10. Telegram From the Embassy in Korea to the Department of State 1
Seoul, May 20, 1964, 3 p.m.
1501. Ref: Embtel 1470.2
- Toward end of my talk with President Pak May 13 after telling me that Kim Chong-pil would not go to U.S. (reftel), he hesitated and then said he wished tell me something in utmost confidence.
- He said he is going to remove KCP as chairman of DRP (govt party). Said I may wonder why he has not done so already. There were two reasons: First, he had received several letters from Ohno3 warning him that if KCP removed there would be no settlement with Japan. Pak said he hoped settlement could be made in next month or two and some time thereafter KCP would be removed. Pak said if what he had in mind became known consequences would be “dangerous,” because KCP had his supporters and it could endanger talks with Japan. He asked me reveal this information to no one.
- I gave him this commitment. Since Pak in making these remarks had spoken in tone of anger and emotion directed at KCP, I did not think it desirable for me to say anything on matter as personally sensitive as this one is and did not pursue matter further. Foregoing known here only to Doherty and Habib. Request Dept hold this information tight.
- Comment: I have refrained from reporting this until I had time to consider what this meant. I am inclined to accept this as honest statement of Pak’s present attitude and intentions and possibly explains his vacillations when he was under heavy pressure to remove KCP in April.4 We have had several reports that relations between Pak and KCP have been strained ever since. PriMin told me several times KCP will be removed in about two months. On May 18 PriMin told me he expects KCP will leave Korea in September for “six months” study abroad, adding that relations between Pak and KCP bitter.
- Not only has Ohno’s position added greatly to Pak’s domestic difficulties, but whether Pak will or can remove KCP when time comes [Page 24] remains to be seen. KCP’s plan is to stay on the scene and we expect that before long he may mount a campaign against his enemies and that they in turn will resume the attack on him. At present there is a lull in the fight, which Pak arranged by personal appeals to both sides.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 KOR S. Secret; Priority; Limdis; No Distribution Outside Department.↩
- In telegram 1470 from Seoul, May 13, Berger reported on Kim Chong-pil’s planned trip to the United States in June and Pak’s belief that Kim should not leave Korea at the present time. (Ibid.)↩
- Bamboku Ohno was Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan and had met with Kim during the latter’s trip to Tokyo in March. (Telegram 2785 from Tokyo, March 25; ibid.)↩
- Telegram 1374 from Seoul, April 28, detailed the opposition to Kim and the pressures exerted on Pak to remove him. (Ibid., POL 23–8 KOR S)↩