The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)
370. Department’s 342, May 1, 1 p.m., and previous: Korean independence movement. The Department is in receipt of a letter from Mr. Kilsoo Haan, Washington representative of the Sino-Korean Peoples’ League,31 in which Mr. Haan offers suggestions for uniting the two principal groups of Korean nationalists: (1) his group, which is said to be the parent organization of the so-called Korean Volunteer Army headed by Commander Kim Yak-san and Dr. Kimm Kiu-sik (apparently the group referred to in enclosure 1 of your despatch 335, March 25,32 as the National Revolutionary Party) and (2) the group comprising and supporting the “Korean Provisional Government” at Chungking.
Mr. Haan expresses the belief that, if the Department were to arrange to have Dr. Rhee and Mr. Haan meet with an officer of the Department, a unity of Korean groups in Hawaii and the continental United States could be effected, and he suggests formation of a committee on which both groups would be equally represented for the purpose of making this unity effective. He also recommends early reorganization of the “Korean Provisional Government” at Chungking with a view to achieving unification with the so-called radical Korean groups, and suggests that the “Provisional Government” be limited to 12 Korean officials with 2 Chinese as advisers, 6 of the 12 Koreans to be named by Dr. Rhee and Kim Koo33 and 6 by Commander Kim Yak-san and Dr. Kimm Kiu-sik.
As Mr. Haan in his letter is extremely critical of the Chungking group and charges that it has since 1919 been branding as communists all other patriotic groups of Koreans, using highhanded methods toward those groups, and employing misleading propaganda in order to maintain a dominant position in the Korean independence movement, it would seem prima facie doubtful whether any practicable benefit would result at this time from Mr. Haan’s suggestions. However, in an endeavor to be helpful and in line with this Government’s policy of giving, where practicable and appropriate, sympathetic assistance to the national aspirations of subject peoples who desire to contribute to the war effort, the Department contemplates sounding out Dr. Rhee as to his willingness to meet with Mr. Haan informally and unofficially in the presence of one or two officers of the Department. If this meeting takes place, the Department will inform you of its character and results. Meanwhile you may in your discretion [Page 877] discuss with the appropriate Chinese officials the subject matter of Mr. Haan’s letter and communicate to the Department their comments together with such comment as you may care to make. Such discussion, if held, should, of course, be in strict confidence and without mentioning Mr. Kilsoo Haan by name.