War Prisoner Repatriation

December 3, 1952

Report Outline
East-West Deadlock on Korean War Prisoners
International Law on Repatriation
U.S.S.R. and War Prisoner Return
U.N. Efforts to Avoid Forced Repatriation
U. S. Stand Against Forcible Repatriation

East-West Deadlock on Korean War Prisoners

Failure to win agreement between East and West on the handling of Korean war prisoners at the October-December sitting of the United Nations General Assembly leaves the military stalemate in Korea to be dealt with by the incoming Eisenhower administration as its first, most urgent task.

Differences between Communist and non-Communist nations on the prisoner-of-war issue are represented as the only remaining obstacle to early peace in Korea. Debate in the U.N. has shown, however, that these differences are irreconcilable, at least at the present stage, and each side accuses the other of wanting to continue the war.

Russia, with the support of the Soviet bloc, demands immediate return of all Red prisoners, by force if necessary, upon the conclusion of an armistice. The United States, supported by most other members of the U.N., refuses to hand back prisoners who fear for their lives if they are returned. Each side maintains that its position best accords with the 1949 Geneva convention on prisoners of war.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in War
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Aug. 06, 2010  Drone Warfare Updated
May 2010  Confronting Rape as a War Crime
Jan. 2010  Truth Commissions
Feb. 27, 2009  Closing Guantánamo Updated
Jul. 2008  Child Soldiers
Sep. 2007  Torture Debate
Aug. 25, 2006  Treatment of Detainees
Apr. 18, 2003  Torture
Dec. 13, 2002  Ethics of War
Sep. 13, 2002  New Defense Priorities
Jul. 07, 1995  War Crimes
Apr. 26, 1972  Status of War Prisoners
Oct. 07, 1970  Military Justice
Jul. 12, 1967  Treatment of War Prisoners
Dec. 03, 1952  War Prisoner Repatriation
Sep. 07, 1948  War Trials and Future Peace
Jul. 07, 1945  Enemy Property
Nov. 20, 1943  Courts-Martial and Military Law
Mar. 15, 1943  War Guilt Trials
Mar. 30, 1942  War Atrocities
Feb. 02, 1942  Prisoners of War
Aug. 11, 1938  Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
U.S. at War: Korea
Veterans' Services