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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 27, 1976

TELEGRAM FROM THE AMBASSADOR IN JAPAN TO THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation, Kyungnam University

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    The South Korean Embassy in Japan summarizes the remarks of Elliott Richardson on the state of US-ROK relations.
    "Telegram from the Ambassador in Japan to the Minister of Foreign Affairs," May 27, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Roll G-06-0045, File 05, Frames 7-9, South Korean Foreign Ministry Archive. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118374
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sending Telegram

File No. :  JAO – 0574       Date :             

To     :  Minister of Foreign Affairs              

From   :  Ambassador to Japan                  

The following is the summary of U.S. Secretary of State Elliot Lee Richardson's remarks on the issue of Korean human rights, raised during a professional luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo on March 27, 1976.

1. I broached it directly during talks with President Park Chung Hee for an hour and half and with the Prime Minister. I only brought up concerns that the United States had. But the situation in Korea is different from other democracies because it faces a threat. The problem should be viewed from the point of admiration [sic] of the fact that Korea provides large measure of freedom in this situation.

2. Question: What did President Park confirm about the concerns that you had conveyed?' (Mr. Malcolm [sic] from the New York Times)

Answer: President Park replied that laws of Korea were different from those of the United States and that the former were designed to minimize social unrest in Korea, and clearly stated that Korea complies with laws. During the dialogue, President Park showed “respectable hearing”.

3. Question: Are you content with his response? (Mr. Krisher from Newsweek)

Answer: I don’t think that I need to go beyond more.

4. Notes

a. Issues on Korea were initiated by John Roderick of AP, who asked about Korea’s military circumstances, the U.S.’s role in the U.S. troop withdrawal from Korea, and if human rights issues in Korea were discussed.

b. Secretary Richardson remarked that the United States has no plan to pull the forces out of Korea at present and the United States would review it as the occasion demands, and that he was told that North Korea is in a state of “unpredictability,” because it could risk a surprise attack at any time.

c. He also told that the U.S. forces in Korea have a symbolic importance and that such perception has been growing after the Vietnam defeat. He commented that the modernization plan of the ROK forces is carrying out successfully and it will be expected to end by 1977 if it goes as planned. Moreover, Korea is maintaining high "vigilance" and felt great confidence in Korean military competence.

(Information Officer – Ministry of Culture and Public Information)