88. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Agreement with the ROKG on U.S. Troop Withdrawal and Korean Military Modernization

The discussions begun on March 22, 1970, by Ambassador Porter with President Park on U.S. troop reduction and Korean military modernization will reach their public successful completion at 10 p.m. [Page 228] Friday night2 when an agreed Joint Statement will be given to the press (Tab A).3

President Park is expected on Monday to issue a unilateral statement on redeployments and U.S. troop reductions. Our Embassy at Seoul will be provided with a copy one day before.

The joint statement is basically the text offered President Park by the Vice President,4 with embellishments added by the ROKs which do not change the substance. Its main points are as follows:

  • —The ROKG and the USG have completed talks regarding modernization of the Korean Armed Forces and reduction of U.S. Forces in Korea.
  • —The USG agrees to assist in the long-range modernization of the ROK defense forces.
  • —Consultations have been concluded on the reduction of U.S. troops in Korea by 20,000. This reduction does not affect the U.S. determination to meet an armed attack against the ROK under the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954.
  • —Overall military capabilities to defend the ROK against a military threat will be the subject of annual security consultative meetings between high-level officials of the two governments.

Comment. You may recall that the ROKG was holding out for a commitment that any future U.S. troop withdrawal would be subject to its veto. This Joint Statement puts on record that they did not get what they wanted.

We will, however, have to wait until Monday to see how Park handles this. Ambassador Porter believes he will take it like a man.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 542, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. IV, 1 Jan–31 Dec 1971. Secret. Sent for information. Lord also initialed the memorandum.
  2. February 5.
  3. Attached but not printed. The joint statement was given to the press on Saturday, February 6. The full text is printed in Department of State Bulletin, March 1, 1971, p. 263.
  4. See Document 71.
  5. In telegram 727 from Seoul, February 8, Porter noted that President Park “unwittingly helped U.S. achieve our aims by adopting an absolutely intransigent attitude of refusal to cooperate in troop redeployments unless we agreed to exchange documents, and by placing responsibility for reaching agreement on his Ministers. Caught between their President’s requirement that his Ministers achieve ‘papers’ prior to our Feb. 8 date for commencement of redeployments and our intention to proceed then whether or not papers were agreed, the Ministers’ demands steadily eroded in favor of accepting almost anything; they were appalled by obvious consequences of a confrontation.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 542, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. IV, 1 Jan–31 Dec 1971)