Volume #20 - 92.|
NEUTRAL NATIONS SUPERVISORY COMMISSION
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
October 14th, 1954|
KOREA - FUTURE OF THE NEUTRAL NATIONS SUPERVISORY COMMISSION (NNSC)|
I attach copies of the following communications between the Department and our Washington Embassy concerning the desire of the United States to render the NNSC inoperative:
Washington teletype WA-1693 of September 27;?
Our teletype EX-1828 of October 4;?
Washington despatch No. 1743 of October 6;?
Washington letter No. 1756 of October 8;?
Washington teletype WA-1788 of October 13.?
Briefly, the situation is this: President Rhee wants the Czech and Polish members of the NNSC and its inspection teams out of his territory. In South Korea there have been public demonstrations against the Commission and some attempts to do bodily harm to Communist representatives. While Mr. Rhee was visiting the United States last July, Mr. Dulles promised him that the United States would continue to press the Swiss and Swedes to withdraw their representatives and so bring about an orderly termination of the Commission. Mr. Dulles also stated publicly that the United States was sympathetic to the abandonment of the NNSC.
The Swiss and Swedes have given no indication that they are prepared to withdraw from the Commission before the Korean item is debated in the General Assembly. (Our latest information concerning their respective positions is contained in Stockholm and Berne telegrams No. 31 of October 8? and No. 49 of October 12? respectively, copies of which are attached). Therefore, the State Department, under South Korean and Pentagon pressure for quick action, has sought the approval of Mr. Dulles for a plan by which those governments represented on the Group of Sixteen would suggest in concert to the Swiss and Swedish governments that they withdraw their representatives from North Korea to the demilitarized zone. Such action would permit the United Nations Command to usher the Czechs and Poles out of South Korea to the same zone. This proposal was communicated by the State Department to Old Commonwealth representatives, who were informed that it would probably be put to the Group of Sixteen very shortly.
We disliked the proposal because we thought inter alia:
(a) that our membership on the International Supervisory Commissions in Indochina would be sufficient in itself to preclude us from joining in a concerted approach to the Swiss and Swedes;
(b) that rather than abandon the Commission, an attempt should be made to widen its powers of inspection, since precedents for freer inspections behind the Iron and/or Bamboo Curtains would be desirable;
(c) that the execution of the plan would have bad effects in neutral Asia, might encourage the South Koreans to try to whittle the Armistice Agreement down elsewhere, and at the Assembly might provide the Soviet Delegation with a good opportunity to charge the UNC with violation of the Armistice Agreement.
We requested the Embassy to convey our thinking on these lines to the State Department and Old Commonwealth representatives.
The State Department were not impressed and indicated that if the other governments concerned could not agree to action along the lines of their proposal, the United States might order the UNC unilaterally to remove the Communist members of the NNSC from South Korea. As for the rest, our Embassy reports that only the Australians have been instructed to approach the State Department, and their position is very similar to ours.
The latest development is that, without convening a meeting of the Sixteen and with knowledge of our position, the State Department has asked whether the United Kingdom and France would join them in an approach to the Swiss and Swedes on behalf of the Sixteen to win acceptance of their plan concerning the NNSC. 23
The United Kingdom position has been that while they would welcome the withdrawal of the Swiss and Swedes from the Commission, they did not think any unilateral denunciation should be made which, especially in view of the manner in which the Korean item ended at Geneva, would play directly into Communist hands. Early in September, however, on being informed that the United States would make further approaches to the Swiss and Swedes requesting their immediate withdrawal, and on being urged by the State Department to join them in making similar approaches, the British requested the Swiss and Swedes to take an immediate decision, without suggesting what this should be or asking them to withdraw from the Commission immediately. We have no information as to British thinking on the latest State Department proposal.
The French, on the other hand, have made representations to the Swiss and Swedes against the premature dissolution of the Commission. They have been worried lest its dissolution through the departure of these representatives might cause the Polish members of the Commissions in Indochina to make difficulties, and that, out of sympathy with their treatment in Korea, the Indian members might adopt a line more favourable to the Communists than they would otherwise. The French were also concerned about the possible repercussions this might have on their forces in northern Viet Nam before they were all withdrawn to Haiphong. the French therefore prefer that the Swiss and Swedes should postpone their withdrawal from the Commission for at least six months.
We find little merit in the arguments advanced by the State Department in opposition to the views carried in our teletype EX-1828. These arguments are not new and seem to have as their basis the idea that Mr. Rhee must be placated. Moreover, we do not think that any of them invalidate the French reasons for wanting the NNSC to continue for at least six months, which reasons seem to us basically sound.
Since our Embassy has requested further instructions from us on which to base their comments at the probable meeting of the Sixteen next week, when the State Department are expected to put forward their suggestions, you might wish to consider for despatch the attached draft teletype to Washington, repeated to our Delegation in New York and to London.