President Eisenhower to the President of the Republic of Korea (Rhee)1

top secret

Dear Mr. President: It has been gratifying to me to hear from Vice President Nixon of his friendly and frank talks with you, and of your cordial hospitality to him. I thank you for the warm welcome which you gave him and I agree with you that his visit has further deepened the friendship and understanding between your country and mine.

I welcome the statement in the letter2 which you asked Vice President Nixon to give me that you will not undertake unilateral action without informing me beforehand and that any such action would be contrary to your expectation. Vice President Nixon has given me a detailed account of his talks with you and of your statements to him. He has reported how keenly aware you are of the necessity of your country and mine always acting together and in mutual agreement. From his talks with you, the Vice President is satisfied that you will not renew hostilities unilaterally. In reliance on this, I feel warranted in asking our Congress to go ahead with the ratification of our Mutual Defense Treaty and with the enactment of the legislation necessary for the economic assistance program.

I agree with you that our letters to each other should remain confidential. I cannot, however, as you will well understand, enter into any undertaking to refrain from making the position of the United States on these questions perfectly clear at whatever time it may appear to me to be advisable to do so.

In the future, as in the past, my constant purpose will be to cooperate closely with you in working for the unification of your country by peaceful means, in its rehabilitation, and in the restoration of its economy. Our friendly cooperation will, I am sure, enable our two countries [Page 1686] to overcome whatever problems may arise and to stand together steadfastly for peace and against aggression.

With warmest regards and very best wishes for the coming New Year to you and Mrs. Rhee.


Dwight D. Eisenhower
  1. According to the memorandum of discussion at the 178th meeting of the NSC, Dec. 30, 1953, the Council approved the text of this letter. (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file) The letter was sent to Seoul in telegram 560, Jan. 4, 1954, no distribution, eyes only for Briggs, who was to deliver it to Rhee.
  2. Not found, but see footnote 2 p. 1615.