15. Memorandum From the Acting Secretary of State to the President1


  • Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) and the Korean Armistice

In accordance with your request at the NSC meeting of February 32 representatives of the Department of State met with the JCS on February 4.3 State and Defense have been in frequent consultation on this problem. We agree that the Communist violations of the reinforcement provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement and their frustration of the activities of the NNSC pose serious problems for General Hull.

However, there are serious political and legal difficulties involved in adopting any course of action leading to unilateral abrogation of any of the provisions of the Korean Armistice, particularly in the present situation in the Far East. The Armistice was entered into by CINCUNC under instructions from the United States Government acting as agent for the United Nations. Our Allies were consulted and their support sought and obtained throughout the course of the Armistice negotiations. Despite the reluctance of the Swiss and Swedes we strongly urged them to serve on the NNSC. Except in a grave military emergency, any course of action we take with respect [Page 30] to the Armistice and in particular the NNSC must give careful consideration to the views of those whose support we had enlisted.

Taking these factors into account, the Department of State has been actively endeavoring to solve the problem of the NNSC. Recently, we persuaded our sixteen Allies to support an approach to the Swiss and Swedes suggesting that these neutrals withdraw their personnel to the Demilitarized Zone thus making it possible for us to remove the Czech and Polish members of the Commission from the territory of the Republic of Korea. In response to this approach the Swiss and Swedes in recent aide-mémoire asked the Chinese Communists and ourselves to find a way to terminate the activities of the Commission, and if this is impossible to reduce its personnel substantially.

State and Defense have now agreed on the enclosed telegram4 which we believe will move toward a solution of the problem of the NNSC and the more basic problem of the reinforcing restrictions imposed by the Armistice.5

Herbert Hoover, Jr.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/2–755. Top Secret.
  2. See Document 11.
  3. See Document 13.
  4. Supra. The copy of telegram DA 975505 that was enclosed for the President’s information was undated, apparently leading the President to conclude that it was a draft requiring his approval.
  5. A note on the source text at this point in President Eisenhower’s hand reads: “approved DE”.