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Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (Korea)

Panmunjom, Korea

Last modified: 2023-12-09 by christopher oehler
Keywords: neutral nations supervisory commission | saltire |
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[Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 13 August 2010

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Is the correct name for this actually The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC)? In this Wikipedia article they even quote the Korea Armistice Agreement as creating this entity when the agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.
Esteban Rivera, 11 August 2010

I believe it is called "Military Armistice Commission". This page is also interesting:
According to Wikipedia, the NNSC is still in place, working alongside the UN Military Armistice Commission:
Rudnei Cunha, 12 August 2010

It is the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) represents the UN forces in the armistice discussions with North Korea at Panmunjom. The NNSC (originally Switzerland, Sweden, and Poland, now just the first two) has the role of providing objective observation and reporting on the UN and DPRK's compliance with the armistice. The NNSC flag is a simple combination of the colors of the flags of the original members, which fortunately are the same even after the withdrawal of the Poles. My recollection from visiting Panmunjom is that the UNCMAC flag is yellow with the UN emblem in light blue.
Joseph McMillan, 12 August 2010

In the museum it was presented as the "UN Armistice Commission in Korea". Perhaps that was just a description of its mission. It was also stated that it was active in the years 1953-1954, i.e. in just ca one year from the end of the hostilities. Perhaps the organisation was reorganised in some way in '54.
Elias Granqvist, 12 August 2010

The Flag

The Swiss embassy in Tokyo confirmed that the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom, Korea (NNSC) and the flag appears in the Korean movie titled "JSA" exists and is in actual use. The flag is per saltire of four colours : white hoist, yellow fly, red top , and blue bottom. The embassy sent me the flag information but written in German as follows.
Incidentally following are historical notes and the mission of NNSC.
Please note the Polish and Czech delegates had been withdrawn.
The NNSC was established by the Armistice Agreement (AA) signed 27 July 1953 and is thus with the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) part of the mechanism regulating the relations between the parties in the Korean conflict. According to the wording of the agreement, the NNSC shall be composed of four senior officers, two of whom shall be appointed by neutral nations nominated by the United Nations Command (UNC) namely Sweden and Switzerland and two of whom shall be appointed by neutral nations nominated jointly by the Korean People's Army (KPA) and the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV), namely Poland and Czechoslovakia. The term "Neutral Nations" is defined as those nations, whose combat forces have not participated in the hostilities in Korea. The 1 August 1953, the first Swiss delegation consisting of 96 members for the NNSC arrived in Panmunjom. The first diminution took place in 1955 (reduced to 41 members) and in the following years, the delegation was successively reduced. Since 1982, there are six Swiss members in Panmunjom and until August 1987,exactly 700 Swiss soldiers have been working for the NNSC in Korea. The mission of the NNSC is defined in article 41 of the Armistice Agreement and reads as follows: "The mission of the NNSC shall be to carry out the function of supervision, observation, inspection, and investigation and to report the results of such supervision, observation, inspection and investigation to the Military Armistice Commission."
The main role of the NNSC today is to maintain and to build optimal relations with both sides and thus to keep a channel of communications open between them. "Offrir ses bons offices" -good offices have always been an important component of the Swiss foreign policy-and to be available at any time are focal points of the NNSC's mission. The promotion of detente and security in the Joint Security Area (JSA) falls also within the framework of the activities are the prerequisites for the accomplishment of these tasks.
Nozomi Kariyasu
, 25 August 2001

Based on the colors of the flags of  Poland (WR), Sweden (BY), Switzerland (RW) and Czechoslovakia (BWR) in the winter of 1952/53 this Flag design was proposed by Major Marguth in accordance with heraldic principles (frequency and choice of colors) to the representatives of the Swiss Military and Political Departments. This flag, which was later on approved, has therefore no particular symbolic meaning.
German text sent to Nozomi Kariyasu by the Swiss embassy in Tokyo, translation of document by Jarig Bakker

Square variant

[Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 13 August 2010

When I was at the Army Museum (Armémuseum) in Stockholm yesterday, they had another version on display.
The flag on display was square (1:1) in proportions and had the colours arranged with blue at the top, red to the hoist, white to the fly and yellow at the bottom. There were also armbands and caps with the same symbol. The blue shade was very dark, in the not very brightly lit museum hall it almost looked black.
Elias Granqvist, 11 August 2010