740.00119 Control (Korea)/2–2446: Telegram

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the Secretary of State

top secret

[From General Hodge.] Subject is recent political developments of Korea. Beginning early January and until Tass announcement of details of Moscow Conference near end of January, Communism in south Korea was on the wane. Tass announcement and presence of Russian delegation here stiffened Communists somewhat but appeared partially to separate Communists from the People’s Party leftists. The National Emergency Congress, starting in early February, drew representatives from all but regularly announced Communists, who, as always, refused to confer with anyone not under their control. Resulting from the Emergency Congress was selected Council representing all major groups (including People’s Party) the [except?] Korean Communist Party. At the first meeting February 14 of this selected Council of south Korea, Lyuh Woon Hyung, the leader of the People’s Party, who had prepared a talk as a principal speaker, was absent but other representatives attended. Later People’s Party announced their withdrawal from council. One member of People’s Party struck at the council, announcing that he was not a Communist. The following day first official meeting of council, Communists started their “Democratic People’s Front” convention with Communist Party, People’s Party and various other Communist controlled elements such as farmers associations, Labor Unions, People’s Republic committees, etc, denouncing the representative council as Fascist Jap collaborators, undemocratic and traitorous to the “masses of the peoples”.

On 12 February Russians announced complete all Korean Central Government of north Korea. List of names of that Government and State Council has been screened here by well informed moderates now refugees from north Korea. They announced that all names are either violent Communists or unknown Koreans brought in from Russia or Manchuria. Announced list of parties represented are Democratic, Yenan Independence League and Communist. Names listed as of Democratic Party are known to be Communist stooges named by Russians to replace the Democratic leaders in north. Yenan Independence League is the Chinese-Korean-Manchurian Communist group trained and operating under Russian control. Korean Communist Party is under complete Russian control. Picture is completed by announcement yesterday in local newspaper press that now the “People’s” Government has been set up in north Korea and the “Democratic Front” is perfected in south Korea, the problem of an [Page 641] interim Korean Government is a simple get-together of the two. This statement, together with all the other trends and activities, is accepted as conclusive evidence that the Communistic controlled and led “People’s Party” here has completely sold out to the Russian directed Communists by definite offers of positions in the coming Government. Late information has just come in from reliable informant who attended a Communist meeting in one of the south provinces February 6 where Lyuh Woon Hyung, leader of People’s Party, was principal speaker. Lyuh openly announced his state as a true Communist and gave a long treatise on the methods of operations and means of discrediting the American Military and military government. Although this has long been believed to be true, it is the first real fix on Lyuh as a full fledged Communist. Since the beginning there has never been anything to indicate real hope of getting Communists in the south to join with any group on any subject unless the whole be completely under Communist control. New governmental policies from Yenan, prominently announced, include straight out confiscation of land holdings and extensive properties of both Japs and Koreans for free distribution to the masses (already accomplished according to many reports), this being closest to the hearts of the large numbers of indigent Korean peasants, recent repatriates and unemployed. In this connection my inability to announce any firm policy on disposition of Japanese property is growing daily as a greater handicap and source of charges by highly vocal Communists. Current Communistic activities in Manchuria tie in well with idea of an all out effort now to gain full control of this entire area of the Orient through political penetration.

Complete picture appears as follows:

Russians have set up their groups for north Korea, camouflaging Communists under names of three parties. “People’s Party” in south Korea headed by Lyuh as a definite Communist and Communist [apparent garble] has now sold out completely to Korean Communist Party openly and in toto. Communists here have gathered in many other named group[s?] to class as “democratic” societies and groups who will insist on being considered, while rightist and center have undergone great consolidation of groups behind outstanding leaders. Blackout over north Korea is recently greatly intensified. Travelers from south without Communist visas being arrested as American spies. Russians no doubt plan to force us to accept their Government as the Democratic representatives of north Korea while trying to force us to give enough Communistic representation from south Korea to gain control of Korean interim Government by Communists.

For the present I plan to keep up prestige of the Korean Representative Democratic Council, make every effort to gain the full backing of [Page 642] the Korean people, and discredit the Communists. This will probably get liberal and pink press of US on my neck, but feel any other local action now would be fatal.

As one step forward I urgently recommend pressure to get positive statement of US policy in final disposition of Jap property in south Korea and authority to carry it out.

Signed Hodge.