795.00/6–951: Telegram

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


1032. See mytel 1006, June 1. Dept aware my concern Korean reaction to rumors statements that United States, United Nations favor cease fire at 38th parallel. Aside from issues involved, problem I face daily is how to handle numerous questions which I get in every interview with Rhee, members his Cabinet and other prominent Koreans. This is chief problem in their minds these days and they come to me seeking assurance situation not bad as seems. Fact they not more hysterical attributable to present conviction that Chi Commies will not make peace offers.

Point this msg is to seek clarification US policy, if that possible this stage, for my guidance and background and more specifically to request suggestions on how to calm fears Koreans. Dept’s weekly info policy guidance not particularly helpful as it obviously not enough to stress success United Nations arms and firmness United Nations intentions at time when Koreans resent softening these intentions so far as unification Korea concerned.

Koreans do not believe possible restore peace and safeguard against renewal aggression (mentioned for conditions for cease fire) in divided Korea. They doubt negotiation after cease fire will produce agreement on democratic govt for all Korea unless all Korea already liberated by UN Forces. They convinced negots with Sovs or their puppets can only reflect power position of protagonists at time of talks. In their views even if gen agreement for all-Korean Govt reached as condition for cease fire at 38th situation wld be no better than 1945–1950 period when Sovs also committed to same principle. That period ended in aggression. Unless mil situation forced implementation of agreement on all-Korean Govt no real assurance it ever be implemented. Their mania to obtain unification such that they will not admit Chi defeat wld provide “reasonable assurance” that attacks not be resumed future if country not wholly united.

Koreans profess to understand overriding desire end bloodshed and thus end danger war spreading this area. On other hand they think that by continuing war little longer it may be possible secure peace security for all Korea whereas peace based on division Korea wld be short-lived.

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Until recent developments I stressed in conversations with Koreans fact UN never committed achieve political objectives by force of arms and that first and paramount objective was mil one to defeat aggressors. Recently because of highly charged emotional atmosphere here I have avoided this line and attempted reassure anxious Koreans that we have not abandoned political objectives, but seek end of fighting soon as aggressors agree, provided can leave reasonable assurance aggression not be resumed; that defeat of enemy inherent in any cease fire wld in itself go long way convince him aggression against Korea doesn’t pay; that I unable throw any light on what conditions wld be necessary to satisfy UN on future security Korea but agreed arrangement whereby UN controlled situation throughout peninsula wld be desirable. I also stressed importance not overlooking effect recent allied statements have on propaganda war, and their value in putting aggressors on spot as solely responsible for continuation bloodshed. I suggest this aspect alone justifies such statements.

My efforts reassure Koreans along these lines have been only partially successful and I wld welcome Dept’s comments and further guidance.1

  1. The Department of State replied in telegram 944, June 9, 7 p. m., to Seoul, which read in part as follows:

    FYI and background in any discussions ROK officials:

    “Amb Yang called on Rusk today on urgent instruction from Pusan ascertain basis report recd by ROK that US and other UN members contemplated seeking Commie acceptance settlement Korean conflict through new five-point peace proposal. Yang instructed ascertain Dept what five points were.

    “Rusk categorically denied Dept knowledge any five-point peace proposal, or any other peace proposal by US Govt or UN and indicated Yang might so report to his Govt.” (795.00/6–951)