The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/8)

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Korea

Korea

K.Y. 

i)  Holmes has given me copies of  telegrams fr. State Dpt.  Sent to all N. Atlantic Powers, Austr. India. N.Z.  Read out longer of these.
Fleet action to forestall attack on Formosa.
Re-inforcement of Phillipines.
Mil. aid to Indo-China.
Announcement 27/6 at 12 noon E.D.T. = 5 pm G.M.T.
ii)  Telegram to U.K. Govt. only v. resoln in Security Council recommendg. U.N. members to give such aid to S. Korea as will enable it to repel attack.
iii)  Read also message fr. U.N. Mission to S. Korea.  No contact possible earlier with N. Korea.  Rapid deteriorn: N. Korea won't heed Sec. Council resoln or accept our offices.  Suggest they be asked to accept mediator etc. (as in this a.m.'s Times).
In reply to R.S.C. – both N. and S. Korea have applied to U.N. for membership and neither has bn. accepted.  But electns etc. mean tht. S. Korea has bn. recognised by U.N.

P.M. 

This action by U.S. links up S. Korea with no. of matters not before
                   x/ Sec. Council at all.

A.B. 

Also reversed China policy, w'out consultg. us.  Ready to defend Formosa v. regime recognised by us.

R.S.C. 

Sec. Council havg. asked N. Koreans to w'draw and asked all members to render assistce in execution – U.S. action is consequent on that, so far as S. Korea is concerned.

K.Y. 

Also Art. 51. entitles friends to come to aid of nation attacked.  That wd. be easier argument for U.S. to use.  And they will follow up with 2nd resoln.
E.B. thinks we must support 2nd resoln.
On x/. E.B. doubts wthr. we shd. publicly say anything to isolate Korean incident fr. others because don't want discourage U.S. support in our diffies in Malaya and Fr. in Indo-China.
Refce to civil war as instrument of policy – in his last F.A. debate.
But stick to what U.N. authorises – don't go outside it.
Defiance of U.N. and Sec. Council resoln can't do less than support 2nd resoln.  But on those grounds.  And advise U.S. to stick to those grounds.
U.S. statement designed for release before Sec. Council meets.
Text and time will be known by 2.30 p.m.

A.B. 

We shd. certainly support U.N. on S. Korea.
But Soviet haven't identified themselves with N. Korean action: and we might have avoided affront to Soviet.
But Truman's decln opens offensive v. Soviet Union.  W'out consultn with interested Powers.  Gives R. no chance to w'draw.
May be calling a bluff: but cd. have bn. called in S. Korea alone: w'out takg. this enormous risk.

E.Sh. 

Telegram fr. Moscow last night.  U.S. Amb. instructed to call on R. to disavow interest in N. Korea and urge them to w'draw their troops etc.
U.S. have taken other action as well.
Also telegram from Tedder.  We replied to him last night askg. following ques. re military situation.  His reply received.
S. Korean resistance has collapsed.  Bradley's view: if U.S. air had bn. given free hand attack cd. have bn. held, but too late now to restore military situation.  R. instructors are with N. Koreans – 3.000 (500 U.S. left in South K.).  No policy decision on Formosa.  Addendum: next move is Iran: early U.S./U.K. concerted plan on that.

P.M. 

Throwing down major challenge, in mood of levity, to U.S.S.R.  And unnecessarily, for cd. have bn. limited to S. Korea.

H.M. 

V. important point in history.  Likely beginnings of '39 – Jap. attack on Manchuria.  Ques: what is the point at wh. you make it clear you aren't putting up with it.
Doubtless Truman thght tht. w'out immed. action S. Korea wd. have bn. over-run and Soviet wd. have got away with mil. aggression. Once that is conceded there's no stopping them.
Firmness is only thing likely to stop R.
We can't refuse to support the resolution.

R.S.C. 

Qua Korea and support of U.N. – we agree we must go all out.
Ques : can we do anything to stop U.S. linking this up with Formosa.
V. serious for us in H. Kong.
No refce to Malaya.
We shall have to comment today.

H.McN. 

Nothg. can be done now to save S. Korea.
Does R.S.C. suggest attack on N. Korea?

P.M. 

It isn't wording.  Bite in U.S. statement is action taken, wh. is not related to S. Korea as such.

A.V.A. 

U.S. purpose is to give due notice to R. tht. they won't run into Formosa and Indo-China while eyes are directed to S. Korea.  They are concentratg. their strategy.

E.Sh. 

I think U.S. are right. Risks, no doubt: but greater risks in not doing this.
Fatal if we don't respond.
Don't fall foul of U.S. just when they are keyed up to act boldly.
Doesn't commit us to mil. action save at request of U.N.

K.Y. 

Read F.O. draft of tel. to U.S. Govt. – deprecatg. refce to "centrally directed Comm. imperialism": allowg. Formosa etc. action to speak for themselves.
Allows Sov. to climb down.

A.B. 

But do we believe U.S. action v. Formosa etc. is right.
We must keep R. in the wrong throughout.

J. 

If we can't get U.S. to alter their decn (and time alone prevents it) don't let it appear there is any division of opinion betwn. us.
Whatever we say to them in private, let there be no open division on policy betwn. them.

A.B. 

U.K. faced with succession of coups d'etat: first Schuman and now Truman.  We shd. be consulted by U.S. at least, before we are exposed to air attack in U.K.

H.W. 

Also: make sure preamble to resolution doesn't include references to Formosa etc.
Comm. Govts. shd. know our views at once.

P.M. 

Jebb. shd. go out to N. York.
Early appreciation by C.O.S.

Taken from C.M. 39(50) - Meeting held on 27 June 1950.