The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. A statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Title IV of the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351 et seq.), added by Section 198 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (P.L. 102–138), which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991.

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government, including facts which contributed to the formulation of policies and records providing supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The statute confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

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The volume presented here, which was originally compiled and prepared as a book manuscript in 1977 and 1978, meets all the standards of selection and editing prevailing in the Department of State at that time and complies fully with the spirit of the standards of selection, editing, and range of sources established by the statute of October 28, 1991. This volume records policies and events of more than 30 years ago, but the statute allows the Department until 1996 to reach the 30-year line in the publication of the series.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a triennial subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the years 1955–1957. This subseries comprises 27 print volumes and 1 microfiche supplements.

The documentation on relations with Korea presented in this volume was originally combined with the documentation on relations with Japan in a single, large volume when the manuscript was prepared in 1977 and 1978. The declassification review of the Japan documentation proceeded more rapidly than the Korea documentation. Because of the delay in declassifying the Korea documentation, the editors divided the manuscript into two parts. The Department of State released Volume XXIII, Part 1, Japan, in August 1991.

The volume presented here, Part 2 of Volume XXIII, is the last to be published for the 1955–1957 triennium and completes the record of U.S. foreign policy toward the Far East (Volume I, Vietnam; Volumes II and III, China; Volume XXI, East Asian Security, Cambodia, Laos; and Volume XXII, Southeast Asia). In addition, Volume X, Foreign Aid and Economic Defense Policy, and Volume XIX, National Security Policy, contain documentation with related themes and similar issues.

Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The original research, compilation, and editing of this volume were done in 1977 and 1978 under the Department regulation derived from Secretary of State Kellogg’s charter of 1925. This regulation prescribed that the Foreign Relations series include “a comprehensive record of the major foreign policy decisions within the range of the Department of State’s responsibilities.” The regulation further stipulated that the additional required records “needed to supplement the documentation in the Department” be obtained from other government agencies.

The Department of State’s historians have had, for the series in general and for the particular volume published here, complete and unconditional access to all records and papers of the Department of [Page V] State: the central files of the Department; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat which comprehended the official papers created by or submitted to the Secretary of State; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of all overseas diplomatic and consular posts and U.S. special missions; and all the official correspondence with foreign governments and with other Federal agencies. Any failure to include a complete Department of State record in the Foreign Relations series cannot be attributed to constraints or limitations placed upon the Department historians in their access to Department records, information security regulations and practices notwithstanding.

Department of State historians preparing the Foreign Relations series, including the volume published here, have enjoyed full access to the papers of the Presidents and to all other White House foreign policy records. All of this documentation has been made available for use in the preparation of the Foreign Relations series thanks to the exceptional cooperation and support of the National Archives and Records Administration, its Office of Presidential Libraries, and the individual Presidential library. The Department of State owes particular thanks for the research of this volume to the staff of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.

In addition to Presidential correspondence and records of Presidential meetings and conversations, the documentation in the White House files at the Eisenhower Library were the most important sources for the preparation of the volume published here. Department editors had full and complete access to all the institutional documentation of the National Security Council (NSC) including the memoranda of discussion at NSC meetings, formal NSC documents, and related papers. There was also full access to the subject files of Presidential records (particularly the Whitman File), the files of other White House officials, and more informal policy documentation in other collections in the Eisenhower Library. It should be noted that the editors supplemented the NSC records from the Eisenhower Library with documents in the Department of State files.

The records preserved and maintained at the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign affairs documentation of other Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Department of State historians, with the considerable cooperation of the various agencies, have obtained access to records requested for possible inclusion in the Foreign Relations volumes. Access to records of other agencies maintained at the Presidential libraries has been supplemented by special research visits to the historical files retained by these agencies or transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration. Department historians have enjoyed steadily broadened [Page VI] access to the records of the Department of Defense, particularly the records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Completion of the declassification of this volume and the final steps of its preparation for publication coincided with the development since early 1991 by the Central Intelligence Agency in cooperation with the Department of State of expanded access by Department historians to high-level intelligence documents from among those records still in the custody of that Agency. The Department of State chose not to postpone the publication of this long-delayed volume to ascertain how such access might affect the scope of available documentation and the changes that might be made in the contents of this particular volume. The Department is, however, using this expanded access, as arranged by the CIA’s History Staff, for compilation of future volumes in the Foreign Relations series.

The statute of October 28, 1991, requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of all the major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the United States Government cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Although prepared in compliance with an earlier Department regulation, this volume was prepared in a manner fully consonant with the standards and mandates for compilation contained in the 1991 statute.

The List of Sources, pages XIII–XVI, identifies the particular files and collections used in the preparation of this volume.

Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, Volume XXIII, Part 2

In selecting the documents for this volume, the editor has given primary consideration to those records that would most fully explain the formulation and execution of the major U.S. Government policies with respect to the Republic of Korea. The policy recommendations to President Eisenhower and his decisions with respect to government policies and actions are documented as fully as possible. So also are the discussions and actions of the National Security Council and any Presidential discussions of Korean policy with Cabinet-level officers. The policy options considered or adopted by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and the most important of Secretary Dulles’ actions to inform the President or implement his decisions are also comprehensively documented.

Correspondence and other exchanges of the U.S. Government with the Government of the Republic of Korea, with the United Nations, [Page VII] and with other governments are included where such documents were critically important in the policymakers’ understanding of the major political and economic events in Korea or were clearly important to policy formulation and execution at the White House and the Department of State. The editor sought to include in the volume those documents that focused on such overriding issues as U.S. concern for the consolidation of the institutions of democratic government, assistance for the development of the Korean economy, support for currency and financial reform, and decisions regarding the modernization of the Korean armed forces. The editor also included selected reports from intelligence agencies and from various diplomatic posts that figured into the policymaking process.

While including high-level policy papers on the nature and timing of military assistance to the Republic of Korea and the major role the U.S. military had on the broad formulation of policies, the editor has not sought to document the details of military or naval assistance or the command and activities of the military forces stationed in Korea or in support of Korea. The editor has also not attempted to document the whole range of day-to-day relationships, issues, and contacts between the United States and the Republic of Korea nor to present the record of the establishment and conduct of diplomatic and consular missions in Korea or the appointments to these missions or to the policymaking ranks in Washington. Nor has the editor attempted to document the record of how Federal agencies other than the White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff contributed to the formulation, execution, or support of diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural policies with respect to the Republic of Korea.

In selecting documents for this volume, the editor concentrated exclusively on presenting previously classified or undisclosed records. Public statements and agreements have not been included, but previously released information has been appropriately identified to elucidate documents printed here for the first time.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Incoming telegrams from U.S. missions are placed according to time of receipt in the Department of State or other receiving agency, rather than the time of transmission; memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or [Page VIII] other notations, which are described in footnotes. Obvious typographical errors are corrected, but other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type).

Declassification Review

The declassification review of this volume resulted in the deletion of 4.3 percent of the documents originally compiled. Many small deletions within documents relate to the introduction of modem weapons into Korea. Full denial of six documents (listed below) relates to the implementation of contingency planning and activities in Korea. Identifying information in some documents that contained finished intelligence was denied, although the substance of that intelligence was released and has been incorporated into editorial notes. The following documents were denied in full:

Memorandum from the Ambassador to Korea (Briggs) to Secretary of State Dulles, February 3, 1955. Top Secret. 13 pages. (Department of State, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 61 D 167, Korea, U.S. Objectives and Courses of Action)
Memorandum from the Far East Commander in Japan (Hull) to the Ambassador in Korea (Briggs), March 8, 1955. Top Secret. 1 page. (Department of State, Seoul Embassy Files: Lot 61 F 98)
Memorandum from the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Taylor) to the Ambassador in Korea (Lacy), April 29, 1955. Top Secret. 1 page. (Department of State, Seoul Embassy Files: Lot 61 F 98)
Letter from the Ambassador in Korea (Lacy) to a U.S. official in the Embassy in Japan, July 20, 1955. Top Secret. 1 page. (Department of State, Seoul Embassy Files: Lot 61 F 98)
Memorandum for the Record, March 29, 1957. Secret. 2 pages. (Department of State, Central Files, 795B.56/3–2957)
Letter from the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Murphy) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Sprague), November 1, 1957. Top Secret. 2 pages. (Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up)

The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Office of Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12356 on National Security Information and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12356, information that concerns one or more of the following categories, and the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security, requires classification:

military plans, weapons, or operations;
the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;
foreign government information;
intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;
foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;
scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;
cryptology; or
a confidential source.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security and law. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under Title IV of the 1956 Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act, signed on October 28, 1991, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Committee has reviewed records included in this volume and believes that they provide comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions, including the facts that contributed to the formulation of policies and records providing support and alternative views to the policy position ultimately adopted.


The editor would like to acknowledge officials at the Eisenhower Library, particularly David Haight, who assisted in the collection of documents for this volume.

Under the supervision of former Editor in Chief John P. Glennon, Louis J. Smith collected, selected, and edited the documents in this volume. David W. Mabon planned the volume and assisted in final editing. General Editor.Glenn W. LaFantasie supervised the final steps in the editorial and publication process. Gabrielle Mallon prepared the lists of persons and abbreviations. Rita M. Baker, Althea W. Robinson, and Vicki E. Futscher did the technical editing. Barbara-Ann Bacon of the Publishing Services Division (Natalie H. Lee, [Page X] Chief) oversaw the production of the volume. Max Franke prepared the index.

William Z. Slany
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

November 1992