795.00/10–3050: Telegram

The Chargé in Korea (Drumright) to the Secretary of State


311. Following is text of press release by President Syngman Rhee issued Seoul October 30:

“The United Nations Forces in Korea, under the inspired leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, are concluding the superb campaign of driving the Communists beyond our Northern borders. The political unification of our country and its economic rehabilitation now come to the fore as the most pressing problems.

“In this connection I desire to state categorically that the Government of the Republic of Korea is determined to act in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution of October 7, 1950, and to cooperate fully with the UN Commission on Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea.

“I should also like to point out that there are special circumstances prevailing in Korea which must be borne in mind in seeking the best and wisest solution to future problems. The Korean people are a homogeneous people. The tragic division of the country at the 38th parallel was not of Korean doing or choice. Because the hated Communist regime oppressed our fellow countrymen in the north, beginning in 1945 millions of patriotic, law-abiding Koreans came south to save their lives and their self-respect. These fine citizens will now be going home, to their ancestral residences in the northern part of the peninsula. Having taken part, through the franchise and in some cases through holding public office, in the democratic developments of the Republic of Korea, they may be expected to play a significant role in the future affairs of Northern Korea.

“As [for] elections there, I sincerely hope they can be held as soon as a free atmosphere can be created to allow the once-Communist-ridden people to vote according to their conscience without fear. I must point out, however, that this free atmosphere cannot be established if any Communists or former Communists are allowed to remain in any public office or position of any responsibility. I am unalterably opposed to the use of Communists, former Communists or the former Communist governmental machinery.

“It has been said that I have already appointed many officials or even composed a slate of officials for North Korea. There was a time, long before this Communist aggression began, when I did name provincial governors for the provinces then under Communist rule. This was done to emphasize to the people of the North that they were not forgotten and eventually they would be a part of their native land. These appointments were made in conjunction with the appointments of governors for the southern provinces. If these or any persons who have been previously mentioned for positions desire to go north at this time, they do so on their own responsibility. For them to gain [Page 1016] or maintain positions of authority they must secure the support and approval of the local inhabitants. They will not be going north as officials of the Republic of Korea. As soon as the situation is ready, which I hope will be a matter of few weeks after the cession [cessation] of hostilities, we should hold elections at the provincial level north and south, thus enable the people to chose their own governors, instead of appointing them by the Federal Government or the President. This question was raised in the National Assembly about a year ago and was agreed upon by the leaders of the Assembly and the Cabinet Ministers that this should be done when the nation has been reunited.

“Because of my great interest in good government throughout Korea I have ordered a preliminary investigation of what persons of North Korean origin would be acceptable for various North Korean posts. This information, in some cases, I plan to make available to General MacArthur and will be happy to transmit to the UNCOK as well. The information I receive comes from North Korean organizations long established in the south. These organizations, of course, have their roots in every province in the north. When the information I get is complete, we may find three able candidates from whom a choice can be made for every post. I shall forward all data to the proper UN authorities.

“As to the provisional resolution adopted by the UN’s Interim Commission on Korea, I should have preferred to have had it conveyed to the Unified Command after consultation with the Republic of Korea and other interested groups here in Korea. Our government is obviously intensely interested in every decision reached regarding the Korean people and cannot automatically allow itself to be bound by programs made without reference to it or the citizens of Korea.

“Finally, I wish to extend the most cordial greetings to the new UN commission shortly to arrive here. Our government will work closely with it and will endeavor to be of service to its delegates, individually and collectively.”

Repeated CINCUNC unnumbered.