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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 21. Spetember 14, 1950



The UN View

Now that the first wave of hysteria has passed over a little and some information has drifted in, the situation may now be reviewed with a little more calm. The following brief account is fully substantiated by (in fact drawn from) UN sources and may be accepted as true beyond question.

On June 25 midnight the first rumours of the outbreak of hostilities in Korea reached the Secretary-General of UN, Trygve Lie, who immediately cabled to the United Nations Commission in Korea for a report which was on hand a few hours later and read to an emergency meeting of the Security Council held at 2 p.m., together with a statement received from the US Ambassador to Korea at 3 a.m.

The UN Commission on Korea consists of members drawn from Australia, China, El Salvador, France, India, the Philippines and Turkey and was established to deal with the problems of unifying Korea and conducting elections by the General Assembly in November 1947.

Its report to the Security Council on June 25 stated that during early morning about 4 a.m. on June 25 (Korean time) a full-scale invasion was launched by North Korean forces all along the 38th parallel. At 11 a.m. (9 p.m. N.Y.T.) a declaration of war was rumoured over the North Controlled Pyongyang Radio but no confirmation was available. At 1.35 p.m. (K.T.) the Pyongyang Radio broadcast an accusation of an attack by Southern forces during the night. This charge was denied by the President and Foreign Minister of the Republic and likewise has remained unconfirmed.

Mr. Lie Speaks

Speaking to the Security Council, Lie declared the action of North Korea a violation of the General Assembly resolution of 21/10/49, as well as of the United Nations Charter, and considered it the clear duty of the Council to take the necessary steps to re-establish peace in that area. After discussion to revised US resolution calling for (1) cessation of hostilities and withdrawal to the 38th parallel; (2) UNCOK to send recommendations and to observe withdrawal; (3) assistance to be given by UN members to South was adopted by Security Council.

The Security Council met again on June 27 to hear reports from UNCOK. The Commission's view was that "judging from actual progress of operations, Northern forces are carrying out well planned, concerted and full scale invasion of South Korea. Second, that South Korean forces were deployed on wholly defensive basis in all sections of the parallel and third, that they were taken completely by surprise, as they had no reason to believe from intelligent sources that Invasion was imminent."

After consideration of all other available evidence, the Council adopted (seven to one majority, two abstentions) the US resolution recommending assistance to the Southern republic. On the same day orders were given to US air and sea forces to give cover and support to Southern forces in accordance with resolution of June 25.

The UN Commission has since the outbreak of hostilities repeatedly broadcast to North Korea and made approaches—but in vain. Its opinion was that if some action were not taken immediately, the question of a cease fire and withdrawal would prove "academic."

On June 29, a reply was received at Lake Success from the North Korean Government stating that the Security Council's decision was illegal because (1) the Korean People's Democratic Republic had not been consulted, (2) the USSR member was absent and Communist China was not admitted to the Security Council.


The USSR, Poland and Czechoslovakia attacked the Council's resolution on the grounds of its alleged illegality insofar as that the Soviet Union had not participated in the voting, and Communist China was not represented. A Soviet reply received by the American, ambassador at Moscow on June 29 to a note submitted to the Soviet Foreign Minister on June 27, calling attention to the North Korean invasion, and asking the Soviet Government to "use its influence with the North Korean authorities to withdraw their invading forces immediately," accused the South of aggression and stated that the Soviet Union adhere to the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

On June 30, the Council met again to consider replies of members. Only three members out of 58—USSR, Poland and Czechoslovakia—opposed the UN action, two abstained, and Yemen.

Meanwhile, the North Korean forces continued an all-out successful offensive, openly flouting the authority of United Nations.

(1) UN Bulletin, Vol. IX. No. 2. July 15, 1950.

R. E. Blazey

(To be continued)