740.00119 Control (Korea)/8–1848: Telegram
The Political Adviser in Korea ( Jacobs ) to the Secretary of State
Seoul , August 18, 1948.
684. Cite Zpol 1290.
- On August 16 General Hodge discussed with President Rhee and [an] interim military agreement (Tab G) and left with him draft copy thereof.1 During discussion Rhee gave no indication of any objection to draft. Next day (yesterday) we learned that some difficulty had developed. This morning Rhee sent for me and, piecing together information which he gave me with that from other sources, following developments have taken place and are being reported in event something appears in press.
- After receiving draft of Tab G, Rhee conferred with his Cabinet and apparently Prime Minister Lee Bum Suk and Foreign Minister Chang Taik Sang, especially latter, took exception to certain provisions of draft, in particular that part of Article 2 which gives Commanding General, in progressive transfer of authority over the Korean security forces, responsibility for the direction of those forces including the police. These two Cabinet ministers are reported (Rhee did not confirm this) to have threatened to resign and publish their letters of resignation, if Rhee signed the agreement as drafted. They also told Rhee (which he confirmed) that if he signed opposition in Assembly might even go so far as to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.
- As result Rhee became very much disturbed and instead of conferring with General Hodge or with me he conferred with Dick Johnston (New York Times correspondent) whom Rhee holds in high regard and even consults in advisory capacity. Apparently Johnston also discussed matter with Foreign Minister Chang Taik Sang. These facts in themselves are not harmful but apparently at least one other correspondent has learned about draft and danger is that contents may get into press along with revelation of fact that we and Korean authorities are in disagreement.
- In my discussion with Rhee this morning, I made no effort conceal fact that I was very much alarmed that he would reveal to newspaper correspondent contents of document, obviously of secret nature, before differences arising therefrom had been discussed and effort made to resolve them. He admitted impropriety of his action and is very much upset. He has asked Johnston not to use information in professional way and I believe he will not do so.
- As regards draft itself Rhee discussed with me his redraft. It is so completely different from draft we submitted that I told Rhee I was sure it would not be acceptable. It withdraws some of authority accorded commanding general in original draft note asking for transfer of authority (Tab A).2 After discussion of matter with Rhee, I believe he will approve changes in his redraft which may make it acceptable to our military authorities. He said he would [have?] prepared new redraft this afternoon and send it to General Hodge as counter draft.
- As both of us agreed that President cannot find time personally to compose differences between the drafts, Rhee will suggest to General Hodge that two drafts be placed before negotiating committee consists ing of General Helmick and Drumright on our side and Prime Minister and Home and Foreign Ministers on Korean side.
- General Hodge this afternoon also discussed problem with Foreign Minister Chang Taik Sang who was chief instigator of objections and General feels Chang will now go along tomorrow with some slight modifications in draft. General Hodge will report his conversation in separate telegram.