740.00119 Control (Korea)/6–247: Telegram
Lieutenant General John R. Hodge to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, at Tokyo87
Zgcg 754. For Gen. MacArthur. Info War Department and State Department. Subject is status of rightist parties re Joint Commission. Reopening of Joint Commission was greatest disappointment to date for Syngman Rhee and his close followers of extreme right. Rhee has for past year been making many rash promises to Koreans concerning their ability gain immediate independence and set up their own government. His activities have ranged all the way from promises of a separate government of South Korea by Korean effort alone to a planned revolt to seize governmental power from United States occupation forces during his absence from Korea December to April. His power here is centered in the old revolutionary exile group with their legendary heroic patriotism. Their battle cry since October 1945 has been “Anti-Trusteeship” based on their unilateral interpretation of the meaning of trusteeship. This slogan is a powerful weapon in Korea because the nation is so untutored in international affairs.
When it was announced that the Joint Commission was to reopen, Rhee started a fire-eating campaign to be led off by extensive anti-trusteeship demonstration. A flat ban on mass political demonstrations gave him a cooling off period, during which we brought all guns to bear in an effort to get rightist consultation and cooperation with the Joint Commission. At the present there seems to be an even chance we may get results. Although I do not believe Rhee, Kim Koo and other principal exile figures will participate in consultation, it appears now that many or most rightist groups may pull away from them and will cooperate. There is no way accurately to forecast their actions until consultations get underway. Although denunciations of Rhee in the States have been effective in reducing the Rhee group clamor, [Page 662] I have made every attempt personally to keep from denouncing him, hoping to use his local influence and following if and when needed in future.
Suggest information be passed to War and State.
- Forwarded from Tokyo and received by the Department on June 7, 4:50 a.m.↩