60. Telegram From the Embassy in Korea to the Department of State1

2788. For Ambassador Brown.

I suggest that while we are considering Park’s hard line resistance to our proposals, and his lack of sensitivity to American domestic problems bearing on this matter, we not react hurriedly in sense of further argument with him. I suggest we keep it cool, continue our planning, and give this problem appearance of one wherein we have met our obligation to consult with him. We should continue to tell him that we have carefully considered his views, and he will hear from us as our efforts to build up his forces proceed, and as our plans develop in matter of force reduction.
His recalcitrance is true reflection of his present outlook: we must meet his wishes; our problems are not controlling, not even when they involve our men, our money, our markets and our materials. He has quite deliberately pushed campaign to assure his people that we cannot reduce our forces in any degree without his consent; and that we have not notified him of any such intention. He has now gone so far in this process that he may be developing first real threat to his own reelection next year when it becomes clear that his Ministers have been less than frank with Assembly and public. He will sense need, especially if we proceed calmly toward our objective, to repair his fences and reduce his political vulnerability by at least pretending some degree of accord with us. In addition to course suggested in para one above, we should let him know that his people will inevitably acquire correct picture of our obligations, our proposals, and our attachment to their future. It seems clear that we sould not leave pace to Park, nor permit him to establish precedent.
I think he will sooner or later develop idea of sending mission to Washington to argue matters with us. Possibly he would use both Prime Minister and Defense Minister for that purpose. If they failed to change our position, system here, as you know, would make them responsible for “failure.” I assume you would prefer to discourage thoughts about such a mission when and if they appear.
Would appreciate your comments.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 542, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. III, 6/70–Dec 70. Top Secret; Nodis.