From Parameters, Winter 1995, pp. 112-129.
"The senior Japanese Commanders and all ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces within . . . Korea north of 38 north latitude . . . shall surrender to the Commander in Chief of Soviet Forces in the Far East . . . . [A]ll ground, sea, air and auxiliary forces in . . . Korea south of 38 north latitude . . . shall surrender to the Commander in Chief, US Army Forces, Pacific." -- General Order Number 1, Military and Naval Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers 2 September 1945
During the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific, attention has focused largely on those events that were obvious historical turning points: the detonation of the atomic bombs and the surrender ceremony that marked the end of the Japanese Empire. But even as General MacArthur was accepting the Japanese surrender on board the USS Missouri, an American occupation force was preparing to sail for Korea. This other operation, the result of a series of US wartime decisions, seemed very much a sideshow compared to the main event taking place in Tokyo Bay. But it was a sideshow with serious consequences, for the movement on short notice of an occupation force to Korea not only assured US access and influence and preserved half the peninsula from communism, it also established the conditions that led to the Korean Conflict and thus played a role in shaping the bipolar US-Soviet confrontation of the Cold War.
Korea had always been a sideshow from the US perspective. Before World War II, Americans took little notice of Korea, which had been a Japanese colony since 1910. Even after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Korea was incidental to US operations in East Asia. In the Pacific, American efforts were directed at holding a line against the Japanese assault and establishing a system of bases and lines of communications in preparation for a counteroffensive. The strategic policy toward China was to keep that country fighting without a major investment of US forces. Korea, whether viewed in terms of the Pacific or of China, was far from American forces and as inaccessible as the Japanese islands themselves.
Initially, American leaders tended to see Korea as largely a Chinese concern. But as the war continued, tensions with the Soviet Union increasingly influenced American policy. The problem was that until near the end of the war, the United States sought Soviet intervention in East Asia to place additional pressure on Japan and thereby reduce American costs and casualties. At the same time, American officials also realized that postwar access and influence in Northeast Asia was important to the United States and, if the USSR did intervene in the Pacific, it would very likely end the war in occupation of Manchuria, Korea, and perhaps even part of Japan.
Until his death in 1945, President Roosevelt was the ultimate arbiter of US policy. While his motivations remain subject to debate, he clearly saw cooperation with the Soviet Union as essential to the prosecution of the war and to establishing postwar peace and stability. He made great efforts to enhance that cooperation in the face of Stalin's growing suspicions. Yet his actions reflected a pragmatic view, and he took a number of steps to limit Russia's postwar influence in East Asia. At the same time, the President avoided making unequivocal statements or supporting actions that would reinforce Russian suspicions or disrupt US public support for the war effort.
US policy toward Korea was part of that pattern. Thus, Korean exiles seeking diplomatic recognition for a Korean Provisional Government in China met with polite rebuff, at least in part to avoid stimulating Soviet reaction. There were other reasons as well, including a desire not to "compromise the right of the Korean people to choose the ultimate form and personnel of the government which they may wish to establish." Roosevelt sought to sidestep this government-in-exile issue and avoid a confrontation over Korea while still assuring postwar US influence by proposing an international trusteeship in which the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union would participate.
When the Cairo Declaration was issued by Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek on 1 December 1943, it read in part: "The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent." While trusteeship was not specifically mentioned in the declaration, the concept was discussed by the Cairo participants, as well as by Roosevelt and Stalin at the Teheran Conference, and the term "in due course" clearly indicated that some temporary period of external supervision was to be imposed on Korea. Military planners assumed that the trusteeship mechanism would come into effect at the end of the war, but while the Allies discussed the concept from time to time, the Allied leaders never reached a formal agreement on the structure and operation of a trusteeship.
In late 1944, with invasion of the Japanese home islands under active consideration, the United States stepped up its efforts to obtain Russian intervention. Preliminary US-British-Soviet talks took place in the fall of 1944. At the February 1945 Yalta Conference, Stalin agreed that Russia would enter the Pacific War two or three months after the defeat of Germany. His conditions, accepted by Roosevelt and Churchill, included Soviet control of southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands and (subject to agreement by Chiang Kai-shek) preservation of the status quo in Outer Mongolia, Soviet access to the Manchurian port of Dairen (Lüda), control of the Port Arthur (Lüshun) naval base, and Soviet railroad rights in Manchuria.
As the war entered its final stages, Korean exile groups made new proposals to contribute to the war effort. Although the United States continued its policy of nonrecognition of any exile group, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) believed that individual Korean exiles might play some kind of role in psychological operations or in clandestine direct action missions. To that end the OSS recruited agents and established training camps in China, but the war ended before any missions were carried out.
By the spring of 1945, the US Pacific commanders were formulating a plan for the successive invasion of the southernmost Japanese home island of Kyushu (Operation Olympic) in November 1945 and of the main island of Honshu (Operation Coronet) in June 1946. US military planners briefly considered Korea as an alternative to Kyushu for an advanced base from which to tighten the blockade and prepare for the final assault against Honshu. But an assault on Korea, it was believed, would cost even more American lives than the Kyushu operation, and US forces would still be far from their ultimate objective. Soviet intervention was no longer considered essential to the success of the operation, although such intervention would, if properly timed, unquestionably shorten the war and reduce casualties. Moreover, the JCS was reluctant to commit US forces on the Asian continent. In June 1945 they told President Truman:
With reference to clean-up of the Asiatic mainland, our objective should be to get the Russians to deal with the Japs in Manchuria (and Korea if necessary) and to vitalize the Chinese to a point where, with assistance of American air power and some supplies, they can mop out their own country.
Although the JCS still saw Soviet intervention as useful, if no longer critical, US-Soviet relations had deteriorated markedly after the Yalta Conference. Among the factors contributing to this development were the death of President Roosevelt, the influence on President Truman by advisors who favored a strong line toward Russia, US frustrations over Soviet attitudes toward lend-lease and combined operations, and conflicting US and Soviet views on the postwar treatment of Germany and Eastern Europe (particularly Poland). Military planners were not insensitive to these political considerations. Mid-1945 saw a marked reduction in American efforts to achieve Russian cooperation in carrying out preparations for the forthcoming offensive. The JCS canceled plans to send US liaison teams into Russia and to establish air bases in Siberia, and postponed discussions on a Pacific supply route to Russia.
In May, Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew had sent memoranda to the Secretaries of War and Navy requesting their views on the political effects of Soviet entry in the Pacific War. He suggested that prior to any implementation of the Yalta Agreement, the United States should seek a firm commitment on the part of the USSR to the future freedom and independence of Korea and an agreement that Korea be placed under a four-power trusteeship immediately upon liberation. In reply, the two service Secretaries expressed a belief that the Soviets would enter the Pacific War at a time of their choosing "with little regard to any political action taken by the United States." The United States had little political leverage with regard to the Yalta Agreements, they pointed out, since those concessions were "within the military power of Russia to obtain regardless of US military action short of war," and since Russia was "capable of defeating the Japanese and occupying Karafuto [Sakhalin], Manchuria, Korea, and Northern China before it would be possible for the US military forces to occupy these areas." In spite of these reservations about the effectiveness of such a move, the Secretaries agreed that it would still be desirable to attempt to obtain the suggested commitments from the Soviet government.
In May 1945, US Special Representative Harry Hopkins traveled to Moscow as a preliminary to the upcoming Potsdam summit. Although he was provided with extensive briefing papers and a detailed draft agreement on Korean trusteeship for negotiation with Stalin, Hopkins' message to the President on the meeting stated only that "Stalin agreed that there should be a trusteeship for Korea under China, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States." This verbal agreement and a subsequent one made by Stalin to Chinese Foreign Minister T. V. Soong appear to be the only accords on trusteeship in existence when the war ended.
Nor did any substantive talks on the Korean trusteeship issue take place at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference. The Combined Chiefs of Staff met with Soviet Chief of Staff, General Alexei E. Antonov, and his staff to discuss the coordination and division of operations between US and Soviet forces when Russia entered the war, including the coordination of air and naval boundaries near Korea. Nevertheless, except for a brief and inconsequential exchange on 22 July, the political leaders apparently did not discuss Korea.
While nothing of substance regarding Korea took place in the tripartite forum, behind the scenes at Potsdam, in Washington, and at the Pacific commanders' headquarters on Guam and in Manila, US leaders made decisions that would have important consequences for Korea. These decisions appear to have been influenced by a number of factors: concerns about Soviet actions and intentions, a new confidence that had emerged with the successful test of the atomic bomb immediately before the summit, and consequent realization that Japan might surrender without an invasion, allowing the United States to establish a presence in Korea without expending American lives in the process.
After he was informed that the atomic bomb test had been successful, President Truman asked Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to query General Marshall as to whether or not Soviet intervention in the Pacific was still desirable. Stimson talked to Marshall on 23 July and interpreted the Chief of Staff's comments to indicate "that now with our new weapon we would not need the assistance of the Russians to conquer Japan." But, Marshall cautioned, the Soviets, with troops massed on the Manchuria border, were in a position to strike anyway, and thus get "virtually what they wanted in the surrender terms."
On the following day, General Antonov asked General Marshall if American forces could conduct operations "against the shores of Korea" in coordination with the Soviet units that would conduct an offensive in the Korean Peninsula. Marshall replied that no amphibious operations against Korea were planned, at least until after the Kyushu invasion, because they would expose American shipping to Japanese suicide attacks in the Sea of Japan and would divert assault ships from the landings on Kyushu. On 26 July, air and sea boundaries were established, but no provision was made for ground boundaries. President Truman later recorded that "no lines were set up for land operations since it was not anticipated by our military leaders that we would carry out operations to Korea."
The President would have been more accurate had he said there were no intentions of carrying out combat operations. In fact, the United States had begun planning for the noncombat occupation of Korea and stepped up the pace of those preparations at the very time Marshall was coordinating with Antonov. In August 1944, the JCS had directed the Joint War Planning Committee to "prepare plans for the occupation of Japanese-held strategic positions in the event of withdrawal of Japanese forces, collapse of the Japanese Government, or surrender." Little was done in this regard until after the outline plans for the invasions of Kyushu and Honshu had been completed. It was May 1945 before the Joint War Plans Committee turned its attention to the problem of contingency planning for Japan's surrender. The Joint Planning Staff recognized that there were areas "other than Japan proper" which the United States might find it necessary to seize. By June, the joint planners were including Korea (as well as places in Manchuria, Formosa [Taiwan], Indochina, and the China Coast) as being among those areas. On 14 June, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz to prepare plans "to take immediate advantage of favorable circumstances, such as sudden collapse or surrender, to effect an entry into Japan proper for occupational purposes."
By 10 July, the Joint War Plans Committee had refined their outline plan. They anticipated that the United States would be responsible for the occupation of Japan proper, Korea, the Shanghai-Nanking area of China, the enemy-held Pacific islands, and Formosa, in that priority. The JCS followed this up prior to the Potsdam talks by directing the Pacific commanders to broaden their plans to include Korea. In response, MacArthur suggested that Tokyo and Seoul should have first priority for occupation, with Pusan and Kunsan having second and third priority. Thus, as the Potsdam Conference convened, the Joint War Plans Committee in Washington, General MacArthur's staff in Manila, and Admiral Nimitz's staff on Guam had all made considerable progress on occupation plans.
On 25 July, during the Potsdam conference, Marshall provided Truman a memorandum on the status of planning for a sudden Japanese surrender, informing the President:
Instructions were issued in June to General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz to prepare plans for occupation of Japan in event of a sudden collapse or surrender. Further instructions were issued to these commanders last week to include Korea in their plans and both commanders were informed that collapse or surrender might occur before Russia entered the war. General Wedemeyer [Commanding General, US Forces, China Theater] was also informed.
On the same day (the day after his initial talks with Antonov), Marshall directed Lieutenant General John E. Hull, Chief of the War Department Operations Division (OPD), to be prepared to move some troops into Korea. Hull did some preliminary planning with regard to possible ground boundaries between US and Soviet forces in the peninsula. Since it was considered necessary that at least two major seaports be included in the American zone (presumably for logistical support), a tentative line was drawn north of Seoul, "not on the 38th Parallel but near it and, generally, along it."
Marshall then wired MacArthur, advising him that "it appears likely that decisions may be reached in the near future on the occupation, control and treatment of Japan after the Japanese capitulation," and requesting MacArthur's views on the occupation of Japan and Korea. At the same time, Hull dispatched a message to OPD requesting them to "forward immediately gist of available information on MacArthur's plans for occupation of Japan and Japanese held areas in event of Japanese collapse or surrender in immediate future."
Both Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur had prepared occupation plans in the event of a sudden Japanese surrender in response to the JCS directive of 14 June. The Navy plan (Campus) called for the initial occupation of Tokyo by naval forces followed by landing of Army units in principal areas throughout Japan. MacArthur's plan (Blacklist) provided for the landing of strong forces from all three services in Tokyo, followed later by the occupation of secondary areas. A JCS plan, a combination of Campus and Blacklist, was also developed. But this plan was still under discussion when Japan surrendered, and in fact it was Blacklist ("with ad hoc modifications") which was used.
The Blacklist plan was still under development, however, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Two days later, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov summoned Japanese Ambassador Sato and informed him that a state of war would exist between the Soviet Union and the Japanese Empire as of 9 August. On 9 August the US detonated the second atomic bomb, over Nagasaki, and Soviet troops crossed the Manchurian border in an attack against the Japanese Kwantung Army.
On 10 August, the Japanese government indicated its willingness to surrender and asked for an armistice. This initiated days and nights of frantic and confused activity as American officials, planners, and action officers in Washington and the Western Pacific redirected their efforts from combat operations to preparations for the occupation and administration of Japan and its conquered territories. The State, War, Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) and the Joint Staff Planners began a series of long conferences to develop the necessary instruments of surrender.
A key document would be General Order 1, the first paragraph of which designated in detail the particular Allied authority to whom the Japanese forces in each area of the Far East were to surrender. This explicit information was intended to forestall jurisdictional quarrels between Allied commanders and to prevent attempts at opportunism on the part of Japanese commanders who might otherwise use promises of surrender to cause dissension among the Allies. Colonel C. H. Bonesteel III, Chief of the OPD Policy Section and member of the SWNCC Far Eastern Subcommittee, was directed to write a draft of General Order 1 for the consideration of the Joint Staff Planners and the SWNCC. Proposals for this document had been developed by the Joint Postwar Committee as early as December 1944, but the early versions did not provide explicit instructions as to who would accept the Japanese surrender in which areas.
Colonel Bonesteel and another member of his section, Colonel Dean Rusk, retired to an adjoining room to clarify these points. With regard to Korea, the problem was to reconcile State Department guidance that the boundary should be as far north as possible, with the inability of the United States to move troops to Korea quickly. Soviet troops were known to be advancing rapidly toward Korea, while the US forces designated for the occupation of the peninsula (and the forces closest to Korea) were on Okinawa with priority for troop movement going to those elements that would occupy Japan. A major consideration was the desirability of including three specific areas in the American zone: Seoul (the capital of Korea and the area designated for the initial Blacklist landings), Kaesong (an ancient capital city), and prisoner of war camps near Seoul. The previous discussions at Potsdam by General Marshall and General Hull concerning a US-Soviet boundary in Korea and the Blacklist Plan, although known to Colonel Bonesteel, influenced his deliberations only insofar as they reflected the time and space factors involved in the transportation of US troops to Korea.
An important consideration, as Bonesteel later described it, was the nature of the boundary line to be selected:
A first matter for choice was whether the line should serve Korean provincial boundaries or be a more non-political designator. The Allies, at the summit conferences, had agreed that Korea would be removed from Japanese hegemony and in due course become again an independent nation. However there was considerable vagueness in how this formula would be carried out and it was felt that every effort should be made to avoid the implication that the line for surrender had any political connotation in regard to the evolution of an independent Korea. Thus the choice of a parallel of latitude over the perhaps more recognizable provincial boundaries.
With these considerations in mind, Bonesteel and Rusk recommended the 38th Parallel as the boundary in Korea, dividing the country roughly in half and placing Seoul, Kaesong, and the prisoner of war camps in the American zone. The draft first paragraph of General Order 1 (which covered the surrender of Japanese forces throughout the Far East as well as Korea) was put in the hands of Brigadier General George A. Lincoln, Chief of the OPD Strategy & Policy Group, who, in the early hours of 11 August, presented it to the Joint Staff Planners.
One of the Joint Planners suggested that the boundary should be moved up to the 39th Parallel, a line which, if extended into the Liaotung Peninsula, would put the Manchurian ports of Dairen and Port Arthur in the American zone. General Lincoln suggested that the Soviets would be unlikely to accept a boundary that excluded them from Dairen and that it would be difficult to get American forces to the two seaports before the Russians arrived. A telephone call was put through to Assistant Secretary of State James Dunn, who expressed a view that Korea was considered politically more important to the United States than Dairen. Accordingly, the 38th Parallel recommendation was retained when the Joint Planners passed the draft of General Order 1 along to the SWNCC.
While these deliberations were taking place, there were ominous signs from Moscow that would directly affect the Korean question. Edwin W. Pauley, the Presidential Representative on Reparations, reported that the Soviets were becoming truculent in the reparations negotiations. Wiring from Moscow, Pauley urged the President to occupy as much of the industrial area of Korea as possible until a satisfactory agreement on reparations was concluded. Ambassador Harriman warned the President that Stalin was making increasing demands on the Chinese Foreign Minister and recommended that the United States send troops to Korea and the Kwantung Peninsula. At the same time, Russian troops continued to advance in Manchuria and Korea. Colonel General Ivan Chistyakov's Twenty-fifth Army crossed the Tumen River and attacked overland while Soviet naval task forces conducted amphibious operations along the northeastern Korean coast.
On 15 August, the SWNCC sent a clean draft of General Order 1 to the White House. President Truman approved the order and sent copies to Moscow and London. General Lincoln recommended that if the Russians refused to accept the proposed boundary in Korea and occupied Seoul ahead of MacArthur's troops, the American occupation forces should be sent to Pusan. As it turned out, however, Stalin made no objection to the 38th Parallel proposal.
On Okinawa and in the Philippines, the forces designated to occupy Korea began frantic preparations to move to Seoul. The Blacklist plan designated General Joseph W. Stilwell, former US commander in China, as the commander of the Korean occupation. Stilwell spoke Chinese and had years of experience in East Asia, but he had often clashed with Chiang Kai-shek and had left China in October 1944. Now he commanded the Tenth Army on Okinawa and had been preparing to play a major role in the assault on Japan when the war ended. His occupation force was to include Tenth Army Headquarters, two infantry divisions, plus combat and support elements from Lieutenant General John R. Hodge's XXIV Corps. Hodge and his headquarters would remain behind to garrison Okinawa.
Major General Frank D. Merrill, Stilwell's Chief of Staff, announced on 11 August that Tenth Army would occupy Korea 27 days after "B Day"--the day on which peace talks would begin and occupation operations would be initiated. During the next two days the Tenth Army staff reviewed the Blacklist plan. Almost immediately, however, a significant change in plans was announced. On 13 August, General Stilwell flew to Manila to confer with General MacArthur and to undergo minor surgery. While he was there, Tenth Army Headquarters received a message advising them that Blacklist was amended: XXIV Corps would assume responsibility for the Korean occupation, and the Tenth Army Headquarters would remain on Okinawa. It would not be Stilwell, the old Asia hand, who would command the Korean occupation, but Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, a solid combat commander, but a man with no particular qualifications to administer a liberated Asian nation. The reasons for this change are not completely clear. MacArthur shared with Stilwell the gist of an "eyes only" message from Washington. Apparently, Chiang Kai-shek had heard that Stilwell would command US troops landed on the "China coast" and Truman had assured him that this was not true. Since Korea might, in Washington, be considered a part of the "China coast," MacArthur decided to pull Stilwell from the Korean occupation. "So, they cut my throat again," Stilwell mused in his diary. "Why did they let me come out here if they were not going to back me up?" This change in the occupation commander had serious consequences. During the occupation Hodge proved to be insensitive to the complex and volatile Korean environment and made decisions that aggravated an already difficult situation.
On 15 August, President Truman announced that the Japanese government had accepted the terms of surrender. General Merrill advised the XXIV Corps staff that 15 August was B Day; serious preparations for the move to Korea now began. The Blacklist plan designated who would go where in the course of the occupation and gave a general idea of what they would do when they got there. When the war ended, however, almost none of the preliminary actions necessary to implement the plan had been carried out. Although the corps headquarters and the 7th Infantry Division were on Okinawa, the other units assigned to the Korea occupation force were located on Iwo Jima, Angaur (southernmost of the Palau Islands), and various islands throughout the Philippines. They would have to be embarked, transported to Okinawa, and then moved to Korea. Shipping was at a premium at the time, and movement of the massive occupation force to Japan had first priority. Responsibility for this difficult transportation task was assigned to Vice Admiral Daniel E. Barbey's Seventh Amphibious Force. Admiral Barbey and his staff were at Manila and his ships were scattered across the Western Pacific, some as far away as New Guinea.
While Admiral Barbey marshaled his transports and warships, the XXIV Corps Army Support Command (24th ASCOM) began developing loading plans and accumulating the supplies required to support the occupation troops. An enormous quantity of supplies had been stockpiled on Okinawa in preparation for the invasion of Japan. The reallocation of those supplies to the occupation force was a major task which had to be performed in a very short time. Confusion was inevitable. General MacArthur's headquarters warned the occupation commanders that because supply ships were being diverted from other duties to support the occupation force, supplies and materials arriving in occupied areas would not be those that would ordinarily be shipped to meet requirements for support of troops. XXIV Corps was moving from a tropical area to one where a severe winter could be expected. All the corps troops were in summer uniforms and had no winter equipment. Fortunately, a cargo ship full of woolen uniforms, stoves, and tents was discovered en route to Alaska. The ship was diverted and arrived at Inchon shortly after the occupation force.
While the 24th ASCOM labored to prepare men and supplies for loading on Admiral Barbey's ships when they arrived, General Hodge worked to find out what was going on in Korea. His immediate problem was a lack of information about what the Russians and Japanese were doing. By 22 August it was clear that the Russians had occupied Manchuria, but the situation in Korea was obscure. General MacArthur, still under the impression that the occupation was to be on a quadripartite basis, sent a message to the War Department requesting information on the agreements reached with the allied nations (especially Russia) regarding Korea. The SWNCC sent a reply to General MacArthur on 1 September, advising him:
In the absence of declared intentions by the United Kingdom, China, or other United Nation, initial occupation of Korea will be by US and Soviet forces only. . . . The matter of international arrangement with regard to Korea is under urgent consideration by the State Department.
Before he received this message, MacArthur sent a letter to Hodge advising him that "Consideration must be given to the possibility that the Russians may occupy the Keijo [Seoul] area prior to the landing of the XXIV Corps." General MacArthur concluded that US forces were "clearly" authorized to enter Keijo to receive the surrender. Furthermore, he desired that they do so even if Russian forces were already present. General Hodge was therefore ordered to proceed to Inchon and, if Russians were there, to make prior contact with them. MacArthur should be notified and the landing delayed, if "events indicate that international complications will result."
On 29 August, General MacArthur radioed the Japanese government that the landing in Korea would take place on 7 September. He ordered them to direct the Japanese commander in South Korea to establish contact with General Hodge by 31 August and gave instructions concerning the preparations to be made to receive the occupation force. Radio contact was finally established with the Japanese military commander in Seoul on 1 September. Hodge now knew for certain that Russian forces had not moved into South Korea.
An advance party from Hodge's headquarters flew to Korea on 4 September. Since the Russian consulate had continued to operate in Seoul throughout the short Russo-Japanese War, the advanced party had no difficulty in carrying out General MacArthur's order to make prior contact with the Russians.
Although the Japanese surrender occurred before the plan for the movement of occupation forces to Korea was complete, the plan as it existed had provided enough guidance so that troops, transportation, and equipment could be marshaled and the landings accomplished within the time schedule originally established. The occupation, in the tactical sense, was carried out with as fair a degree of success as could be expected of any hasty military operation. With regard to military government and civil affairs, however, the situation was far more serious.
To begin with, General Hodge's command suffered from a lack of trained civil affairs specialists. For reasons which remain unclear (perhaps because of the relatively low priority with which planners had viewed Korea), the US military did not begin serious efforts at Korea-oriented civil administration training until the end of the war. Whatever the reason, military government personnel had not been assigned to XXIV Corps, nor had any civil affairs units been designated or trained for Korea.
In order to provide a nucleus of officers who could begin planning for the military government, the Tenth Army Anti-Aircraft Artillery Command was designated to act as the Military Government Headquarters. None of the officers of this command was trained in civil affairs, but an additional 20 civil affairs officers (none with any knowledge of Korea) were later transferred to Hodge's command from Tenth Army. A few additional civil affairs officers were subsequently diverted from Japan to Korea, but none of them arrived until after the landing at Inchon. Korea-oriented civil affairs training for units slated for Korea did not even begin until September 1945. As a result, in the crucial early days of the occupation the military government of Korea was carried out not by trained civil affairs specialists, but by combat troops. Moreover, there were no Korean linguists. After the long Japanese occupation, most Koreans could be expected to understand Japanese, but they would understandably prefer that the military government use their own language. No Americans on Okinawa could speak Korean. A search of the island finally turned up "six paroled Korean prisoners of war, who were accordingly attached to the XXIV Corps."
An even more serious difficulty was the lack of policy guidance. General Hodge had not received any instructions on such key questions as Korean independence, the severing of Korea from Japanese influence, and domestic Korean politics. Nor was General MacArthur at Manila any better informed. His 22 August message to the JCS urgently requested information for the guidance of the XXIV Corps. In the course of preparing a reply, the SWNCC advised the JCS that "there is no agreed United States view as to the character of administration of civil affairs in Korea." Four days later the US Consul General at Manila advised the State Department that General MacArthur had not yet received any directive regarding Korea. On 18 August General Hodge requested that the State Department send him a representative to provide political guidance. In response, Mr. H. Merrell Benninghoff was dispatched to Okinawa, arriving on 3 September just before the XXIV Corps embarked. His instructions had been scanty and he could add little to Hodge's knowledge of American policy toward Korea. A week after the occupation began, Benninghoff sent a letter to the State Department advising that one of the great difficulties facing the American headquarters was a total absence of any policy guidance. In fact, the initial directive on civil affairs administration in Korea was not sent from Washington until 17 October 1945, more than a month after the arrival of Hodge's advance party.
Finally, there was the problem for the occupation force of finding any information about the country they were to occupy. One of the few sources of intelligence was the Joint Army-Navy Intelligence Study of Korea (JANIS 75), which had been published in April 1945. This document contained some useful data but was superficial. Korean prisoners of war captured on Okinawa were interrogated and provided a small amount of additional information. Since the situation in Korea was obscure and General MacArthur wanted to avoid any incidents prior to the occupation, aerial reconnaissance of Korea was forbidden. However, some recent prints of aerial photographs were discovered, and the XXIV Corps staff persuaded an Army Air Force reconnaissance squadron on Okinawa to fly a few photographic sorties. The resulting photographs, although inadequate for combat operations, were useful for planning the deployment of the occupation troops. Thus, in the absence of any more authoritative information, the former anti-aircraft gunners of the newly formed Military Government Headquarters planned for the occupation of Korea using War Department field manuals, some illicit aerial photographs, the Cairo Declaration, and JANIS-75.
After Admiral Barbey marshaled his ships and set sail for Okinawa, his arrival was delayed by a series of typhoons, one of which devastated Okinawa and caused a week-long delay in the loading of the XXIV Corps. But by 5 September the lead elements of XXIV Corps were en route to Korea, landing at Inchon on the afternoon of 8 September.
The decisions having been made and the forces having been gathered and deployed across the vastness of the Western Pacific, the American occupation of Korea south of 38 degrees north latitude now began. But within Korea lay powerful, pent-up nationalist emotions and deep social and political schisms. While in American eyes Korea still lay in the shadow of Japan and events in Europe, it was, in fact, at the sensitive nexus where American and Soviet interests intersected. The Americans who occupied Korea entered an extraordinarily sensitive, complex, and strangely unfamiliar environment. They did well on a day-to-day basis, but they made many mistakes--some from arrogance, but most from ignorance, lack of forethought, and unpreparedness for their task. In succeeding years, Koreans and Americans would pay a heavy price for the failure to pin down an international agreement on Korean trusteeship, the lack of preparation for civil administration, and the hasty decision in selecting the American occupation commander. September 1945 saw not only the beginning of the occupation of Korea, but also the beginning of the march toward the Korean War.
We can never know how events might have unfolded had the United States not deployed occupation forces to Korea in 1945, but two consequences seem beyond dispute. Without the occupation, Korea would have become a communist state and the Korean War as we know it would never have occurred. The Cold War would certainly have taken a different course, in detail, if not in its fundamental outline. Americans can take pride in the proficiency and professionalism with which a large occupation force was marshaled and lifted across the Western Pacific on short notice. Many may argue that, for all the subsequent cost in blood and treasure, that deployment was a fortunate event. But they may also ponder how much better the outcome might have been had the Americans been as proficient in the politico-military aspects as they were in the operational aspects of the occupation.
1. "General Order No. 1, Military and Naval," quoted in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1945 (Washington: GPO, 1969), VI, 659.
2. Any examination of US policy toward Korea and the events leading up to the Korean War must begin with three essential works: Michael C. Sandusky, America's Parallel (Alexandria, Va.: Old Dominion Press, 1983) is a meticulous examination of US wartime strategy and policy vis-à-vis Korea. James Irving Matray, The Reluctant Crusade: American Foreign Policy in Korea, 1941-1950 (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1985) is a thoroughly documented study of both the wartime policy and the subsequent occupation. Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, 2 vols. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981-90) makes exhaustive use of both English and Korean sources. While my interpretations are my own and I have made use of some additional sources, my debt to these three scholars is substantial.
3. Maurice Matloff, United States Army in World War II: The War Department: Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1943-1944 (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1959), p. 15.
4. The attitudes of the US military leadership toward Soviet intervention are reflected in a collection of official documents published after the war: US Department of Defense, The Entry of the Soviet Union Into The War Against Japan: Military Plans 1941-1945 (Washington: Department of Defense, 1955). For mid-level official American interpretations of Soviet intentions, see, for example, State Department Memorandum, "U.S.S.R. Aims in the Far East," 19 August 1943, in FRUS, The Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, pp. 627-29; Memorandum Prepared by the Inter-Divisional Area Committee on the Far East, PWC-125/CAC-128, Korea: Occupation and Military Government: Composition of Forces, 29 March 1944, in FRUS, 1944, V, 1225-26; and PWC-124a/CAC-58a, Korea: Political Problems: Provisional Government, 4 May 1944, ibid., 1239-41. For a persuasive interpretation of Soviet policy toward Korea, see Robert M. Slusser, "Soviet Far Eastern Policy, 1945-50: Stalin's Goals in Korea," in Akira Iriye and Ynosuke Nagai, eds., The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1977), pp. 127-38.
5. Roosevelt's actions to limit Soviet postwar influence included the use of China as a counterweight, refusal to share the atomic bomb secret with the Russians, and support for plans to establish a system of postwar US bases on the periphery of Asia. See Robert Dalleck, Franklin Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 388-90, 533-34; John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 3-15; Martin J. Sherwin, "The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War: US Atomic Energy Policy and Diplomacy, 1941-45," The American Historical Review, 78 (October 1973), 945-68; and Stephen Pelz, "U.S. Decisions on Korean Policy, 1943-1950: Some Hypotheses," in Bruce Cumings, ed., Child of Conflict: The Korean-American Relationship, 1943-1953 (Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1982), pp. 97-101.
6. The Department of State Bulletin, 19 June 1945, pp. 1058-59. Telegrams, "The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State," 28 March and 10 April 1942 and Memorandum, "The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt," 29 April 1942, in FRUS, 1942, I, 867, 869, and 873. Correspondence on Korean requests for recognition and support are contained in Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Office of the Director of Plans and Operations, Classified General Correspondence, 1942-45 (hereafter OPD), folder OPD 381 CTO, Case 185, Record Group (hereafter RG) 165, Entry 418, Box 1241, and in Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949, Civil Affairs Division (hereafter CAD) folder CAD 014 Korea, RG 165, Entry 463, Box 35, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (hereafter NA).
7. Sandusky, America's Parallel, pp. 10-11, 87-88; Matray, Reluctant Crusade, pp. 13-21; Cumings, Origin of the Korean War, I, 102-10.
8. From the press communiqué, in FRUS: The Conferences at Cairo and Teheran, 1943, p. 566.
9. Draft Memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Enclosure to SWNCC 176, "International Agreements as to Occupation of Korea," 22 August 1945, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Office of the Director of Plans and Operations, Top Secret American-British-Canadian Correspondence (hereafter ABC) folder ABC 014 Japan (13 Apr 44), Sec. 17A, RG 165, Entry 421, Box 31, NA. See also, Matray, Reluctant Crusade, pp. 38-41.
10. JCS Memo 924, Report by the Joint Planning Staff, "Operations Against Japan Subsequent to Formosa," 30 June 1944, and "Decision Amending JCS 924," 11 July 1944, in Entry of the Soviet Union, pp. 28-29; Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-44, p. 501; Ernest R. May, "The United States, The Soviet Union, and the Far Eastern War, 1941-1945," Pacific Historical Review, 24 (May 1955), 160-63.
11. Entry of the Soviet Union, pp. 36-37; "Agreement Regarding Entry of the Soviet Union Into the War Against Japan," 11 February 1945, in FRUS, Malta and Yalta, p. 984.
12. Gye-dong Kim, Foreign Intervention in Korea (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1993), pp. 9-17; R. Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1972), pp. 26, 280-82; Kim Ku, Paekbom Ilji: Kim Ku Chasojon (Memoirs of Paekbom: Autobiography of Kim Ku) (Seoul: Tongmyong-sa, 1960), pp. 347-50; Chang Chun-ha "Na ui Hoigorok" (My Reminiscences) Sasangye, 8 (December 1960), 267; Corey Ford, Donovan of OSS (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), pp. 297-98. The most promising operation, code-named "Napko," would have landed seven agents on the Korean coast, but the war ended before it could be carried out. Kim, Foreign Intervention, pp. 17-18; Joint Chiefs of Staff Memorandum 1385, Napko Project, Report by the Joint Staff Planners, 14 June 1945 and Note by the Secretaries, Decision on J.C.S. 1385, Napko Project, 19 June 1945; JCS Message, WARX 53111, 22 August 1945, all in Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Geographic File, 1942-45, Combined Chiefs of Staff (hereafter CCS) folder CCS 385 Korea (3-16-42), RG 218, Box 140, NA.
13. John Ray Skates, The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb (Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1994), pp. 2-7. Skates provides the most complete examination of the plans for the proposed invasion of Japan to date. See also Wayne A. Silkett, "Downfall: The Invasion that Never Was," Parameters, 24 (Autumn 1994), 111-20.
14. Minutes, "JCS Meeting with President," 18 June 1945 in Entry of the Soviet Union, pp. 77-85.
15. John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origin of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1972), pp. 92-94, 171-73, 199-206, 224-33; Herbert Feis, From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War, 1945-1960 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1970), pp. 20-40; Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), pp. 69-105; Mark Paul, "Diplomacy Delayed: The Atomic Bomb and the Division of Korea, 1945," in Cumings, ed., Child of Conflict, pp. 67-79.
16. JCS 924/15, Report by the JSP, "Pacific Strategy," 25 April 1945 in Entry of the Soviet Union, p. 67; JCS 1313/1, Revision of Policy with Relations to Russia," 23 April 1945, JCS 1313/2, same subject, 23 April 1945, and other documents in OPD 336 Top Secret (Case 132), "Implementation of Agreements with the Russians," RG 165, Entry 419, Box 144, NA; John R. Deane, Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Co-operation with Russia (New York: Viking Press, 1947), pp. 262-65.
17. Joseph C. Grew, Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic Record of Forty Years, 1904-1945, ed. by Walter Johnson assisted by Nancy Harvison Hooker, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952), II, 1454-59.
18. The briefing papers and draft agreement prepared for Hopkins are in Letter, "The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Forrestal)," 21 May 1945, with enclosure, "Paper Prepared in the Department of State," and letter, "The Secretary of the Navy (Forrestal) to the Under Secretary of State (Grew)," 23 May 1945, with enclosure, "Recommended Amendments to be Used as a Basis for Exploratory Conversation and in Light of Accompanying Memorandum," in FRUS, 1945, VII 878-87. Hopkins' report is in message, "Hopkins to President," 29 May 1945 in Entry of the Soviet Union, pp. 72-73.
19. Telegram paraphrase, "Harriman to Truman and Secretary of State," 3 July 1945, in FRUS, 1945, VII, 914.
20. Minutes, "Tripartite Military Meeting," 24 July 1945 in FRUS, Potsdam, II, 351-52; Minutes, "Meeting of Chiefs of Staff of U.S. and U.S.S.R.," 26 July 1945, ibid., pp. 410-11. The only reference to Korea in the talks among the political leaders appears in "Thompson Minutes of the Sixth Plenary Meeting," 22 July 1945, ibid., p. 253.
21. Henry Lewis Stimson Diaries, Monday, 23 July 1945, LI, 34-35 (microfilm edition, reel 9), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale Univ. Library, New Haven, Conn.
22. Minutes, "Tripartite Military Meeting," 24 July 1945, and minutes, "Meeting of Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. and U.S.S.R.," 26 July 1945, in FRUS, Potsdam, II, 351-52, 410-11. Harry S. Truman, Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, I: Year of Decisions (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1955), p. 383.
23. Joint War Plans Committee Directive JWPC 264/D, 22 August 1944, "Occupation of Strategic Positions Upon Japanese Withdrawal, Collapse, or Surrender," in folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45)* Section 1, RG 218, Box 135.
24. Minutes of the 204th meeting of the Joint Planning Staff, 30 May 1945; JWPC 264/1, "Strategic Positions Selected for Occupation Upon Japanese Withdrawal, Collapse, or Surrender," 8 June 1945, in Folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45) Sec. 2, RG 218, Box 135, NA. See also Ray S. Cline, United States Army in World War II: The War Department: Washington Command Post: The Operations Division (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1951), p. 344.
25. JCS Message WARX 17064 to Commander in Chief, US Army Forces, Pacific and Commander in Chief US Pacific Fleet, Information to Commanding General Twentieth Air Force, 14 June 1945, in JCS 1331/4, folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45) Sec. 2, RG 218, Box 135, NA.
26. "Outline Plan for the U.S. Occupation of Strategic Positions in the Far East in the Event of a Japanese Collapse or Surrender Prior to `Olympic' or `Coronet'" Appendix A to JWPC 264/6, 10 July 1945, in folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45) Sec. 3, RG 218, Box 135, NA. One of the assumptions in the outline plan was that Japan would surrender unconditionally "about 15 August 1945." That was, indeed, the very day that the Emperor announced the unconditional surrender of Japan.
27. James F. Schnabel, United States Army in the Korean War: Policy and Direction: The First Year (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1961), pp. 2-3. Reports of General MacArthur Prepared by His General Staff, vol. 1 supplement, MacArthur in Japan: The Occupation: Military Phase (Washington: 1966), p. 2.
28. Chief of Staff "Memorandum for the President," 25 July 1945, in folder ABC 014 Japan (13 Apr 44) Sec. 1A, RG 165, Entry 421, Box 19, NA.
29. Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 7; Roy E. Appleman, United States Army in the Korean War: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu: June-November 1950 (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1961), pp. 2-3.
30. JCS Message VICTORY 295, Personal to MacArthur, Info Handy, from Marshall, 25 July 1945; JCS Message, VICTORY 294, From Hull Personal to Craig, 25 July 1945 in OPD 1945 series, folder OPD 014.1 Top Secret (Sec. III), RG 165, Entry 419, Box 108, NA.
31. The Blacklist plans and OPD briefs based on those plans are in OPD folders "Australian Ports to BLACKLIST Ed. 1" and "BLACKLIST Ed. 3 to BOLERO," RG 218, Boxes 1776 and 1777, NA. A copy of the CAMPUS plan and OPD brief is in folder OPD 014.1 Top Secret (Sec. IV), Case 58, RG 165, Entry 419, Box 108, NA. The JCS plan, JWPC 264/6, "A Plan for the U.S. Occupation of Strategic Positions in the Far East in the Event of a Japanese Collapse or Surrender Prior to OLYMPIC or CORONET," is in folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45), Sec. 3, RG 218, Box 135, NA. See also Reports of General MacArthur, p. 4; Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, XIV: Victory in the Pacific (Boston: Little, Brown, 1960), pp. 353-54; Daniel E. Barbey, MacArthur's Amphibious Navy: Seventh Amphibious Force Operations 1943-1945 (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1969), p. 322; and Cline, Washington Command Post, pp. 350-51.
32. Entry of the Soviet Union, pp. 106-07.
33. The paramount issue to US planners was to assure that the US controlled the occupation of Japan and, to that end, to deploy US occupation forces into Japan as quickly as possible. The insertion of US forces into Korea was the second priority. But at the same time, General Wedemeyer was sending urgent messages calling attention to the civil war then beginning to heat up between the Chinese central government and the Chinese communists. Wedemeyer sought US forces to occupy key areas in China. Meanwhile, the Australians, British, Dutch, and French were all pressing to assure that their particular interests in the Japanese-occupied colonial areas would be protected. On events in China, see Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, United States Army in World War II: China-Burma-India Theater: Time Runs Out in CBI (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1959), pp. 388-96. Message traffic between Wedemeyer in China and the JCS is in folder ABC 014 Japan (13 April 44) Sec. 18A, RG 165, Entry 421, Box 34; folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45) Sec. 4, RG 218, Box 136 (which also contains documents relating to British concerns about Hongkong and Southeast Asia), and folder OPD 336 TS (Case 133), RG 165, Entry 419, Box 144. Documents concerning SWNCC and JCS staff deliberations on issues involving the other allies are in folder CCS 387 Japan (2-7-45) Sec. 2, "Unconditional Surrender of Japan," RG 218, Box 137, NA. Sandusky does a good job of providing a systematic description of this chaotic activity in America's Parallel, pp. 220-42.
34. On the background to General Order No. 1, see Joint Postwar Committee Memorandum, 28 December 1944, in FRUS, 1945, VII, 498-99.
35. Letter, General (ret.) C. H. Bonesteel III to Major Donald W. Boose, Jr., 14 April 1973, hereafter, Bonesteel letter. Memorandum by Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Dean Rusk, 12 July 1950, in FRUS, 1945, VI, 1039. Documents relating to the development of General Order No. 1 are included in the SWNCC 21 series of documents ("Unconditional Surrender of Japan") in folder CCS 387 Japan (2-7-45) Sec. 2, RG 218, Box 137, NA. Fate ordained that both officers would play important future roles in East Asia. General Bonesteel was Commander in Chief of the United Nations Command in Korea at the time of the Pueblo Incident. Dean Rusk was Secretary of State during the first half of the Vietnam War.
36. Bonesteel letter.
37. Bonesteel letter; Sandusky, America's Parallel, p. 228.
38. Sandusky, America's Parallel, pp. 242-48. Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 10; Bonesteel letter. General Bonesteel pointed out that during this hectic time much coordination was performed by telephone and personal discussions. To some extent the policy and planning developed simultaneously. There were historical precedents for the use of the 38th and 39th parallels to divide Korea. According to General Bonesteel, some of the planners may have been aware of these precedents, but they were not an important consideration in the selection of the boundary in Korea. On the contrary, he said, the planners preferred a line which did not have permanent political connotations.
39. Telegram, "The Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars of the Soviet Union (Stalin) to President Truman," 12 August 1945, translation in FRUS, 1945, VI, 643. Truman, Year of Decisions, pp. 433-34.
40. Sandusky, America's Parallel, pp. 204-18; Raymond L. Gartoff, "Soviet Operations in the War With Japan, 1945," US Naval Institute Proceedings, 112 (No. 5, 1966), 53-54; Naval Operations Against Soviet Russia, Japanese Monograph No. 106, Military History Section, Headquarters, Army Forces Far East, 24 January 1952, p. 17.
41. SWNCC Memorandum for Information No. 20, "Surrender of Japan," 17 August 1945, contains the texts of the messages sent to Atlee, Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek (CCS 387 Japan (2-7-45) Sec 2, RG 218, Box 137, NA). See also Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 10-11.
42. Except where otherwise noted, the account of occupation preparations on Okinawa is based on History of the United States Army Forces in Korea, 1945-1948, part 1, vol. 1 (Historical Section, Headquarters XXIV Corps, n.d.), pp. 3-73.
43. Tentative Troop List by Type Units for "BLACKLIST" Operations, General Headquarters, United States Army Forces, Pacific, 8 August 1945, in folder "OPD BLACKLIST Ed. 3 to BOLERO," RG 165, Entry 418, Box 1777, NA. For background on General Stilwell's career and his tumultuous relationship with Chiang Kai-shek see Barbara W. Tuchman, Stilwell and The American Experience in China 1911-1945 (New York: Macmillan, 1971).
44. History of USAFIK, p. 10; General Joseph W. Stilwell, Diary, 13 August 1945, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, Calif.
45. We can never know if Stilwell would have done better, particularly since he was already ill with the cancer which would kill him in little more than a year. But James I. Matray argues persuasively that Hodge's lack of experience and personal attitudes toward Koreans "caused him to make decisions that greatly increased political polarization in the divided country." In Matray's view, Hodge's selection was "the most important early decision leading to the Korean War." James I. Matray, "Hodge-Podge: American Occupation Policy in Korea, 1945-1948," Korean Studies, 19 (1995), 17-38.
46. Barbey, MacArthur's Amphibious Navy, p. 323; James A. Field, Jr., History of United States Naval Operations: Korea (Washington: Office of Chief of Naval Operations, 1962), p. 15.
47. Reports of General MacArthur, p. 16.
48. History of USAFIK, pp. 343-44.
49. Message, CINCAFPAC to JCS (CM-IN-21116), 22 August 1945; Draft Message, JCS to CINCAFPAC, SWNCC Memorandum, Enclosure A to JCS 1483, "International Agreements as to Occupation of Korea," 24 August 1945; JCS Note by the Secretaries advising that JCS 1483 was approved and the message dispatched on 1 September 1945, all in Combined Civil Affairs Committee (CCAC) folder 014 Korea (8-28-45)* Sec. 1, RG 218, Box 146, NA.
50. History of USAFIK, pp. 60-61.
51. Preparations for the civil administration of Korea began as early as February 1944, but after an initial flurry of staff studies and papers, nothing of substance followed, and civil affairs officers were not trained for Korea until the Japanese surrender. The relatively low priority assigned to Korea is the most likely explanation, although there are hints that it may have been a conscious policy. The late Gregory Henderson, a former State Department official with long experience in Korea, says that work on civil affairs handbooks on Korea was "halted by a superior officer." Robert A. Kinney (another American official with years of service in Korea and who worked on East Asian issues as a research analyst in the Army Military Intelligence Division during World War II) believed that it was Roosevelt himself who stopped the work. The rationale was to avoid any action which might feed Stalin's suspicions of US ambitions in the Russian borderlands and thus prompt preemptive Soviet action in Korea. Kinney was outspoken in his postwar criticism of the US failure to prepare for the civil administration in Korea. The initial correspondence on initiating civil affairs preparations for Korea, and the early studies are reprinted in FRUS, 1944, V, 1190, 1225-29, and 1239-41. Henderson's comment is in Gregory Henderson, Korea: The Politics of the Vortex (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968), p. 415. Kinney's speculations were related to me in a series of informal conversations in 1975 and 1976. Dr. Michael E. Macmillan of the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii brought to my attention documentation on Kinney's postwar views.
52. History of USAFIK, p. 27; E. Grant Meade, American Military Government in Korea (New York: King's Crown Press, 1951), pp. 47-51; Wilson Owen Henderson, "To the Kwangju Station," Southwest Review, 35 (No. 4), 233; Donald S. MacDonald, "Field Experience in Military Government: Cholla Namdo Province, 1945-1946," in Carl J. Friedrich and Associates, American Experience in Military Government in World War II (New York: Rinehart and Company, 1948), p. 366; Duncan Sinclair, "The Occupation of Korea--Initial Phases, Military Review, 27 (July 1947), 34-35.
53. History of USAFIK, ch. 4, 35.
54. CINCAFPAC Message CX 35718, 22 August 1945 in folder CCS 386.2 Japan (4-9-45) Sec. 4, RG 218, Box 136, NA; "Draft Memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff," enclosure to SWNCC 176, "International Agreements as to the Occupation of Korea," 22 August 1945 in ABC 014 Japan (13 April 44) Sec. 17A, RG 165, Entry 421, Box 31, NA.
55. Telegram, "The Consul General at Manila (Steintorf) to the Secretary of State," 26 August 1945 in FRUS, 1945, VI, 1041; History of USAFIK, p. 64; letter, "The Political Advisor in Korea (Benninghoff) to the Secretary of State," 15 September 1945, in FRUS, 1945, VI, 1052; JCS Message CM-OUT-55336 "JCS to CINCAFPAC, Manila," 25 August 1945, in folder OPD 014.1 TS Sec. IV, Case 75, "Assignment of Liaison Personnel," RG 165, Entry 419, Box 108, NA; "Basic Initial Directive to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific, for the Administration of Civil Affairs in those areas of Korea Occupied by U.S. Forces," transmitted 17 October 1945, in FRUS, 1945, VI, 1074-93.
56. History of USAFIK, pp. 21-22, ch. 4, 35; Taylor, "Administration and Operation of Military Government," p. 357.
57. Barbey, MacArthur's Amphibious Navy, pp. 324-25.
Colonel Donald W. Boose, Jr. (USA, Ret.) is the former Director of Asian Studies at the US Army War College. He spent six years with the United Nations Command Component of the Military Armistice Commission in Korea and was the Assistant Chief of Staff/J-5 (Director of Strategic Plans and Policy) of US Forces, Japan, from 1987 to 1990. He currently teaches at the Army War College.
Reviewed 25 November 1996. Please send comments or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.