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1950 the Soviets had detonated their nuclear bomb, the Americans were withdrawn from South Korea, the US had not intervened in the Chinese Civil War.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

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