Department of Defense Files: Telegram

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

top secret

C–68465. Ref JCS 959492 rqsting estimate of the Korean situation. Since my C 68285,3 intelligence reports have confirmed the estimate contained in 2, 3 and 4 thereof, which I stated to be the most likely condition at that time. The military facts in substantiation were reported in the daily telecons and radio reports since furnished you. These reports confirm unquestionably that organized units of Chinese Communist forces have been and are being utilized against our forces; that while the exact strength is impossible to accurately determine, it is sufficient to have seized the initiative in the west sector and to have materially slowed the offensive in the east sector. The principle seems thoroughly established that such forces will be used and augmented at will, probably without any formal declaration of hostilities. If this augmentation continues, it can well reach a point rendering our resumption of advance impossible and even forcing a movement in retrograde. An effort will be made in the west sector in due course of time, [Page 1077] possibly within ten days, to again assume the initiative provided the flow of enemy reinforcement can be checked. Only through such an offensive effort can any accurate measure be taken of enemy strength.

I deem it essential to execute the bombing of the targets under discussion as the only resource left to me to prevent a potential buildup of enemy strength to a point threatening the safety of the command. This interdiction of enemy lines of advance within Korea is so plainly defensive that it is hard to conceive that it would cause an increase in the volume of local intervention or, of itself, provoke a general war.

The inviolability of Manchuria and Siberia has been a cardinal obligation of this headquarters from the beginning of hostilities and all verified hostile action therefrom is promptly reported. The destruction of hydroelectric installations has never been contemplated. Complete daily situation reports will continue to be furnished you as heretofore.

  1. The source text does not indicate the time of receipt of this message in Washington, but, given the time difference between Tokyo and Washington, it was presumably received by noon on November 7.
  2. Supra.
  3. Dated November 4; see the editorial note on p. 1036.