795.00/11–2850: Telegram

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

top secret

C 69953. The developments resulting from our assault mvmts have now assumed a clear definition. All hope of localization of the Korean conflict to enemy forces composed of North Korean troops with alien token elements can now be completely abandoned. The Chinese military forces are committed in North Korea in great and ever increasing strength. No pretext of minor support under the guise of volunteerism or other subterfuge now has the slightest validity. We face an entirely new war. Interrogation of prisoners of war and other intelligence info establish the following enemy order of battle, exclusive of North Korean elements, as reported by commanders in the field: 38, 39, 40, 42, 66, 50 and 20 CCF armies and 6 additional divisions without army identification, comprising an aggregate strength approaching 200,000. The North Korean fragments, approximating 50,000 troops, are to be added to this strength.

The pattern of Chinese strategy is now quite clear. Immediately after the Inchon operation the center of gravity of the Chinese forces was moved northward in China with heavy concentrations of their troops in Manchuria and a surreptitious mvmt by night infiltration of their organized forces into North Korea under the protection of the sanctuary of neutrality. After checking the United Nations advance toward the Yalu late in October, following the destruction of the North Korean forces, the Chinese partially broke contact before launching a general offensive in order to build up in overwhelming strength, presumably for a spring offensive. Their ultimate objective was undoubtedly a decisive effort aimed at the complete destruction of all United Nations forces in Korea. At the present moment the freezing of the Yalu River increasingly opens up avenues of reinforcement and supply which it is [Page 1238] impossible for our air potential to interdict. It is quite evident that our present strength of force is not sufficient to meet this undeclared war by the Chinese with the inherent advantages which accrue thereby to them. The resulting situation presents an entire new picture which broadens the potentialities to world embracing considerations beyond the sphere of decision by the Theater Commander. This command has done everything humanly possible within its capabilities but is now faced with conditions beyond its control and its strength.

As directed by your JCS 92801 DTG 272240Z Sept. 50,1 as amplified by your JCS 93709 DTG 092205Z Oct 50, my strategic plan for the immediate future is to pass from the offensive to the defensive with such local adjustments as may be required by a constantly fluid situation.

  1. See footnote 2, p. 793.