The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/8)

Return to list

Korea

Korea

E.Sh. 

Doubt if you'll restrain U.S. for long. Their conversns with C.A.S. are not re-assuring. Bradley has said they can't hold a big enough b'head. Tho' Collins has said they'll fight.
U.S. considerg. action they cd. take after condemn. resoln. But they don't seem to know.

P.M. 

Marshall will be saner on this than Bradley.
  { Keep steady:  try to stiffen U.S. to hold on in Korea:
  { China may make a second offer.

A.B. 

Instead of condemning China's action in Korea, cdn't we condemn their reply to our approach.  Wd. carry no consequences.
Wd. avoid diffies in future of having condemned Ch. as aggressor.
U.S. actg. unilaterally, in condemning Ch. reply – w'out consultg. us.
Maybe, we shan't be able to re-assert one influence over U.S. without an open rift.

P.M. 

In reply to ques. by E.Sh: no U.K. re-inforcemts. What about U.S. puttg. some S. Americans in.
May have to condemn Ch. action in Korea. Don't want a Cttee to consider sanctions.

H.G. 

a) Keep brake on as long as we can. But brake, not break.
   Because of posn in Europe.
b) Sanctions.  U.S. can do little more. They will ask us to do things.
   Cd. we consider in comm. grps. e.g. rubber.

E.B. 

Wd. prefer to handle this on same basis as E/W. trade.

A. 

Not a rejection. An Oriental reply.

P.M. 

This confirms view tht. I shd. not make a speech during coming week-end.

C.E. 

Hope we shall influence U.S. – diffy. of swinging U.K. public   opinion behind U.S. in aggressive action.

E.B. 

When time comes, I shd. make the speech.  This is F. Affairs.  
I don't want to do it at a time or in a way provocative to U.S.A.
Feeling in U.S. is bad:  needs v. careful handling.
We must not lose U.S. support in Europe.
Pacific-firsters have quadrupled their power in last 2 months.
The less we say publicly on this sort of issue, the better.

Taken from C.M. 4(51) - Meeting held on 18 January 1951.


Korea                                     

K.Y.

Jebb must know what to do on a vote, when it comes.  U.S. resoln substantially as it stands will be put to vote before end/week.
Issues a)  "rejected all U.N. proposals."  No longer true.
            b)  "has itself engaged in aggression in K."
            c)  "Coll. Measures Cttee to consider addl measures & report.
Voting first by paras. Then as a whole. Unlikely any paras. will be voted out.
We can't vote now for a) as it stands.  U.S. might alter it. Vote against.
On b) P.M. used a difft. and deliberate phrase.  But is diffce substantial?  We thght. U.S. phrase wd. import sanctions & ours wdn't.  On reflection I doubt if any save a lawyer wd. understand the difference. Accept that.
On c) diff. to oppose considn of measures.  But we know U.S. want to get some measures applied – at least dipl. & econ. sanctions. Vote against.
On vote as a whole:  can't vote for it at this stage if a), b) & c) all stand.  Must be one further attempt at negotn.
If, however, they alter a) to meet us, more diff. choice.
Shd. we insist on follow-up of Ch. reply before we vote.
Or shd. we vote for it, but make it clear we want negotns to continue & tht. we don't favour genl. sanction.
We shd. then follow with positive proposal for followg. up with negotns.

P.M. 

Can., Austr. & N.Z. will support.  Tho' Austr. will say they disagree with it.

K.Y. 

Yes: & S.A. & France. Tho' all agree with our policy & not with U.S. resoln.

P.M. 

V. diff. choice. Aggression has bn. commd.  But U.S. have insisted on putting it in worst light – e.g. refusal to divide resoln.

K.Y. 

Asian resoln unlikely to get much support.

P.M. 

Cd. we support that & if it fails vote for U.S. as pis-aller.

H.McN. 

Cd. Indians be asked to move U.N. to invite Ch. elucidn?

K.Y. 

U.S. wdn't listen. Stone-wall to our repns in W'ton. Austin has said door is shut, after being told that further elucidn was recd.

H.McN. 

On a) we shd. seek amendmt. e.g. by omitting "all".  That wd. make it easier for us to vote against clause if our amendmt failed.
Preferable to put fwd. a clearer amendmt.

J.G. 

This resoln might lead to major war.  Drafted before events of last week. Depends on 1st clause.

H.D. 

Are we to be led by stages to war v. China? It wd. be grave error in strategy (COS).  Inconsistent with P.M.'s statemt.
Unacceptable to publ. opinion.  Plays into hands of R.
We must therefore prevent it.
                   2) Must try to restrain U.S.  Diff. to do.  Tel. fr. Franks:  U.S. will hate our voting against resoln:  but that feeling will pass.

H.M. 

Cd P.M. approach Truman.

P.M. 

He can't now go v. Congress. He has allowed them to go too far.

J. 

Means splitting, not only with U.S., but all our friends.

A.B. 

But if we vote for it & say we don't believe in it, we proclaim ourselves as satellites of U.S.
We were ready to go as far as agreeing to 'brand' if other clauses were out.
Surely U.K. cd. give a lead to the world, as against U.S.

H.McN. 

Not so simple. U.S. publ. opinion thinks our choice is betwn. India & U.S.  India has given this lead.  We wd. be followg. it.
Franks says storm will blow over.  We had one over Pal. - & it blew over in the main.
Dilemma:  Soviet plan:  if it splits us fr. U.S., it succeeds:  if we support U.S. on this, it has relative success.
Conclude: make our posn clear: push Ch. further to negotiate.
Vote against a) unless amended.  Also against c).  But for b).
Then, after explanns, vote for resoln but go on trying for negotn.

H.W. 

Not unimportant to keep India in good heart. She is vital in Asia.

P.M. 

Vote v. a) and c) – not against b).
[If a) stands unamended – vote v. whole resoln.]
If all our amendmts rejected, abstain.

K.Y. 

We shall have made our posn clear on each para.
Criticism of Gt. Power for abstaining on major issue.
If we can't vote for, we ought to vote against – self-respect.
E.B. up to week-end favoured standg. with U.S. in last resort.
If we vote with U.S. when everyone knows we oppose the policy our internatl standing & influence is destroyed for ever.
If ever we are to stand v. U.S., this is the time.  For all our friends agree with us on the merits.

H.M. 

On balance, agree with K.Y.

C.E. 

Agree. If we vote, we wd. feel bound to support coll. measures.
But our people wdn't stand for that.

A. 

Agree.

J.G. 

Quite wrong to abstain or vote for.

H.G. 

If we vote against:  shall seem to oppose those paras. we do support.
Therefore, I wd. prefer to abstain.

K.Y. 

Qua troops in Korea I don't like refusing to vote for b).

C.N.S. 

Abstain on that a/c.

H.G. 

What do you lose by abstaining?

P.M. 

We asked for separation. Consistent to abstain.

H.McN. 

We cd. abstain in Cttee & consider then wtr. we shd. vote against in Assembly – when we see if vote wd. be effective.

J.G. 

If we don't vote against, we shall surrender our moral leadership.

K.Y. 

We won't vote for because closes door on negotns.  How then can we justify not voting against it.

H.D. 

It's c) I most object to. That's why I favour clear vote against.
By a majority: Agreed to instruct Jebb to vote against.  

Taken from C.M. 8(51) - Meeting held on 25 January 1951.