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795.00/7–150: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea (Muccio) to the Secretary of State

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priority

1. Contrary to predictions most observers, ROK forces held their ground well on Han River and other fronts last night and today, [Page 273]Enemy today reportedly strengthened ground forces in bridgehead area to about battalion strength. No enemy tanks appear to have crossed river but ROK Intelligence reports indicate enemy tanks massed near pedestrian bridge on which repairs going forward and in Mapo area to west where new bridge reportedly under construction. Inchon port remains in ROK hands while there apparently little change in Kimpo area. If ROK Intelligence reports have any basis, enemy may be expected push tanks across river under cover darkness and misty weather obtaining tonight.

ADCOM, on basis conflicting alarming reports and ROK Chief of Staff1 inability to assume being able to hold Suwon air strip till next morning decided about 9 p. m. [to evacuate?] and was completed by early morning July 2 when headquarters reestablished Taejon about 110 [miles] southeast Seoul. All military personnel including KMAG officers near front lines were withdrawn thus leaving no US advisers at Korean Army headquarters or forward toward front. State personnel headed by Drumright and several correspondents were obliged to evacuate with military personnel. All arrived safely at Taejon where remaining Embassy personnel now concentrated excepting Noble and Prendergast who went to South Cholla today to keep contact with Rhee. Latter left Taejon about daylight today but Prime Minister states Rhee decided return Taejon, due arrive 10 tonight. Some KMAG personnel returning front areas tonight. It appears USAF air attacks have slowed enemy advance and have at same time put some heart in ROK soldiers. Word is now getting about about commitment US ground forces and this is having definitely steadying effects. It is earnestly hoped US ground forces can be transported North in time contain enemy at Han River. If this can be accomplished task of eliminating aggressors should be greatly facilitated.

I earnestly pleaded National Assemblymen congregating Taejon area return home districts and pacify people. Many left Taejon today to Lothab [apparent garble]. I also appealed Cabinet, Governors and public leaders to remain Taejon and carry on business as normal. Refugees streaming from Seoul-Suwon area constitute growing problem which government appears to be doing little to solve. Though people have lost considerable confidence in ROK Army, they appear willing continue support ROK Government. There has been remarkably little sabotage or guerrilla activity since start hostilities. However North Koreans crossing over in ROK uniforms and carrying ROK weapons create some difficulties. Near-panic Suwon yesterday started by two jeep-loads men in ROK MP uniforms rushing down highway shouting, “Tanks coming”, undoubtedly Communist. I have been making [Page 274]supreme effort all week to fortify wavering determination of Koreans to continue resistance. With arrival US ground forces there no question of ROK determination to carry on.

Stewart is making full use of remaining USIS centers to bring news of conflict to ill-informed Korean masses whose knowledge of affair is based very largely on rumors.

Muccio
  1. On June 30, Lt. Gen. Chung Il Kwon had replaced Maj. Gen. Chae Byong Duk as Chief of Staff of the ROK Army.