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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 15, 1956

CDS REPORT NO. 24 FROM CHOI DUK SHIN TO THE PRESIDENT (SYNGMAN RHEE)

This document was made possible with support from the Syngman Rhee Institute, Yonsei University

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    Choi Duk Shin offers his views on the crises in Hungary and the Middle East, urges President Rhee to organize immediate action against communist countries, and reports on Vietnamese domestic affairs including the recent typhoon and the continued Chinese minority debate.
    "CDS Report No. 24 from Choi Duk Shin to the President (Syngman Rhee)," November 15, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, B-333a-021, The Korean Legation in Vietnam, Reports from the Korean Mission to the United Nations and Republic of Korea Embassies and Legations, Syngman Rhee Institute, Yonsei University. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120980
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November 15, 1956

CONFIDENTIAL.

CDS REPORT No. 024

Excellency,

I have the honour to submit my Weekly Report No. 024 covering the following points:

1. Receipt of Instructions

2. View on the Present World Situation

3. Hungary

4. Vietnam Affairs

5. Social Activities

1. Receipt of Instructions.

I acknowledge with deep appreciation receipt of Your Excellency's Instruction No. ·26 dated 7 November in which THE KOREA CORRESPONDENT No. 64 is enclosed. My Legation has remimeographed the materials from THE KOREAN CORRESPONDENT into our bulletins since issue No. 12 under the title "Excerpts from Foreign Press Agencies".

I also acknowledge receipt of Instruction No. 29 in which Your Excellency acknowledges receipt of my Report No.022 and in which you have advised me of the fact that General Chung has returned to Korea and has reported to Your Excellency on his trip to Vietnam.

2. Views on World Situation.

During the last few weeks I have been watching very closely the developments in the Middle East and Hungary.

As a close follower and obedient servant of Your Excellency I cannot help but express to Your Excellency my personal views on the present very grave situation and beg the wisdom of Your Excellency to guide us in these dark days as you have guided us in the past struggle against Japan for our Independence and against the Communist aggression.

I believe the present world situation has now reached a turning-point. If the leaders of the big Powers will abandon their selfishness and are determined to fight the Communist Empire will fall at once. Ir. they continue to remain selfish and fear a "state of war" the world may again for a long period or time turn once more to "dark days" and which I hope fervently will be avoided.

We note:

1) that the Anglo-French are determined to brand the Russians and to give a great deal of sympathy to Hungary;

2) that the U.S. is taking a firm stand regarding Hungary;

3) that the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world is paying the highest homage to the indomitable will of the Hungarians who are so gallantly fighting Soviet Imperialism and in their fight are thereby condemning the Russian ' s barbarous repression against the Free People;

4) that the so-called Leader of the Neutral Bloc is undoubtedly lining up with the Russian Bloc even in the voting of the "Hungarian issue". His leadership will soon come to an end.

Even though the world situation is very serious and indeed grave, still, with the awakening of the Western leaders, I believe we can find some way in which to solve it without a ‘big' war and of which the Western powers are afraid. It is indeed terrible to let the oppressed people remain under the iron tracks of tanks and with nobody to go to their rescue. Upon hearing the cry of Cardinal Mindezenty, the Roman Catholic Prince Primate of Hungary, "A man who is drowning needs no messages -- there has been much too much voting and oratory… what we need is action now", the free people of the world should go to the rescue right away and before it is too late. There are so many “'volunteers” of Russian and Red Chinese for "Middle East". However, it is with regret we note that there have been no 'volunteers' from Western's Free People for "Hungary".

There is no time to blame the wrong of the past. We must act now. My humble and sincere suggestion is: "To organize a world anti-Communist crusade and march into the Iron Curtain now".

To execute this decision, we can divide it into two categories:

1. Those nations which are divided into two, such as Germany, Vietnam, China and our country, will have the freedom of liberating their own beloved people and should get full support of the Free World.

2. For liberation of these nations which are completely behind the Iron Curtain, the people of the Free World should organize a "crusade" with the bulk of the refugees from Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Poland and Russia, etc. and immediately start the work in the Free side of Europe and be prepared to march into the Iron Curtain any time.

All the freedom-loving people of the Free World should support this movement materially and morally.

The big nations do not have to declare war or to even bear - the responsibility of war. There will be no risk of war at all. The war will be within the Iron Curtain between the Communists and freedom-seeking people. The crusade in conjunction with the revolution inside the Iron Curtain surely will shake the Communists Empire in a short period of time.

We only ask the big powers to support the 'crusade' morally and materially.

In order to successfully execute these plans, I would like to recommend the following:

(i) that we should strengthen our diplomatic representation in the United States and have good people who will work with the real working staffs of the U.S. State Department and thereby bring about a better understanding of the real problems and so persuade them to act courageously;

(ii) that we should have good representation in those strong anti-Communist countries such as the Vatican, in Turkey, Spain and West Germany, etc.;

(iii) that we strengthen our diplomatic representation in London and in Paris;

(iv) through the strengthening of our diplomatic representation and/or the dispatching of roving envoys we will be in a position to persuade and encourage the Western people in the Free World to organize the "crusade";

(v) that the military and political coordination between the Free Chinese and us should be more tightened in order to encourage and persuade them to recover the mainland of China as soon as possible.

I am of the strong belief that not only the people of Asia, but the people of the Free World are looking to Your Excellency for guidance and expect Your Excellency's initiative to make the ‘crusade' materialize.

Under the guidance or Your Excellency I will to the best of my ability endeavor to serve in this struggle for the freedom of all mankind.

3. Russia's Barbarity in Hungary continues to draw protests of Vietnamese people.

On November 9, 1956, demonstrations were staged through the territory or the Republic of Vietnam to support the heroic struggle of the Hungarian people and to protest the brutal Soviet aggression against Hungary.

Many of these resolutions have requested the sending to Hungary of an international force so as to rescue the free exercise of legal rights to Hungarians and free elections in this country under the U.N. control.

So far the Vietnamese people have donated two million piasters in favor of Hungary. This amount of money is equivalent to US $57,000.

The denunciation of Russia's barbarity in Vietnam reached the peak in the last week.

4. Vietnam Affairs

a. Typhoon.

On November 12, at six o'clock in the morning, a violent typhoon struck the Provinces of Cantho and Soctrang in the Southern part of Vietnam and swept on through to Rachgia and Caisan. It has been announced that it is the worst typhoon to strike Vietnam since the year 1908.

An accurate estimate of the damage is still impossible to determine. However, it is reported that the total damage in these areas will total somewhere in the neighborhood of one million piastres. The actual number of lives lost is difficult to determine. There are about ten known dead, but there are fishing junks which have not returned carrying over 100 fishermen who are presumed to be lost of Cap St. Jacques; a number of fishing boats off Rachgia are as yet unaccounted for, as well as some fishermen in the Travinh and Soctrang areas who have not yet returned. The Vietnamese Navy is attempting to locate these individuals. There are at least 100 seriously injured persons in the area. The Vietnamese· Navy report some of their smaller boats sunk or wrecked; extensive damage to their large dock at Cantho. It is reported that approximately 12,000 homes in all are completely destroyed. Some of these homes are of the paillotte structure (straw huts). Government administration buildings in the area have been damaged. In Cantho it is reported that electric distribution systems have suffered considerable damage.

Emergency measures were immediately taken by the provincial administration to bring help to the victims. Public servants, policemen, school boys and girls and the military in the area have all joined together in a common effort to assist and relieve the sufferings of the victims. The various Voluntary agencies in Vietnam have rallied and sent immediate assistance to the affected areas.

Because of the spirit of mutual aid and solidarity between our two countries Id is cussed a possible donation with our compatriots residing in Saigon. They have agreed to collect funds to assist the victims of the typhoon.

I have also written letters to the President of the Korean Red Cross and to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Health and Social Affairs asking them to endeavour to make a donation to the victims of the November 12th typhoon in Vietnam.

b. Change in the Cabinet Members.

In the last report, I reported that as the function of the Constituent Assembly expired, the President had accepted the resignations of four Cabinet Members, who are at the same time also Assemblymen. However, he had asked them to continue their functions until new Secretaries of State were appointed.

This week it has now been learned that -three of the four Assemblymen agree to continue in their previous functions as Secretaries of State at the request of the President and have submitted their resignations as deputies to the Legislative Assembly. They are:

Mr. Nguyen Huu Chau – Secretary of State to the Presidency and for the Interior

Mr. Tran Chanh Thanh – Secretary of State for Information and Youth

Mr. Tran Trung Dung – Assistant Secretary of State for National Defense

According to Article 53 of The Constitution the Secretaries of State are not entitled to cumulate the office of Deputy to the National Assembly.

The Secretary of State for Public Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Vu Quoc Thung has expressed the wish to remain as deputy of the Legislative Assembly and has recommended to the President a medical doctor whose name is Dr. Tran Vy to replace him in the Cabinet.

The Secretary of State for Agrarian Reform,Vir. Nguyen Van Thoi, asked to be relieved from his duties for reasons of health, and because the organization of the Cai-San Resettlement Center has now been completed. The President accepted Thoi’s resignation and has designated Mr. Do Van Cong to replace him.

This is the first shuffle in the Cabinet of President Ngo Dinh Diem since the promulgation of the Constitution on the 26th October.

c. Vietnam-Chinese Schools

There is a communique dated November 8, 1956 which has just been released by the Department for National Education concerning the opening of Chinese secondary schools. It reads:

“These past years, only 13 Chinese privately-owned primary schools have been authorized to give a primary education in Saigon-Cholon prefecture. They have, however, opened secondary education classes without legal permission. The Education Department thus requested the Heads of these schools to put an end to this illegal situation.

“But, to avoid bringing disturbances into the studies of the young Chinese students, the Education Department has promulgated a transitory program of Vietnamese secondary education. "The principals of these schools have .filled in their application for the opening of Secondary education classes, and promised to strictly follow the transitory program. They also promised to present, within a three-month time-limit, a Chinese of Vietnamese nationality to lead the school, without whom the school will be closed down."

In the transitory program it states that the schools have to teach at least nine hours per week in Vietnamese language.

Under the above-mentioned conditions, the Chinese middle schools opened on November 14, 1956.

d. Burma’s Ex-Premier U Nu’s Visit to Vietnam.

The ex-Premier of Burma and his suite of six important figures of the present Burmese Government arrived here on Sunday, November 11, and left for home today, November 15.

This is the first time such an important delegation of Burmese politicians has made a fact-finding tour of Vietnam. During their five-day stay the Premier and his party travelled in many places in this country. The fact that President Ngo Dinh Diem personally guided them in their visits to the refugee resettlement areas has attracted special notice by the diplomats here. Also the Premier’s sudden visit after only returning from Red China a few days previously has surprised many people.

It is assumed that the two statesmen have had long and thorough talks during these five days. However, there is no indication of any political agreements between them. During a reception I overhead the Vietnamese Foreign Minister's answer to the Thai 1s Ambassador's question: "Will you reach an economic or political agreement with Burma this time?", and the Foreign Minister's answer was: "No, they are neutral…I don't believe we will reach any agreement in the near future…”.

I asked the U.S. Ambassador if he knew the purpose of U Nu's visit. His answer was in the negative. However, he added: "Maybe President Diem wants to 'cultivate' him".

There are still some persons who doubt that Mr. U Nu had got the 'nod' from Indian's Nehru and Red China's Chou and came here to "try to cultivate" the Vietnamese.

Up to this moment I have not found the real purpose for the visit of Burma's ex-Premier.

Despite several contradictory speculations as to the Burmese visit, there is one thing worthy of note and that is the solidarity between the Asian countries and especially the expressions of sympathy by the smaller and more newly independent nations towards each other.

On the eve of the ex-Premier's arrival, the President dined with him in the company of several intimates of the Vietnamese Cabinet. The President also gave a large reception. And of further note, the President gave a dinner only attended by Asians yesterday evening, and I was invited to attend. The president and several of his Cabinet members wore their typical national dress. Among the guests were the diplomatic representatives and consulates from Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and India. Nationalist China's representative was not invited. Apparently, it was because of the fact that the Burmese Government has recognized Red China and denounced the recognition of Nationalist China.

For Your Excellency's information I would like to attach in the newsclipping the press conference held by the ex-Premier of Burma.

Of special significance is the fact that the President went to the airport today to see U Nu off.

In this same report I would also like to attach a news dispatch from Rangoon, the title is "Burma rents lands to Red China as settlement of Border crisis.” This is the result of the talks between the visiting ex-Premier and Red China's Chou just before coming to Vietnam.

5. Social Activities.

a. November 9. In the early morning at 6.30 a.m. I attended the installation ceremony of the First Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Vietnam. The President delivered a message which is in the attached newsclipping.

On the same morning at 8.00 a.m., I attended a religious Mass for the sake of the Hungarian patriots and liberation-fighters of Hungary to which I had been· invited by "Le Rassemblement des Citoyens du Vietnam". The Mass was said in the Saigon Cathedral.

b. November 10. At 1830 Mrs. Choi and I attended a reception given by the Vietnamese Red Cross in honour of Mrs. Frank o. Blake, the representative of the American National Red Cross in Saigon on the occasion of her departure for the U.S.A.

c. November 12. At 1830 Mrs. Choi and I attended the reception given by the President in honour of the Burmese ex-Premier.

On the same evening at 2115, the U.S. Ambassador invited me to a showing of films.

d. November 14. At 2030 the President invited Mrs. Choi and me to a dinner in honour of the visiting ex-Premier of Burma, Mr. U Nu and the high-ranking members of his suite. This item I have already mentioned in Item 4 of this report.

With sentiments of deepest loyalty and highest esteem.

Respectfully,

[signature]

Choi, Duk Shin

Minister of Republic of Korea

to Republic of Vietnam.

His Excellency

President of Republic of Korea.

Attachments:

1. Newsclipping

2. Photo Album for Vietnam National Day

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