Records of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, Lot 52–M45, SWNCC 232 Series

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the Chief of Staff ( Eisenhower )

Cax 55238. Part I. Since United States occupation, rehabilitation of lightly armed Korea National Civil Police Force within existing structure of government has been in progress under United States supervision, reur W[ar] 80645 of 3 November 1945 (Appendix “A”48). Force is composed of Koreans and will reach planned strength of 25,000 by 1 January 1945. Believe that continued vigorous development of force and equipping it with United States arms and equipment will relieve United States forces of civil police functions in Korea other than supervision and reinforcements in emergency. However, in view of situation vis-à-vis Russia, two United States Divisions, two air groups, and supporting troops comprise the minimum force that should be retained in Korea until final United States policy with respect to that country is determined.

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Request authority to equip police force as outlined above with surplus United States weapons available here in stock and from Class 4 units.

Part II. In this connection closely related question of long range policy concerning establishment of Korean Military Forces has necessarily received consideration. Following are views of Commanding General USAFIK on subject: “Private armies of unarmed veterans nationally inspired are beginning to spring up in Korea and will undoubtedly make every effort to arm secretly or otherwise. Such forces will be a threat to the integrity of Korea upon the withdrawal of United States Forces. Best method of control is to capture Korean leadership and divert energies into national channel under United States control.

“Police type force does not offer satisfactory solution to problem due to the local nature of its primary mission of law enforcement and the size of the groups involved. A more ambitious but realistic program would be the establishment of complete Korean National Defense Forces (Army and Air, Navy and Coast Guard)

It is realized that such a program must necessarily be governed by policies established for the ultimate disposition of Korea. Consequently it is requested that this Hq be furnished early guidances to what if any national armed forces are contemplated for Korea during the period of the Allied trusteeship in order to determine whether or not further consideration of such a plan is warranted at this time.

  1. Not printed.