The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Kirk ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 1—6:29 p. m.]
7. Eyes only for Secretary of State, Department circular 30 June, 5 p. m.1 has certain disturbing connotations particularly as regards military situation South Korea. We have assessed Politburo attitude as of yesterday (Embtel 1773, June 30) as poised to jump either way: i.e., if NK invasion stopped hurled back and full power western world (meaning chiefly that of US) manifested in prompt decisive defeat to Communist inspired attack in ROK, then Kremlin in nice position to remain aloof and disclaim any responsibility for what would doubtless [Page 278]be described as regrettable “civil war”; but on other hand should military success favor attackers from NK or should struggle become protracted with issue uncertain, despite whatever strength western powers are able and willing to commit, it is then conceivable Soviets would commence to throw their weight more and more into scales on side of NK forces, either openly or by subterfuge, following pattern Spanish civil war. Just what might be course of military events from thence onward is difficult to foresee, although unmistakeably clear that we would suffer to some considerable degree in loss of prestige.
Essence of situation, it seems to me, lies in earliest military success our arms in SK. The issue has been put to the test of battle and entire world is watching and waiting for results this test. I am sure Politburo will be governed by such results which will constitute the kind of cold facts upon which their realistic attitude will be based completely unconditioned by any emotional or altruistic sentiments.
Consequently, I can only record my fullest concurrence with whatever action we and our allies can take to inflict at the earliest moment the most complete and crushing defeat upon NK invading forces. Every day of delay in stopping advance of NK troops increases our problem, and will shortly operate to reduce our prestige in all Asia as will in friendly western world. While I am impressed and encouraged by expressions approval, etc., as reported in Department’s infotels and otherwise, yet I am anxious now to see resounding military success achieved by demonstrably overwhelming power.
We cannot afford a military reverse in Korea.
Dept pass London, Paris; repeated info London 5, eyes only Ambassador Douglas; Paris 4, eyes only Ambassador Bruce.
- Not printed; it provided background on President Truman’s decision to authorize use of U.S. ground forces in Korea on the basis of General MacArthur’s report that the ROK forces were not prepared to fight the kind of force thrown at them, had lost or abandoned supplies and heavy equipment, had not fought seriously, lacked leadership, and were discouraged and losing their willingness to fight (795.00/6–3050).↩