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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Northern Limit Line Dispute

This is a collection of documents about the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed maritime boundary in the West Sea between North Korea and South Korea.

  • December 03, 1973

    Memorandum for General Scowcroft, through W.R. Smyser, from John A. Froebe Jr., “Proposed WSAG Meeting on Korean Situation"

    National Security Council staff member John A. Froebe, Jr., suggests that the United States must respond to North Korea's claims over the Northern Limit Line.

  • December 03, 1973

    Memorandum for Secretary Kissinger from Richard H. Solomon, “The Korean Situation and the China Element"

    National Security Council staff member Richard H. Solomon advises Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to work with the Chinese in order to respond to North Korea's provocations along the Northern Limit Line

  • December 04, 1973

    Joint State/Defense Message, “Korean Northwest Coastal Situation"

    The U.S. Departments of Defense and State offer instructions about how to respond to the Northern Limit Line Dispute, including measures to restrain South Korea.

  • December 06, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 61.537

    The document describes how the North Koreans enthusiastically celebrated the consensus of Committee No. 1 over the Korean issue in the UN; however, Lazar believes that the Korean leadership has not actually grasped the full implications of the decision. In addition, the telegram describes how Pyongyang's attempt to reassert control over South Korean islands close to the North Korean shores in the Yellow Sea has created friction between the two countries. The author also mentions that North Korean support for the student movements in South Korea legitimized Seoul's harsher crackdown on the dissident movements.

  • December 21, 1973

    Joint State/Defense Message, “Questions Regarding Northern Limit Line"

    The U.S. Departments of State and Defense analyze North Korea's claims relating to the Northern Limit Line and the origins of the NLL.

  • December 22, 1973

    Memorandum for Secretary Kissinger from John A. Froebe, Jr., “Korean West Coast Island Situation"

    John A. Froebe, Jr., briefs Henry Kissinger on the Northern Limit Line Dispute.

  • January, 1974

    The West Coast Korean Islands

    A Central Intelligence Agency assessment of the origins of the Northern Limit Line.

  • February, 1974

    Briefing on the Violation of the Territorial Waters of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by Espionage Vessels of Park Chung Hee’s Puppet Clique in South Korea

    The Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the Socialist Republic of Romania offers a brief on the Northern Limit Line Dispute.

  • February 21, 1974

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, Urgent, No. 060.076

    The Embassy of Romania in Pyongyang reports on the February 15 naval clash between North and South Korea, and how the sides had responded to the incident

  • February 25, 1974

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, Urgent, No. 060.079

    The Embassy of Romania of Pyongyang assesses the February 15 naval clash between North and South Korea based on the comments of B.K. Pimenov, Minister-Counselor within the USSR Embassy in Pyongyang.

  • February 25, 1974

    Hungarian Embassy in the DPRK, Telegram, 25 February 1974. Subject: Naval incident between the DPRK and South Korea.

    The telegram from the Hungarian Embassy in Pyongyang concerns a naval incident at the Northern Limit Line, straining inter-Korean relations.

  • February 28, 1974

    348th Meeting of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission

    During the 348th Meeting of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) on February 28, 1974, North Korea and the United States argue over the Northern Limit Line Dispute.

  • February 27, 1975

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 059.057

    The Embassy of Romania in Pyongyang reports on the military responses of North and South Korea to the growing number of clashes near the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

  • February 27, 1975

    Telegram from the American Embassy in Seoul to the Secretary of State, “Yellow Sea Incident between North and South, February 26-27"

    The American Embassy in Seoul assesses the naval clash between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea on February 26-27, 1975.

  • March 01, 1975

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 059.060

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports on the Northern Limit Line (NLL) dispute based on the remarks of Ri Jongmok, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister

  • March 12, 1975

    Meeting Minutes between Lee Sang-ok and Paul Cleveland

    U.S. diplomat Paul Cleveland relays Department of State remarks on a February 26 incident in the West Sea to South Korean official Lee Sang-ok.

  • March 14, 1975

    Memorandum for Richard Smyser from Morton I. Abramowitz, “26-27 February Yellow Sea Incident (U)"

    Morton I. Abramowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, provides Richard Smyser with a chronology of events surrounding the February 26-27, 1975, incident in Yellow Sea between North and South Korea.

  • June 24, 1975

    Memorandum for General Scowcroft from W.R. Smyser, “Defense of the Northwest UNC-Controlled Islands in Korea"

    Richard Smyser writes to General Brent Scowcroft about the defense of the five islands off the northwest coast of Korea and whether or not the defense of these islands is bound to the U.S.-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty.

  • September 15, 1975

    Note for Ltg. Brent Scowscroft from John A. Wickham, Jr., “Defense of UNC Controlled Islands"

    John A Wickham, Jr., writes to General Brent Scowscroft about the U.S. defense commitment to the five northwest island groups and U.S.-South Korean defense coordination.