19500901 0000 FRIDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 1950


LtGen George Edward Stratemeyer

Nuckols received from Sory Smith in answer to his radnote the following:

Your quoted response to queries concerning border incidents checked with Chief of Staff, Secretary of Air Force, and Under Secretary Early.[247] Your handling exactly correct. Mr. Early suggests particular emphasis on final sentence, "we do not plan to comment on each detailed individual report." signed Smith

Partridge arrives. Gave him my copy for action of the Norstad redline to me which reads:

The fol[lowing] statement was introduced at UN Security Council today, quoted in part:

 "At 1745 hours on Aug 29, 4 U.S. fighters flew over from Korea and invaded and reconnoitered from the air above La-koo-shao of the Kuan-Tien district of China on the right bank of the Yalu River. After that they flew along the right bank of the Yalu River to Chang-tien-ho- kou, about one kilometer from La-Kao-sho, where they fired shots at Chinese civilian boats, killing one Chinese fisherman and wounding 2 others. At 1750 hours the same fighters came to the air above Koo-Lau- Tsu to the northeast of Antung where they again fired shots at civilian boats, killing three Chinese fishermen, severely wounding two and slightly wounding three others."

Investigate and report as to possible basis for this statement.

My immediate redline reply to Norstad is:

Partridge in my office and signal has been turned over to him for investigation. Report will be made as soon as received. My comments are: On 29 Aug, F-51 flights were made over northwest Korean territory in order to investigate incident of 27 August; the pilots were particularly thoroughly briefed not to violate the border and it is my opinion that they did not repeat not.

Quoted in toto is the redline Vandenberg sent me in reference to this whole border incident as it emanates from the floor of the Security Council:

The US delegate[248] to the Security Council of the United Nations today made this statement:

 "On August 28 there was submitted to the Security Council a communication from Mr. Chou-en Lai complaining that military aircraft operating under the Unified Command in Korea had overflown and strafed Chinese territory in Manchuria.

On Aug 29 on behalf of my Government I submitted to the Council a reply to that complaint which stated that the instructions under which aircraft are operating under the Unified Command in Korea strictly prohibit them from crossing the Korean frontier into adjacent territory and that my government had received no evidence that these instructions had been violated. In that communication, I also expressed the view that my government would welcome an investigation on the spot by a Commission appointed by the Security Council. As soon as we received the complaint from Mr. Chou- en-Lai, the United States military authorities operating under the Unified Commander of the United Nations Forces in Korea were instructed to make an immediate investigation to determine whether there was any evidence to indicate that the charges were well-founded. Reports have now been received which indicate that one F-51 aircraft of the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron may have violated Chinese territory in Manchuria and strafed an airstrip in the late afternoon of Aug 27, 1950.

This evidence has not been confirmed, but indicates the possibility that the F-51 aircraft attacked an airstrip at Antung in Manchuria approximately 5 miles from the Korean border. If this evidence is confirmed my government is prepared to make appropriate response in compensation for the damages which have occurred. As I stated in my communication of Aug 29 strict instructions have been issued by the military authorities in Korea to confine their operations to the territory of Korea. For example, on June 29, 1950, in an order to the military forces it was stated that "special care should be taken to insure that operations in North Korea were well clear of the frontiers."

Again on July 2, 1950, the Secretary of Air Force of the United States directed the CG of Air Force operations to emphasize the necessity of full briefing to air crews so that there will be no possibility of attacking targets beyond the territory of North Korea. These same instructions were emphasized again to the military commanders in the beginning and middle of August. The evidence which has so far been developed, indicating as it does the possibility that an aircraft of the United Nations Forces in Korea may have violated territory in Manchuria and attacked an air field there, only serves to emphasize the desirability of sending a United Nations commission to the area which can make an objective investigation of these charges. My government believes that the Security Council should establish such a commission without delay. The authorities of North Korea and Manchuria should provide it with the necessary freedom of movement and safe conduct so that it may make a thorough investigation of the facts. For their part, the United States military authorities would extend to the Commission full cooperation including access to pertinent records.

The Commission when established can make an immediate investigation of the incident complained about an Aug 27 and if it finds that an attack did in fact occur, my government is prepared to make payment to the SYG [Secretary-General] for appropriate transmission to the injured parties such damages as the Commission shall find to be fair and equitable. (In such case, my government will see that appropriate disciplinary action being carried out by the Unified Command in Korea.) I am requesting that the SYG O[ffice] transmit a copy of my statement in the Council this after- noon to Mr. Chou-en Lai."

If queried on this subject you will restrict your comments to the facts as stated in this statement.

Received the following letter from General Spivey, the VC for Fifth AF in Nagoya:

Just before leaving Washington, I participated in actions leading to greater protection of our strategic Air Force. General Vandenberg and General Fairchild,[249] before his death, as well as the Air Staff, put very great emphasis on protecting SAC aircraft and SAC and MATS bases essential to the implementation of our war plans. I believe I am correct when I state that the reason they placed such great emphasis on our strategic capability is that they felt that our atomic capability is the greatest single deterrent to Russian aggression, and that if war ensues it will be our greatest capability for winning the war. As a consequence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have given first priority to our atomic capability in all their planning. It is the Air Force's position that in case of war, the targets most likely to be attacked by the enemy will be our atomic carriers. The logic behind this is obvious when one considers that if our atomic carrier capability is destroyed, the enemy need not fear destruction by our bombs but may take his time in delivering his own stockpile. General Vandenberg ordered the following actions be taken to protect SAC's atomic capability:

(1) All SAC and MATS bases to be utilized by SAC in carrying our agreed war plans have been fenced with a perimeter fence enclosing the flying field and inhabited areas; an inner fence with guard towers and search lights surrounding the parking areas, maintenance areas, operation areas and gasoline dispersion points. This fencing program cost approximately $3,000,000.

(2) Restriction of the bases to all personnel not essential to the operation of the base. Those entering must have passes and are checked in and out of restricted areas.

(3) The Air Police squadron of each base has been augmented by 200 additional guard personnel.

(4) FBI, OSI and CIC activities have been greatly increased in the vicinity of each base.

(5) Notified the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the Air Force must have at least one fighter squadron and one AAA battalion on or near each critical base.

 During my recent inspection of Fifth Air Force bases, I found at Yokota a most lucrative target for the enemy. Two groups of B-29s were parked two to a hardstand and wing tip to wing tip along the parking ramp. They were loaded with bombs and gasoline and were so closely jammed together that it appeared to me that detonation of the bombs on any one of the aircraft would start a chain reaction destroying the other, or that if one caught fire, the others might also burn. The proximity of this base to North Korean bases makes it possible for Yak type aircraft to make flights from North Korea to Yokota.

Even if the North Koreans lacked the navigational and pilot ability to fly to Yokota, it is not inconceivable to me that well-trained Manchurian or Chinese pilots might be used for this purpose without implicating China, Manchuria or Russia. I am sure, and my air defense people agree with me, that if only one or two such aircraft arrived at Yokota, damage to the B-29s would be exceedingly great, possibly disastrous to both groups. Inspection of the radar installations in the vicinity, ADCC and the TCC [tactical control center] at Johnson, convinces me that it is possible for low flying aircraft, or aircraft taking advantage of background clutter caused by the mountains near Tokyo, to reach Yokota without being detected before they are within two or three minutes of the field. There are three gun battalions and one AW [automatic weapons] battalions located in the vicinity of Yokota. It is problematic whether they would keep a flight of two or three aircraft from strafing or bombing the aircraft at Yokota. On the ground I found that there was a distinct lack of defense against overt or covert action. I believe it is possible for an armed group of Reds to do material damage to aircraft at Yokota or at any other base in the Fifth Air Force if they were clever and disguised themselves as American officers. In a staff car or truck they could drive onto the base and down the line without so much as being challenged. The strategic Air Force believes that the danger from sabotage and overt action poses a threat greater than that of air attack. I believe this is especially true in Japan. In order to lessen the possibility of damage to the aircraft based at Yokota, I have taken the following actions:

(1) Directed the base commander to confer with General O'Donnell concerning protection of his aircraft at Yokota.

a. To increase the guard personnel at Yokota to the extent necessary to secure the base properly.

b. To restrict access to the base to the extent necessary to keep unauthorized persons off the base.

c. To inaugurate a pass system which will positively identify authorized personnel.

d. To set up strong points on the base, this to be accomplished in conjunction with the AAA.

(2) Directed the air defense commander at Johnson Air Base to increase to the greatest possible extent the air protection for Yokota Air Base. I recommend that the following actions be taken to insure greater security for the B-29 groups now located at Yokota:

(1) That dispersal areas be rushed to completion at the earliest possible date.

(2) That the air-craft now at Yokota be dispersed to hardstands which have already been completed.

(3) That the possibility of deploying one group to another base be explored. In this connection Komaki should be considered.

(4) That the recommendations of the anti-aircraft commander concerning the replacement of the AW battalion, which was recently removed from the Tokyo area, be expedited.

(5) That the heavy anti-aircraft artillery now on Johnson Air Base be deployed to recommended off- base positions.

(6) That man-proof fencing be installed at Yokota to the same extent being erected on SAC bases in the U.S. I feel so strongly about preserving our atomic capability that I am constrained to write you this letter.


I believe that we should not accept any risk which we can anticipate and eliminate when our long-range striking force is involved. I shall keep you posted as to our air defense and ground defense capabilities.

Sent above letter with this R&R to Craigie:

Attention is invited to the attached letter from General Spivey, etc., which has the concurrence and approval of Major General Partridge, CG Fifth AF. I approve every recommendation made by General Spivey and direct that every possible action be taken by FEAF Hqrs to bring about the action recommended. It is realized that some of these actions will require additional funds and must receive the approval of CINCFE. You will utilize the attached letter and this memorandum to secure such funds and approval as is necessary from higher authority.

This morning, in conference with CINCFE, I secured his approval to deploy and make available to Fifth Air Force for operations in Korea the following units: The wing hqrs and two squadrons from Okinawa - F-80Cs; leaving there one squadron with its essential supporting units. One squadron from Johnson AFB, leaving there one squadron. All the F-80s from Misawa except one flight of F-80Cs; to utilize the squadron that I have required for air defense at Itazuke, to be utilized for operations in Korea. The all-weather fighters to remain as now deployed.[250]
I presented to General MacArthur the complete file on the F-51 incident around Antung, Manchuria, including the last signal from Norstad, and the long signal from Vandenberg in which he quoted Mr. Austin before the UN. General MacArthur's instructions to me were to put out no publicity except that as shown in Vandenberg's signal reference Mr. Austin.

The letter (which is quoted in full above) from General Spivey, approved by General Partridge, received by me this date, makes strong recommendations for the security of our air bases in Japan - particularly those in the Tokyo area. I approved every one of those recommendations and directed the VC for A&P to take the necessary action to implement them. I further directed my VC A&P to make requisition on the AF in Washington to replace for air defense purposes all units with supporting organizations that I have turned over to Partridge for operations in Korea.
While in conference with General MacArthur, at which General Partridge was present, I told him that I was very concerned about the ground situation. For the first time, he impressed me that he was concerned also and that he indicated that he turned over to Walker the Marine Brigade, the 17th ROK Rgt., and all ammunition that he contemplated using on the planned amphibious operation. He then stated as follows:

"Strat, I'm not ordering you to do this, but if I were you, as the overall Air Force commander and because of the seriousness of the ground situation in Korea, I would utilize every airplane that I had, including the B-29s to assist in the latest all-out effort that the North Koreans are mounting against General Walker's ground forces."

I indicated to him that that was exactly what I intended to do.

Upon my return to my office, Generals Weyland, Craigie, Partridge and I went into a conference; the same time got in touch with General O'Donnell and directed that he report to me without delay. We discussed the use of the B-29s; the use of what Navy and Marine airplanes we could secure, and I was just informed at 1435 that the Navy would be able to make available this afternoon 40 sorties for close support and that the Marines at Itami would be flown to Ashiya and also will get into the fight in close support this afternoon. Generals Weyland, O'Donnell and Partridge are now in conference to come up with the recommended use of the B-29s tomorrow.

In my conference with General Partridge this morning, the following subjects were discussed: General Lowe's visit to Korea tonight or tomorrow; the use of the night recce squadron at Itazuke; the use of napalm on the ferry slips and facilities near Sŏul; the operations of the 3d Bombardment Group (light); the possible desire of Marines to utilize Tsuiki when they are required to vacate Miho (I gave an emphatic "No") and temporary assignment to me of a bachelor F-80 pilot, who had flown some 50 missions in order to let Capt Melgard to get into the battle. On this latter subject, he stated that Timberlake was securing the individual and that I would be informed.

It is my opinion that the American ground forces are not taking the initiative and fighting. It is further my opinion that they are not aggressive unless they have total, all-out air support. Yet, the North Koreans without any air support and in spite of tremendous casualties that they are receiving from our air, they are aggressive at all times. When one considers the tremendous havoc and casualties that we (air) have inflicted on personnel, armor, and on trucks, and they still keep coming, one can not but admire them as an enemy. Again, in my opinion, General Walker needs a staff - and an aggressive one. I wonder what would happen within our lines if there was enemy air and it had killed 1,200 of our people on a division front as we did yesterday in front of the 3d South Korean Division.[251]


Dispatched the following memorandum to CINCFE by courier:

The normal effort of three B-29 bomb groups will participate in support on designated targets at safe distances beyond bomb line tomorrow, 2
September. Two groups with normal effort which are already loaded with
1,000 lb. demolition bombs will continue the priority interdiction pro- gram. Plans are being made to utilize B-29s in support of ground forces on Sunday, 3 September. I have had General Partridge and General O'Donnell together with my Operations people this afternoon and we will continue efforts utilizing the B-29s wherever in our opinion they will favorably affect the ground situation.

After conferring with O'Donnell, I sent the following priority message to LeMay and Twining, with info to the Bomb Command:

This radio in 2 parts:

Part I For LEMAY: I am in great need of a commander to command 19th Bombardment Group (Medium). I have in mind Lt Colonel Payne Jennings, now Assistant Operations Officer, FEAF Bomber Command, but who should be promoted immediately to the grade of Colonel. General O'Donnell in my office and concurs in this transfer. If promotion recommended cannot be approved, can you furnish me a qualified group commander?

Part II for TWINING: If LeMay agrees to this transfer, urgently recommend promotion to temporary Colonel, Lt Colonel Payne Jennings. Will appreciate you advise on action taken. I have known Jennings since 1943 as he was with me in India-Burma-China as first pilot on B-24 and performed superbly. After serving two years overseas he was returned to ZI and assigned to SAC.

He was one of the few lieutenant colonels in SAC who commanded outstandingly for one year a B-29 group, namely the 301st Bombardment Group (Medium) at Salina, Kansas. Although 19th Group has been in the war since 27 June and has performed creditably, it now needs an energetic, highly technically qualified group commander. The present group commander, Colonel Theodore Q. Graff has commanded the group for approximately a year and in combat over two months. It is my opinion that he now should be rotated, as I contemplate recommending in the case of other group commanders, to the ZI, and a new group commander appointed.

Colonel Heflin,[252] SAC, called on me in my office.


247. Stephen Early had been Under Secretary of Defense since April 1949. Earlier he had been President Roosevelt's press secretary.

248. Warren R. Austin.

249. Gen Muir S. Fairchild was Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force when he died on Mar. 17, 1950.

250. General Partridge requested these changes on August 30. (Ltr, Maj Gen E.E. Partridge to Lt Gen George E. Stratemeyer, 30 Aug 1950.)

251. This F-51 attack near P'ohang apparently killed 700 enemy troops. (Futrell, p 140.)

252. Probably Col Clifford J. Heflin, commander of the 9th BG(H).