The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Johnson) to the Ambassador in Korea (Muccio)


Dear John: Thanks for your letter of June 301 which I now hope has been entirely overtaken by events. As you saw from a telegram2 addressed to you and Clark on planning for intervention, the JCS and ourselves thoroughly agree that it was most important that you fully participate and I am very disappointed that Tokyo did not see fit to carry out those instructions. You can be sure that we would not have approved anything here unless and until we were satisfied that you also concurred. Hensey seems determined to get a military government setup established in Korea in one way or another, but he most definitely does not have any support in Defense here.

[Page 415]

It seems to me that the crisis probably resolved itself the best that could be expected. Nevertheless the result will be greatly to complicate our ability to inspire enthusiasm among our friends for helping Korea, particularly in the economic field. If and when we ever get into any political talks it will also make it exceedingly difficult to obtain all-out support from our friends for the ROK. I hope that Rhee thoroughly appreciates this.

I am greatly discouraged over the lack of any progress at Panmunjom. Two weeks ago there seemed to be a few rays of light trying to break through the dark clouds, but those now seem to have disappeared, although everyone keeps hoping that some magic formula will resolve the issue.

We are working hard on your replacement and I am hopeful that a decision can be reached within the next week so that you will be able to shake the dust of Pusan from your feet in exchange for the soot and sidewalks of New York.

I am seeing that your friend, Paul Douglas’, assertions concerning his role in Korea are brought to the President’s attention.3 I hope that we can do something about him, but you can fully appreciate the difficulties.

Pat joins me in sending our very best.

Sincerely yours,

U. Alexis Johnson
  1. Ante, p. 368.
  2. Presumably, Johnson was referring to telegram JCS 912098 to Clark and then passed to Muccio, June 25, 1952; for its text, see p. 358.
  3. Dr. Paul Douglas was President of American University and unofficial adviser to President Rhee. Presumably he was representing himself as a special, unofficial envoy of President Truman. When Secretary Acheson brought this matter to the President’s attention on July 21, 1952, Truman declared, in Acheson’s words, that he “does not know Dr. Douglas, has had nothing whatever to do with him and states most emphatically he does not represent the President in any way whatever.” The complete record of Acheson’s conversations with Truman on July 21 can be found in Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 65 D 238.