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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1952-1954. Korea (in two parts)
(1952-1954)

V. January 3-April 26, 1953: new look at Korea under the Eisenhower administration,   pp. 721-937 PDF (85.1 MB)


Page 817


                    NEW   LOOK UNDER EISENHOWER                      817
  P.S. Flanders feels that the difficult issue (repatriation of prisoners)
which the Communists have used to stymie truce negotiations might
have a better chance to get settled in a new      and different setting-
peace instead of truce.
State-JCS Meeting, lot 61 D 413
  Memorandum of the Substance of Discussion at a Department of State-
                      Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting 1
                                 [Extract]
TOP SECRET                   WASHINGTON, March 27, 1953-11:30 a. m.
   General Collins:   In-the new paper on alternative courses of action
in Korea that we have just sent forward,2 we had a section which indi-
cated that consideration should be given to use of atomic weapons. Per-
sonally, I am very skeptical about the value of using atomic weapons
tactically in Korea. The Communists are dug into positions in depth
over a front of one hundred fifty miles, and they are very thoroughly
dug in. Our tests last week proved that men can be very close to the
explosion and not be hurt if they are well dug in....
   Mr. Nitze: The question of the use of atomic weapons in Korea was
 raised at length with us by the seven consultants.3 They seem to have
 the attitude that we had gone to great expense to develop these weap-
 ons, we have :tested them only in such tests as we could conduct our-
 selves, and we could certainly test them better under combat condi-
 tions. Their question was why should the State Department object to
 their use in Korea. We replied that there was no unshakeable policy
 barrier to use of atomic weapons, but the real question was whether the
 advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. We had to assess wheth-
 er or not atomic weapons could be effective under Korean conditions.
 If they were not effective, we would have to be concerned with the
 question as to whether this would not depreciate the value of our
 stockpile. We had to weigh the political difficulties with our allies,
 which would arise from employment of atomic weapons, and these dif-
 ficulties would be magnified if the weapons were not in fact effective.
   1A note on the title page read: "'Draft. Not cleared with any of
participants."
   Of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generals Bradley, Collins, and Vandenberg
and Admiral
 Fechteler attended. Nitze headed the Department of State contingent. Gleason
represent-
 ed the NSC and Admiral Smith the Department of Defense. In all, 16 persons
attended.
 China and Panama were also discussed at the meeting.
   2 Presumably the reference was to JCS estimate, "Future Courses of
Action in Connec-
 tion With the Situation in Korea", Mar. 27, 1953, not printed, which
was Appendix "'B"
 to NSC 147. (S/S-NSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 147 Series)
   a The reference was to an ad hoc committee of civilian consultants established
on Feb.
 25, 1953 to study and advise the NSCon basic national security policies
and programs in
 relation to their costs. (NSC Action No. 726-c, S/S-NSC files, lot 66 D
95)


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