239. Memorandum From the Director of Korean Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Ranard) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Sneider)1 2
- Discussions on the Hill Regarding Human Rights
Bob Walkinshaw and I had a profitable luncheon discussion with John Salzberg, Assistant to Congressman Fraser, and Tom Kennedy, Assistant to Congressman Nix, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Far East, regarding House intentions to hold hearings on human rights in Korea on July 30. It was my understanding that Kennedy was present because the hearings will be held jointly by Fraser’s Committee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on the Far East of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Salzberg asked a variety of questions regarding developments in Korea affecting human rights, and Bob and I responded quite candidly, not only as concerns our assessment as to what was happening, but also as concerns steps we have been taking quietly as appropriate to call to the attention of the Korean Government our views on human rights. In this latter connection, I pointed to actions Ingersoll has taken, as, for example, in connection with the Beth Pond case, his remarks to Tae Wan Son, as well as the quiet sort of diplomacy which Habib has been following. Salzberg was somewhat impressed with the record in EA, particularly in comparison to other areas in the Department, and this was fortified by remarks I made concerning Ingersoll’s personal convictions about matters of this sort and meetings we had had during the Spring, in which we had attempted to assess the role in foreign affairs of human rights issues.[Page 2]
In essence, what came out from Salzberg was that Fraser was giving consideration to an amendment to the Foreign Aid Bill, which, in instances of countries limiting human rights, would restrict military assistance to a percentage of last year’s appropriation and call upon the President to make further reductions unless that country made progress on human rights. I believe the amendment would also enable the President to increase military assistance in those instances where progress was made. Kennedy was of the impression that the Foreign Aid Bill was in trouble and that it would take some amendment of this sort to attract the votes for its passage. Bob and I were of a single mind in our response to this proposal. We both took the position that such restrictions would provide the wrong signal—as applied to Korea, for example—would be ineffective, and would motivate against the basic reasons for assistance in the first place. In this connection I went into a spiel about our objectives towards the Korean Peninsula and how effective military and economic assistance had been in helping us achieve the larger objective of avoiding conflict on the Korean Peninsula. While there were many elements now present in Korea’s domestic affairs that we did not like, I doubted that the reduction of economic aid or MAP would bring about a reversal of current trends.
Salzberg believed, however, that such an amendment might be the best way for Congress to express its views on human rights, and he left us with the impression that as matters now stand Fraser will move in that direction. I suggested that it might be better to proceed with the hearings on human rights before coming to conclusions on the Aid Bill, and then subsequently determine what courses of action were open to us to appropriately express American convictions regarding human rights. Salzberg wondered whether a private meeting by you and me with Fraser and Nix would be profitable before the hearings. Without committing you, Bob and I both felt that such a meeting could be worth while.
Salzberg at one point asked my opinion regarding Fraser’s recommendation to Ingersoll that there be a human rights officer at the Deputy Secretary’s level. I said that was for Ingersoll to decide, but that I was not personally convinced such a position was required. We already had human rights officers in [Page 3] EA and in other bureaus, and I did not personally feel another bureaucratic level would add to convictions on human rights.
Both Salzberg and Kennedy were friendlily disposed to working with the Department on this issue. Salzberg gave the impression that Fraser has deep conviction about the importance of human rights in foreign affairs but wanted to be as helpful as possible. He thought that Ingersoll’s forthcoming attitude, particularly his private discussion with Fraser and his letter, had been impressive. Bob and I used this as our cue to the attitude we in turn took in our discussion. On the whole, I believe, our luncheon can be helpful to a better hearing on July 30.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P800109–2353. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Ranard. Copies were sent to EA/RA, L/HR, EA, D, and Seoul. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates that Mr. Sneider saw it. Republic of Korea authorities revoked the visa of newspaper reporter Elizabeth Pond after she published a series of articles about domestic opposition to the government, prompting the Department of State to lodge public protests in Washington and Seoul (, June 6, 1974, p. 2). Tae Wan Son was Deputy Premier of the Republic of Korea.↩
- The memorandum recounted discussions with staff assistants to the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning Department of State actions to promote human rights abroad.↩