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1950 the Soviets had detonated their nuclear bomb, the Americans were withdrawn from South Korea, the US had not intervened in the Chinese Civil War.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.