184. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (Parsons) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson)1


  • CINCUNC Views on NNSC and Paragraph 13(d) of the Korean Armistice Agreement

In a routine report dated November 16 (attached)2 on the MAC meeting of November 10 concerning the F–51 incident, CINCUNC estimates that the KPA/CPV will attempt to use the incident to reopen the NNSC issue, and recommends positive action on CINCUNC’s past recommendations for dissolution of the NNSC and suspension of paragraph 13(d) of the Armistice Agreement. Although the telegram is routine and not signed from General Lemnitzer to Assistant Secretary of Defense Gray or the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense or CINCUNC may follow it up with new requests to the Department of State.

The Swiss and Swedish members of the NNSC on November 16, subsequent to this telegram, rejected the KPA/CPV request that a Neutral Nations Inspection Team inspect the wreckage of the ROK F–51 shot down November 7 north of the Demilitarized Zone. We do not believe the KPA/CPV will press the issue further, lest they encourage the Swiss and Swedes to withdraw, which would in effect dissolve the NNSC.

The reminder by CINCUNC of past recommendations to dissolve the NNSC is surprising. The ROK has not pressed us further since our action of May 31, 1956, suspending our performance of those provisions of the Armistice Agreement governing the operations of the NNSC in our area. We see no real basis for concern about the NNSC in the future. The Swiss and Swedes may ultimately withdraw. Meanwhile, its continued existence seems to be doing no harm to us. Our Allies would surely see no justification for further action on our part. Moreover, for procedural reasons, it is difficult to understand what CINCUNC’s recommendation amounts to. Formal dissolution of the NNSC would require agreement of the NNSC members, including Poland and Czechoslovakia, and the agreement of the KPA/CPV. Our only real power to act unilaterally in the situation would be through such indirect and questionable tactics as ending transportation and logistic support of the Swiss and Swedes.

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On the 13(d) problem, our recent correspondence with Defense has effected a tentative agreement that the problem of obsolescence of equipment would be solved through a liberal interpretation of paragraph 13(d), and an authorizing telegram to CINCUNC to introduce new equipment awaits the approval of Admiral Radford. We do not understand CINCUNC’s continued insistence on suspension of the paragraph. Early in 1956, CINCUNC did indicate his opposition to reporting the new types of equipment we planned to bring in and indicated also that, due to inaccuracies shortly after the Armistice, we have not maintained our credits on destroyed and worn-out equipment as we should have. From our point of view, however, paragraph 13(d), which governs introductions of combat equipment and prohibits reinforcement, is except for the cease-fire provisions the most important part of the Armistice Agreement. Its suspension would permit the Communist side legally to introduce without reporting any amounts and types of combat equipment they wish. Suspension of the paragraph would seem required only if the Communists were staging a sharp build-up in Korea and we needed to augment greatly our own combat equipment, which is not now the case. The stated requirements of Defense can be satisfied by interpretation of paragraph 13(d), and there seems to be no justification for suspension of the paragraph at this time.

Our action on the NNSC problem in May and consideration of action on the 13(d) problem seem to have encouraged Defense and CINCUNC to seek further modification of the Armistice Agreement. In taking the NNSC action, however, we stated that “the UNC continues to regard the Armistice Agreement as in force and limits its action to the particular suspensions described …”3 If we should follow the courses of action recommended by CINCUNC, our Allies and world opinion would almost surely consider that our action of May, 1956, and our general posture toward the Armistice Agreement show bad faith.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/11–2056. Secret. Drafted by Norred and cleared with UNP, L/UNA, EUR, and FE.
  2. Not found attached.
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.