156 Jamieson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 456[1] , TOKYO, 18 August 1948


On August 14th the Commission concluded its lengthy discussion of letter[2] from Syngman Rhee referred to KR12. The Chinese and French, El Salvador and Philippine delegates favoured entering into consultation with Rhee's Government 'with reference to paragraph no. 4 of resolution 2 of General Assembly'. I repeated Australian views and India spoke against such consultations. Stating that the majority of the Commission clearly favoured consultation, the Chairman gave an affirmative reply to Rhee's letter without taking a vote. I asked for a vote and was supported by India. The result was four to two, Australia and India voting against and Canada abstaining.

2. Following this meeting I received a call from Tokyo with reference to your 342.[3] I informed Chairman by letter that I had been instructed by the Australian Government to return at once to Tokyo and intended to leave as soon as possible. I absented myself from August 15th ceremony and left Seoul that afternoon.

3. I am informed from Seoul that the Commission today held an informal meeting with Hodge and Jacobs[4] regarding transfer of power. Jacobs expressed the opinion that in view of the Commission's decision parts of it at least would be obliged to remain at Seoul through September and even after the General Assembly meeting.

4. The Commission on August 18th will discuss its future. Most members remaining at Seoul consider the atmosphere in Korea would make it difficult to complete writing report there. The French delegate has submitted draft resolution proposing the setting up of a drafting committee composed in the same manner as the main Committee to meet before September 10th outside Korea. United Nations Secretariat would consent to bring the full Commission or subsidiary bodies to Lake Success.

5. There has been no public comment so far on my departure as members are awaiting further information regarding the nature and extent of further Australian participation in the Commission's work. Australia will succeed to the chairmanship August 30th and it would seem advisable to clarify this question by then.

6. I would propose cabling the principal secretary of the Commission in Seoul as follows:-

'(a) Australian delegation will abstain from participating in consultations with Syngman Rhee's government in terms specified in his letter.

(b) The Australian delegation, considering that the Commission must report fully and factually to the General Assembly, is prepared to assist in the completion of the Commission's report.

(c) Australian delegation considers that the Commission's report could be completed in Seoul where the Commission is now sitting, but it is willing to abide by whatever majority decision is reached as to where the report should be completed.' Appreciate your early advice on above proposal.[5]

[1] Sent via Tokyo. It conveyed Jamieson's KR15.

[2] See note 2 to Document 154.

[3] See note 1 to Document 154.

[4] J.E. Jacobs, political adviser to General Hodge.

[5] External Affairs approved of the proposed cablegram. In the event, the first part of the report was drafted in Shanghai, the second part in New York and completed in Paris.

[AA : A1838, 3127/2/1, IV]