740.00119 Control (Korea)/1–2246: Telegram

The Political Adviser in Korea ( Benninghoff ) to the Secretary of State

secret

From General Hodge. The Commanding General of the U. S. Forces in Korea wishes to express his appreciation to the State Department for having received from them, prior to its broadcast,21 the summary of the State Department message regarding Korea. He feels that, generally speaking, such a policy will aid in our contacts with both the Koreans and the Russians. (We have not yet received a confirmation copy of the message.) He expresses the hope that advance copies will be sent in the future. Under some circumstances it might be advisable to make arrangements for releases to be made simultaneously. The two following points are raised with regard to the broadcast.

[Page 614]

Your reference that Japanese technicians might possibly be employed is not understood by us. Presently the Koreans are much opposed to the continuance in service of any Jap and almost all previously employed Japs are no longer in the service of the Government. There are a few yet in the service of the Military Government but we do not advertise the fact and have intentions of removing them as soon as it is feasible. Even though the people of Korea are aware that assistance is needed, they will not take it from the Japanese.

When referring to the People’s Party of Korea the State Department obviously thinks it is representative of the Liberals and not of the Communists. Such a state of affairs no longer exists as the Communists are stronger in this Party than the Liberals. This situation is elaborated upon in my November 24th [25th], Tfcgc 159.22 A source close to Lyuh Woon Hyung23 admits that Hun Ho24 and he are no longer in control of the party as the Communist Party has usurped power. Nonetheless, they are still leaders in name and have made no open break with those actually in control of the party, perhaps because they fear being removed completely from the present political picture. We feel that at the present time the Communists (perhaps with the aid of the Russians) are making use of the People’s Party, supposedly Liberal, to conduct their activities, included in which is political terrorism. They have no desire to get rid of Lyuh for this reason, and he does not wish to disappear from the political scene of his own free will, as he is an opportunist who has no backing outside the Party. [Hodge.]

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Benninghoff
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  1. For radio broadcast on Korea, January 19, see Department of State Bulletin, January 27, 1946, p. 104.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, p. 1133.
  3. Leader of the Korean “People’s Republic”, September 1945, and of the People’s Party.
  4. Hu Hun, also a leader of the Korean “People’s Republic”.