93. Editorial Note

On April 27, 1971, Korean President Park Chung Hee of the Democratic Republic Party was re-elected for a third term. He defeated Kim Dae Jung of the opposition New Democratic Party. Park polled 6,342,828 votes over Kim’s 5,395,000 but obtained fewer votes in Seoul than Kim. The DRP failed to reclaim its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, which was necessary for the ruling party to amend the Constitution in order to provide a fourth term for Park.

In a May 28 memorandum to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, Executive Secretary of the Department of State Theodore L. Eliot, Jr. stated that the Korean elections “are being interpreted hopefully in terms of political stability, which would have been endangered had the minority NDP been trampled by government apparatus and power.” Eliot added that “our first reaction to these elections is one of considerable satisfaction with the vitality of the two party system in Korea.” He continued: “A strong and forceful president who has moved Korea ahead has been returned to office; and a vigorous opposition will sit in the Assembly with enough clout to make certain there is no sliding back to repressive rule.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 542, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Vol. IV, 1 Jan–31 Dec 1971)