25. Telegram From the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Hull) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

C 71691. Ref: C 71665,2 KDCG 2–2. I consider the event reported by Ref msg another of the series in which we barely got by without disastrous conflict; it is highly problematic that we can be so fortunate again.

In the light of the history of Pres Rhee’s violent objections to NNSC activities in the ROK, and his officially aggravated anti-NNIT campaign, it is unexpectedly gratifying that he gave his consent to cooperate in this instance. This consent does not insure that there will be no unfortunate incident but it does reduce the probability of such an incident.
I do not believe it is desirable to use military means upon Pres Rhee in the face of his determined opposition. I recommend that in any future similar case I seek Pres Rhee’s approval but should he disapprove, I be authorized to respect that disapproval. In such a case, I would refuse to permit the NNIT to visit ROK installations on the basis that such an inspection would be an open encroachment upon ROK sovereignty and a direct personal affront to Pres Rhee. I appreciate [Page 49] the political significance of violating the Armistice agreement by refusing to permit NNSC investigations in South Korea, but I consider US-UN relations with the ROK also a problem of considerable significance, which we must face.
I consider it imperative that decision on this matter reach me prior to the next request for an inspection by a MIT in the ROK.3
The need of appropriate action at Wash level to eliminate the NNSC as I have recommended on many previous occasions, is urgent.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, CCS 383.21 Korea (3–19–45) (2). Secret. Repeated to Ambassador Briggs, CG AFFE/ Army Eight, DEPACOMARMYEIGHT FWD KOREA, Sr Mbr UNCMAC, COMFEAF, and COMNAVFE.
  2. In telegram C 71665 from CINCUNC to the Ambassador in Korea, February 28, General Hull noted that senior military and Embassy officials in Tokyo were in agreement that it was desirable for the U.N. Command to abide by the terms of the Armistice and accede to Communist requests for NNIT inspections of six military locations in South Korea. Hull requested the Embassy to seek an audience with President Rhee to ask for Rhee’s agreement and cooperation. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram JCS 977312 to CINCFE, March 8, the Joint Chiefs of Staff granted General Hull the discretionary authority which he sought. They added, however, “in view grave political significance this act State and Defense would appreciate opportunity to review situation before action if time factor will permit.” (Ibid.)