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The Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs ( Allison ) to the Director of the Office of Foreign Military Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense ( Halaby )

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My Dear Mr. Halaby: In a message from our Embassy at Seoul, Korea, Ambassador Muccio on December 9, 1949 anticipated the arrival in Korea of ten AT–6 aircraft, recently procured by the Government of the Republic of Korea in Canada through private sources in the United States and shipped to the United States for armament prior to retransfer to Korea, and recommended the assignment to Korea on a temporary basis of three officer flight instructors, three airplane mechanics, two radio mechanics and one aircraft electrician to serve as advisers for aircraft assembly, maintenance and initial flight training.1

It is understood that three of the ten aircraft are now on their way to Korea and due to arrive about February 10, and that the others are expected to arrive shortly thereafter. In this connection, the Air Intelligence Digest, Vol. 2, No. 11 of November 1949 stated, in part, that:

“There is, however, a likelihood that in the absence of competent advisers to assist in transition training, the new aircraft and equipment will be lost to the South Korean government through misuse.”

For purposes of compliance with the terms of the Conclusions of NSC 8/22 the Department would not consider the furnishing of advisory personnel as a commitment in support of an autonomous Korean air force. That is, the Department does not consider that it is supporting the creation of an autonomous Korean Air Force by suggesting to the Department of Defense that air advisers be assigned to Korea. It is felt, however, that the reports from our Embassy relating to the threat to the defenses of the Government of the Republic of Korea occasioned by the air strength in north Korea cannot be ignored. Our Embassy at Seoul has reported that with these ten aircraft as a nucleus, and forming a part of an air detachment of the Korean Army, the defensive position of the Government of the Republic of Korea would be on a more secure footing.

Under the circumstances, it would be appreciated if, in compliance with Ambassador Muccio’s recommendations, urgent consideration could be given to the assignment of Far East Air Force personnel of the above categories to Korea for temporary duty. It is understood, [Page 25]however, that the costs associated with the temporary assignment of these air force advisers are not to be charged against Mutual Defense Assistance Program funds.3

Sincerely yours,

John M. Allison
  1. Ambassador Muccio’s recommendations were contained in telegram 1473, December 7, 1949, from Seoul; see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 2, footnote 4, p. 1106.
  2. Ibid., p. 969.
  3. For further discussion of this matter, see the memorandum of conversation by Messrs. Bond and Emmons, dated May 10, p. 78.