247. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Korea1

229. Joint State–Defense message for Ambassador Dowling and General Decker. Seoul’s 2182 and CINCUNC’s UK 977142 CC3 and UK 977207 CC.4 Pursuant to review of status of negotiations here, [Page 510] the following summary statement of actions now authorized to be taken in Korea is submitted for your guidance.

You are authorized to inform President Rhee that in order to effect a reduction of 4 ROK Divisions including supporting units (or the equivalent personnel reduction, should this latter method be deemed by you to be necessary and appropriate) our plans are as follows:

With respect to U.S. Forces in Korea—

The 7th and 24th Divisions will be reorganized into Pentomic Divisions and the 100th Field Artillery Battalion (Honest John) and the 663rd Field Artillery Battalion (280 mm gun) will be introduced into Korea.
U.S. Air Force squadrons will be rotated between Japan and Korea with the equivalent of not less than one wing of aircraft to be in position in Korea.

With respect to ROK Forces—

The planes of the U.S. Air Force F–86F Wing (58th Fighter Bomber) in Korea will be transferred to ROKAF: full support of this ROKAF F–86F–equipped wing will be provided by the U.S.
ROK ground forces will be improved by the provision of currently programmed transport and communications equipment and, as appropriate, other U.S. equipment in Korea declared excess to the needs of U.S. forces, including that excess equipment generated by the reorganization and modernization of the two U.S. Divisions. Within these limits COMUS Korea, in consultation with ROKA as appropriate, is authorized to determine the type and amount of excess material to be made available to the ROKA.

As a fall-back position and if necessary as an incentive, in addition to the above, to obtain the deactivation of four ROK divisions, you are authorized to accept an increase of two ROK Reserve Divisions.

At this time no modernization of ROK ground forces is authorized beyond the measures outlined above. Therefore, further modernization of ROK ground forces must not be discussed with GROK as part of the package. If successful negotiation of ROK ground force reduction subsequently necessitates further incentives, proposals for additional modernization of these forces must be submitted here for determination that such a commitment would be in accordance with U.S. policies and objectives prior to any discussion thereof with GROK.

For your information, the question of deployment of Marine Air Groups 11 and 12 to Korea is still under consideration, but the deployment of these units is not to be included in these negotiations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 795.00/9–657. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Assistant Secretary of Defense Harr and cleared by Jones, Palmer, Ockey, and Nes in FE, and in draft by Irwin, Quarles, Secretary Dulles, and President Eisenhower. Also sent to CINCUNC and repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 218 from Seoul, September 6, Ambassador Dowling argued against the withdrawal of the 58th Fighter Bomber Wing from Korea. The 58th Fighter Bomber Wing was the final remaining U.S. Air Force wing stationed in Korea. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 242.
  4. In telegram UK 977207 CC from CINCUNC to the Department of the Army, September 6, General Decker also argued against the removal of the 58th Fighter Bomber Wing from Korea. Decker noted that a major inducement offered the Republic of Korea to facilitate an agreement on the reduction of ROK ground forces was the promise of support for an additional ROK fighter-bomber wing to help offset the air superiority of North Korea. Decker argued that if the United States withdrew the remaining U.S. Air Force wing from Korea at the same time that the additional ROK fighter bomber wing was being created, the Republic of Korea would gain nothing for its agreement to reduce ground forces, and the Ambassador and CINCUNC would appear to have acted in bad faith. (Department of Defense Files)