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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XXIX, Part 1, Korea

Editor:
Karen L. Gatz
General Editor:
David S. Patterson

United States Government Printing Office
Washington
2000

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs



Overview

The first section of the volume deals with U.S.-Republic of Korea relations during a period of strife and violence on the Korean peninsula unknown since the Korean War. The year 1964 was marked by an internal crisis within the Republic of Korea as students and opponents of the government of President Pak Chong-hui (Park Chung Нее) took to the streets in violent opposition to the government's alleged corruption and the potential treaty between the Republic of Korea and Japan. The government responded with the imposition of martial law. After the end of 1964, internal opposition lessened, but the threat from North Korea grew. In 1967, border clashes along the 38th parallel and infiltration of North Korean saboteurs increased. The culmination of this campaign occurred in January 1968 when North Korean commandos attacked the Blue House (the presidential residence in Seoul) in a brazen attempt to assassinate President Pak. A few days later North Korea seized the U.S.S. Pueblo and its crew. The United States was faced with South Korean demands for retaliatory action, and a serious crisis of confidence in Seoul. The volume documents how the Johnson administration responded, both in this first compilation and in the one on the Pueblo, to the strong possibility of renewed war on the Korean peninsula. The basic theme of the compilation is the Johnson administration's de-escalation of the crisis. The final major theme of this first compilation is the close personal relationship between Presidents Pak and Johnson and how this resulted in South Korea's support for the war in Vietnam. The second compilation, on the Pueblo crisis, begins with records of the almost daily meetings of President Johnson with his key military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisers to examine contingency options, none particularly good and some that were dangerous. After it became clear that a military response was unacceptable, the United States relied on a campaign of diplomacy, including using whatever influence the Soviet Union would bring to bear on North Korea, shows of U.S. force, and direct negotiations with North Korea at Panmunjom. The final and smallest section of the volume documents U.S. efforts to convince both Japan and Korea to settle their outstanding differences and sign in June 1965 and ratify that December a Treaty on Basic Relations. The compilation documents the high-level pressure brought by the Johnson administration on the two allies to resolve their longstanding differences.