501.BB Korea/1–2448: Telegram

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

21. Cite Pol 757. Following is statement released by General Hodge today apropos Chairman Menon’s statement quoted Seoul Pol Ad 16, January 23 [22]1:

“It was with much pleasure and interest that I heard the broadcast by Ambassador K. P. S. Menon, Chairman of United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea, at Seoul on 21 January 1948, giving an account to the Korean people of the progress of the Commission and its attitude toward its mission in Korea.

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All Americans are completely in accord with Mr. Menon’s statement concerning the necessity of a free atmosphere for elections to be conducted under the observation of the UN Commission which, under the General Assembly resolution of 14 November, are to be held for all Korea. I agree entirely that if these elections are to have lasting value, they must be free and unfettered and must faithfully reflect the will of the people. The electors must be insured a secret ballot and there must be freedom for the candidates of all parties, of whatever political ideology they may represent, to put forth their views on a free and equal basis. I feel sure that my views express also those of all patriotic Koreans.

Although the people of Korea have never conducted a general election for the selection of national representatives under elective procedures accepted by most of the world as democratic, I have the greatest faith in the genuine regard for democratic processes which exists among Koreans today. Since the coming of the United States forces to Korea in September 1945, I have watched with increasing admiration the development and growth of representative government and the great desire of Koreans to exercise the art of good government in order better to serve their country.

Speaking as the representative of the United States of America in Korea, I can assure that the American Command will lend every possible assistance to the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea to this end and awaits the decision of the Commission as to their approval of the election laws, regulations, and mechanism which it deems appropriate for the election to be conducted. I am confident that all the good people of South Korea are prepared to cooperate fully in the accomplishment of the task which has been assigned to the Temporary Commission.

My letter to Ambassador Menon on 19 January 1948 fully expressed my views and those of all members of this command, and I think it is entirely appropriate at this time to quote an extract therefrom:

‘I join the Korean people in their enthusiastic support of and whole-hearted cooperation with the Commission’s endeavor to achieve Korean independence in line with the aims and ambitions of all mankind throughout the world. The United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea and its activities are the cynosure of all eyes of freedom loving peoples of the world. I wish it full success and Godspeed in early performance of its mission.

My time and services are always available for anything that will contribute toward the attainment of the hopes which are uppermost in the minds and hearts of the Korean people.’”

  1. Not printed.