241. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers and Secretary of Defense Schlesinger, Washington, July 18, 1973.1 2


July 18, 1973


SUBJECT: U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula

The President has approved the following as interim guidance on our basic policy toward the Korean Peninsula:

  • — We shall continue to reassure the ROK of U.S. support for its timely and constructive foreign policy initiative announced in President Park’s speech of June 23.
  • — The U.S. will make no further adjustments in its present force levels in the ROK except in the context of the overall security situation on the Peninsula. We will consult with the ROK well in advance of any further force reductions.
  • — The U.S. will continue military assistance to the ROK, and in particular will complete the Five Year Modernization Plan, although Congressional funding limitations will require that U.S. assistance on this plan be stretched out through FY 1977. We also believe that the emphasis in the plan should be shifted from ground farces to air defense. The other recommendations of the Under Secretaries Committee on the plan are presently under consideration; pending decision we should avoid further detailed discussion of U.S. military assistance.
  • — We are keenly aware of President Park’s desire that we discuss the Korean question with the PRC and the Soviet Union, and can assure the ROK that we have that desire very much in mind. We will do nothing that will harm South Korean vital interests, and will consult with the ROK to the maximum extent possible.
  • — We should avoid attempting to force the pace of the South-North talks — either by suggesting a reduction of our support for the ROK, or by pressing on the ROK a series of initiatives that it might take up with [Page 2] Pyongyang. Beyond lending every encouragement to the ROK to persist in the talks, and assuring the ROK of continued support, U.S. direct intervention with Seoul should be limited to averting any threatened break-down in the talks.
  • — We accept the proposition that the termination of UNCURK would be a very useful step in helping avoid a confrontation at next fall’s UNGA. Any termination of UNCURK, however, should be without prejudice to its past activities. We should seek to persuade the members of UNCURK to recommend termination in their annual report. A decision on whether to seek a UNGA resolution formally accepting the report, however, will not be made until we have more certain indication of the intentions of the other side.
  • — We are reviewing the status of the UNC and will consider the possibility of terminating this body, provided that the related aspects of existing security arrangements can be adjusted in a way that will not diminish the security of the ROK. Since this is a delicate and complex undertaking, we should proceed with caution and are confident that we can defend the UNC against a possible hostile resolution in the next UNGA.
  • — As to U.N. membership for the two Koreas, we support the position taken by President Park in his June 23 speech. We will continue to consult closely with the ROK and other friendly nations on the tactics we will adopt on the Korean question in next fall’s UNGA.

The President has asked that you use the above interim guidance in your contacts with ROK officials and others, and that you not go beyond this position pending further guidance from him.

Henry A. Kissinger

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 544, Country Files, Far East, Korea, Volume 6, January 1973–October 1973. Secret. According to an attached undated note by Scowcroft to Kissinger, Rogers would probably ignore this guidance, but Clements might be more sympathetic. Scowcroft also believed there was “no need” to send this memorandum to Nixon.
  2. Kissinger conveyed interim guidance on U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula.