Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Korean Affairs in the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs July 9, 1951
Subject: Japanese Peace Treaty
Participants: Dr. Yu Chan Yang, Korean Ambassador
Ambassador John Foster Dulles
Mr. Robert A Fearey, FE
Mr. Arthur B Emmons, 3rd., Officer in Charge, Korean Affairs The Korean ambassador called on Ambassador Dulles at 11:30 this morning by prior appointment. Ambassador Dulles opened the conversation by handing Ambassador Yang the text of the latest draft of the Japanese peace treaty. He explained to the Ambassador that this draft should be considered Secret until its publication. He also stated that the Department would instruct Ambassador Muccio to make a copy of the draft available right away to the ROK Government. Ambassador Dulles pointed out to the Korean ambassador that the ROK Government would not be a signatory to the treaty, since only those nations in a state of war with Japan and which were signatories of the United Nations Declaration of January 1942 would sign the treaty. He pointed out, however, that Korea would benefit from all of the general provisions of the treaty equally with other nations. Ambassador Yang expressed his surprise that ROK would not be included as a signatory, and protested that the Korean Provisional Government had, in fact, been in a state of war with Japan even for many years prior to World War II. He stressed that there had been a Korean division in China which had fought against the Japanese and that a declaration of war against Japan had been made by the Korean Provisional Government. The Korean ambassador therefore, considered on this basis that Korea should be a signatory. Mr. Frearey pointed out that the Unites States Government had never given recognition to the Korean Provisional Government. The Korean Ambassador then asked whether the Islands of Tsushima was to given to Korea under the terms of the treaty, stating that Tsushima properly belonged to Korea. Ambassador Dulles took exception to this statement and pointed out that Japan had been in full control of Tsushima for a very long period of time; the treaty therefore did not affect the present status of Tsushima as a minor Japanese island. Ambassador Yang then asked whether the treaty included provisions which would restrict Japanese fishing in waters in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula, pointing out that this matter had already been a source of friction between Korea and Japan, which boded no good for future Korean-Japanese relations. He stated that some 34 fishing vessels had recently been intercepted and arrested by the ROK Navy while fishing in waters beyond the so-called MacArthur Line. Dr. Yang stressed the vital importance to the Korean economy of controlling such unrestricted Japanese fishing activities in waters close to Korea.Ambassador Dulles replied that the treaty did not include provisions which would govern fishing in specific high seas areas and that to have included such provisions would have meant a very serious delay in the conclusion of the treaty, since there were many national fishing interests concerned. He explained that the treaty, as such, could not be permitted to become an international fishing convention for the Pacific but that it did contain provisions for the negotiation of bilateral or multilateral fishing agreements with Japan. Ambassador Dulles emphasized that the Department had been under considerable pressure from various quarters, including Unites States and Canadian fishing interests, to write specific restrictions on Japanese fishing into the treaty, but that in the interest of getting the treaty through as quickly as possible this pressure had been resisted in every instance. In further connection with the fishing question, Ambassador Yang raised the point that, if Japan were to be allowed to re-arm, there would not be any future guarantee that control over fishing or other international problems, including the general security of the area, could effectively be exercised over Japan. Ambassador Dulles then discussed the undesirability of a restrictive treaty, pointing out that restrictions in the past, as for instance at Versailles, had inevitably resulted in their becoming a challenge to the country upon which they were imposed and a psychological target for national opposition. He believed that more subtle methods of control would be more effective, pointing out that the United States would have troops in Japan and that the Unites States and other Pacific nations could control the flow of raw materials into Japan and the level of its war-making potential. He added that the Unites States and the other Pacific nations were fully alive to the danger inherent in a resurgence of Japanese military strength and were determined to control this danger through all of the extensive means at their disposal; in so doing the security interests of Korea would naturally be a factor. Ambassador Dulles also referred to the threat presented by Russian attempts to win Japan away from the West and stated that from this point of view a moderate and workable treaty with Japan was most desirable. Mr. Emmons suggested that the Korean Ambassador might be interested in the provisions of the treaty which dealt with bilateral negotiations between Japan and other interested Powers on such collateral questions as high seas fishing. Ambassador Dulles read the Korean Ambassador pertinent sections of the treaty dealing with this question. In closing the conversation Ambassador Yang expressed his desire to have an opportunity for further discussions with Ambassador Dulles, presumably after receipt of instructions from his Government.