The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 13—6:30 a.m.]
3827. Only recent indications of Soviet attitude toward future of Korea were interpretive article in guise of book review appearing in August 15, New Times (Embassy’s 3154, Sept 334) and a report of a statement issued by Korean political parties (Embassy’s 3780, November 634). Both advocated independence for Korea. So far as we are able to ascertain subject of trusteeship has not even been mentioned in Soviet press.
Silence regarding trusteeship for Korea and roundabout advocacy of independence do not of course in themselves constitute convincing [Page 1122] evidence that USSR is opposed to one and favors the other. However, viewed in context of probable Soviet aims in Korea and Soviet feeling regarding international control organizations these symptoms assume greater significance.
USSR has made it clear that historically it regards Korea in much same light as Finland, Poland and Rumania—a springboard for attack on USSR. Therefore USSR may be expected to seek predominant influence in Korea. Soviet predominance is more likely to be realized through establishment of “independent friendly” Korean regime than through any system of international tutelage. Far from insuring Soviet paramountcy, a trusteeship would probably mean USSR having but one of three or four equal votes.
Consequently until such time as question of what to do with Korea is raised by other powers, USSR is probably content to concentrate on action, not debate; on political consolidation in north Korea and political penetration of south Korea so that by time issue of civilian rule is raised, Soviet political groundwork will have been laid.
In this connection, a word should be said about Red army in occupation of north Korea. Although our reports regarding developments anywhere in Korea are most fragmentary, we have seen nothing to suggest that Red army behavior there is radically different from what it has been in Europe and that “war booty” including industrial equipment is being removed. Consequently Red army conduct may prove to be a major factor inhibiting and alienating sympathy for local Communist cause. If Soviet Govt has obedient and relatively strong Korean military forces and militia which it can leave behind, it is quite possible that Soviet Govt would be desirous of withdrawing Red army from Korea and bring pressure on us to withdraw our troops simultaneously.
From Harriman to Dept 3827, repeated Chungking 210, London 571, Dept please repeat to Tokyo and Seoul.