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June 26, 1950 0900


Monday morning Sunday evening in Washington [6/26/1950 0900 - [6/25/1960 2000 DC] MacArthur's first Korean orders came in over his telecon, a form of communication comprising two typewriters and two screens; messages punched out on the Pentagon keyboard appeared on MacArthur's tube.

Operation of all U.S., forces in Asia was now officially vested in him. His new title, added to SCAP, was Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE). He was instructed to "support the Republic of Korea" with warships around, and warplanes over, South Korea. He could expect broader powers as Austin applied greater pressure on UN allies.

Already America had one foot on the battlefield. By now reports from Taejŏn had eclipsed any hope that the invaders could be swiftly driven back, and both he and Dulles were gloomy when he drove the envoy to Haneda for his flight home.

MacArthur, as pessimistic as he had been ebullient before, now spoke darkly of writing off the entire Korean peninsula. He had just radioed Truman:

"South Korean units unable to resist determined North Korean offensive. Contributory factor exclusive enemy possession of tanks and fighter planes. South Korean casualties as an index to fighting have not shown adequate resistance capabilities or the will to fight and our estimate is that a complete collapse is imminent."

In his reply the President again cautioned him to send no fliers or vessels north of the Parallel. [note]