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opposition to the Joint Commission, the Moscow decision, or either of the Allies.

The American Delegation has consistently upheld and will continue to insist on complete implementation of the Marshall-Molotov Agreements which guarantee wide-scale participation of Korean democratic parties and social organizations in consultation and freedom of expression of opinion by all Koreans.

The Joint Commission is continuing its meetings in an attempt to resolve these basic differences.


Letter From Acting Secretary Lovett to Soviet Minister Molotov, August 28, 1947 1

DEAR MR. MOLOTOV: In your letter of August 23, 1947 to Secretary Marshall the position of the Soviet Delegation to the Joint Commission has been set forth in terms which corroborate a recent report received by this Government from the United States Delegation to the Joint Commission. The report of the United States Delegation was in compliance with the desire of Secretary Marshall as set forth in his letter to you of August 12 that a report from the Joint Commission should be submitted by August 21 in order that our governments might immediately consider what further steps may be useful to achieve the long-delayed unification and independence of Korea. The report of the United States Delegation makes it clear that the Joint Commission has been unable to reach agreement regarding the basis on which representatives of democratic Korean parties and social organizations shall be consulted by the Joint Commission. The United States Delegation also reports that it has been unable to obtain the agreement of the Soviet Delegation to any alternative method of completing the task of the Joint Commission.

As pointed out in your letter it was agreed in the interchange of correspondence in May of this year that "the Joint Commission should consult with those democratic parties and social organizations which fully support the Moscow Decision on Korea". You will, however, recall that in your letter of May 7 you expressly agreed to the interpretation of the above phrase as proposed by the United States Commander in Korea that "signing the declaration in Communiqué No. 5 will be accepted as declaration of good faith with respect to upholding fully the Moscow Decision and will make the signatory party or organization eligible for initial consultation". The parties and organizations mentioned by you as belonging to the Anti-Trusteeship Committee did sign Communiqué No. 5 and are, in the opinion of the United States Government, eligible for initial consultation. Your letter of May 7 also provided that any decision excluding individuals, parties and social organizations for active opposition to the work of the Joint Commission shall be by agreement of the Joint Commission". Ac

Department of State Bulletin, September 7, 1947, pp. 473-475. The letter was delivered by Ambassador W. Bedell Smith at the Soviet Foreign Office on August 28, 1947. Department of State Bulletin, May 11, 1947, p. 947; May 18, 1947, p. 995; May 25, 1947, p. 1043.

cordingly, the United States Delegation has repeatedly, but without success, attempted to obtain from the Soviet Delegation agreement to criteria for consultation with Korean parties and social organizations applying for such consultation in accordance with the terms embodied in your letter. The Soviet Delegation has insisted on the unilateral right to exclude parties which have expressed distaste for "trusteeship", even though such parties have declared and reiterated their intention fully to support the Joint Commission and have in fact, since signing the declaration not instigated active opposition to the work of the Commission. The Soviet position is not only contrary to the specific terms of the agreement between you and Secretary Marshall, it is also contrary to the democratic principle of freedom of opinion.

In Secretary Marshall's letter to you of August 11, 1947 reference was made to the fact that the United States Delegation has several times offered to limit oral consultations to parties and organizations with membership in excess of one thousand, or any other reasonable figure proposed by the Soviet Delegation. The United States Delegation reports, however, that when the Soviet Delegation proposed limiting consultation to parties of 10,000 or more, the Soviet Delegation submitted a list which omitted 24 such parties which claimed total membership of 15,200,000 and refused to consider any other list or alternative proposal.

The United States Government denies categorically that there has been oppression or persecution of Korean parties or individuals in the United States zone as charged in your letter. The arrests which you mention have been necessary to control subversive activities aimed at the destruction of constituted government and law and order in the American zone. United States forces are charged with the responsibility for maintaining law and order in south Korea without interference with democratic rights. That they have done so successfully is amply proven by the freedom with which all shades of political opinion are expressed and respected in the United States zone.

It is noted that you have no objection to the proposal that the Joint Commission furnish an agreed report to our two governments. The United States Delegation has accordingly been instructed to take immediate steps to reach agreement on a joint report of the status of the deliberations of the Joint Commission. In view of the position set forth in your letter and the report already rendered by the United States Delegation, however, it is apparent that a joint report can accomplish little other than a formal delineation of the issues which have prevented the fulfillment of the Moscow Agreement.

For almost two years the Government of the United States has devoted its utmost efforts to carrying out the terms of the Moscow Agreement on Korea. The present stalemate in the Joint Commission negotiations and the failure of that Commission to accomplish even the first task of its mission have made it abundantly clear to all that bilateral negotiations on the subject of consultation with Korean political parties and organizations will only serve to delay the implementation of this agreement and defeat its announced purpose of bringing about early independence for Korea. The United States Government cannot in good conscience be a party to any such delay in the fulfillment of its commitment to Korean independence and

Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1947, p. 398.

proposes that the four powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement meet to consider how that agreement may be speedily carried out.

The United States Government therefore submits for the consideration of your government the enclosed outline of proposals designed to achieve the aims of the Moscow Agreement on Korea. The United States Government proposes that these suggestions be considered at an early date by the powers adhering to that Agreement. It is therefore hoped that the Soviet Chargé d'Affaires at Washington or an authorized deputy may be designated to participate in four-power conversations on this problem at Washington beginning on September 8, 1947.

It is believed that the Joint Commission's report on the status of its deliberations might be helpful in consideration of the United States proposals during these four-power conversations. The United States Delegation has accordingly been instructed to endeavor to reach agreement with the Soviet Delegation on a joint report to be submitted not later than September 5, 1947.

Copies of this letter are being transmitted to the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and China together with invitations to participate in the four-power conversations referred to above.1

Please accept [etc.]



1. In both the U. S. S. R. and U. S. zones of Korea there shall be held early elections to choose wholly representative provisional legislatures for each zone. Voting shall be by secret, multi-party ballot on a basis of universal suffrage and elections shall be held in accordance with the laws adopted by the present Korean legislatures in each zone.

2. These provisional zonal legislatures shall choose representatives in numbers which reflect the proportion between the populations of the two zones, these representatives to constitute a national provisional legislature. This legislature shall meet at Seoul to establish a provisional government for a united Korea.

3. The resulting Provisional Government of a united Korea shall meet in Korea with representatives of the four Powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement on Korea to discuss with them what aid and assistance is needed in order to place Korean independence on a firm economic and political foundation and on what terms this aid and assistance is to be given.

4. During all the above stages the United Nations shall be invited to have observers present so that the world and the Korean people may be assured of the wholly representative and completely independent character of the actions taken.

5. The Korean Provisional Government and the Powers concerned shall agree upon a date by which all occupation forces in Korea will be withdrawn.

6. The provisional legislatures in each zone shall be encouraged to draft provisional constitutions which can later be used as a basis for

1 Copies of the letter to Foreign Minister Molotov have been delivered to the Foreign Offices of Great Britain and China under cover of notes inviting the representatives of those two Governments in Washington to participate in the four-power consultations referred to in the letter.

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the adoption by the national provisional legislature of a constitution for all of Korea.

7. Until such time as a united, independent Korea is established, public and private Korean agencies in each zone shall be brought into contact with international agencies established by or under the United Nations and the presence of Korean observers at official international conferences shall be encouraged in appropriate cases.


(a) Excerpt From an Address by Secretary Marshall Delivered Before the General Assembly of the United Nations, September 17, 19471

I turn now to the question of the independence of Korea. At Cairo. in December 1943, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China joined in declaring that in due course Korea should become free and independent. This multilateral pledge was reaffirmed in the Potsdam Declaration of July 1945 and subscribed to by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics when it entered the war against Japan. In Moscow in December of 1945, the Foreign Ministers of the U. S. S. R., the United Kingdom, and the United States concluded an agreement designed to bring about the independence of Korea. This agreement was later adhered to by the Government of China. It provided for the establishment of a Joint U. S.-U. S. S. R. Commission to meet in Korea and, through consultations with Korean democratic parties and social organizations, to decide on methods for establishing a provisional Korean government. The Joint Commission was then to consult with that provisional government on methods of giving aid and assistance to Korea, any agreement reached being submitted for approval to the four powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement.

For about two years the United States Government has been trying to reach agreement with the Soviet Government, through the Joint Commission and otherwise, on methods of implementing the Moscow Agreement and thus bringing about the independence of Korea. The United States representatives have insisted that any settlement of the Korean problem must in no way infringe the fundamental democratic right of freedom of opinion. That is still the position of my Government. Today the independence of Korea is no further advanced than it was two years ago. Korea remains divided at the 38th parallel with Soviet forces in the industrial north and United States forces in the agricultural south. There is little or no exchange of goods or services between the two zones. Korea's economy is thus crippled.

The Korean people, not former enemies but a people liberated from 40 years of Japanese oppression, are still not free. This situation must not be allowed to continue indefinitely. In an effort to make progress the United States Government recently made certain proposals designed to achieve the purposes of the Moscow Agreement and requested the powers adhering to that Agreement to join in discussion of these proposals. China and the United Kingdom agreed to this procedure.

1 Korea's Independence, Department of State Publication 2933, Far Eastern Series 18. The Secretary of State announced on September 17, 1947, that the United States was placing the problem of Korean Independence before the General Assembly and on September 23, 1947, the General Assembly voted to place that problem upon its agenda.

The Soviet Government did not. Furthermore, the United States and Soviet Delegations to the Joint Commission have not even been able to agree on a joint report on the status of their deliberations. It appears evident that further attempts to solve the Korean problem by means of bilateral negotiations will only serve to delay the establishment of an independent, united Korea.

It is therefore the intention of the United States Government to present the problem of Korean independence to this session of the General Assembly. Although we shall be prepared to submit suggestions as to how the early attainment of Korean independence might be effected, we believe that this is a matter which now requires the impartial judgment of the other members. We do not wish to have the inability of two powers to reach agreement delay any further the urgent and rightful claims of the Korean people to independence.

(b) Resolutions Adopted at the Second Regular Session of the General Assembly, November 14, 1947 1



INASMUCH AS the Korean question which is before the General Assembly is primarily a matter for the Korean people itself and concerns its freedom and independence, and

RECOGNIZING that this question cannot be correctly and fairly resolved without the participation of representatives of the indigenous population;

The General Assembly

1. Resolves that elected representatives of the Korean people be invited to take part in the consideration of the question;

2. Further resolves that in order to facilitate and expedite such participation and to observe that the Korean representatives are in fact duly elected by the Korean people and not mere appointees by military authorities in Korea, there be forthwith established a United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea, to be present in Korea, with right to travel, observe and consult throughout Korea.

The General Assembly,


RECOGNIZING the urgent and rightful claims to independence of the people of Korea;

BELIEVING that the national independence of Korea should be reestablished and all occupying forces then withdrawn at the earliest practicable date;

RECALLING its previous conclusion that the freedom and independence of the Korean people cannot be correctly or fairly resolved without the participation of representatives of the Korean people, and its decision to establish a United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea (hereinafter called the "Commission") for the purpose of facilitating and expediting such participation by elected representatives of the Korean people:

The United States and the United Nations: Report by the President to the Congress for the Year 1947, Department of State publication 3024. International Organization and Conference Series III, 1, pp. 157–159.

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