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795.5/1–2550

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

secret
No. 97

Ref: Embtels 1519, Dec. 17, 1949; 1521, Dec. 19, 1949.1

Subject: Transmitting Recommendations for Additional United States Military Aid to Korea During Fiscal Year 1950

The Embassy refers to the visit of Mr. Niles W. Bond, Officer in Charge, Korea Affairs, Department of State, and Lt. Col. Richard Lawson, Plans and Operations Division, Department of the Army, Washington, to Seoul in December 1949, for the purpose of reaching agreement with the Republic of Korea on the fiscal year ’50 MDA Program within the framework of a $10.23 million allocation. As reported in the Embassy’s telegram no. 1519, the Korean authorities, including the President, agreed to the program recommended by KMAG and the Embassy, after consultation with Mr. Bond and Col. Lawson, although it is only fair to note that the Korean authorities, and especially the Air Force and the Coast Guard officials concerned, were deeply disappointed by the meager aid allotted to those branches of the Korean Security Forces.

It is also the considered opinion of the Embassy and of KMAG that the $10.23 million allotment was far from adequate to meet the minimum all-around needs of the Korean Security Forces in the light of the situation existing in this part of the world;2 accordingly, in [Page 16]its telegram no. 1521, the Embassy recommended the supplementation of the $10.23 million allocation with funds to be provided under Section 303 of the MDA Act,3 it being pointed out that the strengthening of the defenses of the Republic of Korea would obviously contribute to the accomplishment in the general area of China of the policies and purposes set forth in the MDA Act. The Embassy specifically recommended that urgent and favorable consideration be given to the allocation of funds under Section 303 of the Act sufficient to bring the total funds available for military assistance to Korea, in the fiscal year ’50, to a minimum of $20 million.

In this connection, there are now transmitted the recommendations4 of KMAG for additional military assistance to Korea scaled down to fall within the approximate dollar limitation of $9.8 million. Also transmitted is a copy of a covering letter from the Chief, KMAG, setting forth the considerations on which the KMAG recommendations are based.

The KMAG recommendations for additional military aid to the Republic of Korea have been prepared after very careful thought and study and are designed to meet what are regarded as minimum all-around needs of the Korean Security Forces in the light of existing situation in this part of the world.

I concur in the recommendations of KMAG, and I earnestly hope that the concerned policy, defense and MDAP authorities will give full and favorable consideration to the granting of these minimum needs of the Korean Security Forces.

John J. Muccio
[Enclosure]

The Chief of the United States Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea (Roberts) to the Ambassador in Korea (Muccio)

secret

Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith, the recommendations of KMAG for possible additional fiscal year 1950 Military Assistance to Korea.4

This recommendation has been compiled with a view toward bringing total logistic support for Korea to the 20 million dollar figure mentioned in your radio Deptel 1521 of 19 December 1949. Recommendations are based on and related to all previous requests for Military Assistance to Korea scaled down to fall within the approximate [Page 17]dollar limitations of $9,800,000. It is the desire of KMAG that this recommendation, coupled with the approved fiscal year 50 MDAP be considered the only valid recommendations at this time.

The objective of this program is to strengthen the existing Security Forces without providing means for an increase in numerical strength. We have included crew served weapons for the additional 15,000 men previously armed with individual arms only, to bring the total U.S. supported ground forces to 65,000 men. There are also included a limited quantity of tools and maintenance equipment considered necessary to enable the Koreans to maintain the equipment on hand and to protect the U.S. investment in the Security Forces. A limited amount of artillery and 4.2″ mortar, with supporting Signal equipment, has been included in an attempt to equalize the range and weight of weapons in South Korea with those known to be in North Korea.

The fighter type aircraft requested5 are considered by KMAG to be absolutely necessary for the defense of South Korea. Confirmed reports of North Korean air strength indicate a minimum of thirty (30) Yak–3 Russian fighter planes have been transferred to North Korea. The South Korean Security Forces are totally without means of combating this type aircraft.

The Coast Guard portion of this recommendation is based on the assumption that Korea is willing to finance the procurement of three (3) additional US Navy type P. C. vessels in the United States. Experience with the ship Bak Du San, recently purchased in New York by Korea, indicates that hull and main engines can be purchased for about $25,000 and the cost of outfitting, armament and ammunition is approximately $130,000. To expedite the refitting of Korean purchased vessels KMAG recommends refitting charges be assumed under the attached Program.

To summarize, KMAG recommends the U.S. offer to Korean limited logistic support to include:

a.
Equipment for existing Ground Forces to the extent of $4,574,976 including crew served weapons, additional artillery with supporting Ordnance and Signal equipment, and a limited quantity of Engineer items.
b.
Minimum essential equipment for an air force capable of offering combat to high performance aircraft presently in North Korea, and training planes to supplement those which have been purchased by Korea. Total estimated cost is $3,914,024.
c.
Ordnance and Signal equipment necessary to outfit three (3) U.S. Navy type P. C. vessels with necessary shore signal installations, [Page 18]provided the Korean Government finance procurements of hull and main engines.

Attached hereto are preliminary estimates of amount of material required and dollar cost including packaging, handling and transportation charges.6

Faithfully,

W. L. Roberts

Brig. Gen., U.S. Army
  1. Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 2, p. 1112.
  2. The Report of the Survey Team comprised of Mr. Bond and Lt. Col. Lawson, dated January 17, 1950, was issued by the Foreign Military Assistance Coordinating Committee on February 8 as FMACC Document 31. The final paragraph of the Report’s conclusions stated that “… the Survey Team was particularly impressed by the uniquely compelling urgency which attaches to the military assistance requirements of the Republic of Korea by virtue of the presence on its very frontiers (and not more than 30 miles from the capital city of Seoul) of an aggressive Soviet-dominated Communist regime which is publicly committed to the destruction of that Republic by armed force, a factor which the Survey Team believes should be given due weight in the determination of relative priorities among MDA recipient countries.” (Lot 54D–5 Box 13392)
  3. Approved October 6, 1949; 63 Stat. 714.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. The request called for 40 F–51 fighter aircraft; see Robert K. Sawyer, Military Advisers in Korea: KMAG in Peace and War (edited by Walter G. Hermes), a volume in the United States Army Historical Series (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1962), p. 94.
  7. Not printed.