795B.00/1–651: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea ( Muccio ) to the Secretary of State

secret   priority

640. Embtels 530 December 62 and 637 January 1 and Embdes 96 December 30.2 Evacuation of Seoul and environs continues apace, it being estimated that close to 1,000,000 people have left for south during past month. Initiation 31st of CCF drive south of parallel has brought renewed surge of refugees from areas between 38th Parallel and Seoul and further out movement of Seoul residents.

President Rhee3 accompanied by wife, secretaries and bodyguards plans to fly to Pusan 3rd to take up residence. Cabinet meeting is being held late this afternoon at which decision probably will be taken to remove remaining elements of Government, except 5 Ministers making up war Cabinet to Pusan. UN military command will facilitate movement of remaining ROK officials which estimated to number about 4,000.

Embassy and affiliated agencies have gradually been paring down staff (Embtel 522 December 5).2 Van Putten, USIE director, has moved to Pusan, accompanied by radio and motion picture units. Drew has moved with publication unit to Taegu. Consular section of Embassy here being closed C.O.B. today with consul Stone proceeding Pusan tomorrow. Third secretary MacDonald is proceeding Taegu tomorrow where he will maintain contact with Eighth Army headquarters. [Page 31] With completion these movements Embassy personnel will dwindle total of 41 broken down as follows: Chancery 6, EC A 5, JAS 18, USIE 2 (Jacoby and Lasher) and Marine guards, 10. In light existing conditions it contemplated main Embassy office will be moved to Pusan by end of present week, leaving small staff of 4 or 5 to maintain contact with Eighth Army advance headquarters here. It is expected other diplomatic missions will also remove to Pusan by week-end. UNCURK with total of 15 persons still in Seoul will probably evacuate all but 1 delegate and 4 secretariat personnel by weekend. All but handful of non-Korean civilians have left town and those remaining can be provided for without difficulty.

Sent Department 640; repeated Manila 11.

Muccio
  1. Seoul had been abandoned by U.N. forces on January 3 to the advancing Chinese and North Korean armies. The wording of this telegram indicates that it was probably drafted several days prior to the date of transmission.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Syngman Rhee, President of the Republic of Korea.
  5. Not printed.