8. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


We may have an internal crisis in Korea shortly (Seoul 1330).2 The students, obstreperous ever since they triggered overthrow of Rhee in 1960, are demonstrating again. If Pak’s police kill a few we may have a “student revolt.”Equally dangerous is internal split within ruling DRP between supporters and opponents of Kim Chong Pil, Pak’s “eminence grise”

Berger, who’s always detested Kim Chong Pil (and almost seems to carry on personal vendetta against him), is worried. He doubts Pak will dump Kim, but can’t see how Pak can cure internal split in DRP without doing so.

All this clouds prospects for ROK/Jap settlement. Since Kim is great promoter of this (for graft involved, partly) opposition is opposing settlement largely as means of getting at Kim. ROKG in turn is thinking of imposing martial law.

Am keeping in touch, and keeping State’s eye on ROK/Jap angle. Will clue you if any WH-type problem arises.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Korea, Memos, Vol. I. Secret.
  2. In telegram 1330 from Seoul, April 20, Berger detailed the political struggle taking place within Korea and the mounting pressure on the Pak government to remove Kim Chong-pil from political office. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15 KOR S)