recommendation para 2 C 71309 that NNSC be dissolved and that reinforcing provisions of para 13c and 13d of Armistice be rescinded by unilateral declaration if necessary, Department of Defense fully supports your views; however, State says it is politically and legally undesirable to take action you recommend at this time. Armistice Agreement entered into under Unified Command instructions after full consultation with 15 other UN governments participating Korean hostilities and U.S. Govt in issuing instructions was acting as agent of UN. While remedies are available for handling situation in which Communists have violated provisions of Armistice contract, these remedies can be utilized only by following same process consultation under which Armistice was originally negotiated and concluded. Ur recommendation therefore considered unwise, and State and JCS considered other possible courses of action.
State recommended following course of action: [Page 28]
That Department of State call meeting of sixteen to remind them of our deep concern with respect to reinforcing provisions (para 13d) of Armistice, inform them of result of inquiry to Swiss and Swedes, and ask their agreement to support fol courses of action which we now propose take:
UNC introduction in MAC for discussion during period not exceeding about two weeks of Swiss and Swedish preferred alternative, i.e., that NNSC be liquidated and MAC assume those functions of Commission dealing with Armistice;
Simultaneously inform Swiss and Swedes of this action, express our doubts as to its success and ask them to tell us their practical proposals for substantial reduction in personnel of NNSC;
If Communists do not agree to liquidation NNSC, and if Swiss and Swedish practical proposals for reduction in personnel envisage a cutback to no more than two Inspection Teams to be stationed in Demilitarized Zone for purpose of spot inspections where required, introduce those proposals into MAC. At same time seek for reasonable period to persuade Swiss and Swedes unilaterally withdraw from NNSC or to reduce their personnel to this level and station them in Demilitarized Zone if Communists refuse to agree. Withdrawal Swiss and Swedes or reduction and stationing in Demilitarized Zone would constitute authority CINCUNC removal Polish and Czech members NNITs South Korea to Demilitarized Zone.
If steps in (3) above fail, convene another meeting of Sixteen to discuss further courses of action.
That if first Swiss and Swedish alternative is rejected and if second alternative falls short of a(3) above, State–JCS meeting to discuss subsequent courses of action be convened prior to meeting again with Sixteen.
However, it is clear that you as CINCUNC have authority to take emergency action to protect security forces under your command or to protect personnel of NNITs if situation in ROK so explosive that their safety is endangered. Such action might include moving of personnel NNITs to Demilitarized Zone as temp and emergency measure to protect them while other arrangements being worked out in MAC in accordance with provisions Armistice Agreement. Desire ur views on implications of exercise of this authority. If emergency conditions force action under this authority, report immediately actions taken and related circumstances.
Desire ur comments recommendation para 3 above and ur suggestions any other courses of action which might be taken to deal with problem of NNSC.6 State plans to discuss NNSC situation with [Page 29] Ambassadors of Sixteen Nations 8 Feb.7 At same time high-level U.S. military representative will be present to make clear serious military situation facing UNC as consequence Communists violations para 13(d) as described Ref msgs. Need from you fully documented case on Communist violations in form which can be made public and to assure sympathetic response from Sixteen to necessary action solve problem presented by 13(d).
In view of scheduled meeting of Sixteen Nations on 8 Feb, would appreciate ur answer no later than noon 7 Feb Washington time with documented case to fol as soon as possible thereafter.
  1. Source: Department of Defense Files. Top Secret. Repeated to Ambassador Briggs and the Senior Member of UNCMAC in Seoul.
  2. In this telegram, CINCUNC reviewed the problems in the continued operation of the NNSC in Korea. The refusal of North Korean authorities to permit the effective functioning of NNITs in North Korea, the growing military imbalance in Korea caused by the introduction of modern weapons into North Korea in violation of the Armistice, and the increasingly hostile attitude of the South Korean Government toward the Communist members of the NNSC all argued, from the perspective of CINCUNC, for the rapid dissolution of the NNSC. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 10.
  4. Document 12.
  5. See Supra.
  6. See infra.
  7. See Document 18.