The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the [Page IV] last five years of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 print volumes a documentary record of the major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Johnson’s administration.

This volume presents the documentary record of U.S. policy toward the Republic of Korea in three separate chronological chapters. The first and largest compilation traces the bilateral relations between the United States and the Republic of Korea from 1964 through 1968. The second compilation on the Pueblo crisis documents the crisis occasioned by North Korea’s seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo and its crew in early 1968 and the subsequent diplomatic efforts and tortuous negotiations with North Korea to win the crew’s release by the end of the year. The final and smallest compilation documents successful U.S. efforts to encourage a settlement of issues between the Republic of Korea and Japan unresolved since World War II. The result was a treaty that normalized relations between the two principal Northeast Asian allies of the United States. This volume is part 1 of a larger volume that was to have included a compilation on U.S. bilateral relations with Japan. As explained in the section on declassification review below, part 2 of this volume will be published when and if key documentation on Japan is declassified.

Principles of Document Selection for the Foreign Relations Series

In preparing each volume of the Foreign Relations series, the editors are guided by some general principles for the selection of documents. Each editor, in consultation with the General Editor and other senior editors, determines the particular issues and topics to be documented either in detail, in brief, or in summary.

The following general selection criteria are used in preparing volumes in the Foreign Relations series. Individual compiler-editors vary these criteria in accordance with the particular issues and the available documentation. The editors also apply these selection criteria in accordance with their own interpretation of the generally accepted standards of scholarship. In selecting documentation for publication, the editors gave priority to unpublished classified records, rather than previously published records (which are accounted for in appropriate bibliographical notes).

Selection Criteria (in general order of priority):

Major foreign affairs commitments made on behalf of the United States to other governments, including those that define or identify the principal foreign affairs interests of the United States;
Major foreign affairs issues and activities, including dissenting or alternative opinions to the process ultimately adopted, undertaken on behalf of the United States by government officials and representatives in all agencies in the foreign affairs community;
The decisions, discussions, actions, and considerations of the President, as the official constitutionally responsible for the direction of foreign policy, including important information that attended Presidential decisions;
The discussions and actions of the National Security Council, the Cabinet, and special Presidential policy groups, including the policy options brought before these bodies or their individual members;
The policy options adopted by or considered by the Secretary of State and the most important actions taken to implement Presidential decisions or policies;
Diplomatic negotiations and conferences, official correspondence, and other exchanges between U.S. representatives and those of other governments that demonstrate the main lines of policy implementation on major issues;
The main policy lines of intelligence activities if they constituted major aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward a nation or region or if they provided key information in the formulation of major U.S. policies;
The role of the Congress in the preparation and execution of particular foreign policies or foreign affairs actions;
Economic aspects of foreign policy;
The main policy lines of U.S. military and economic assistance as well as other types of assistance;
The political-military recommendations, decisions, and activities of the military establishment and major regional military commands as they bear upon the formulation or execution of major U.S. foreign policies;
Diplomatic appointments that reflect major policies or affect policy changes.

Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Many of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration. The declassification review and opening for public review of all Department of State records no later than 30 years after the events is mandated [Page VI] by the Foreign Relations statute. The Department of State and other record sources used in the volume are described in detail in the section on Sources below.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXIX, Part 1

Research and compilation of this volume was completed in 1997. The first section of the volume deals with U.S.-Republic of Korea relations during a period of strife and violence on the Korean peninsula unknown since the Korean War. The year 1964 was marked by an internal crisis within the Republic of Korea as students and opponents of the government of President Pak Chong-hui (Park Chung Hee) took to the streets in violent opposition to the government’s alleged corruption and the potential treaty between the Republic of Korea and Japan. The government responded with the imposition of martial law. After the end of 1964, internal opposition lessened, but the threat from North Korea grew. In 1967, border clashes along the 38th parallel and infiltration of North Korean saboteurs increased. The culmination of this campaign occurred in January 1968 when North Korean commandos attacked the Blue House (the presidential residence in Seoul) in a brazen attempt to assassinate President Pak. A few days later North Korea seized the U.S.S. Pueblo and its crew. The United States was faced with South Korean demands for retaliatory action, and a serious crisis of confidence in Seoul. The volume documents how the Johnson administration responded, both in this first compilation and in the one on the Pueblo, to the strong possibility of renewed war on the Korean peninsula. The basic theme of the compilation is the Johnson administration’s de-escalation of the crisis. The final major theme of this first compilation is the close personal relationship between Presidents Pak and Johnson and how this resulted in South Korea’s support for the war in Vietnam. What began as a token South Korean presence in Vietnam in 1964 grew under the unrelenting pressure of President Johnson to a commitment in 1968 of almost 45,000 ROK troops to fight in South Vietnam. The process by which the United States convinced South Korea and compensated it for its support is fully documented.

The second compilation, on the Pueblo crisis, begins with records of the almost daily meetings of President Johnson with his key military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisers to examine contingency options, none particularly good and some that were dangerous. After it became clear that a military response was unacceptable, the United States relied on a campaign of diplomacy, including using whatever influence the Soviet Union would bring to bear on North Korea, shows of U.S. force, and direct negotiations with North Korea at Panmunjom. The latter course proved the one that eventually succeeded. The Pueblo compilation traces the long, frustrating negotiation with North Korea [Page VII] in enough detail to indicate its difficulty, but without subjecting the reader to the same tedium endured by the U.S. negotiators and policy makers.

The final and smallest section of the volume documents U.S. efforts to convince both Japan and Korea to settle their outstanding differences and sign in June 1965 and ratify that December a Treaty on Basic Relations. The compilation documents the high-level pressure brought by the Johnson administration on the two allies to resolve their longstanding differences. Underlying this effort was the assumption that without this normalization of Korean-Japanese relations, northeast Asia would not be secure and would not prosper.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from a particular document because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

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The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and, if so, this information has been included in the source footnote.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed part 1 of this volume.

Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12958, specific information may be exempt from automatic declassification after 25 years if its release could be expected to:

reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method, or reveal the identity of a human intelligence source when the unauthorized disclosure of that source would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States;
reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;
reveal information that would impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities;
reveal information that would impair the application of state of the art technology within the U.S. weapons system;
reveal actual U.S. military war plans that remain in effect;
reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or seriously and demonstrably undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;
reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of U.S. Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other officials for whom protection services, in the interest of national security, are authorized;
reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair current national security emergency preparedness plans; or
violate a statute, treaty, or international agreement.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

The editors believe the volume presented here is a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity toward Korea. The most substantive declassification problem arose not among documents selected for publication on Korea, but for those selected for Japan. It was the unanimous view of the Advisory Committee, the Historian of the Department of State, and the editors that given the number and significance of documents selected for publication in the Japan compilation that must still remain classified, the Japan part of the volume did not constitute a “thorough and accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy decisions,” the standard set by Public Law 102–138 of October 28, 1991 (22 USC 4351, et seq.). Part 2 of this volume on Japan will not be printed until it meets these standards. The Historian and the Advisory Committee will continue to seek declassification of the documents withheld.

The declassification review of part 1 of this volume, which was completed in 1999, resulted in decisions to withhold from publication 2.2 percent of the documentation selected. Nine documents were denied in full. One of these is Document 26, but a number of related documents with similar information are printed. Documents 113, 121, 131, 163, 170, 249, and 359 concern limited and varied intelligence matters and actions whose deletions do not appreciably affect the volume. Although [Page X] these covert actions and relationships existed, none was of such importance that it had a major effect on U.S. policy toward the Republic of Korea. Document 203 contains material with formerly restricted data, and its release is prohibited by law. Most of the 2.2 percent withheld is accounted for by these deletions, although there are additional minor excisions in other documents.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of the following in facilitating research of the volume: archivists at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, and those at the National Archives and Records Administration; Sandra Meagher of the Declassification Branch, Department of Defense, and the historians at the National Security Agency.

Karen Gatz did the research, compiled, selected, and annotated this volume under the supervision of Edward C. Keefer, Chief of the Asia and Americas Division, and General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, David S. Patterson. Susan C. Weetman coordinated the declassification, and Vicki E. Futscher did the copy and technical editing. Breffni Whelan prepared the index.

William Slany

The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

August 2000