92. Telegram From the Embassy in Korea to the Department of State 1
Seoul, April 19, 1971, 0930Z.
2141. For Ambassador Brown. Subj: Alleged Threats Against Kim Tae-Chung.
- Last Friday Kim Tae Chung sent word that he would like to see me rather urgently that evening noting he would be absent in Choola-Do campaigning all this week. I sent word back that I was sure he would understand why my meeting with him at this time might be misunderstood and that if he had any special message he could have some of his close advisers meet with PolCouns.
- Dr. Chong Il-Hyong had quiet lunch with PolCouns at latter’s residence today. He said he and Kim Tae-Chung have received several threatening telephone calls and letters, which they believe are govt-directed, that they have reason to believe there is ROK–CIA scheme to assassinate Kim as public sentiment continues to swing in direction Kim victory, and that Kim had hoped might be possible for me to find a way to discourage government from carrying out any such attempt. [Page 240] PolCouns replied in relaxed way that calls and letters could of course be from cranks or attempt to intimidate, and Chong agreed. At other times during conversation Chong spoke of NDP concern with possible massive rigging (but had nothing impressive when pressed for details as to how government would carry out rigging), spoke of possibility of palace coup, and even of possibility DRP would create confusion at selected key polling places to invalidate balloting in those places. Chong did not convey impression that he or Kim Tae-Chung was overwhelmed by threats, but I thought I should let you know of this development. I do not plan any further reply.
- In quiet way which conveyed impression he was genuinely persuaded, Chong also said NDP elated with way campaign is going, that conservatively at present time Kim expected win by half million votes in honest election and that further swings to Kim in coming final days of campaign should substantially increase that margin. As NDP manager for presidential campaign he is highly partisan, but as you know Chong is quiet and serious man.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 542, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. IV, 1 Jan–31 Dec 1971. Secret; Exdis.↩