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.

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