Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Allison)

top secret


  • General Clark’s Request to Bomb Targets in Korea near Manchurian and Soviet Borders


  • F. S. Tomlinson—Counselor, British Embassy
  • John M. Allison—Assistant Secretary of State

(In his C 54180 of August 251 General Clark requests approval of UN air attacks on military targets in the northeast corner of Korea at a distance of some 4.6 miles from the Manchurian border and 10.7 miles from USSR territory. The targets are stated by General Clark to be worthwhile from the military point of view. After discussion among Messrs. Matthews, Nitze, Bonbright and Allison, it was agreed that State would interpose no objection to these attacks, if the JCS desired to give approval, on condition that there be no inordinate publicity, that approval not be taken to mean rescinding of previous instructions not to undertake military operations within 12 miles of USSR territory, and that the British be informed two or three days prior to the actual attack so that they would have an opportunity to protest if they saw fit. The JCS agreed with State’s conditions and approval was obtained [Page 459] from the President for dispatch of instructions to General Clark.2 It was agreed that General Clark would inform the appropriate British military officers at his headquarters and that the Department of State would inform the British in Washington.)

In accordance with the above, I called in Mr. Tomlinson, Counselor of the British Embassy, this afternoon and gave him information roughly along the above lines but with specific details as to the type of targets to be attacked and their location. I told him that while no deadline had been set as to the date of the attacks it was anticipated they would not take place before August 28 or 29. Mr. Tomlinson’s only comments were “they look like good military targets” and “Mr. Churchill will know about it in the morning”.

  1. Not printed (FE files, lot 55 D 128).
  2. Clark received authorization in telegram JCS 916925, Aug. 26, 1952, not printed (FE files, lot 55 D 128).

    On Sept. 1, in the largest naval air attack of the war, aircraft from the carriers Essex, Boxer, and Princeton struck industrial targets at Munsan, Hoeam-dong, and Aoji. Regarding these UNC naval air operations, see Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 440, and Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950–1953, pp. 488–490.