Ambassador O’Brien to the Secretary of State.
Tokyo, Japan, July 13, 1910.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a translation of a memorandum exchanged on June 24 last between Resident General Terauchi and Acting Prime Minister Pak Che Soon by which the Government of Korea intrusts its police affairs to the Government of Japan. The only exception to the complete operation of this provision is the policing of the Korean Imperial Palace, which will be managed, when necessary, by the minister of the imperial household in consultation with the Japanese officials concerned.
Heretofore police functions in Korea have been discharged by four distinct organizations—the Japanese police, having jurisdiction over Japanese in the open ports, and the judicial police, attached to the new Japanese courts, both subject to the residency general, as well as the Korean police and the Japanese gendarmerie employed to police Korean subjects and controlled respectively by the Korean Government and the Japanese War Department.
Under the new arrangement—the regulations relating to which are inclosed herewith—these heterogeneous organizations are abolished and a single police department subject to the residency general is organized, with the Japanese gendarmerie as a nucleus. In fact, while Korean and Japanese civilians possessing certain qualifications will be employed, the larger part of the force will consist of the Japanese gendarmerie. For this purpose the present seven gendarmerie districts in Korea will be increased to 13, and the necessary officers and men will be recruited from the reserves of the regular army.
In the reorganized system there will be an inspectorate general of police at Seoul, which will take charge of police affairs throughout Korea, subject to the control of the resident general. The position of inspector general will be held by the commander in chief of the gendarmerie. Subject to him there will be 13 provincial police headquarters and 70 police stations. The chiefs of provincial headquarters will consist of field officers of gendarmerie. The chiefs of police stations will be inspectors or sergeants, who will be appointed from Korean and Japanese civilians and from commissioned officers of gendarmerie. There will also be in the inspectorate general at Seoul two police commissioners, who may be chosen from either Japanese or Koreans.
The vernacular press generally approves the new arrangement and believes that it should have been put into effect long ago. While some of the newspapers consider the plan of employing gendarmerie [Page 678] for police as appropriate on account of the great prevalence of lawless Koreans, others fear that their semimilitary character will tend to make them overbearing toward peaceable Koreans. It is also thought by some that the principal object of reorganizing the police at this time is to be fully prepared for emergencies in connection with the approaching annexation.
The negotiation of the police memorandum is the first important official act of Gen. Terauchi since his assmption of the resident generalship and another step in the now almost completed transfer to Japan of all real governmental powers in Korea. Japan at present has direct control of foreign, military, railway, post and telegraph, judicial, prison and police affairs, while the Korean Government must obtain the preliminary approval of the resident general in all matters relating to the enactment of laws and in all important matters of administration (Japan-Korea agreement of July, 1907).1
I have, etc.