236. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Deputy Secretary of State Rush, Washington, April 9, 1973, 5:58 p.m.1 2

Secretary Rush/Mr. Kissinger
5:58 p.m., April 9, 1973

K: Hello.

R: Hello, Henry.

K: Yes.

R: I’ve gone into this UNCURK thing in considerable depth. The thing is undoubtedly an anachronism and we would certainly like to avoid a UN debate.

K: Right.

R: The problems that we have in doing away with it are one, the South Koreans. We would have to work up a scenario where they would take — where it was to their benefit to do away with UNCURK and then you have to work up a scenario on how to do away with it and keep away from a UN debate which we all want to keep away from. Now as you know this thing out of the UN debate involves not only the Chinese but the Russians. And of course also North Korea has had the Algerians present their resolution and we have to keep them out of it too.

K: Oh, no, we have to have an understanding with North Korea that it won’t be pursued.

R: Exactly. Now the easiest way to do it would be to have, and maybe this would not satisfy the Chinese, but if UNCURK just passed a resolution dissolving themselves never to meet again, that would be

K: [Omission in the original] themselves or dissolving themselves?

R: They would disband or they would adjourn sine die — not to mean again and then all the individual countries in UNCURK would pull out. This would effectively do away with it but I suppose

K: No, that’s not good enough for them.

R: The Chinese would want to have the UN formally dissolved. Now if the UN’s formally dissolved, then how do you avoid a debate? This is a problem.

K: Well, unless UNCURK dissolves itself.

R: They can’t legally do that anymore; they could disband themselves or do away with themselves and let it go at that. And if no one says anything about it that would be it. Just disband and individual countries could just withdraw.

[Page 2]

K: Yeh.

R: We have to work up what would be acceptable from that standpoint. What I can do over here is have our people, have our own ideas, to see how can we legally disband them without anything going before the UN and work up a scenario from that standpoint, not bringing in of course anything about the Chinese or dealing with the Chinese because if the South Koreans think we are doing this to get something on the outside or having agreed to the Chinese behind their back so to speak, we’ll run into the same sort of thing.

K: Now can we tell the Chinese that when we said adjourn sine die that this is all that UNCURK can do and that then the countries — we would cooperate with the countries concerned in pulling out.

R: We can do that. If they adjourn sine die and we cooperate with the countries to pull out, they might not even disband sine die. But this, Henry, is what we could try to do. I would have to really study the legalities of that more to be sure that it would stand up, but we could tell the Chinese that that, we think, is the best way of doing it. If it stands up legally and frankly I think they should accept it and we could go ahead on that basis. Now we’d also have to evidence (?) then with the Russians and with the North Koreans.

K: We’ll let the Chinese deliver the North Koreans and then we’ll worry about the Russians.

R: Well, we could do that, but the Russians could still, as you know, cause trouble and you’d have your UN debate.

K: Yeh.

R: In addition to UNCURK, as you know, we also have the UN command there and the South Koreans I understand, would be very upset if the UN Command were liquidated.

K: That I understand.

R: And the feeling is that the only way you get the South Koreans to go along with this would be to give them our assurances that we would certainly try to see that the UN Command was not dissolved and that there would not be an unraveling of the entire UN picture in South Korea.

K: Well the fact is that last year I was told by Alex Johnson that I could tell them that UNCURK would be abolished if they avoided the UN debate.

R: I think we can do that.

[Page 3]

K: Now if you can give me something I can tell them — that accomplishes that — I can say that I’ve met my commitment to them.

R: Right.

K: Do you see what I mean?

R: Yes, well why don’t I get at the paper for you?

K: Good.

R: In essence it would be just what we say, but I’ll get at the paper saying that we would adjourn sine die and that this is what it would be.

K: But that they won’t accept.

R: Then they would have to — we could vote to disband and withdraw — and the members withdraw. Whether we can get that — well the members themselves I think would do it.

K: We could say that all UNCURK can do is adjourn sine die and that then if they want a UN resolution abandoning it — abolishing it we won’t oppose it.

R: We would certainly say that.

K: OK, that might be a way of doing it.

R: If we can avoid a debate on that; we want to avoid a debate of course. But if we can have a resolution of the UN abolishing it that would be fine. If we can avoid a debate and do that.

K: Right. Can you look at it again and let me know tomorrow.

R: Yes, Henry, that really is the answer. Now we are willing, if the Koreans will go along, and we’d sell this to the Koreans, we would approach the Koreans and tell them that we think UNCURK has served its purpose and tell the Koreans that we do not intend to touch the UN Command; that we want to avoid a debate in the UN; that we think a way that could accomplish this would be for UNCURK to adjourn sine die and then it might be that there would be a resolution in the UN agreed to by everyone abolishing UNCURK with no debate. And this is what we would try to do.

K: OK.

[Page 4]

R: That would be our approach.

K: Good. Excellent.

R: OK, Henry.

K: Thank you.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 19–2 [March–April 1973]. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington. A transcript of Kissinger’s and Rush’s earlier conversation about UNCURK, April 7, is ibid.
  2. Kissinger and Rush discussed whether UNCURK should be abolished.