165. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy)1


  • Introduction of Modern Combat Equipment into Korea

The Department of Army, with the consent of Air Force and Navy, has presented to Defense a list (Tab B)2 of the new items of equipment that should be introduced into Korea to replace obsolete equipment. Defense, in accordance with recent exchanges of letters between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hoover,3 has given the list to us informally in order that we may formulate an agreed State–Defense position.

State and Defense, as indicated in Tab C,4 have long been of the view that the replacement of obsolete combat equipment can be effected through a reasonable interpretation of paragraph 13(d) of the Armistice Agreement which calls for replacement on a piece-for-piece basis of the same type and effectiveness.

Tab B includes major new items of ordnance and their introduction must be carefully considered. The introduction of atomic weapons presents a particularly serious problem. Present broad policy is that such equipment shall be supplied to United States forces everywhere. So long as the Communists have not introduced such equipment into Korea, however, there is serious question whether we [Page 301] should do so because of the action such a move would arouse and because L considers it would lack legal justification.

Tab A5 recites the existing agreement in principle to the replacement of obsolete combat equipment and requests certain information and the views of CINCUNC and Ambassador Dowling concerning important procedural and timing considerations, the introduction of weapons of atomic capabilities, and the problem of reporting.


That you approve the draft telegram, Tab A, for transmittal to Defense as a State draft.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795B.56/8–2256. Secret. Drafted by Norred and concurred in by L, EUR, and IO.
  2. Not found attached.
  3. See Document 142. The opening paragraph of Hoover’s May 5 letter summarized an April 26 letter from Wilson to Dulles.
  4. Not found attached. A note on the source text indicates that Defense telegram DEF 983878, June 24, 1955, was attached at Tab C. Telegram DEF 983878 is summarized in footnote 5, Document 110.
  5. Tab A, not printed, was the text of the draft telegram.
  6. Murphy initialed his approval of the recommendation.