740.00119 Control (Korea)/3–1846

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the Joint Chiefs of Staff46

AG 091 (2 Feb 46) CC

Subject: Radio from the Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in Korea, Tfgcg 272.

Following radio from CG USAFIK is repeated for your information:

“Reference is made to State Department radio Nr 90 DTG 271512 Z.47 Reference message contains and implies information that should have been passed to this headquarters by the State Department several weeks ago for guidance in planning, policies, and handling emergencies. It is in itself complete evidence that the Department has paid little attention either to the information painstakingly sent in from those actually on the grounds as to the psychology of the Korean people or to the repeated urgent recommendations of the commander and State Department political advisers. The verification of the full truth of the Tass statement comes as real news to me, particularly in view of my urgent recommendations beginning in October and the recent State Department attitude and broadcasts which shy away [Page 629] from the trusteeship idea and hold out hope that possibly it may not be necessary. Just after the quelling of the revolt and riots brought about by announcement of the trusteeship, our position here was the strongest since our arrival. As the significance of the Tass statement recently released here by General Shtikov sinks in, the Korean people are feeling that the United States has again sold ‘them down the river,’ this time to the Russians instead of the Japanese. Without a denial by the United States nothing we can say or do locally will clear the atmosphere of a newly growing distrust of the United States. The Tass statement was very cleverly worded to make clear to the Koreans that the Soviets tried to arrange for the Koreans at and prior to the Moscow Conference everything Koreans had wanted, including full independence at an early date, but had been thwarted in their benevolent wishes by the strong American pressure for a 10-year trusteeship. Up to now the Koreans have hated and feared the Soviets because of their actions within the northern zone and have looked to the United States for salvation believing that the United States would give some consideration to the wishes of freed Koreans. The Russians are improving materially in behavior north of the 38th degrees and through clever propaganda are beginning to rise in stature as the saviors of the ‘30,000,000 Korean people.’ Communist activity, on the wane for almost a month up until January 15, is locally again increasing materially both in boldness and effectiveness, while thinking and educated Koreans are again becoming sure they will now have to fight for their freedom and independence. It might be added that so far there is nothing in the attitude of the Russians to indicate that they have any thought of unifying the Korean nation while we keep forces here. So far all discussion includes adjustment of flow of everything from mail to persons through control posts along the boundary. My best guess now is that north and south will never be really united until the Russians are sure that the whole will be soundly communistic. Based on current trends, I question our ability to stem the propaganda and controlled political maneuvering of the Soviets.

“I do not know who have been the experts on Korea who have advised and guided the State Department in their disregard of my recommendations. It may be the educated Koreans in the United States. It certainly has not been anyone who has seen and really knows Korea since the war. I hope that it can be impressed upon the Department that here we are not dealing with wealthy U.S. educated Koreans, but with early, [sic] poorly trained, and poorly educated Orientals strongly affected by 40 years of Jap control, who stubbornly and fanatically hold to what they like and dislike, who are definitely influenced by direct propaganda and with whom it is almost [Page 630] impossible to reason. We are opposed by a strongly organized, ruthless political machinery designed to appeal to the millions of this type.

“I hope there is some way in which you can pass my ideas to the State Department and get over to them the thought that we must be kept informed and that it might be worth while to consider some of the information and recommendations we have conscientiously sent in from Korean hotspot based on fact and not theory.”

For the Supreme Commander:
Harold Fair

H. W. Allen

Colonel, AGD, Asst Adjutant General
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department with letter of March 18 from the Secretaries of War and Navy, Robert P. Patterson and James V. Forrestal, not printed.
  2. See footnote 34, p. 621.