16. Telegram From the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Hull) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

C 71413 (DA IN 116727). Ref: A. DA 975505; B. C 71309 Jan.; C. C 71216 Jan.2

The fol comments are submitted with specific Ref to the course of action recm by State and outlined in para 3 of Ref A:
The first step of the course of action recm by State, i.e., the introduction of this issue in the MAC, with a view to obtaining agreement on the liquidation of the NNSC, is, in principle, essentially the same as the first step of my proposed course of action in para [Page 31] 2, Ref B. However, I consider that my introducing this extremely sensitive subj for discussion in the MAC without a pre-detm course of action to be fol within a definite pd of time (when the Communists reject such proposal) would be ill advised. The discussions proposed in Ref A would presumably be based upon grounds other than Communist violation of para 13 D of the armistice agreement and, in the event such discussions produce no tangible results, we will have seriously weakened our posit for later unilateral action to abolish the NNSC on the grounds of violations not mentioned during such discussions. Moreover, our lack of success in long, drawn out discussions or negotiations would further infuriate the ROKG.
Such prior decisions as we make to lmt discussions to a pd not to exceed about 2 wk would have no influence whatsoever on the Communists. The MAC is a 2-power body without chmn and placing a time lmt on discussions on any subj is depn upon either an agreement to that eff by both sides, or a flat refusal by one side to cont such discussion. If we announce at the outset that we intend to lmt discussions of this issue to a definite pd of time, the Communist tactic, with which we have had prev experience, may be to stall such discussions until immed prior to the expiration of such time lmt, then come forth with proposals which, if given consideration, would ext the time lmt and which, if we refuse to discuss, would result in our being made to appear insincere in this whole issue. If we do not announce a time lmt beforehand, yet have no definite course of action of our own, a time lmt will be meaningless. I believe that any introduction of this issue in MAC should not be for the purpose of “discussions” of the gen proposal made by the Swiss and Swedes, but should be in the form of a concrete UNC proposal complete with impl docu to dissolve the NNSC by mutually agreed amendment to the armistice agreement.
It is apparently acpt by State that the Communists will reject a proposal to liquidate the NNSC, a view which I share. I consider it equally certain that they will also reject any variation or compromise proposal such as a plan for substantial reduction in the str of the NNSC since they have absolutely nothing to gain from acceding to the Swiss and Swedish desire to rid themselves of a distasteful mission. Therefore, regardless of the logic and reasonableness UNC attempts at discussing the Swiss and Swedish proposals that the NNSC be liquidated or substantially reduced in str, the Communists can be expected ultimately to reject such proposals and, in the process, to exploit to the fullest, thru lengthy and apparently sincere negotiations, the opportunity for propagandizing their theme that the UNC is attempting to scrap the armistice. This would present to the UNC the unwelcome alternatives of protracted defensive and counter-offensive negotiations in the MAC, or acceptance of a propaganda defeat.
As I have stated on numerous occasions, the preferable approach to this whole problem is for the Swiss and Swedes to withdraw from the NNSC entirely or, as a less desirable but welcome alternative, withdraw their rep from the NNITs to the DZ. Therefore, despite my belief that the Swiss and Swedes are not yet willing to acpt the onus of such action, I concur in the cont attempts to induce it as indc in para 3 a (3) of Ref A. I consider it unwise, however, for [Page 32] the UNC to offer in the MAC the Swiss and Swede alternative that the NNSC be reduced in str since this offer in itself would amt to an acceptance by the UNC of the Communist refusal to abide by the armistice agreement.
The last step of the State proposal, that of cvn another meeting of the 16 nations in the event of failure in discussions in MAC and the appeals to the Swiss and Swedes, appears to be merely a postponement of an inevitable decision since we can foresee failure in the MAC and need only to reexam the negative results of previous appeals to the Swiss and Swedes to anticipate failure there. I am fully aware that the UNC rep the 16 nations and that any action by this comd, which involves the far-reaching implications inherent in this issue, should be taken only after full consultation with the 16 nations. Therefore, it would appear appropriate that, at the meeting of the 16 sked for 8 Feb, the strongest possible presentation of this issue and the urgent need for decisive action be made.
With Ref to para 4, Ref A, I understand clearly my authority and resp for the protection of NNIT pers and have taken extraordinary meas and precautions to meet such resp (Ref C). Indiv NNITs could be removed temporarily from their respective loc within So Korea in the face of any foreseen explo situation. However, once removed, they could not be rtn except at the increased risk of armed clashes by US trp with the ROKG inspired elm which caused their withdrawal. Furthermore, if the ROKG were able to force the withdrawal of 1 team, it would attempt to force the withdrawal of all teams. Yielding to such pressure to the extent of withdrawing all NNITs to the DZ, which, of itself, would be a violation of the armistice agreement, would amt to an admission of inability or refusal to carry out my resp for providing full protection to the NNITs. The result would be the death of the NNSC by default of the UNC, an alternative which appears far less desirable, politically speaking, than unilateral action on the part of the UNC based upon the firm moral and legal ground of righteous indignation over a situation in which the Communists, with the connivance of the Communist mbr of the NNSC, have been permitted to violate the provisions of the armistice agreement since its inception. In this respect, it is believed that pub recognition within the US and within the other 15 nations, that the US as exec agent has tolerated the Communists flagrant disregard for those provisions of the armistice agreement which were designed to prohibit the reinf of their combat posture in Korea, would have far reaching political implications. This especially applies if hostilities are ever resumed.
In summary, I recm:
That no action be taken in the MAC until an agreement can be obtained on a phased course of action with the objective of elim the NNSC in its entirety. In this respect, I consider that my recm [Page 33] course of action, cntn in Ref B, offers the most dir and justifiable approach to the solution of this problem.
That, in the sked meeting of the 16 nations on 8 Feb 55, the US strive to have the other 15 nations recog:
That the Communists have not adhered to that part of the armistice agreement which prohibits the introduction into Korea of reinforcing combat mat.
That the NNSC has been unable to perf the functions for which it was estb.
With respect to the assy of the fully docu case of Communist violations dir in para 5, Ref A, this proj will be compl on or about 9 Feb, and will be forwarded to your hq immed thereafter.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/2–755. Top Secret; Operational Immediate. Repeated to Ambassador Briggs and the Senior Member of UNCMAC Korea.
  2. DA 975505 is printed as Document 14. Regarding C 71309, see footnote 3, Document 10. Regarding C 71216, see footnote 2, Document 14.