President Roosevelt to the Acting Secretary of State

I enclose a memorandum handed me by Dr. Soong.24 Please speak to me about it before Tuesday the 14th.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]
[Page 868]

Memorandum by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Soong)

Held down by a large Japanese army of occupation, the mood of the Korean people is that of sullen submission, with memories of historic injustice rankling, and having been dispossessed of the rich South Korean rice-growing areas by Japanese landlords and oppressed by the present civil and economic disabilities.

Except for sporadic assassinations in Korea itself, Korean discontent is manifest only among their nationals living in China and Russia, while ideologically existent among Koreans in the United States.

The principal leaders of the Korean revolutionaries are living in Chungking, on the one hand the members of the Korean Provisional Government Party, which is the historic party of Korean disaffection, and on the other the Korean Revolutionary Party which is made up of younger and supposedly left-wing elements. Korean revolutionaries in the United States are adherents of one of these two parties. With the limited aid of the Chinese Government, there is in existence a small Korean Peoples Army, which is operating with Chinese guerrillas in North China and numbers a few thousand.

In Siberia the Russians have incorporated for many years two or three regiments of Koreans in the Russian Far East army, but until hostilities commence between Russia and Japan, no step-up in this activity can be expected.

If the United Nations, particularly the members of the Pacific Council, desire to foster Korean independence, two measures are indicated:

1. After promoting a fusion of the two rival revolutionary parties by promising help to a united Korean revolutionary organization, which appears easily feasible, undertake to raise, arm and support a Korean irregular army of, say, 50,000 men, which will be located in the guerrilla areas of North China, and which will be the rallying center for all Korean revolutionary activities both within and outside Korea. The purpose of such an army would be:

to operate in Korea at some opportune moment to be selected by the United Nations;
to be headquarters for sabotage activities by Korean workers in munition works and vital communications centers in Korea and Japan;
to constitute an intelligence service through Koreans working in the lower ranks of civil servants and police in Korea, North China and Japan.

The prospect for irregular activities will be particularly promising because, owing to the shortage of labor in Japan similar to that in [Page 869] Germany, large numbers of Koreans have been recruited for munition works in Korea, Manchuria and Japan. In addition, large numbers of Koreans are working as agents in North China in such instruments of Japanese policy as monopolies in opium, morphine and heroin, prostitution and gambling, to demoralize the Chinese population With a well-organized system, these Japanese activities could prove a boomerang.

2. As a political measure, in order to encourage Korean aspirations at some opportune moment the Pacific Council could announce its determination to effect the independence of Korea after the war. Recognition of a Korean Provisional Government might be effected either simultaneously or at some time later.

  1. T. V. Soong, Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs since December 1941; at this time in the United States.