795B.5 MSP/9–1854: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Korea1


204. Following are negotiating instructions re draft minute cleared by Defense, FOA, Treasury:

Envisaged that Ambassador Briggs, General Hull and Mr. Wood will participate discussions.

Draft minute2 as now stands reflects basic ROK undertakings deemed essential quid pro quo for United States military and economic aid programs FY 1955. Package nature mutual undertakings emphasized during United States-ROK discussions Washington and this continues to be fundamental United States position. The minute has been approved by NSC and the President3 and any substantive changes must be reported to the President. FYI It is not contemplated that United States will agree any substantive changes.

United States position is that without agreement United States not bound to undertakings expressed in minute and specifically not committed to any particular military and economic aid program. Not practicable [Page 1883] nor to United States interest to suspend all military and economic aid pending agreement or in event agreement not reached. Pending agreement existing ROK forces would continue to be supported at existing levels but United States would not undertake to augment or modernize ROK forces (although certain projects specifically approved by Secretary of Defense would continue to be implemented). Re economic aid, program would continue for present with amount now allocated ($45 million); amounts in excess of appropriations would not be made available; investment program as result would be reduced in attempt contain inflation; and United States would reconsider future aid program. (FYI $280 million economic aid refers to obligational authority and balance of $100 million refers to value deliveries.)

You should emphasize following: Undertakings expressed in minute result of long discussions commencing with visit President Rhee. Number changes made at suggestion Paek and Sohn but minute as now stands represents United States view of undertakings basic to common objectives, approved by NSC and the President. While minute may contain undertakings ROK reluctant accept ROK should understand that the total amount aid United States willing extend represents decision of United States which at least equally difficult and painful. Korean aid program would be largest United States aid program and would be more than $100 million in excess of congressional appropriations. These additional funds included in program are direct result current discussions. Funds still not found and obviously can be made available only at expense of other aid programs already approved by Congress. Inconceivable to United States that aid program this size and character and made available only at sacrifice other programs can be implemented without basic understanding of two governments.

Following are comments regarding major points at issue and should only be discussed at initiative ROK:

Paragraph 5 ROK undertakings. ROK position is that goes without saying ROK will continue cooperate regarding FOA procedures and that paragraph carries implication ROK has not cooperated in past. United States position is that in light of many officially inspired ROK attacks upon role of FOA/W this paragraph is necessary as expression of ROK “policy and intention”. To help meet ROK objections paragraph was moved from list of specific undertakings Appendix A and included under statements ROK policy as was paragraph 4 of ROK undertakings.

Paragraph 3 United States undertakings. This paragraph added in attempt meet ROK request for language which will require consultation and concurrence of ROK on implementation military program. ROK unhappy about lack of word “concurrence” and may desire to discuss this problem further. Department Defense firm position is that United States cannot agree to requirement of concurrence of ROK on military aid matters.

[Page 1884]

Appendix A, paragraph 1. ROK has agreed to this paragraph except as it relates to existing agreements re hwan drawings remaining in force. United States position is that must retain existing agreements in case new hwan drawing scheme not successful at least until another mutually agreed plan could be devised. This paragraph might be made acceptable ROK if phrase added to convey latter thought. You authorized do so.

Appendix A, paragraph 2. ROK insistent that this paragraph be modified under some formula that would exclude trade with Japan although this intent not mentioned as purpose of this modification. ROK wishes forbid procurement any nation which trades Red China or North Korea. United States position is that United States cannot require such undertaking in light United States trade policy with respect to other countries of Free World. Other ROK proposal to accomplish same objective is to substitute “best” quality for “required” quality. This not acceptable for obvious reasons. Re intent paragraph 2, United States continues insist on nondiscriminatory procurement in non-Communist world with United States aid funds.

Appendix B. ROK position is that it is appropriate and necessary for United States to make specific commitments with respect supporting and equipping ROK forces but that ROK can agree only to generalized statement that they will cooperate to achieve economy and savings. ROK specifically objected to commitments to revise TO and E set forth Paragraph 4 and supplemental letter, stating such details should not be specified in minute but left to be discussed and mutually accepted in field. ROK also objects Paragraph 10 preferring to substitute joint military committee which would supervise all aspects military program, including United States aid. (This relates to ROK position on Paragraph 3 of minute.) United States position firm that (1) United States desires joint review and analysis of ROK military budget and programs but reserves right, if consultation were appropriate with the ROK, to determine unilaterally specific manner in which aid will be made available, and (2) agreement regarding all military details and principles expressed Appendix B is essential condition to United States undertaking to support ROK forces along lines outlined in Appendix B. Realize that present lack of authority of ROK Minister National Defense over ROK military services makes implementation difficult, but this is even more reason for obtaining ROK Government approval of principles involved. Department of Defense is sending representatives to discuss details Appendix B with General Hull.

You are requested present draft minute to President Rhee as soon as practicable and seek agreement ROK undertakings therein.

Independently of draft minute but at same time if appears desirable Briggs should inform Rhee United States believes problems ROK-Japanese relations can best be advanced by designation United States mediator who could discuss substantive issues with parties before any new meetings.

  1. This telegram, which was drafted by Howard Smith of FE/NA and cleared by Robertson, was also cleared by the Bureau of the Budget. It was repeated to Tokyo as telegram 610 with instructions to pass to CINCUNC.
  2. Transmitted in telegram DA 967743, supra.
  3. See footnote 3, supra.