The Ambassador in Korea (Muccio) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rusk)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: There is an aspect of the United States Government’s pronouncements in general, and that of the Department in particular, which has often caused me concern, and to which I would like to call your attention.

I refer to public statements attributed to the President, the Secretary or other high Government officials in which various countries are named as especial objects of United States interest and concern, but from which the name of Korea very frequently is omitted.

These omissions are always noted here in Korea, and they add to the sensitivity and fear of the Korean Government and Korean citizens that the United States Government is not fixed in its determination to assist Korea and will abandon Korea at the earliest opportunity. The Korean Government, and especially President Rhee, is particularly concerned in noting these omissions following the recent statements by Senator Connally in United States News and World Report, and also by the omission of Korea from the Baguio Conference invitation list.1 Since this Republic is so close to the enemy, and in fact is daily engaged in armed conflict with him, responsible Korean leaders are understandably concerned at what appears to be their extreme isolation and are most sensitive to any hint that the United States Government or officials may be indifferent to their peril.

The most recent examples of that which I have in mind are the AP news stories of the Secretary’s comments from London on the Atlantic [Page 89] Council talks2 (received here on May 20) and the longer USIS story, from London, dated May 19, on the same subject. Although the Secretary was speaking primarily of U.S. interest in and support of the Atlantic Pact countries, as the AP condensed his statement, “… Acheson promised continued support to Indo-China, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Germany in any struggle for freedom from aggression.” The USIS story, while longer and more detailed, makes the omission of any reference to Korea even more noticeable.

I should like to urge that those persons particularly charged with drafting speeches and statements on United States policy have this problem brought to their attention, so that in any listing of Asiatic countries in whose freedom the United States maintains a continuing interest, Korea may always be included.

I think this is especially important now that increasing emphasis is being put on Indo-China and South East Asia generally, so that official comment on U.S. interest in that area is bound to increase. It would be a pity if in the increase of that volume, by omission of reference to Korea, Koreans would come to believe that despite their able and courageous fight to preserve their own independence against Communist aggression they had been written off as expendable.3

Sincerely yours,

John J. Muccio
  1. Representatives of Australia, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand met at Baguio in the Philippines on May 26. At the conference, they agreed on the desirability of closer economic, cultural, and social cooperation. For related documentation, see volume vi .
  2. Documentation on this subject is scheduled for publication in volume iii.
  3. For the text of Mr. Rusk’s reply, June 15, see p. 106.