Anglo-American relations and the attempts to settle the Korean question 1953-1960
This study examines the nature of Anglo-American relations in their dealings with Korea between 1953 and 1960. It assesses the different attitudes and approaches of the two governments over the conduct of the Korean phase of the Cold War. The truce negotiations, the political conference in Geneva, the discussions at the United Nations and the issues of troop withdrawal and economic aid are examined. Debates over these issues created a certain degree of tension in the US-UK relationship but it was not as acute as it might have been. The thesis explains why and how the US and UK tried to avoid confrontation and cooperate in seeking a peaceful solution to the Korean question. At Panmunjom, Britain was disappointed by the American hardline position, but accepted the stalemate with the Communists. The Korean phase of the East-West struggle continued in Geneva: the British mediation which was highlighted by Eden's compromise proposals, satisfied neither the US-ROK nor the Communists. The US was determined to dictate the conduct of the peace process but experienced increasing difficulties in maintaining their Cold War strategy. The US had to retain control over the ROK without alienating the Western Allies. The difficulty in reconciling the positions of the ROK with its allies led the US to decide to insist on the status quo of a divided Korea. The US maintained this position and prevented the ninth UN General Assembly reopening the Korean question, for they were not prepared to risk upsetting the status quo. The British wished to end their military commitment when the strategic and financial considerations outweighed any meagre political influence over the Americans. Britain, nevertheless, was always ready not to allow Anglo-American solidarity to be undermined by disputes over Korea. Britain's overwhelming interests lay in the prospect of cementing the 'special relationship'. In examining British and American attempts to deal with these issues this study will contribute to the understanding of an important aspect of Anglo-American relations at the height of the Cold War in East Asia.