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October 29, 1947

Telegram Nos. 408-411, Vyshinsky to Molotov

received via VCh







Spets Nº Nº 408-411




1. Today the First Committee began the discussion of the Korean question, although it was second on the agenda. The Italian question was first, which Argentina asked to be postponed and to generally be put at the end of the agenda. It is as if they were of two minds in this matter and possibly they will remove it from the consideration of this session altogether. Dulles spoke from the US and Gromyko from us. I could not be [there] since I have had the flu for three days now, although yesterday I was in the Committee all the same since I considered it impossible to be absent at such an important meeting.  


Gromyko made a statement in accordance with your instructions (your telegram Nº 267) and introduced our proposals about the withdrawal of troops at the beginning of 1948 and allowing the Koreans to decide the question of a government themselves, and also proposed inviting the Koreans to take part in the discussion of this question in the First Committee in the Assembly. TASS is also reporting our statement about the meeting.


On 29 October these proposals of ours will be discussed and voted on, and our proposals to begin the consideration of the Korean question with our proposal about the troop withdrawal will also be discussed.


2. The US proposal, the text of which you have, provides for the formation of a UN commission to observe the elections in Korea and to organize these elections. According to this proposal after the election of a national assembly the latter should form a government, which in turn creates the armed forces of Korea, and only after this are the foreign troops withdrawn.


We consider it necessary to object to the American proposals, including the proposal to create a UN commission. With regard to the commission we will declare that its formation is incompatible with the principles of self-determination of the Korean people. In the worst-case scenario, if the majority favors the commission, we will declare that we think it mandatory and necessary to get tentative agreement in advance to the establishment of such a commission by the Koreans of both South and North Korea themselves. Of course, we proceed from the position that the Northerners will reject such a commission.


During voting we will vote against the American proposals.


If all the same it is decided to form a commission then, in our opinion, we ought not take part in it in view or the above views. When subjecting the American proposals to criticism we will insist on:


1) the withdrawal of Soviet and American troops in timeframes according to a directive;


2) on holding elections to a national assembly and the formation of a national government of Korea in conditions of the absence of foreign troops;


3) on not permitting outside monitoring of the formation of the armed forces of Korea.


We understand point 6 of your Nº 267 such that not only the formation of the armed forces of Korea, but also the holding of elections and the formation of a national government should be accomplished in the absence of outside monitoring. This agrees with our proposal, according to which the troop withdrawal is the first task, at a time as according to the US proposal it is shunted to last place.


3. In connection with point 2(v) in your Nº 267, when conferring in the delegation we came to the conclusion that when insisting on our demand to discuss the Soviet proposal first we will nevertheless not bring the matter to a vote on this procedural question. The majority in the First Committee considers that only the Korean question is being discussed and that all proposals about this question should be discussed at the same time. It is not to our advantage for [our proposals] on this question to be voted down.


During the discussion of the proposals on [their] substance [po sushchestvu]  we will at first seek voting on our proposals. We think that such a plan of action will not contradict your instructions.


We will act tomorrow as presented above.


4. The question might arise of the number of representatives of the Korean people to be invited. We think that it is important to us to be the same number from North Korea as from South Korea, to which the Americans will probably object. Generally speaking, the number of those invited should not be more (from two to five from each of the two parts of Korea). However, we think that another resolution of the question of the number of those invited should not serve as an obstacle to the invitation of these representatives.


Please reply by flash telegram about your decision on points 2, 3, and 4.




28 October 1947


Memo: Nº 257 (outgoing Nº 21001) of 23 October 1947. Cde. Molotov reported the directives on the question of Korea


29 October 1947


Sent by Chernukha

Received by Potseluyeva


Vyshinsky outlines the proceedings at the UN, where discussion of the Korean question and the withdrawal of Foreign troops from Korea has led the Soviets to insist that the Koreans be invited to the discussions. He details counter proposals from the Americans, and Soviet responses to these resolutions.


Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 107, ll. 0096-0099. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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