5. Letter From the Acting Secretary of Defense (Anderson) to the Secretary of State1

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to a letter from this Department to you, dated 17 September 1954,2 concerning the steps which might be taken to abolish the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea. The reference letter forwarded Department of Defense concurrence in a proposed Joint Chiefs of Staff course of action to abolish the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, and requested your concurrence in a draft message to CINCUNC from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On 5 November 1954, at a State–Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting,3 it was agreed to adopt a proposal by the French Government, subject to favorable comment by CINCUNC, which called for the 16 nations having forces in Korea to agree to a tripartite approach (US-UK-Fr) to the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland to withdraw their representatives on the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to the demilitarized zone as the first step in the eventual dissolution of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. CINCUNC commented favorably on this approach. In the meantime, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s recommendation for unilateral course of action on the part of the United States was placed in abeyance.

Latest developments in the French plan are not encouraging, as indicated in Embtel Stockholm 475, dated 14 December 1954,4 which mentions, in part, the development of differences between the Swiss and Swedish Governments on this question. In addition, Department of State to AmEmbassy, Stockholm, 498, dated 30 December 1954,5 advises as to the difficulties in obtaining agreement with the French and British for further tripartite approach to the Swiss and Swedes on behalf of the 16 nations. At the same time, President Rhee has continued to be more and more dissatisfied with the situation as pertains to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. On 22 November and again on 22 December, the Provost Marshal of the Korean Army issued threatening statements regarding the Czech and Polish members of the Commission.6 The United States, and more [Page 8]particularly the United Nations Command, will face a very serious problem indeed should the Republic of Korea resort to violent action.

In view of the obvious reluctance on the part of the Swiss and Swedish Governments, and the now doubtful prospects of securing a favorable solution to the problem on the present basis, it is believed that consideration must be given to the adoption of a more effective course of action. While it is realized that the present plan must be adhered to at least until after the return of Mr. Hammarskjold from Peiping7 in order not to jeopardize his mission, it is nevertheless felt that the United States Government must be prepared to move in a direction which will secure positive results.

From the viewpoint of the Department of Defense, the only suitable course of action remaining open should the current plan fail is to follow the recommendations contained in our letter to you of 17 September on this subject. In order for us to be in a position to implement this plan at the appropriate time, it is suggested that the matter be placed on the agenda for an early meeting of the National Security Council.

Sincerely yours,

R. B. Anderson
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/1–1355. Top Secret.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., 795.00/9–1754)
  3. A memorandum on the substance of discussion at this meeting is ibid., State–JCS Meetings: Lot 61 D 417.
  4. Not printed. (Ibid., Central Files, 795.00/12–1454)
  5. Not printed. (Ibid., 795.00/12–954)
  6. The warnings issued to the NNSC by the Provost Marshal, General Won Yung-Duk, were reported to the Department in telegram 602, November 22, and telegram 708, December 22, from Seoul. (Ibid., 795.00/11–2254 and 795.00/12–2254, respectively)
  7. Reference is to the effort made by U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld to negotiate the release of U.S. Air Force personnel held by the People’s Republic of China.