Lot 122, Box 53

Memorandum Prepared by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East


Korea: Occupation and Military Government: Japanese Technical Personnel

I. The Problem

What policy will be followed with respect to technically-qualified Japanese nationals who may remain? (Question 8e).21

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II. Discussion

A number of important and difficult questions, of which not all can yet be answered, are in various degrees involved in this problem. Among these are the following: (1) Will all or part of the Japanese population of some 650,000 (in 1939) be permitted to remain in Korea on a permanent basis and must that population in whole or in part be interned for its protection or for reasons of security or of policy during the occupation? (2) What disposition will be made of privately and publicly owned Japanese property in Korea? (3) To what extent and in what form will continuance of the present industries in Korea be encouraged? (4) To what extent will mines, industrial plants, transportation and communications facilities and similar properties be intact or reparable at the time that Korea is occupied? (5) Will the attitudes of technically-qualified Japanese and of Korean personnel be such that employment of the former will help rather than hinder the operation and restoration of Korean economy during the occupation? The Department of State will continue to give consideration to such aspects of these questions as lend themselves to policy determination.

Certain facts pertaining to Korean economy are pertinent to the problem: (1) Japan has developed and dominated the Korean industrial economy for more than a generation; (2) during that period Japanese have held most of the administrative and technical positions of any consequence in that economy; (3) however, an increasing number of Koreans have acquired administrative and technical training and experience, a trend which has probably been accelerated during the war; and (4) industrial development in Korea is in some fields over-expanded in relation to peace-time needs.

Although it seems unnecessary in this paper to attempt a detailed examination of the foregoing questions and facts, it seems pertinent to point out that: (1) it will unquestionably be impossible and unnecessary during the period of military administration for Korean industry to operate on the scale now prevailing; (2) it may be impossible for Korean industry to be kept alive or to be restored to a desirable extent with the use of only Koreans and Allied military personnel; and (3) at present it seems likely that politically undesirable results of the use in the Korean economy of Japanese technical (including administrative) personnel can to a great extent be controlled and will be more than offset by the practical need for the use of such personnel.

III. Recommendations

It is recommended that, providing security factors permit, the employment of technically qualified Japanese in Korean economic life be authorized during the period of military government, to the extent that qualified Koreans or other suitable personnel are not available.

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Prepared and reviewed by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East.

TS: GHBlakeslee CA: OEClubb
HBorton ME: MBHall
RAFearey FMA: CFRemer
FE: JWBallantine LA: ALMoffat
AHiss FSO: EHDooman
JA: ERDickover (drafting officer)
  1. Ante, p. 1194.