Resolution of the Korean Congress of Political Parties 18

We speak to you with the common voice of the 30 million Korean people. To be sure, different parties have sprung up in Korea since the surrender of our common enemy and there are differences of opinion among us. But that is only normal in the development of democracy. That is the way the American people, too, have developed and improved their institutions. However, we are now all united, and all the political parties existent in Seoul, representing the entire people of Korea, are joined in the United Central Council to work out our own problems. We are all one in our one common aim: We want our independence. We demand our right to restore our territorial, political and administrative prerogatives as a sovereign nation.

The most serious blunder of partitioning Korea in two occupied zones was not of our making. It was imposed upon us. Our country is divided in two disconnected halves, the north above 1.38 N. occupied by the Russian forces and the south below it by the American. It is charged that we Koreans are divided among ourselves and therefore unfit to be free. We say to you: We have been divided by forces outside ourselves, like a body cut in half. How can such a sundered body survive and function properly? We must be allowed to have an opportunity to organize our national life as a unified whole, so as to meet the requirements set forth hi the Cairo Declaration.

We have come to know that neither Gen. MacArthur nor Lt. Gen. Hodge, nor the Military Governor, Major Gen. Arnold knew anything about this division policy. Naturally enough, they were misunderstood and unjustly criticized for the situation of which they were not even cognizant. We regret this and do not hold these military commanders responsible. In fact, we know that they regard our cause and our aspirations with fairness and goodwill. We desire to know who are responsible for this situation. We ask you for a clear statement of a fact so important in determining the fate of Korea. We have patience. But each day the harmful economic and political effects of the division grow deeper and spread wider.

While we are eagerly awaiting an early deliverance from this unhappy condition, we are informed of a joint trusteeship proposed for the control of Korea. This news has caused shock and consternation [Page 1111] of a most profound nature throughout the entire Korean Peninsula. With due respect and in a sincere friendly spirit, we desire to point out that it would be a grave mistake in the Korea policy of the U.S. For nearly forty years, the American Far Eastern policy was based on misinformation obtained chiefly through Japanese and pro-Japanese sources, resulting in the Pearl Harbor disaster. Even after Dec. 7, 1941, the gentlemen in the State Department refused to listen to us. The present chaos and confusion are largely, if not solely, due to their miscalculation. They had been repeatedly warned of this danger by Korean leaders and American friends of Korean independence, but they turned a deaf ear to these friendly warnings. Somehow or other, most of these gentlemen have left that Department and a new set of statesmen have taken their places. With President Truman and Secretary of State Byrnes, we hope the U.S. will open the way for a better understanding between our two countries.

A copy was also transmitted to the Department by the Acting Political Adviser in Japan in his despatch 81, December 1; received December 11.

The following facts are here submitted as highly important for you to know:

We can set our house in order within a year, if we are left alone to work it out. With foreign advisers and technicians together with appropriate material aid, we shall be able to return to a peaceful normal life in a comparatively short time. Anyone who believes the contrary is one of those who are still under the influence of Japanese propaganda stories.
We will cooperate with the United Nations in friendly relations and do our part towards the maintenance of peace in the Far East.
We will hold national election within one year after our Provisional Government has been fully recognized by the Allied Powers. We will uphold the democratic principle of government proclaimed by the signers of the Declaration of Independence in Seoul in 1919;

It is our earnest desire to remind you of the fact that the Allied Powers have not conquered Korea, since the Koreans never fought them. On the contrary, we fought Japan, our common enemy, for 40 years. If we failed to participate in the war on a larger scale, it was due to the fact that we received not a dollar from the lend-lease aid nor a simplest weapon from the arsenals of democracy. We resent to be treated like a conquered enemy as a flagrant injustice.

We ask you for an opportunity to prove ourselves capable of working out our own destiny. For fairness’ sake, please judge us by what we do and not by what others say about us. We are unanimously against a joint trusteeship or any other measure short of complete independence. We are irrevocably dedicated to winning our freedom. We respectfully and eagerly wait for your reply.


Syngman Rhee

Chairman, United Central Council
  1. Addressed to the Four Allied Powers and, through the press, to the American public. Copy transmitted to the Department on December 4 by Ben C. Limb, Acting Chairman of the Korean Commission in the United States, who inquired whether the resolution had been received and whether it had been sent to the British, Soviet, French, and Chinese Governments. The Department’s acknowledgment of December 11 stated: “To date, no communication has been received in the Department from any group or individual in Korea transmitting a copy of the resolution under reference.” (895.01/12–445)