Saturday, 25 October 1980

China Enters the Korean War, Oct. 25 1950

There had been signals relayed from China to the US through diplomatic channels (India, who was acting as a conduit in this) that China would not tolerate a US presence close to their borders or any troops other than ROK elements crossing the 38th Parallel, and that they would send troops if these events took place.  The US did not verify these warnings.  And MacArthur, a current US hero, stated that China would not intervene in any large numbers, even after CCF attacks at Unsan and in northeastern Korea.  While the Far Eastern Command listed total Chinese troops in the theater as 35 000, over 300 000 had already moved into Korea.

MacArthur was convinced that he could reunify all of Korea.  Regarding China, MacArthur was aware of some danger, but disregarded it, sure that allied air and firepower would disable China's ability to attack.  The Chinese army was considered weak, partly because they were poorly supplied.

The Americans had been winning the war, had pushed into North Korea (Sept. 27), and were trying to end the war "by Christmas."  After the entry of the Chinese into the war (first battle Oct. 25, 100 000's of CCP troops ordered into North Korea Nov.), which was a surprise to America and her allies, the entire UN army was brought to near disaster, pushing them back across the 38th.  The UN army recovered, and the war settled into a stalemate that lasted two years until the peace treaty was signed dividing Korea again into North and South (early 1951 until July 27 1953), followed by failed peace talks between China and the US.

Friday, 27 June 1980

Truman Press Release Statement on Korea, June 27 1950

Press Release by President Truman Announcing Military Assistance to Indochina, 27 June 1950. This statement is also called "Statement by the President on the Situation in Korea."

During the Allied war conferences, the USSR had agreed to enter the war against Japan (as the Allies agreed to the Soviet "buffer zone") and were occupying North Korea (which had been a Japanese colony) to the 38th Parallel as agreed a month earlier.

1949 50-70 000 North Korean PLA veterans of the Chinese Civil War returned from aiding the victorious Communists, with their weapons.  China promised to aid North Korea in the event of a war with South Korea.

The Communist government in China took a hostile stance to America and the West, who they named as the biggest threat to China's national security.  The government's foreign policy was to actively promote Communist revolutions throughout Asia.

On both sides, there had been government/police crackdowns on demonstrations and jailings of political dissidents.  There had been frequent skirmishes on the 38th Parallel.  Both sides had held elections which produced the party wanted by the region's benefactor, leaving seats open for the other region to join, and hoping for a unified Vietnam.

1950 the Soviets had detonated their nuclear bomb, the Americans were withdrawn from South Korea, the US had not intervened in the Chinese Civil War.  North Koreans had got support from the USSR and from China to go to war with the South.  North Korea was armed with Soviet tanks, artillery, and aircraft, and was rigorously trained.  The Soviets allowed the North Korea to start a war after they gained Mao's commitment to send reinforcements if they became needed.

June 25 1950 US forces and South Korea were unprepared when, after a battle along the 38th Parallel, the North Korean army which had moved to the border attacked, routing the South Koreans, who had no tanks, anti-tank weapons, or heavy artillery.  Both sides began massacring civilians.  Seoul was taken June 28.  A few days later, South Korea's 95 000 man army was down to 22 000.

American News was reporting the attack within five hours.  As the attack progressed, Acheson informed Truman who was resting for the weekend.  Truman likened the attack to Pearl Harbor and the Secretary-General likened it to the Invasion of Norway (Apr. 9 1940).  Truman resolved to act immediately to prevent escalation.  The South had ammunition for 10 days only, and the assistance of the UN and USA were requested.

Truman ordered the military (based in Japan) to prepare ships for the evacuation of Americans from Korea, send military-escorted supplies and ammunition to Pusan to support South Korea, send a survey team into the country, and mobilize the navy for movement to the region.


IN KOREA the Government forces, which were armed to prevent border raids and to preserve internal security, were attacked by invading forces from North Korea. The Security Council of the United Nations called upon the invading troops to cease hostilities and to withdraw to the 38th parallel. This they have not done, but on the contrary have pressed the attack. The Security Council called upon all members of the United Nations to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution. In these circumstances I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support.

The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. It has defied the orders of the Security Council of the United Nations issued to preserve international peace and security. In these circumstances the occupation of Formosa by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces performing their lawful and necessary functions in that area.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

I have also directed that United States Forces in the Philippines be strengthened and that military assistance to the Philippine Government be accelerated.

I have similarly directed acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the forces of France and the Associated States in Indochina and the dispatch of a military mission to provide dose working relations with those forces.

I know that all members of the United Nations will consider carefully the consequences of this latest aggression in Korea in defiance of the Charter of the United Nations. A return to the rule of force in international affairs would have far-reaching effects. The United States will continue to uphold the rule of law.

I have instructed Ambassador Austin, as the representative of the United States to the Security Council, to report these steps to the Council.

UN Resolution 83, June 27 1950

This Resolution says that, having called on North Korea to withdraw and North Korea not doing so, the UN will assist South Korea to repel the invasion by what means are necessary.

The Resolution was adopted 7 votes to 1 (Yugoslavia), with Egypt and India present but not participating in the vote and the USSR absent.

After Resolution 82 (June 25) was passed deciding that North Korea was at fault for beginning a war, the US contacted the Kremlin to use their influence to compel North Korea to comply, but the USSR denied this.  

UNSC met again to discuss how to address the conflict.  The resolution was for "assistance necessary" (military action).  Armies were moved to South Korea.

The Resolution:

The Security Council,

Having determined that the armed attack upon the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea constitutes a breach of the peace,

Having called for an immediate cessation of hostilities,

Having called upon the authorities in North Korea to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th parallel,

Having noted from the report of the United Nations Commission on Korea that the authorities in North Korea have neither ceased hostilities nor withdrawn their armed forces to the 38th parallel, and that urgent military measures are required to restore international peace and security,

Having noted the appeal from the Republic of Korea to the United Nations for immediate and effective steps to secure peace and security,

Recommends that the Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area.

Wednesday, 25 June 1980

UN Resolution 82, June 25 1950

This report, which addressed the North Korean attack across the 38th parallel early the same day, merely states that the UN judges that the South Korean elected government is the only valid government in Korea, that North Koreans at fault for starting a war, calls the North Korean forces to withdraw to the 38th and asks all UN members to see to support the UN.

The resolution was supported by the US, UK, China, France, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Norway, and India.  Yugoslavia abstained.  USSR was boycotting UN meetings at the time and the ambassador was ordered by Stalin not to attend.

A UN Security Council was held at 2 p.m. in New York the day of the attack.  The Korean situation was characterized as a breach of the UN Charter Ch. VII breach of peace violation, full-scale warfare (there had been serious military skirmishes around the border for years).  It was insisted the UN take action to restore peace in Korea.

At the meeting the South Korean ambassador to the UN was requested and granted, and this ambassador read a statement calling the invasion a crime against humanity, and saying that since the UN had played a major role in creating South Korea, they were responsible to defend it.  Yugoslavia requested a North Korean diplomat, but since the North was not a UN member and had no representation in the organization, this was not granted.

The Security Council,

Recalling the finding of the General Assembly in its resolution 293 (IV) of 21 October 1949 that the Government of the Republic of Korea is a lawfully established government having effective control and jurisdiction over that Part of Korea where the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea was able to observe and consult and in which the great majority of the people of Korea reside; that this Government is based on elections which were a valid expression of the free will of the electorate of that part of Korea and which were observed by the Temporary Commission, and that this is the only such Government in Korea,

Unmentioned is Resolution 112 (late 1947), which established a temporary commission to monitor free elections in Korea (limited to South Korea because the UN was unable to enter North Korea).  195 stated that Korea was to be established under one government as soon as possible, and the US and Soviet forces were to withdraw.  293 recognized only South Korea's government as legal).  North Korea denied the legality of the UN actions in Korea and said it would drive the UN out.  

Mindful of the concern expressed by the General Assembly in its resolutions 195 (III) of 12 December 1948 and 293 (IV) of 21 October 1949 about the consequences which might follow unless Member States refrained from acts derogatory to the results sought to be achieved by the United Nations in bringing about the complete independence and unity of Korea; and the concern expressed that the situation described by the United Nations Commission on Korea in its report menaces the safety and well-being of the Republic of Korea and of the people of Korea and might lead to open military conflict there,

Noting with grave concern the armed attack on the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea,

Determines that this action constitutes a breach of the peace; and

Calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities;

Calls upon the authorities in North Korea to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th parallel;

Requests the United Nations Commission on Korea:

(a) To communicate its fully considered recommendations on the situation with the least possible delay;

(b) To observe the withdrawal of North Korean forces to the 38th parallel;

(c) To keep the Security Council informed on the execution of this resolution:

Calls upon all Member States to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution and. to refrain from giving assistance to the North Korean authorities.

Saturday, 12 January 1980

Acheson's Speech to the Press Club, Jan. 12 1950

These words were spoken at the Press Club extemporaneously.

…I am frequently asked: Has the State Department got an Asian policy? And it seems to me that that discloses such a depth of ignorance that it is very hard to begin to deal with it. The peoples of Asia are so incredibly diverse and their problems are so incredibly diverse that how could anyone, even the most utter charlatan, believe that he had a uniform policy which would deal with all of them. On the other hand, there are very important similarities in ideas and in problems among the peoples of Asia and so what we come to, after we understand these diversities and these common attitudes of mind, is the fact that there must be certain similarities of approach, and there must be very great dissimilarities in action…

What was the Asia problem?  Why is that ignorant?  Give range of Asian country situations.  What was the "Asian attitudes of mind" or "Asian consciousness"?  What dissimilarities in action?

There is in this vast area what we might call a developing Asian consciousness, and a developing pattern, and this, I think, is based upon two factors…

One of these factors is a revulsion against the acceptance of misery and poverty as the normal condition of life. Throughout all of this vast area, you have that fundamental revolutionary aspect in mind and belief. The other common aspect that they have is the revulsion against foreign domination. Whether that foreign domination takes the form of colonialism or whether it takes the form of imperialism, they are through with it. They have had enough of it, and they want no more…

Colonialism and Imperialism (and what is the difference?) at the time in Asia.  What solutions were offered to Asians as means to "revolution"?  Who were their "foreign dominators"?  Examples spoken by Asians as to "having had enough of it."

Now, may I suggest to you that much of the bewilderment which has seized the minds of many of us about recent developments in China comes from a failure to understand this basic revolutionary force which is loose in Asia. The reasons for the fall of the Nationalist Government in china are preoccupying many people. All sorts of reasons have been attributed to it. Most commonly, it is said in various speeches and publications that it is the result of American bungling, that we are incompetent, that we did not understand, that American aid was too little, that we did the wrong things at the wrong time…Now, what I ask you to do is to stop looking for a moment under the bed and under the chair and under the rug to find out these reasons, but rather to look at the broad picture and see whether something doesn’t suggest itself…

China: recent developments.  Nationalists vs. CCP in Civil War history.  "Loss of China" criticism and who was criticized.  How much aid was given China (Nationalists)?  What is the "broad picture?

What has happened in my judgment is that the almost inexhaustible patience of the Chinese people in their misery ended. They did not bother to overthrow this government. There was really nothing to overthrow. They simply ignored it…They completely withdrew their support from this government, and when that support was withdrawn, the whole military establishment disintegrated. Added to the grossest incompetence every experienced by any military command was this total lack of support both in the armies and in the country, and so the whole matter just simply disintegrated.

Did the Chinese people really "simply ignore" and not "overthrow" the government?  Is that why it fell? simply because the people did not support it?  Did the people support the government before?  What does Acheson mean: military lack of support?

The communists did not create this. The Communists did not create this condition. They did not create this revolutionary spirit. They did not create a great force which moved out from under Chiang Kai-shek. But they were shrewd and cunning to mount it, to ride this thing into victory and into power…


Now, let me come to another underlying and important factor which determines our relations and, in turn, our policy with the peoples of Asia. That is the attitude of the Soviet Union toward Asia, and particularly towards those parts of Asia which are contiguous to the Soviet Union, and with great particularity this afternoon, to north China.

Describe Soviet-Chinese relations and how this affected US policy with Asian countries.  Acheson mentions "north China".

The attitude and interest of the Russians in north China, and in these other areas as well, long antedates communism. This is not something that has come out of communism at all. It long antedates it. But the Communist regime has added new methods, new skills, and new concepts to the thrust of Russian imperialism. This Communistic concept and techniques have armed Russian imperialism with a new and most insidious weapon of penetration. Armed with these new powers, what is happening in China is that the Soviet Union is detaching the northern provinces [areas] of China from China and is attaching them to the Soviet Union. This process is complete in outer Mongolia. It is nearly complete in Manchuria, and I am sure that in inner Mongolia and in Sinkiang there are very happy reports coming from Soviet agents to Moscow. This is what is going on. It is the detachment of these whole areas, vast areas—populated by Chinese—the detachment of these areas from China and their attachment to the Soviet Union.

Pre-Red Russian expansionism/imperialism.  Narrate the detachment from China attachment to the USSR of these various regions.  Is this a concern for America?

I wish to state this and perhaps sin against my doctrine of nondogmatism, but I should like to suggest at any rate that this fact that the Soviet Union is taking the four northern provinces of China is the single most significant, most important fact, in the relation of any foreign power with Asia.

What does it mean for Acheson to have a doctrine of "nondogmatism"?  Is it really that significant?  How does it rate as compared with Korea or Vietnam?  Or Japan (trustee'd by America)?

What does that mean for us? It means something very, very significant. It means that nothing that we do and nothing that we say must be allowed to obscure the reality of this fact. All the efforts of propaganda will not be able to obscure it. The only thing that can obscure it is the folly of ill-conceived adventures on our part which easily could do so, and I urge all who are thinking about these foolish adventures to remember that we must not seize the unenviable position which the Russians have carved out for themselves. We must not undertake to deflect from the Russians to ourselves the righteous anger, and the wrath, and the hatred of the Chinese people which must develop. It would be folly to deflect it to ourselves. We must take the position we have always taken—that anyone who violates the integrity of China is the enemy of China and is acting contrary to our own interest. That, I suggest to you this afternoon, is the first and the great rule in regard to the formulation of American policy toward Asia.

What "foolish adventures"?  What specific "hatred" developing in the Chinese? and why MUST it develop?  Inform the China situation, where there is press to pay court to "China and China's integrity".  Does Acheson want China to think USSR China's "enemy".  Is that really the "first" rule regarding ALL asian policy?

I suggest that the second rule is very like the first. That is to keep our own purposes perfectly straight, perfectly pure, and perfectly aboveboard and do not get them mixed-up with legal quibbles or the attempt to do one thing and really achieve another…

What is he referring to?  "Legal" quibbles?

What is the situation in regard to the military security of the Pacific area, and what is our policy in regard to it?

In the first place, the defeat and the disarmament of Japan has placed upon the United States the necessity of assuming the military defense of Japan so long as that is required, both in the interest of our security and in the interests of the security of the entire Pacific area and, in all honor, in the interest of Japanese security. We have American—and there are Australia—troops in Japan. I am not in a position to speak for the Australians, but I can assure you that there is not intention of any sort of abandoning or weakening the defenses of Japan and that whatever arrangements are to be made either through permanent settlement or otherwise, that defense must and shall be maintained.

Threats to Japan.  What are the real requirements for Japanese security?  How many US and Australian troops?  

The defensive perimeter runs along the Aleutians to Japan and then goes to the Ryukyus. We hold important defense positions in the Ryukyu Islands, and those we will continue to hold. In the interest of the population of the Ryukyu Islands, we will at an appropriate time offer to hold these islands under trusteeship of the United Nations. But they are essential parts of the defensive perimeter of the Pacific, and they must and will be held.

Map the perimeter.  History of the Ryukyus and what are their value and strategic importance?  Who are the population of the Ryukyus and how many?  What other UN (and otherwise) trustee relationships are going on at the time?  

The defensive perimeter runs from the Ryukyus to the Philippine Islands. Our relations, our defensive relations with the Philippines are contained in agreements between us. Those agreements are being loyally carried out and will be loyally carried out. Both peoples have learned by bitter experience the vital connections between our mutual defense requirements. We are in no doubt about that, and it is hardly necessary for me to say an attack on the Philippines could not and would not be tolerated by the United States. But I hasten to add that no one perceives the imminence of any such attack.

Recent events in the Phillipines and threats to the Phillipines.  History and why is America tied so well to the Phillipines.  

So far as the military security of other areas in the Pacific is concerned, it must be clear that no person can guarantee these areas against military attack. But it must also be clear that such a guarantee is hardly sensible or necessary within the realm of practical relationship.

What other areas could he possibly mean or could possibly look to this speech and find meaning about?  What does he mean "sensible or necassary within" and "practical relationship"?

Should such an attack occur—one hesitates to say where such an armed attack could come from—the initial reliance must be on the people attacked to resist it and then upon the commitments of the entire civilized world under the Charter of the United Nations which so far has not proved a weak reed to lean on by any people who are determined to protect their independence against outside aggression. But it is a mistake, I think, in considering Pacific and Far Eastern problems to become obsessed with military considerations. Important as they are, there are other problems that press, and these other problems are not capable of solution through military means. These other problems arise out of the susceptibility of many areas, and many countries in the Pacific area, to subversion and penetration. That cannot be stopped military means.

Where could it come from?  Does he know and "hesitate to say" or can he not fathom?  Who could be attacked, by whom, and what chances would they have to resist?  What obligations are on the US in the various regions to help?  History of the UN as something for nations to lean on?  What "other problems" and how are they more important than military problems?  Why does he think they are "succeptible"? and what exactly is "subversion and penetration"?  Can they not be stopped by military means, examples?

The susceptibility to penetration arises because in many areas there are new governments which have little experience in governmental administration and have not become firmly established or perhaps firmly accepted in their countries. They grow, in part, from very serious economic problems…In part this susceptibility to penetration comes from the great social upheaval about which I have been speaking…

What new governments?  How little experience?  Does this make a difference?; contrast with a new government that CAN resist "subversion".  What "economic problems"?

So after this survey, what we conclude, I believe, is that there is a new day which has dawned in Asia. It is a day in which the Asian peoples are on their own, and know it, and intend to continue on their own. It is a day in which the old relationships between east and west are gone, relationships which at their worst were exploitations, and which at their best were paternalism. That relationship is over, and the relationship of east and west must now be in the Far East one of mutual respect and mutual helpfulness. We are their friends. Others are their friends. We and those others are willing to help, but we can help only where we are wanted and only where the conditions of help are really sensible and possible. So what we can see is that this new day in Asia, this new day which is dawning, may go on to a glorious noon or it may darken and it may drizzle out. But that decision lies within the countries of Asia and within the power of the Asian people. It is not a decision which a friend or even an enemy from the outside can decide for them.

Does America really want Asian peoples to be "on their own"? and could they ever allow this?  Describe colonialism in Asia.  What "help" does he mean to offer.  Does he really allow that it may "darken and drizzle out".  Is that in US policy?  Is in really "not" a decision an outside power can make? and does America believe that within its policy?