January 19, 1950 (Thursday)




Kim Il Sung is reputed to have said today that now China is unified, it is his turn. [note]

Along those line, Kim asked Nie Rongzhen to return the Korean nationals still in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) army, along with their equipment. Nie replied he would have to seek guidance from the CCP Central Committee. [note]



In Washington, Mo's and Roberts's reports [from October 1949] were filed and forgotten. Indifference to the peninsula was shared by both parties.

It is a point of some interest that congressional Republicans fought all appropriations for Sŏul.

They torpedoed Truman's request for sixty million dollars of Korean economic aid,

and on January 19, 1950, the lower house, at their urging, defeated by a 193 to 192 vote a small measure which would have provided five hundred U.S. Army officers to supervise the equipping of South Korean troops. That evening Acheson wrote his daughter Mary: "We took a defeat in the House on Korea, which seems to me to have been our own fault.... We were complaisant and inactive." [170]




Even so, the ROK Army remained almost casually disposed and ill equipped to meet any threat from the north. While Roberts's KMAG made some progress, by early 1950 it was clear that his training schedule could never be met. Then came a series of public statements - bombshells - from Washington that seriously undermined the morale of KMAG, the Rhee government, and the ROK Army. [on the 5th, 12th and 19th]

The third bombshell came one week after Acheson's remarks [on the12th]. In a gesture apparently designed to "punish" truman (or maneuver for a bargaining position), the China bloc in Congress, which had consistently backed the Rhee government, voted down a small ($10 million) supplemental economic aid bill for South Korea. This action by his former stout supporters in Congress bewildered and dismayed Rhee. However, it proved to be but a short-lived crisis. After intense administration lobbying the bill was reintroduced - and passed - the following month, after it had been "sweetened" with a rider granting further (but small) economic aid to Chiang.

Then came the worst bombshell of all: a published Q and A interview with Democratic Senator Tom Connally, who was a friend of the administration and who held the prestigious position of chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Asked by the editors of U.S. News & World Report if the United States would seriously consider abandoning South Korea, Connally replied: "I am afraid it is going to be seriously considered because I'm afraid it's going to happen, whether we want it or not." In response to a follow-up question asking if Korea was not an "essential" part of America's defensive strategy, Connally replied: "No. . . . I don't think it is very greatly important."[2-64]

The Connally interview caused such great dismay in Sŏul that Acheson and Muccio were compelled to make public statements containing implied denials that Washington would ever abandon South Korea. But these statements did little to calm the Sŏul government. Rhee bitterly and sarcastically complained privately to the American charge d'affaires in Sŏul that Connally's remarks were "an open invitation to the communists to come down and take over South Korea." He wondered how a man "in his right senses" could make "such an irrational statement."[2-65]




On 19 January 1950, Kim further asked the Chinese to send these Korean-nationality soldiers back to Korea together with their equipment. Nie felt sympathetic to the request but he had to ask instructions from the CCP Central Committee.


Notes for Thursday January 19, 1950

Kim Il Sung continued to use his tactics of "prevailing" upon the Soviet leader. In an interview with our military advisors in P'yŏngyang which was held on 19 January 1950, he noted that after the unification of China, and in turn now the liberation of South Korea, without which he could not sleep a night, thinking about the dangerous loss of faith by his people as the result of the delayed unification of their country. Kim Il Sung called for a direct meeting with I.V. Stalin.


Louis Johnson, informs the JCS to support Covert Operations of CIA.

Washington, January 19, 1950.
The Secretary of the Army
The Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Air Force

Support of Covert Operations of CIA


(a) Memorandum to the Director, CIA, on the above subject dtd 6 Oct 4922. See Foreign Relations, 19451950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 312.

(b) Reply of Director, CIA, to the Secretary of Defense, 18 Oct 4933. Ibid., Document 315.

1. Pursuant to the last paragraph of the first reference you are authorized to support the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency in accordance with the terms of my memorandum of 6 October 1949.

2. The Joint Subsidiary Plans Division, Joint Staff, is the agency within the Department of Defense responsible, among other duties, for coordinating and facilitating operational support of approved covert operations of the CIA with the Services.

3.The responsibilities in this field of Brigadier General John Magruder, USA (Retired), Policy Consultant for this office with the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, remain as indicated in my letter of 7 October 1949, to the Secretary of State, a copy of which was provided you.44. Ibid., Document 313.

Louis Johnson55. Printed from a copy that indicates Johnson signed the original.

1 Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 95G00278R, Box 1, Folder 5. Top Secret. Copies were sent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director, Subsidiary Plans Division; and the Director of Central Intelligence.

2 See Foreign Relations, 19451950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, Document 312.

3 Ibid., Document 315.

4 Ibid., Document 313.

5 Printed from a copy that indicates Johnson signed the original.



Notes for Thursday January 19, 1950