23. Letter From the Ambassador to Korea (Brown) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)1

Dear Bill:

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have spoken to me about President Pak’s “intention” to visit the United States in April 1965. They requested that I consult Washington on such a visit. Obviously they are seeking an invitation for a state visit.

I am favorably disposed toward the idea. As you know, aside from his quick trip to attend President Kennedy’s funeral, President Pak has not been to the United States since his official visit in 1961 when he was Chairman of the Supreme Council.

A visit in the spring of 1965 will be well-timed. I do not know what the future holds for our principle concern over the Korea-Japan [Page 50] question but there is no question that we will still be in the throes of trying to achieve the goal early next spring. In one way or another a Pak visit will provide the occasion for some support on the issue. If negotiations with Japan have been resumed by then and progress made, Pak will be looking for U.S. blessing to ease his task of gaining public acceptance in Korea. If the negotiations are on dead center, a visit may be used to get the ROKG moving again.

There are other matters of mutual interest that would benefit from the visit. It could be the occasion for some high level exchange on such things as force levels and economic stabilization. The Koreans would no doubt seek to gain reaffirmation of the U.S. commitment here. Moreover, President Pak will hope to use his visit to demonstrate U.S. acceptance of his government and himself. He can use such a vote of confidence and we are disposed to grant it in the interest of confirming our support for constitutionalism and orderly processes in Korea.

I am putting this proposal to you in this form in order to allow a little judicious exploring of the White House view prior to your coming here next month. If a visit from Pak in April or thereabouts is completely out of the question given President Johnson’s desires and schedule, we will of course try and dissuade the Koreans. That will not be easy, as we can presume they have their hearts set on it or we would never have received the request.

We can discuss this further when you get here. We are all enthusiastically awaiting your arrival and the opportunity to share with you first hand our thoughts and interests.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 KOR S. Confidential; Official-Informal.