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795.00/6–2550: Telegram

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

secret

935. Info CINCFE. Wish inform Department that with clearing weather setting in about midday North Korean Air Force became [Page 133]ominously active in Seoul area. Action was initiated at 1135 this morning, when two North Korean fighters buzzed Kimpo Airport but left without bombing or strafing. Commencing this afternoon sometime after 4:00 o’clock four North Korean fighter planes strafed Kimpo Airport, making five separate runs. Airport building was slightly damaged, Standard Vacuum Oil Co. fuel truck destroyed, POL dump ignited and MATS C–54 plane which was on ground undergoing minor repairs had one engine destroyed and one wing badly damaged. Also North Korean fighters strafed Seoul airstrip, inflicting slight damage on seven T–6 aircraft. Embassy had warned C–54 this morning to leave Kimpo, and Defense Ministry was strongly advised this morning to disperse T–6’s on more southerly fields. Embassy without information why steps not taken to move C–54 and T–6’s earlier in day.

In view of today’s air activities, it seems logical conclude North Koreans intend make full use their complete air superiority. Danger of this situation has been pointed out on several occasions to Department and defense agencies.1 I can only express hope that some positive and speedy action can be taken at this late date to remedy this deficiency which is exceedingly serious threat and handicap to gallant ROK forces who are otherwise capable of putting up most effective opposition. As Department doubtless aware, Rhee and other Korean officials will look to US for air assistance above all else. Future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether US will or will not give adequate air assistance.

Muccio
  1. At approximately 3 p. m. (Seoul time), Ambassador Muccio had met with UNCOK at its request to discuss the situation in Korea. He reported on the meeting in telegram 933, June 25, 6 p. m., from Seoul, which was received in the Department of State at 5:51 a. m. (EDT) on June 25. When asked by the Indian representative on UNCOK, Anup Singh, for his expectation of the outcome, Mr. Muccio replied:

    “I feel certain the South Koreans will give a good account of themselves. The unknowns of the situation are the number of Chinese Communists with battle experience available to the North Koreans, and the possibility of a North Korean air offensive which might hurt by air raids on Seoul.” (795.00/6–2550)