895.00/2–1048: Telegram

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


71. Cite Zpol 165. In recent conversations with someone whom we have reason to believe Rhee trusts implicitly and with whom Rhee therefore talked freely and without passion, he stated his present views substantially as follows:

Elections and establishment of government: Rhee admitted difficulty confronting UN Commission in holding elections in South Korea only but insisted as he always does that such elections must be held and threatened that if they were not held before this coming summer there would be much trouble from the rightists. Rhee’s idea is that the elections should be for combination constitutional convention and parliament which should immediately draft constitution (he claims this can be done in four or five weeks) and establish a government thereunder, with the constitutional convention becoming the legislative body of the new government.
South Korea versus North Korea and USSR: Rhee recognizes overwhelming weakness of South Korea versus present North Korean government and its Soviet trained army and also that if USSR attempts to conquer South Korea with Soviet troops, South Korea’s case is hopeless. He feels however that all good Koreans should accept this challenge and resist both North Korea Government, and USSR to the point of death in the struggle. He argues that with reasonable amount of assistance in the form of money and equipment from the US or UN for the building up of a South Korean army there is reasonable chance, upon withdrawal of Soviet and American troops, of a victory for the south. Rhee sincerely believes that most of the North Korean troops would not remain loyal either to the Soviets or to the stooge government in North Korea. When it was mentioned to him that the Communists in Poland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania had been successful in establishing themselves in power with a well trained minority military force, Rhee seemed sincere in his belief that this situation would not occur in Korea.
Retention of American troops in South Korea: Rhee thinks that United States has real moral obligation to retain some US troops in Korea for a period after a South Korean government is established. In addition, he feels that such retention would serve best interests of United States in opposing the Soviets as it would guarantee the holding of South Korea for democracy. As regards size of such force, whether as at present or a smaller token force, he said that this was something for US Government to decide.
Kim Koo-Kimm Kiusic rapprochement: Rhee does not seem to have completely made up his mind as to his attitude toward the Kim Koo-Kimm Kiusic rapprochement. He is not happy about it but refrains from openly criticizing Kim Koo, apparently in hope that he and Kim Koo can still reconcile their differences. He is, however, outspokenly critical of Hankook Democratic Party for calling Kim Koo Communist.
General Hodge: Rhee still harbors resentment toward General Hodge. He said he could not go into all the intricacies of that question, stating that he had to hold someone responsible for US policy toward Korea and General Hodge was that person. Rhee was more bitter in commenting on General Hodge to a group of provincial police chiefs. To them he said that despite his (Rhee’s) “treaty” with State Department, despite his personal support from General Mac-Arthur and contrary to unanimous desire of Korean people, General Hodge alone had illegally stood in way of elections which would have put him (Rhee) in power. He told these police chiefs he did not know what means should be followed to get rid of General Hodge but intimated [Page 1101] that he was considering policy of open disobedience and mass strikes which would probably force US Government to remove Hodge.