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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 03, 1973

MEMORANDUM FOR GENERAL SCOWCROFT, THROUGH W.R. SMYSER, FROM JOHN A. FROEBE JR., “PROPOSED WSAG MEETING ON KOREAN SITUATION"

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    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.
    "Memorandum for General Scowcroft, through W.R. Smyser, from John A. Froebe Jr., “Proposed WSAG Meeting on Korean Situation"," December 03, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, National Security Adviser NSC East Asian and Pacific Affairs Staff, Box 36, Korean Northwest Islands (Working File). Obtained for NKIDP by Charles Kraus. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114015
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Memorandum6473-X

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

ACTION

December 3, 1973

SECRET/SENSITIVE

MEMORANDUM FOR:GENERAL SCOWCROFT

THROUGH: W.R. SMYSER

FROM: JOHN A. FROEBE, JR.

SUBJECT:Proposed WSAG Meeting on Korean Situation

I strongly believe that we need a WSAG no later than tomorrow to decide what position we should take on the North Korean demand that UNC naval and merchant ships obtain prior permission to navigate the waters contiguous to the five UNC-controlled islands off the west coast of Korea (see attached map). North Korea, which made the demand at the MAC meeting December 1, threatened unspecified actions if the UNC did not comply. The UNC representative on the MAC, U.S. Army Major General Greer, rejected the demand.

The urgency of the issue is posed by the fact that the ROK plans to proceed with its regularly scheduled weekly resupply convoy to two of the islands before the end of the week, either Thursday or Friday. (The ROK has about 1,000 forces stationed on two of the islands.) The ROK, in coordination with CINCUNC, who has operational control of all ROK forces in the event of hostilities, intends to reinforce the convoy. In the meantime, it also intends to continue the normal ROK naval patrols in the area, keeping them 10-12 miles from North Korean territory but reinforcing them. Since these questions and possible actions involve a number of agencies and interests, a WSAG [Washington Special Actions Group] offers an essential forum for hearing all views and for getting everybody on the same track.

The immediate U.S. policy issues are:

-- Whether the regular ROK resupply convoy should proceed as planned and, if so, how (including whether we should reinforce the convoy itself or make a reinforcing show of force in the area). To proceed risks a military clash, while postponing it unduly implies UNC-ROK acquiescence in the North Korean Demand.

-- Whether to call for a MAC meeting before December 6 to discuss the North Korean demand, and thus to try to reduce the risk of a military confrontation.

-- Whether and how to approach the PRC and/or the Soviets on this issue.

-- How to relate this problem to the basic issue of the UNC’s future status. (A principal North Korean objective in the situation may be to force early U.N. Security Council consideration of the UNC.)

Recommendation:

That a WSAG meeting be scheduled for tomorrow to consider this issue.

Approve _____ Disapprove ____






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