740.00119 Control (Korea)/5–1446: Telegram

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


59. Summary of conditions in Korea April 16 through April 31 [30].

1. Internal situation: …

Efforts to merge various Right Wing parties into single Korean Independence Party (Hankook Dok Lib Dang) under leadership of Kim Koo has finally been partially successful, only Hankook Democratic [Page 678]Party continuing to remain aloof. Second convention of Left Wing Democratic People’s Front was held at Seoul April 20–21, dominated by Pak Heun Yung, Communist leader. Approximately 300 delegates were present although Lyuh Woon Hyung of People’s Party did not attend, lending some emphasis to his claim of attempting a break with extreme Communist elements. Major business of convention was drafting recommendation for organization of interim government for submission to Joint Commission. These recommendations have not been formally presented. Lyuh is known to have visited Pyongyang from April 19th to 25th, reason given being to meet political leaders in North Korea. He saw Communist Chairman, Kim Il Sawng, on April 23 and 24th, as well as two other members of North Korea Communist Triumvirate. Kim asked Lyuh to send politically trained men from Seoul to assist him, saying that he (Kim) did not have sufficient experience to maintain his position properly. Lyuh rejected request but suggested Kim come to Seoul. To which he replied he could not leave his job in North. Dr. Syngman Rhee commenced speaking to all of South Korea provinces April 15, in effort to strengthen following in those areas thus far predominately under Left Wing influence. On April 17th seven men were arrested in Taejon in connection with plot to assassinate Rhee upon his scheduled appearance there several days later. Democratic Party of North Korea announced on April 30th that its Headquarters had been moved to Seoul. Although still in Soviet custody, Cho Man Sik continued nominally as President and is believed still to maintain contact with his party. During period press was concerned mainly with 5th Communiqué of Joint Commission and with Lt. Gen Hodge’s statement of April 21st analyzing trusteeship, general Korean reaction to both of which was favorable. Leftist newspapers continued to ease away from former policy of direct attacks on Military Government, for its alleged mistakes blaming instead bad counsel of so-called reactionary Korean elements surrounding it. Few disorders were reported during the period.

2. Economic conditions: …

3. External relations: Increase was noted in number of instances of border violation by Soviet troops involving thievery, attacks on civilians, patrolling south of 38 degrees, and other illegal acts. A letter was sent by CG USAFIK to Soviet Commander on April 16th calling attention to these incidents and suggesting a more precise mutual definition of border, to which Soviet Commander agreed in letter of April 24th. On April 27th formal representation was made to Soviet Army Headquarters requesting tighter control over greatly increased number of illegal Japanese and Korea refugee movements southward across line, in compliance with agreement for joint border [Page 679]supervision reached in January joint conference. Recent reports indicate that Soviets are restricting travel of Koreans in southern provinces of their zone through system of travel permits and identification certificates without which private persons may not leave their districts. Evidence points to probable eventual extension of travel restrictions to whole of North Korea as possible curb to anti-Communist activities. Presumption is persons crossing line into South Korea do so mainly with Soviet acquiescence. Growing underground resistance to Communist regime is reported, particularly on part of student and Church groups and farmer propertied classes. Increasing number of instances of demonstrations and violence against Soviet troops and Korean Communists are reported, principally on part of youth groups. Removal of Headquarters of Democratic Party of North Korea to Seoul is believed effort to carry on opposition to Communist regime from outside territory. Soviet land reform program said to be popular with many Korean farmers, but others are reported uncertain as to ultimate ownership status of land and dissatisfied with small size (12.5 acres) of revised individual holdings.