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

587. Ref: A. Embtel 578 rptd Saigon 23 CINCPAC unn; B. Deptel 572 rptd Saigon 1367 CINCPAC unn.2

Vice FonMin told DCM Cabinet unanimously approved proposal send non-combat troops to Vietnam late Dec 29. ROKG still hoping to receive request from GVN before Assembly action. To this end, ROK Amb Saigon has been instructed approach GVN urgently and GVN Charge Seoul called in and urged seek quick action by his govt.
Earlier indications were that ROKG intended submit resolution to National Assembly Dec 31 but Embassy informed late Dec 30 by Chairman ROK JCS General Kim Chong-O that submission for Assembly approval now definitely postponed until next session. Date of next session still indefinite but present indications are that it will be convened approximately Jan 10.3
Text of resolution drafted by ROKG for submission to Assembly being transmitted in separate message.4
Assume GVN will make appropriate public statement of appreciation and thanks following ROK National Assembly approval. We also recommend that statements by President and Secretary, praising ROK action as further indication of firm ROK spirit of unity with free world and support of other free world nations fighting Communist aggression.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 19–2 KOR S-VIET S. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to Saigon for COMUSMACV, Department of Defense, and CINCPAC for POLAD and passed to the White House.
  2. In telegram 578 from Seoul, December 29, the Embassy reported that news of the request for Korean manpower for Vietnam had leaked to the press in Korea. In telegram 572 to Seoul, December 29, the Department of State suggested, in light of the premature publicity, that the Korean Government encourage the National Assembly to issue a resolution declaring its support for Vietnam and for dispatch of additional troops there. the Department also instructed the Embassy in Saigon to urge the South Vietnamese Government to submit its request for assistance to the Koreans. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 576 to Seoul, December 30, the Department urged that the proposal come before the National Assembly prior to its adjournment for three reasons: (1) the United States wanted Korean troops in South Vietnam as soon as possible; (2) the request had already received publicity; and (3) United States and Korea were pressing the Vietnamese to submit their request for assistance. The telegram also requested that the Korean troops be increased to at least 2,000 men. (Ibid.)
  4. Transmitted in telegram 588 from Seoul, December 30. (Ibid.) On January 8, 1965, the Korean Prime Minister of Public Information announced that the government would ask the National Assembly to approve a Vietnamese request, made on January 2, that 2,000 Korean noncombat troops be sent to South Vietnam. (Telegram 613 from Seoul, January 8, 1965; ibid.)