114. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1


  • Korean Election

You asked to be kept informed of developments in the Korean election.

This is a brief situation report.

President Pak made his first formal campaign appearance on April 17 at a rally in Taejon. Good turnout (about 100,000). Speech well received.

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Opposition candidate Yun Po-sun is concentrating on larger cities (Pusan, Taegu) after an early start in the provinces.

Pak’s main lines have been:

  • —shallowness of opposition’s promises;
  • —determination to move against corruption;
  • —remarkable economic progress of Korea under his administration;
  • —pledge to continue vigorously Korea’s economic growth and modernization. Press coverage has been balanced thus far.

No troop movements related to politics have been reported.

There are reports one or two splinter candidates may pull out of the race in favor of the opposition candidate.

Embassy prediction that Pak will be re-elected by a majority stands unchanged.2

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Korea, Vol. IV. Confidential. The memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. In telegram 5984 from Seoul, May 6, the Embassy reported that Pak won the May 3 election, having received over 5.6 million votes or 51.4 percent of the total ballots cast. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 14 KOR S)