102. Report Prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board1
PROGRESS REPORT ON U.S. OBJECTIVES AND COURSES OF ACTION IN KOREA (NSC 5514)2
(Policy Approved by the President March 12, 1955)
(Period Covered: November 18, 1954 through November 30, 1955)
(Including actions under NSC 170/1 for the period November 18, 1954 through March 11, 1955)
[Here follow a two-page summary of U.S.-Korean relations since the approval of NSC 5514 and a two-page evaluation of progress made in implementing NSC 5514.]
C. Emerging Problems and Future Actions
15. Continued violation of the reinforcing restrictions of the Armistice has resulted in a substantial strengthening of the relative Communist military potential, particularly with respect to the introduction of more and newer weapons and the development of an air force based in Korea of 300 to 400 planes, most of which are jet fighters. The UN Command is in a precarious situation and it may be necessary within the next year to declare that in view of Communist violations and of the responsibility of the UN Command to “insure the stability of the Military Armistice”, the UN Command will replace old and worn out weapons with such new weapons and in such quantity as it may deem necessary to maintain the relative military strength of the two sides as envisaged under the Armistice Agreement. Such a step will require considerable diplomatic efforts with our Allies—who have already been partially prepared—if we are to have their support and we will have to state the military requirements frankly.[Page 190]
16. As stated in paragraph 2. above, efforts toward a satisfactory solution of the NNSC problem continue.
17. President Rhee’s willingness to strain U.S.-ROK relations both by threats of unilateral military action and by general intransigeance will continue to present problems.
18. During the coming year, it is entirely possible that President Rhee may die or become disabled. Possibilities for an orderly succession are fairly good, but the situation could become chaotic. Much may depend on who is elected Vice President in the elections to be held sometime in 1956. It is also possible that progressive deterioration in Rhee’s alertness and judgment and fear of possible developments could induce persons now close to the President to attempt to seize power. The attitude of the U.S. in such eventuality would probably be decisive.
19. In view of the gradual exodus from Korea of the forces of various of the 16 nations, more positive efforts should be taken than heretofore in an effort to persuade the ROK to broaden its representation and to persuade other countries to recognize it. Relations between Japan and the ROK will continue to present serious problems for the U.S. It continues to seem advisable, however, for the U.S. to refrain from active intervention but to be available should both parties request our good offices and should there appear real possibilities of settling issues.
20. It may be anticipated that there will continue to be major differences of opinion between the ROK and the U.S. with respect to the size, composition and implementation of the U.S. economic aid program. These issues again will include the exchange rate (including the pricing of aid goods into the Korean economy), utilization of the ROK’s own resources, and the general control of program and expenditures.
21. Although the Agreed Minute of Understanding contains an understanding with respect to the timing of retirement of active ROK Army divisions to reserve status, it may be anticipated that the ROK will violently object to such a shift. The politico-military situation in Korea should be reviewed to determine whether it is necessary and feasible to continue to support current ROK force levels.
- Source: Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5514 Series. Top Secret. Prepared for the National Security Council by an OCB working group composed of representatives of the Departments of State and Defense, ICA, USIA, CIA, and the Department of the Treasury. A covering note indicated that the report was approved by the OCB on November 30 for transmittal to the NSC. A financial annex is not printed.↩
- Document 24.↩