361. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Korea1

1067. In meeting with Bundy today Ambassador Kim quoted Korean Ambassador Tokyo Kim Tong-cho to effect that signing of Korea-Japan settlement before Park visit was now almost impossible physically because FonMin Lee and Agriculture Minister Ch’a had had to waste three weeks in Assembly interpellations and there are four or five holidays in Japan in late April and early May. Bundy expressed surprise, saying very high level Japanese officials had expressed hope for signing before Park visit and their intention work to that end. Bundy said it is “strong” desire of U.S. Govt that settlement be signed before Park visit, and urged everything possible be done to that end. If it were not signed, we would try to make Park visit a success, but it would be far better if it were. Bundy added we have, and will continue, to do all we can to impress upon Japanese need for early signing. Kim said Park was still determined to sign before visit and some others in Korean Govt thought this still possible. He said he would report Bundy’s representations to his Govt.

In immediately prior talks, Poats2 and Barnett warned Kim that, in absence signature, U.S. Govt could find it impossible to justify to members of Congress “unusual” commitment of U.S. assistance for next several years, which it remains our common view should be made at appropriate time.3

Request Embassies Tokyo and Seoul approach appropriate officials at their discretion and make representations favoring early signature.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL JAPAN–KOR S. Confidential. Drafted by Norred, cleared by Fearey and Barnett, and approved by Bundy. Also sent to Tokyo and repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Rutherford M. Poats was Assistant Director for the Far East, Agency for International Development.
  3. Brown took “strong exception” to this “warning” and found “this approach incomprehensible,” for “at no time in our talks with Koreans has commitment of continued support ever been connected with any specific deadline on ROK-Japan settlement.” Brown also mentioned that “such virtual ultimatum totally unnecessary,” because any delays in reaching an agreement could not be attributed to Korean reluctance to achieve normalization. (Telegram 1104 from Seoul, May 1; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66,POL JAPAN–KOR S)