126. Editorial Note

On September 4, 1967, President Pak met with Ambassador Porter and informed him that Korea would attempt to fulfill President Johnson’s request for additional troops for Vietnam. The size of the contingent to be furnished awaited the results of a report that President Pak had requested from his Minister of National Defense. (Telegram 1120 from Seoul, September 5; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–3 VIET S) The Embassy, however, believed that President Pak intended “to supply up to another division.” (Telegram 1121 from Seoul, September 5; ibid.)

In his talk with Ambassador Porter as well as in a subsequent letter to President Johnson, President Pak outlined domestic problems affecting his ability to dispatch additional troops abroad. Those problems involved public concerns about Korea’s own security and defense capabilities, particularly in light of the escalation in incidents along the Demilitarized Zone and in North Korean infiltration activities. President Pak also indicated that any final decision depended on the extent to which equipment and anti-infiltration support promised in conjunction with the dispatch of Korean troops to Vietnam in 1966 had been furnished. (Telegram 1120 from Seoul, September 5, and letter from President Pak to President Johnson, September 8; both ibid.) The Embassy prepared periodic reports on the progress made in implementing commitments made to Korea in 1966. Airgrams and telegrams addressing that topic are ibid., DEF 19 US–KOR S and DEF 19–3 US KOR S.