240. National Security Council Report1

NSC 5702/2



  • A. NSC 5514
  • B. NSC 5610
  • C. Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “U.S. Objectives and Courses of Action in Korea”, dated October 12 and November 6, 1956
  • D. NSC Actions Nos. 1624, 1660 and 1731
  • E. NSC 5702
  • F. Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Evaluation of Alternative Military Programs for Korea”, dated January 30, 1957
  • G. NSC 5702/1
  • H. Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, subject: “Interim Report on Korea”, dated July 30, 1957
  • I. Memos for NSC from Acting Executive Secretary, subject: “U.S. Policy Toward Korea”, dated August 5 and 7, 1957
  • J. NSC Action No. 17722

The National Security Council, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director, Bureau of the Budget, and the Special Assistant to the President for Atomic Energy, at the 334th Council meeting on August 8, 1957, adopted the statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 5702/1, subject to the amendments thereto which are set forth in NSC Action No. 1772–b.

The President has this date approved the statement of policy in NSC 5702/1, as amended and adopted by the Council and enclosed herewith as NSC 5702/2; directs its implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government; and designates the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.

By NSC Action No. 1772–c, the Council authorized, and the President has this date approved, adding, as Annex G hereto, the United Nations Command Statement of June 21, 1957, to the Military Armistice Commission at Panmunjom, Korea.3

The Council also (NSC Action No. 1772–d and–e):

Noted the President’s authorization that the United States, in carrying on the negotiations with President Rhee directed by NSC Action No. 1731–b–(2), might refer, at an appropriate time, to equipping U.S. forces in Korea with dual capability (nuclear-conventional) weapons, such as the Honest John and the 280 mm. cannon.
Noted the President’s directive that the Departments of State and Defense prepare a summary statement, for guidance to Ambassador Dowling and General Decker in carrying on negotiations with President Rhee, of actions now authorized to be taken with respect to Korea; and consider the advisability of sending qualified personnel to Korea with such summary statement.

The above actions, as approved this date by the President, are being transmitted to the Secretaries of State and Defense for appropriate implementation.

The Financial Appendix originally contained in NSC 5702/1 (dated March 18, 1957), with minor editorial revisions, together with [Page 491] Annexes A through E and Annex G, are also enclosed for the information of the Council.4

The enclosed statement of policy, as adopted and approved, supersedes NSC 5514.

S. Everett Gleason
Acting Executive Secretary

[Here follows a table of contents.]




1. Long-range Objective: To bring about the unification of Korea with a self-supporting economy and under a free, independent, and representative government, friendly toward the United States and other countries of the Free World, with its political and territorial integrity assured by international agreement and with armed forces sufficient for internal security and capable of strong resistance in event of attack by a foreign power.

2. Current U.S. Objective: Pending achievement of the above long-range objective; to assist the Republic of Korea to make a substantial contribution to Free World strength in the Pacific area by:

Encouraging the ROK in the further development of stable democratic institutions and of cooperative relations with the other free nations in Asia.
Enabling the Republic of Korea to achieve a maximum rate of economic development compatible with a reasonable degree of stability and present levels of essential consumption.
Preventing more of Korea from coming under Communist domination either by subversion or aggression.
Maintaining ROK forces capable of assuring internal security, and, together with U.S. forces in Korea, capable of (1) deterring or successfully resisting aggression from the North Korean forces alone, and (2) deterring aggression by North Korean forces and Chinese Communist forces now estimated to be in North Korea, or, with limited [Page 492] U.S. outside support, conducting a successful holding operation against such forces.6
Influencing the ROK to conduct its foreign relations in conformity with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.
Encouraging the conditions necessary to form, and then participating in, a Western Pacific collective defense arrangement, including the Philippines, Japan, the Republic of China and the ROK, eventually linked with ANZUS and SEATO.

3. To achieve both the long-range and current objectives through peaceful means, if possible to do so without compromising U.S. obligations, principles, or military security.

Major Policy Guidance

4. There is little prospect of Communist agreement on any reasonable formula for establishment of a unified democratic Korean state; but short of unification on terms of a character which the United States has advocated, there can be no settlement of the tensions in the Korean area.

5. U.S. interests are deeply involved in Korea. Unless the United States continues to provide strong political, military and economic support to the Republic of Korea, the Communist bloc probably will ultimately succeed in extending its control over the whole of Korea. Such a development would undermine Free World security in the Northeast Asia area, and (because of the symbolic importance of Korea with respect to alliances and collective security) would be seriously detrimental to U.S. policy of supporting peace and justice through the United Nations and to the general struggle against Communism throughout the Far East.

6. In the light of the above, U.S. objectives should also take into account the importance of reducing Korean dependence on U.S. assistance and making greater progress toward the ultimate goal of a self-supporting economy.

7. The United Nations’ role with respect to Korea is an asset in the struggle against Communism. The UN provided the principal legal basis for successful resistance against Communist aggression. Initiatives have come from the United States, but the general support of the United Nations and the allies of the United States is of great psychological force, both with respect to world opinion and the attitudes of the Republic of Korea.

[Page 493]

Strengthening the ROK

8. Pending a political settlement, and in the absence of a renewal of hostilities, and conditioned upon satisfactory cooperation by the ROK in carrying out its agreements with the United States, the United States should take the following actions:


9. a. Continue through the period FY 1958 to deploy in Korea a minimum of two U.S. infantry divisions and one fighter-bomber wing with necessary support forces.

b. Replace existing equipment of U.S. forces in Korea, including planes, with improved models of such equipment as and when required for military reasons.

c. Equip U.S. forces in Korea with modern weapons; provided that the timing of the deployment to Korea of dual capability (nuclear-conventional) weapons, such as the Honest John and the 280 mm. cannon, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] will be as and when determined by the President after conference with the Secretaries of State and Defense.

10. With respect to ROK forces through FY 1958:

Negotiate with the Republic of Korea for a substantial reduction in active ROK forces (by at least four active divisions at this time, with minimum increase in reserve divisions); in return for converting the three remaining conventional ROK fighter-bomber squadrons into jet squadrons and providing to ground forces currently-programmed improved transport and communications equipment and appropriate U.S. equipment in Korea declared excess to the needs of U.S. forces there, and taking into account the modernization of U.S. forces in Korea.
Continue the ROK Navy at its present level of approximately 61 combatant ships and one Marine Division.
Plan for gradual further reductions in ROK forces in the longer range. Such planning would take account of the enemy situation, the effect of the initial reductions, and the over-all level of U.S. military assistance programs world-wide.
Continue military assistance to the Republic of Korea to carry out these military programs and objectives.

11. Continue to develop the ROK as a military ally by:

Developing the military capacities of the ROK military leadership.
Cultivating the friendship of the ROK military leadership toward the United States.
Impressing upon the ROK military leadership, U.S. views on Far Eastern and global military strategy.

[Page 494]

11–A. The United States should seek to maintain the support of United Nations members for the independence and territorial integrity of the ROK. Specifically, it should seek to preserve the Unified Command, assure support for the Joint Policy Declaration, and continue the military involvement of participants in the UN Command.


12. Accept the division of Korea on the present demarcation line while seeking a satisfactory solution of the Korean problem by the use of other than military action.

13. Continue to strengthen the government and democratic institutions of the ROK, using UN agencies as feasible.

14. Seek to influence the ROK administration and political leadership to support U.S. views on major foreign policy issues.

15. Encourage the development of cooperative relations, mutual respect and participation in multilateral activities between the ROK and other free nations of Asia, as a means of lessening the dependence of the ROK upon the United States for political and moral support. Endeavor to develop a community of interest between the ROK and Japan, and also with the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Republic of China through the offer of U.S. good offices, if and when it becomes evident that such an offer would help resolve outstanding problems and encourage joint cooperation.


16. Provide economic and technical aid to Korea to:

Contribute to the support of ROK military forces.
Maintain essential consumption at approximately present levels.
Encourage and assist the ROK to:
Complete the rehabilitation of its economy.
Increase economically sound and diversified agricultural and industrial production, at the maximum rate consistent with the maintenance of a reasonable degree of economic stability and designed to achieve an increasing degree of self-support, emphasizing the goal of relieving unemployment and narrowing its foreign trade gap.
Make a progressively greater financial contribution to its own development while continuing to provide support for its military forces.
Develop substantially increased numbers of trained technical, professional, administrative and managerial personnel.

17. Seek to influence the ROK to:

Use external assistance and its own human and material resources more effectively.
Adopt and implement sound economic and fiscal policies, taking an increasingly greater responsibility for improving fiscal management.
Channel growth primarily into investment rather than into further increased consumption.
Provide for increased participation by domestic and foreign private investment in Korean economic development.
Stimulate and develop economic self-help measures, particularly in rural areas.
Develop a sense of greater responsibility for its own economic future and a lessened reliance on the United States.

18. Encourage the ROK to take the necessary steps toward normal commercial relations with other Free World countries, particularly Japan.

The Korean Armistice

19. In accordance with the U.S. statement issued June 21, 1957 (Annex G), continue to observe and support the Korean Armistice Agreement, and to this end:

Establish through adequate evidence, the nature and scope of any violations of the Armistice Agreement by the Communist side, especially with respect to Article 13(D). Continue to publicize to the maximum extent feasible the fact that the Communists, with the connivance of the Communist members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, have violated provisions of the Armistice Agreement since its inception.
Take further action as necessary to deal with the situation caused by Communist violations of the Armistice when the United States determines:
That the UN Command is at a significant disadvantage because of such violations, and
That the advantage of taking such action outweighs the military and political disadvantages thereof, including the possible non-agreement of the UNC allies to such a course. Prior agreement of our UNC allies for this action should be sought, but they should not be given a veto on U.S. action.
In the event of unprovoked Communist armed attack against U.S. military or non-military personnel, aircraft, or vessels outside Communist territory; take action in accordance with paragraph 5–g of NSC 5429/5.7

20. If Communist forces renew hostilities in Korea, the United States should: [Page 496]

Implement the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty.
Invoke the Joint Policy Declaration by calling upon the signatories to carry out the commitment that “if there is a renewal of the armed attack, challenging again the principles of the United Nations, we should again be united and prompt to resist. The consequences of such a breach of the armistice would be so grave that, in all probability, it would not be possible to confine hostilities within the frontiers of Korea.”
Counter any argument designed to establish that a failure of the Unified Command “fully and faithfully to carry out” and “scrupulously observe” the Armistice Agreement has relieved the subscribers to the Joint Policy Declaration of any obligation under the Declaration.
If Communist Chinese military power participates in or supports a Communist renewal of Korean hostilities, take direct military action against such participating or supporting power, wherever located, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] as required to achieve U.S. objectives. In such operations make clear our intent to limit Korean hostilities and seek to avoid provoking or inviting Soviet intervention. In addition:
Clarify to all, the necessity of direct military action against Communist China as the only feasible way of honoring our collective security commitments to the UN and our security commitments to the ROK.
Call on other UN members for effective military assistance appropriate to direct military action against Communist China.

21. The United States should seek to ensure that the ROK does not unilaterally renew hostilities, by:

Continuing to persuade the ROK to maintain its forces under the UN Command while that Command has responsibilities for the defense of Korea.
Continuing to make clear to ROK leaders, where circumstances necessitate, that if the ROK unilaterally initiates military operations against Chinese or North Korean forces in or north of the Demilitarized Zone, then:
UN Command ground, sea, and air forces will not support such operations directly or indirectly.
The United States will not furnish any military or logistic support for such operations.
All U.S. economic aid to Korea will cease immediately.
The UN Commander will take any action necessary to prevent his forces becoming involved in the renewal of hostilities and to provide for their security.
Making UN Command plans and dispositions which will reinforce the statements made to ROK leaders under b above and manifest [Page 497] U.S. determination to carry them out, in so far as this is consistent with sound military deployments to cope with a Communist attack.

22. In anticipation of the possibility that President Rhee may order the renewal of hostilities by an attack on Communist forces in or north of the Demilitarized Zone, despite all the actions taken by the United States under the preceding paragraph, the United States should take the measures stated in Annex F (not reproduced herein; circulated only to the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence).

23. If, despite the actions taken under Annex F, ROK forces should renew hostilities unilaterally, the United States should consider:

Stopping all economic and military assistance to Korea.
Discontinuing all logistic or other support to the ROK forces.
Taking such other military measures as seem feasible and consistent with the security and capability of UNC forces to block ROK offensive action.
Evacuating UN civilians.
Notifying the United Nations and the Communists that the UN Command will disassociate itself from the ROK action, but will defend UN Command forces against any Communist attack, and will be prepared, if a Communist counterattack against the ROK threatens the security of UN Command forces, to undertake such military action as may be necessary for the security of UN Command forces.
Renewing hostilities with the Communists only if necessary to protect the security of UN Command forces.
Promptly seeking to obtain the support of the other members of the UN Command; and, as appropriate, informing the UN of the actions taken by the UN Command under UN authority to prevent or limit hostilities, and requesting consideration of the situation by the United Nations General Assembly, under the Uniting for Peace procedure8 if the Assembly is not otherwise in session.

Unification of Korea

24. In order to achieve a unified Korea under an independent and representative government friendly toward the United States, established through the holding of genuinely free elections under UN supervision for representation in the National Assembly, in which representation shall be in direct proportion to the indigenous population in Korea, the United States should be prepared to: [Page 498]

Engage in political negotiations between the Communists and the UN side (with the ROK associated with the latter), if it appears such negotiations would be productive.
Conclude arrangements with the Communists and such other nations as are concerned, to guarantee the political and territorial integrity of a unified Korea.
Accept a level of Korean armed forces sufficient for internal security and capable of strong resistance in event of attack by a foreign power.
Forego all rights granted to the United States under the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, and refrain from stationing U.S. forces and maintaining U.S. bases in Korea, provided no other foreign country is granted such rights or maintains such forces and bases.

25. Any such agreement should not preclude the provision of U.S. economic and military assistance to Korea.

North Korea

26. Make clear that the United States does not regard the North Korean regime as a legitimate regime.

27. Encourage the non-Communist states and the UN to continue to refuse to recognize the North Korean regime, and to treat it as a non-legitimate regime condemned for aggression and discourage any non-Communist political or economic intercourse with North Korea.

28. Encourage the people of North Korea to oppose the Communist North Korean regime and to sympathize with the Republic of Korea.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5702 Series. Top Secret. Copies were sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence.
  2. See footnote 10, Supra.
  3. Annex G is not printed. See Document 225.
  4. Neither the annexes nor the Financial Appendix is printed. The annexes are the Joint Policy Declaration of July 27, 1953; paragraph 5–g of NSC 5429/5; the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea signed on October 1, 1953; NSC Action No. 1004, January 8, 1954; the Korean Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953; and the U.N. Command Statement of June 21, 1957.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  6. The U.S. and ROK forces envisaged above would need immediate and substantial U.S. military assistance to resist successfully a Chinese Communist-North Korean attack if Chinese reinforcements, immediately available from Manchuria and Northeast China, were moved into Korea. [Footnote in the source text.]
  7. See Annex B. [Footnote in the source text. Annex B quotes paragraph 5–g of NSC 5429/5.]
  8. Reference is to the “Uniting for Peace” resolution approved by the U.N. General Assembly on November 3, 1950, as Resolution 377 (V), U.N. doc. A/1481.