Skip to main content

Historical documents

141 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 325, CANBERRA, 6 March 1948, 12.40 p.m.


Please discuss Korean situation with State Department along the following lines.

1. Our understanding of the functions of the Temporary Korean Commission is that it should be able to exercise full supervision of elections. We are concerned that the announcement of General Hodge[1] that elections are to be held on 9th May has been undertaken without prior consultation with the Commission. Before agreeing to take any part in elections, the Temporary Commission must satisfy itself that such elections can be conducted in a truly free atmosphere and that they will result in a genuine reflection of the will of the people. The Commission's investigations have shown so far that such conditions do not exist.

2. We are also concerned that, according to information from Jackson, a report of the Second Sub-Committee finding that elections in that part of Korea occupied by the armed forces of the United States would have the support of the extreme Right group and would be opposed by all others, was withheld from all circulation. We have asked Jackson why the Temporary Commission decided that this report of the Second Sub-Committee was made available only to the Chairman.

3. You should make it clear to the State Department that we would be compelled to oppose the supervision of elections by the Temporary Commission if it has not full power to ensure that preliminary arrangements and electoral procedure are in accordance with decisions of the General Assembly and the Interim Committee. We hope that the United States will not proceed until the Temporary Commission is satisfied that conditions favourable to the conduct of elections in a democratic atmosphere do, in fact, exist. Only when such conditions are determined to be in existence, and when the Commission is assured that preliminary arrangements and electoral procedure are satisfactory, can it carry out its functions effectively.

4. Please keep New York Delegation informed.[2]

[1] General John R. Hodge, commander of United States army forces in Korea.

[2] The embassy replied that Alfred Stirling, Minister at Washington, saw W.W. Butterworth of the State Department on 9 March 1948 and conveyed the views in paragraphs 1 and 3. Butterworth said that the United States government felt it was 'most desirable to have elections and postponement would have had repercussions'.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/4, III]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top