740.00119 Control (Korea)/11–1245: Telegram

The Acting Political Adviser in Japan (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State 28

CA 54678. Reurad WX 8035329 following is Korean summary for 2 weeks ending November [7]. Will send weekly report hereafter.

Internal Situation:
Minor violence and direct action continued but was aimed at Japs, pro-Japs and local appointees of Military Government rather than at plant ownership or MG.30 US troops intervened in seven incidents [Page 1120] easily quelling trouble. Instigators in most cases were youth groups affiliated with Korean Peoples Republic which still is best organized and determined of four major parties. On October 30 MG issued national emergency decree for dealing with interference with labor, with profiteering and hoarding, and with unregistered publications. There was no important press comment on the decree but conservative elements held view that it was not drastic enough to deal with current turbulence. On November 2 the Central Council for Rapid Realization of Independence, presided over by Doctor Rhee and composed of representatives of three of the four major parties (Democratic, Communist and National), met in Seoul to deliberate on what all Koreans consider their main national problems: Delayed independence, the 38th parallel and the threat of trusteeship. After tumultuous proceedings meeting adopted resolution nominally addressed to four Allies31 but externally addressed to US stating Korean attitude toward these questions and urging recognition of provisional government. Resolution held up later for rewording by Communist leader Pak32 on ground that it was offensive to Korean real liberators the US and Russia. In [apparent omission] parties and political foment goes on but leaders of major parties except People’s Party meet and are exchanging views. All gatherings seem to favor Rhee [apparent omission] to be preparing to welcome Kim Koo and his entourage. Attitude of people toward occupation forces continues friendly although MG occasionally attacked editorially or by posters on minor administrative matters or on general principle. Orders were issued by MG to field administrators to put in motion scheme for provincial representation on MG advisory council, now consisting of seven prominent individuals of Seoul. Scheme involves selection by local councils of two provincial councilors each.
Relations with US: Mr. Vincent’s reference at Foreign Policy Association to trusteeship for Korea33 cast gloom on all political elements. The press attacked trusteeship conceived by Japanese colonial propaganda and called it an insult to Korean people, while even the Fonwolf [Korean?] People’s Republic joined the three other major parties in consultation for common resistance to it. Some reassurance was reflected when the actual text was received and it became clear that trusteeship was projected rather than absolute. Mr. Byrnes’ statement of 25th that the 38th parallel was a temporary measure and that talks were going to end it received a good press. Concern over [Page 1121] this question however does not seem to [be] as great or as abiding as over possible trusteeship.
Relations with USSR: On 1st officers sent to Heijo for coal and chlorine returned empty handed except for coal for Soviet Consulate. They reported following conditions: Russians evidently preparing for long stay. High officers’ wives have arrived and more on way and many houses being remodeled. More troops seem moving south and dismantled machinery moving north thru Heijo. Tales of excesses fewer but relations with populace reserved. High moral[e?] and personnel living well and seemingly very contented with situation. [Bank of?] Chosen’s yen being exchanged at par with occupation yen with exchange four to the ruble. Name of Civil Administration has been changed to Provisional Government.

Circumstantial reports are in hand of Soviet preparations to remove 21–000 KVA generators from Yalu River dam, which is source of half of all power in Korea and on which our zone is largely dependent.

On 25th Commanding General of Soviet Occupation Forces issued a proclamation to Korean people of Red Army’s achievements and objectives, in which assurances were given that the Red Army had no territorial designs on Korea or of running Korea on Soviet limits [lines?]. Following these assurances permission was given, subject to registration, to establish democratic systems, labor unions and public safety bodies, freedom of religion was guaranteed, and all weapons ordered turned in.

  1. This report was prepared by the Acting Political Adviser in Korea and transmitted to the Acting Political Adviser in Japan on 10 November.
  2. Radiogram dated November 2, not printed.
  3. Military Government.
  4. See Resolution of the Korean Congress of Political Parties, November 4, p. 1110.
  5. Presumably Pak Hon-yong.
  6. In an address entitled “The Post-War Period in the Far East” on October 20; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, October 21, 1945, p. 644.