795.00/11–650: Telegram

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Far East (MacArthur)

top secret

JCS 95878. From JCS personal for MacArthur.

1. Consideration being urgently given to Korean situation at governmental level. One factor is present commitment not to take action affecting Manchuria without consultation with the British.

2. Until further orders postpone all bombing of targets within five miles of Manchurian border.

[Page 1058]

3. Urgently need your estimate of situation and reason for ordering bombing Yalu River bridges as indicated in telecon this date.1

  1. General MacArthur’s reply to this message was contained in telegram C–68396, November 6 (see Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, pp. 715–716). The text is here reprinted from Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, p. 375.

    “Men and material in large force are pouring across all bridges over the Yalu from Manchuria. This movement not only jeopardizes but threatens the ultimate destruction of the forces under my command. The actual movement across the river can be accomplished under cover of darkness and the distance between the river and our lines is so short that the forces can be deployed against our troops without being seriously subjected to air interdiction. The only way to stop this reinforcement of the enemy is the destruction of these bridges and the subjection of all installations in the north area supporting the enemy advance to the maximum of our air destruction. Every hour that this is postponed will be paid for dearly in American and other United Nations blood. The main crossing at Sinuiju was to be hit within the next few hours and the mission is actually being mounted. Under the gravest protest that I can make, I am suspending this strike and carrying out your instructions. What I had ordered is entirely within the scope of the rules of war and the resolutions and directions which I have received from the United Nations and constitutes no slightest act of belligerency against Chinese territory, in spite of the outrageous international lawlessness emanating therefrom. I cannot overemphasize the disastrous effect, both physical and psychological, that will result from the restrictions which you are imposing. I trust that the matter be immediately brought to the attention of the President as I believe your instructions may well result in a calamity of major proportion for which I cannot accept the responsibility without his personal and direct understanding of the situation. Time is so essential that I request immediate reconsideration of your decision pending which complete compliance will of course be given to your order.”