171. Telegram From the Embassy in Korea to the Department of State 1

4129. Ref: State 111264.2

I went to Blue House this morning to receive letter which President Park proposed to send to President Johnson in reply to message contained reftel. After reading text I said that as friend I wanted to make some comments to him and particularly with regard to phrases demanding immediate retaliatory action and warning of punitive action by UN forces if NKs do not acknowledge their aggression, apologize and give guarantees for future. I said such phraseology was not well designed to meet problems of my President and I had suggestions to offer. (These suggestions of course involved considerable toning down and elimination of phraseology, and after hour and half of wrangling I finally induced him to hold letter and reconsider entire approach.)
He burst out on several occasions declaring that I was emasculating all of his ideas. I said all of his ideas expressed orally had been transmitted and were receiving attention highest levels in Washington, [Page 361] but I had to emphasize to him that it was a mistake to put these things in writing. To mention but one complication reference to the UNC automatically involved many friendly nations and this had to be considered very carefully. I left them (President and SecGen) with understanding they would redraft letter but I am not sure that Park will not reinsert phraseology which he personally inserted in first place. It may be that they will hold the letter until after Vance visit or may even try to hand it to Vance to carry to the President.
He expressed appreciation President Johnson sending Mr. Vance here but made it clear that he is hoping for some indications of decisive course of action.
We will transmit text of draft letter separately for your information. I repeat it was to be redrafted and was not signed when I was at Blue House.
To enable CINCPAC to properly estimate atmosphere suggest, if you perceive no objection, that it be re-transmitted to him.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US. Secret; Flash;Nodis; Cactus.
  2. Document 159.
  3. Transmitted in telegram 113573 to CINCPAC, February 10. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 33–6 KOR N–US)