319. Editorial Note

On May 25 Mrs. Francesca Rhee called on Mrs. McConaughy to ask for Ambassador McConaughy’s assistance in arranging for U.S. military air transportation to Hawaii for Dr. Rhee and herself. She explained that Rhee was under great pressure from friends and former political associates to reenter the political arena, and wanted to remove himself from that strain. (Telegram 1215 from Seoul, May 25; Department of State, Central Files, 895B.41/5–2560) McConaughy took up the matter with Acting President Huh Chung on May 26. Huh responded that it was imperative that the Rhees leave Korea as quickly as possible, in that their presence in the country was unsettling and destabilizing. McConaughy noted that the United States would not want to take any action that might be misconstrued as assisting the Rhees to evade Korean law or judicial processes. Huh indicated that his government would take full responsibility for the Rhees’ departure. (Telegram 1222 from Seoul, May 26; ibid., 895B.41/5–2660) The Department of State on May 26 endorsed the position taken by McConaughy in his conversation with Huh Chung and indicated that the United States was prepared to extend an invitation and visas for the Rhees to visit Hawaii, but would not provide official transportation. (Telegram 1030 to Seoul, May 26; ibid.) Dr. and Mrs. Rhee departed from Kimpo Airfield outside Seoul in a chartered aircraft on the morning of May 29 and arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, later that afternoon. (Telegram 1243 from Seoul, May 29; ibid., 895B.41/5–1960)