169. Memorandum Prepared by the Department of State1


  • Themes for the Mission of Cyrus Vance
To persuade President Park that we attach as much importance to the North Korean provocations against South Korea as we do to the return of the USS Pueblo and crew.
To make Park understand we do not see the issue in Korea as a double problem, one involving the U.S. in its attempts to obtain the release of the USS Pueblo and its crew, and one involving the Republic of Korea in the face of North Korean provocations. The provocations against the Republic of Korea are a problem for both countries, not just the Republic of Korea, and the USS Pueblo is not just our problem but requires South Korean cooperation to be resolved.
To explain to Park that we are committed to using peaceful means to resolve both sets of problems and until we have clearly abandoned hope for a peaceful settlement we must reserve judgment as to further courses of action.
To ask Park publicly and privately to associate himself with our view that he too seeks a peaceful solution.
To obtain a reaffirmation that the authority of General Bonesteel and the chain of command will be absolutely observed.
To impress on Park that just as we will not take unilateral reprisal actions against the North Koreans in the present, tense situation without full advance consultation with him, we expect that no unilateral reprisal actions will be taken by the Republic of Korea, organized or spontaneous, without full advance consultation with us, and to inform him that such ROK actions could well alienate American and world opinion and destroy the very foundation of both the ROK case and our case and endanger support for our alliance.
To convince Park that we must pursue private meetings with the North Koreans to obtain release of crew and vessel, until we are convinced that further talks of this kind are fruitless and we must look to other courses of action.
To make Park understand that the attachment of a South Korean to the private meetings is impossible because the North Koreans will not accept it and if we make an issue of this it will terminate the private meetings.
To make Park understand that open meetings of the Military Armistice Commission will not solve either the provocation problem or the Pueblo. It is a propaganda forum.
To make Park understand that when the Pueblo Case is settled we will not return to the status quo but by our actions in providing additional military and counter-infiltration assistance and by keeping augmented forces in and around South Korea we will display our determination to stand with the ROKs.
To stress to President Park that the continuing public evidence of differences between us, any threat to return units from Viet-Nam, any indication of unilateral action by South Korea against the North will only play into the hands of the North Koreans.
To show Park that we have played the game with him in full trust and confidence and we expect full trust and confidence from him.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US. Secret. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: “Pres. approved & added points directly to Vance 2/10. BHR [Read] from WWR [Rostow]” A typed note on the memorandum indicates it was approved by Rusk.