46. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • General Wheeler on his Conversation with President Park of Korea

Secretary Laird has sent you (Tab A)2 a memorandum in which General Wheeler describes his conversation with President Park during the Korean Armed Forces Day ceremonies on October 2.

[Page 118]

Wheeler reports that Park was relaxed and cordial. He appeared to feel in control of the present situation but concerned at the prospect of a pull-out or substantial reduction in American troops in Korea.

President Park made the following principal points:

  • —he wants to build up the Home Reserve Forces to help forestall North Korean hit-and-run raids along the coasts.
  • —he wants to avoid extreme actions and does not intend to “march north.”
  • —the North Koreans will not attempt all-out war if the South Korean economy prospers and US forces remain, but war is “inevitable” if US forces are withdrawn.
  • —therefore, the ROK needs to match North Korean armed forces to deter or defeat aggression, and must have an independent defense capability. (Note: this is somewhat contradictory with the previous point and seems to accept that at some future point the ROK will “go it alone.”)3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 541, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. II, 10/69–5/70. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Dated November 10, attached but not printed.
  3. Nixon noted at the end of the memorandum: “I want a plan developed now to bring about the ROK take over—U.S. to provide a trip wire & air & sea support only.” “December 6, 1969” is stamped next to the note.