740.00119 Control (Korea)/7–1447: Telegram

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

u.s. urgent

142. Urad Zgcg 86529 and PolAd’s 186, July 7.30 For General Hodge from Hilldring:

Rhee’s statement and letters exchanged not carried by U.S. press, and while appreciating your situation it is believed statement here by Secretary would unnecessarily call attention to and dignify Rhee’s activities. We also feel any statement at this time directed primarily against Rhee would only emphasize unstable political situation among South Korean groups and play into hands of Soviets along lines mentioned last sentence penultimate para urad Zurc 887.31 Dept confirms intention American delegation as outlined that message, but believes possibility success scant unless Soviets are convinced Korean parties in south are cooperating with Americans.
Should Rhee’s recent activities receive publicity here Secretary is prepared to issue following statement:

“Statements coming out of Korea alleging that the American commander there, General Hodge, has been following a policy in Korea contrary to that of the United States Government as laid down in Washington have absolutely no foundation in fact. There is but one American policy which is to assure that, in accordance with our international commitments, Korea shall become a free, united and sovereign [Page 702] nation with a government representative of the will of its people. I am sure all loyal, patriotic Koreans will set aside personal differences and work together with us toward accomplishing our common objectives.”

In meantime suggest that you or Jacobs see Rhee and make statement to him from the Secretary of State along lines para 4 and 5 below.
The Secretary wishes to make clear that any implication that General Hodge is following a policy in Korea contrary to that of the U.S. Govt is [as?] laid down in Washington has absolutely no foundation in fact. There is only one American policy which is to assure that, in accordance with our international commitments, Korea shall become an independent and united nation. The American Govt and people are just as anxious as the Korean people are for the early fulfillment of this policy. The chief obstacle at present to achieving this end is the existence of the artificial barrier at the 38th parallel. The best information in the possession of the U.S. Govt is that the Soviets will not agree to any relaxation of this barrier until a Provisional Govt for all of Korea has been established. The present negotiations with the Soviets in the Joint Commission are for the purpose of obtaining agreement to the setting up of a Korean Provisional Govt. Without such a government of a unified Korea there can be no hope in the near future of breaking down the 38th parallel barrier. If such a government can be formed there is real hope of a unified Korea which will be an economic, political and administrative whole. This Provisional Korean Govt would then be able to discuss with the Joint Commission methods for giving help and assistance to the Korean people in establishing their government on a firm foundation. The officials of the Provisional Govt and the Korean people will be given full opportunity to express their views and make recommendations as to the form this assistance shall take and their views and recommendations will receive the most sympathetic consideration of the U.S. Govt. The fact that four powers are responsible under the Moscow Agreement for agreeing on a method of giving this help and assistance should be an assurance to the Korean people of impartial and constructive consideration.
As long as there is any possibility that a Provisional Govt for all Korea can be set up which will result in doing away with the 38th parallel barrier and which will have the benefit of international help and assistance the U.S. Govt feels it must make every effort to achieve such a desirable goal. Consequently, the US Govt cannot consider the establishment of a separate Govt, provisional or otherwise, in southern Korea so long as there is possibility of agreement in the Joint Commission in accord with the Moscow Agreement. Failure of the work [Page 703] of the Joint Commission would mean the perpetuation of the 38th parallel barrier and the indefinite postponement of any hopes for a unified, completely independent Korea. The U.S. Govt feels that its position will be greatly strengthened on the Commission and the possibility of success enhanced if all groups in South Korea cooperate with the Commission. The U.S. Govt feels certain that Mr. Rhee, when he fully realizes the great importance to the Korean people of a successful outcome of the Joint Commission negotiations, will wish to cooperate in bringing about that success. The U.S. Govt has stated that no Koreans should be prohibited from consultation with the Joint Commission merely because of opinions they hold about the government of their country provided they agree to cooperate with the Commission. There will be no infringement of the rights of freedom of opinion and speech. On this basic position the United States will not compromise. The best way for Mr. Rhee and his followers to contribute to the early establishment of a united and independent Korea will be for them to join with all the other democratic parties and social organizations in southern Korea in cooperating with the Joint Commission.

  1. Dated July 7, p. 691.
  2. See footnote 25, p. 693.
  3. Dated July 10, p. 967.