Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Atcheson)

Participants: Mr. Kilsoo Haan, Washington Representative, Korean National Front Federation,
Mr. George Atcheson, Jr.,
Mr. Laurence E. Salisbury.35

Mr. Haan called on Mr. Atcheson by appointment made at Mr. Haan’s request. Prior to entering into conversation, Mr. Haan handed to Mr. Atcheson the underlying letter dated November 30, 1942.36 The object of Mr. Haan’s call was evidently to make orally the request contained in the letter, namely, that the Department give written assurance that after the war has ended the United States Government will assist Koreans in the setting up of an independent government in Korea. As stated in the letter and as explained orally by Mr. Haan, the purpose of obtaining such written assurance is to enable Mr. Haan to convey that information confidentially to Korean agents in Japan proper and in Korea who are in need of encouragement.

Mr. Atcheson referred to various public statements made by the President, the Secretary, and other high officials of this Government in regard to our ‘attitude toward peoples subjugated by the Axis. Mr. [Page 879] Haan indicated that only written assurance would satisfy the Korean agents to whom he referred. In response to various efforts on the part of Mr. Atcheson to discover what Mr. Haan believed would be the advantages accruing from the obtaining of such written assurance, Mr. Haan indicated that primarily the advantage would be that of strengthening morale but that there was involved also a military aspect as receipt of information that written assurance had been obtained might be expected to encourage the agents to greater activity.

Mr. Haan was unable to clarify his reasons as to why such assurance should be addressed to him and finally stated that the addressee would be immaterial provided he were supplied with a copy of the desired statement.

During the conversation both Mr. Atcheson and Mr. Salisbury informed Mr. Haan that the various ‘aspects of the Korean question had been and continued to be under consideration by this Government—and presumably by other interested governments among the United Nations; that there were many factors involved which made it more difficult for decisions to be arrived at by the Government than by a private individual; that the present primary purpose of the governments of the United Nations is the winning of the war. Mr. Haan was assured that his latest request would be given serious consideration.

After some general conversation in regard to Mr. Haan’s activities and views and further assurance on the part of Mr. Atcheson that the Korean question was one of genuine interest and concern to this Government, Mr. Haan departed with expressions of appreciation of the manner in which he had been received.

G[eorge] A[tcheson, Jr.]
  1. Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. Not printed.