The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

No. 2583

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch No. 2561 of May 15, 1944.7 in regard to the Korean Provisional Government and the projected trip by a Korean group to the United States, I have the honor to enclose a copy of a memorandum of my conversation on May 16, 1944.8 with Tjosowang, “Minister for Foreign Affairs” of the Korean “Provisional Government” and head of the Korean Independence Party, and Shen Yi-hsi, described by Tjosowang as “Minister of the Interior” of the Korean “Provisional Government”. (Mr. Shen is [Page 1293] also reported by the Chinese press as having been elected to that post although other Korean sources had earlier said that Wang Hai-kung was the new “Minister of the Interior”.)

Summary. In reply to Mr. Tjosowang’s inquiry regarding the American attitude toward Korean independence and recognition of the Korean Provisional Government, I informed him that the American attitude toward Korean independence had been made known in the Cairo Conference Declaration9 and that, while I had seen no official comment on the phrase “in due course” contained in that Declaration, my personal reaction was that the military phase of expelling the Japanese from Korea must come first, followed by preparation for civil government and in due course independence. With reference to the question of “recognition” of the Korean Provisional Government, I replied that I had no instructions from my Government but that my personal view was that the “Korean Provisional Government” was not a Government in exile, such as the Governments of Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, but rather a Korean independence movement and that the question of “recognition” is not a matter of moment to the United Nations or to those constituting the “Provisional Government” or independence movement. Mr. Tjosowang intimated that recognition was a matter of great importance to the “Provisional Government” in that by receiving “recognition” the “Government” expects to gain “authority” and wishes to receive financial and lend-lease aid from the Allies. He went on to explain, by implication, the Korean dissatisfaction with the Chinese Government and the former’s desire to be freed from the dependence upon the Chinese which now exists. The trend of his remarks indicated the strong Korean desire to gain Allied financial assistance. I reminded Mr. Tjosowang that the Korean movement was functioning on Chinese soil and that the Koreans had much to do in their own inter-factional relations and in their relations with the Chinese Government before they can expect to receive attentive consideration of any of their requests by the United Nations. In reply to his question in regard to his projected visit to the United States and the possibility of his being received by President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull, I informed Mr. Tjosowang that we had heard of the proposed visit from Washington, that while the Embassy had no objections to the trip authorization for visas must come from Washington and that no assurance could be given that he would be able to see either the President or Mr. Hull. I pointed out that no one yet seemed to know [Page 1294] what or whom the group proposing to go to the United States represented.

I made clear to the Korean representatives that my replies to their questions (which were direct and pointed) were my personal reactions and not those of my Government. End of Summary.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Not printed; but for summary, see footnote 6, above.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Made by President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill; released by the White House December 1, 1943. For text, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. 448.