25. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Barnett) to the Chief of the Military Assistance Division of the Agency for International Development (Black)1

SUBJECT

  • Comments on Proposed Reduction of FY 1965 MAP for Republics of Korea and China

Korea

We are facing serious problems in trying to maintain the ROK military forces adequately with the original $146 million planned for Korea, which we believe is a rockbottom requirement.

The MAP for Korea in recent years had been in excess of $200 million, until FY 1964, when a cut to $153 million necessitated a sharp drop in investment funds. The additional $20 million cut now proposed for FY 1965 would in effect cancel all new modernization programs in 1965, with the exception of the introduction of F–5 aircraft. Some previously programmed projects probably would also be jeopardized. There would be no practical alternative to these cuts in investment, since the funding for operations has already been reduced to less than the necessary minimum. Ammunition, supplies and equipment are now in short supply for desired training programs. The Korean Government cannot at present increase its share of the burden. Partly because of the MAP Transfer Program, pressure on the Korean defense budget has made it necessary to maintain pay and allowances at a detrimentally low level.2

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The present government's efforts to move forward with the settlement with Japan and with economic development are hindered by its limited public support. Of critical importance has been the support it has received from the military. The proposed cut would shortly become apparent to Korean military leaders and possibly to the political Opposition as well. It would be interpreted as evidence of lack of U.S. support of the Pak administration, and a confirmation of fears and allegations that the U.S. is engaged in a program of “withdrawal” from Korea. The capacity of the Pak administration to govern probably would be seriously impaired. The prospects for a Korean-Japanese settlement and economic progress would be greatly reduced, and the possibility that the government might be overthrown by a coup or revolt would be substantially increased.

[Here follows discussion of China.]

Robert W. Barnett 3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 19 US–KOR S. Secret.
  2. At a meeting between Korean and Embassy officials on September 25, ROK Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff reported that “pay and allowance, clothing and subsistence so inadequate that commanding officers are forced to devote their efforts to morale problems at expense of troop training.” The Ambassador as well as the U.S. military leadership in Korea had been concerned about the problem for some time. (Telegram 289 from Seoul, September 26; ibid.)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.