The Chairman of the Korean Commission in the United States ( Rhee ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Sir: Further in regard to my communication to you of February 7th:

There accompanied that letter a request of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea for recognition by the Government of the United States of America; a request addressed to the President of the United States of America, seeking his good offices regarding the aforementioned plea for recognition, and my credential as the accredited representative of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

I am in receipt of a letter, dated February 19th, 1942, signed by the Hon. A. A. Berle, Assistant Secretary, wherein he refers to the declared policy of the Department of State toward the “activities of foreign political leaders in the United States” and adding that the Department “is glad to be informed of the plans and proposed activities of organizations of aliens in this country who wish to assist in the struggle against Axis domination of the world”, etc., etc.

There was further enclosed with this letter a release by the Department of State, dated December 10th, 1941, entitled “Policy Regarding ‘Free Movements’ in the United States.”

May I respectfully suggest that the matters accompanying my communication of February 7th do not seem to fall within the purview either of the reply of Mr. Berle or the press release referred to.

The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea is the sole representative of the Korean people, whether they are resident in Korea proper, Manchuria, Siberia, China or elsewhere, and regards itself, on the basis of the treaty of 1883 [1882] negotiated between the Government of Korea and the Government of the United States, not as a free movement in any sense whatever of that phrase, but as the only governmental agency of Korea that is in existence.

It is the desire of my Government to be advised how the Government of the United States regards the aforementioned treaty between our two countries. It is the plea of my Government that the existence of this treaty be noted by the Government of the United States for anything to the contrary would seem to further countenance the act of wanton aggression perpetrated by the Japanese Government upon the people of Korea.19

Respectfully yours,

Syngman Rhee
  1. No reply to this letter has been found in Department files.