795.00/11–1953: Telegram

The Vice President to the Secretary of State1

top secret

1276. Repeated information priority Seoul 122. Seoul pass Dean Munsan-ni; pass General Taylor, Eighth Army. Copy passed General HullCINCUNC. For the Secretary eyes only from Nixon.

I received in Tokyo yesterday a letter from Rhee to the President which he requested that I transmit personally to the President only. I have today sent that letter to the President via the Secretary together with a memorandum covering the conversations I had with Rhee.2 Rhee personally asked that I disclose the contents of his letter only to the President. For the information of the addressees, however, I will state that his letter confirmed in express terms the personal assurances which he made in my first conversation with him and which he repeated in the conversation which I had with him the day I left Korea. The proposed message to the Secretary prepared by the Embassy in Seoul dated November 13 sets forth correctly the substance of our conversation. The essence of that conversation was that Rhee gave a personal pledge for transmittal to the President that he would never take any unilateral action without first informing the President. Nothing which was stated in the later conversation I had with Rhee or in his letter modifies the observations contained in that proposed message. I have transmitted the substance of that message together with Rhee’s letter by courier to the Secretary for delivery to the President. It is vitally important that the substance of the conversations I had with Rhee particularly insofar as his pledge regarding unilateral action is concerned not be disclosed to anyone except those who are recipients of this message. It would be most unfortunate if Rhee were to learn that a message [Page 1616] which he gave to me orally for direct transmission to the President only was disclosed to persons other than the President.

  1. A covering memorandum from Dulles, Nov. 19, transmitted this cable to Eisenhower.
  2. The editors have not found this letter, dated Nov. 16, in either Department of State files or those of the Eisenhower Library. No copies were made of it; however, it is extensively quoted from in a memorandum from Bowie to Dulles, Dec. 18, p. 1662. The memorandum of conversation between Nixon and Rhee referred to here was sent by special courier from Nixon to Eisenhower through Dulles along with Rhee’s letter. This memorandum of conversation was originally the draft telegram from Nixon to Dulles, Nov. 13, which was never sent telegraphically, but for text, see p. 1609.