South Korea Current Issues
June 19, 1989
United States Government Statement
Events in Kwangju, Republic of Korea, in May 1980
The United States welcomes efforts to establish the facts about the events which occurred in Kwangju in May 1980. It recognizes that the lack of an accurate historical record has generated widespread misunderstanding. This statement presents the facts about what the U.S. did and why, in the belief that this is in the best interests of the close friendship which exists between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
A clear understanding of U.S. views and actions requires that they be viewed in the context of events from the assassination of President Park Chung Hee on October 26, 1979 to and beyond the actual events in May 1980 in Kwangju City. This statement therefore begins with the assassination of President Park.
When the Special Committee on Investigation of the May 18th Kwangju Democratization Movement was established by the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea in the summer of 1988, the U.S. agreed to cooperate with its investigation. On November 23, 1988, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea delivered to our Embassy in Seoul letters from the Committee addressed to Ambassador William Gleysteen and General John Wickham inviting their testimony before the Committee.
On December 2, 1988, after careful consideration of the relevant diplomatic precedents and legal principles with regard to such testimony, the Department determined that it would be inappropriate for Ambassador Gleysteen or General Wickham to testify before the Committee on matters related to their official duties as U.S. officials in the Republic of Korea. They were so advised and they concurred in this view. However, the Department agreed to answer written questions from the Committee. On March 17, 1989, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington conveyed to the Department of State forty-eight questions prepared by the Special Committee. This statement reflects those relevant events and actions as known to the U.S. Government, as can best be determined at this time. Answers to the Committee's questions are incorporated in the Appendix to this Statement, with references to the pertinent paragraphs in the Statement and, as appropriate, clarifying comment.
-- The United States had no prior knowledge of the assassination of President Park Chung Hee on October 26, 1979. The United States was shocked by the assassination and alarmed that the North might see it as an opportunity to attack the South. The United States was also concerned that the prospects for democratization in the ROK might be undermined.
-- The United States had no advance warning of the December 12 (12/12) incident, in which a group of ROK army officers led by Major General Chun Doo Hwan seized control of the military.
-- The United States was angered by the generals' use on December 12, without proper notification, of units under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the Combined Forces Command (CFC), deeply concerned over the use of force to usurp power, and troubled at the prospect of instability if the principle of civilian authority was not quickly and firmly reasserted.
-- The United States protested repeatedly and vigorously to the Korean government, to Major General Chun, and to the Korean military about the misuse of forces under CFC OPCON.
-- The United States was deeply disturbed by the evidence, gradually accumulating after the 12/12 incident, that Korean military leaders did not intend to relinquish de facto control or set a timetable for democratization.
-- The United States repeatedly urged the Korean civilian and military authorities to resume the democratization process, warned against the repression -- specifically that any actions against politicians, such as arresting Kim Dae Jung, would prove "incendiary" -- and forcefully protested when leading opposition figures were arrested.
-- The Korean authorities gave the United States two hours' advance notice of the declaration of full martial law, which began at 0001 on May 18. The United States had no prior knowledge of the Korean military authorities' intentions to arrest political leaders and close the universities and National Assembly. On May 18, in both Seoul and Washington, the United States sharply and vigorously protested the implementation of martial law.
-- The United States did not initially know the full extent of the violence in Kwangju. When it became aware of the seriousness of the situation, the United States repeatedly urged restraint by ROK military forces and issued a public statement on May 22 expressing concern over the civil strife in Kwangiu and calling for dialogue between the opposing sides.
-- The United States was assured by Korean authorities that its May 22 statement calling for dialogue would be broadcasted and distributed in the city. This never happened. Instead, official radio reports in Kwangju falsely asserted that the U.S. had approved the dispatch of Special Warfare Command (SWC) troops into the city.
-- Neither troops of the SWC nor elements of the 20th Division, employed by the Martial Law Command in Kwangju, were under CFC OPCON, either at the time they were deployed to the city or while operating there. None of the Korean forces deployed at Kwangju were, during that time, under the control of any American authorities. The United States had neither prior knowledge of the deployment of SWC forces to Kwangju nor responsibility for their actions there.
-- The 1978 Agreement establishing the Combined Forces Command preserved the sovereign right of both the United States and the Republic of Korea to assert OPCON over their respective forces at any time, without the consent of the other party. The United States could neither approve nor disapprove the movements of elements of the 20th Division which had been removed from OPCON.
-- The United States was informed that Korean military authorities were considering the use of elements of the 20th Division -- one of the few regular army units trained in riot control -- to reenter Kwangju. United States officials, who had pressed for a political rather than military solution and continued to caution against the use of military force to solve political problems, reluctantly accepted that, if negotiations failed, it would be preferable to replace SWC units with elements of the 20th Division.
-- The United States protested to the Korean government and Korean media over public distortions of United States' actions and policy which included claims that the U.S. knew in advance of the December 12 incident, of Chun's appointment to the KCIA, of the government's actions of May 17 and that the U.S. approved the SWC actions in Kwangju.
-- NO information indicating a North Korean intention to attack was received by the United States during the period covered by this statement, nor did United States officials regard the domestic situation in the South as being so serious as to justify either Full Martial Law or harsh repressive measures.
-- Throughout this period, however, the United States was concerned that the North might miscalculate the situation in the South and warned Pyongyang against trying to exploit it. Also, as a precaution, the United States deployed air and naval units to the area to demonstrate to North Korea the United States' resolve to stand by its security commitment to the ROK.
-- Despite strenuous efforts, the United States failed to persuade Major General Chun to restore civilian authority and to institute a timetable for democratization. The United States, however, was successful in drawing international attention to the charges against Kim Dae Jung, which it characterized as "far-fetched," and in obtaining a commutation of his death sentence.
The Combined Forces Command and operational Control
1 . To understand the responsibilities of the Combined Forces Commander, it is necessary to review the nature of the Combined Forces Command (CFC). The CFC is a binational military command comprised of both Korean and American officers. The CFC was established in 1978 by joint agreement between the governments of the Republic of Korea and the United States to deter external aggression against the Republic of Korea and, if deterrence fails, to defeat the attack. Its sole mission is defense against external attack. The CFC, whose Commander is an American officer and whose Deputy Commander is a Korean officer, is subordinate to a binational Military Committee headed by the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea and the United States. Each nation places certain selected units under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the Commander-in-Chief (CINC/CFC), but retains the national right of command, including the right to remove units from CFC OPCON upon notification. In the event of notification, the CFC Commander can neither approve nor disapprove, but can only point out the effect such removal might have on the CFC's mission of external defense. Once forces are removed from CFC OPCON, the CFC Commander no longer has authority over them.
The Assassination of Park Chung Hee
2. The United States Government (USG) was surprised and shocked by the assassination of Park Chung Hee on October 26, 1979. In light of the possible military threat from North Korea, the USG immediately warned Pyongyang not to try to take advantage of the assassination and issued the following statement:
"The United States Government wishes to make it clear that it will react strongly in accordance with its treaty obligations to the Republic of Korea to any external attempt to exploit the situation in the Republic of Korea."
The United States followed up this statement by dispatching an aircraft carrier to the waters off the Korean coast and sent airborne warning and control aircraft to the region.
3. Immediately following the assassination, Korean military authorities, following appropriate agreed upon procedures, notified the CINC/CFC that the Korean army would assume OPCON of a number of units, including the 20th Infantry Division, for deployment to Seoul as a precaution against possible disorders in the wake of the assassination. OPCON of the 20th Division artillery and its three regiments reverted from CFC to the Korean army at 0230 hours on October 27. The Korean army returned the division artillery to CFC OPCON on 30 October and one of its three regiments on November 28. (There is no record that the other two regiments of the 20th Division were ever returned to CFC OPCON.)
4. Concerned about the domestic political situation in Korea, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, at a press conference on October 31 prior to his departure for President Park's funeral, stated:
"We hope that political growth in the Republic of Korea will be commensurate with economic and social progress."
While in Seoul Secretary Vance met with President Choi Kyu Ha and urged him to release political prisoners and to consult with the National Assembly and the political opposition in drafting a new constitution that provided for direct election of the president.
The December 12, 1979 Incident (The "12/12 Incident")
5. The United States had no advance warning of the December 12 incident, when a group of ROK army officers led by Major General Chun Doo Hwan forcibly removed the ROK military leadership. In late November 1979, Gen. Wickham became aware of some "unrest" among senior members of Korea Military Academy (KMA) classes 11 and 12. When he informed CFC Deputy Commander Gen. Lew Byong Hion and ROK Defense Minister Ro Jae Hyun, they regarded the reports as mere rumor.
American officials first became aware of the incident early the evening of December 12 when the Eighth Army Command Post at the Yongsan U.S. garrison (the "bunker") began to report unusual troop movements. General Wickham and Ambassador Gleysteen went immediately to the bunker where they began to piece together fragmentary but alarming reports of troops moving around the city and of shots being fired. Almost from the beginning they suspected that a coup of some sort was underway. Later, they were joined by Defense Minister Ro and KiM Chong Hwan, Chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, who established radio and telephone contact with some elements of the ROK military.
6. During that night, units under CFC OPCON were moved by their commanders without proper retrieval of OPCON or even the knowledge of the CFC. Seeing this as a weakening of the CFC'S defensive capability, General Wickham that same night formally protested to Korean military leaders and urged the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to suspend until dawn movement of forces loyal to the MND to avoid clashes between army units. At the same time, word was sent to Chun Doo Hwan warning him of the dangerous implications of a conflict within the South Korean forces.
7. U.S. officials were concerned over the possibility of serious armed clashes between Korean army units and the possibility that such a conflict could be seen by North Korea as an opportunity to attack. Ambassador Gleysteen sought to telephone President Choi to express his concern but was unable to reach him. The Ambassador was told that the fighting involved troops sent to arrest Army Chief of Staff General Chung Sung Hwa. Gen. Chung had refused an "invitation" by Maj. Gen. Chun Doo Hwan, principal investigator of Park's assassination, to come in for questioning about the assassination. Amb. Gleysteen also tried to contact the forces headed by Maj. Gen. Chun to warn them of the danger from North Korea of fighting within the ROK army and the threat to political stability posed by their actions. They refused direct contact with USG officials until they had established effective control.
8. The U.S. Government was very concerned that the December 12 seizure of power would lead to an interruption of the democratization process, to which it attached great importance. Wanting both to caution North Korea and to deter civil conflict, the U.S. decided to issue a statement of warning to all concerned. The substance of this statement was brought to the attention of Blue House Secretary General Choi Kwang Soo and at least indirectly to the rebellious officers. The U.S. Department of State issued the following statement the next day:
"During the past few weeks we had been encouraged by the orderly procedures adopted in the Republic of Korea to develop a broadly based government following the assassination of President Park. As a result of events today in Korea we have instructed our Ambassador and the Commander of U.S. Forces in Korea to point out to all concerned that any forces within the Republic of Korea which disrupt this progress should bear in mind the seriously adverse impact their actions would have on the ROK's relations with the United States. At the same time, any forces outside the ROK which might seek to exploit the current situation in Seoul should bear in mind our warning of October 27."
The statement was written in Seoul on the night of December 12, 1979, but---as a practical matter---had to be issued from Washington because the Embassy lacked access to the government controlled public media to disseminate it to the Korean people.
9. On December 13, Ambassador Gleysteen met with President Choi. He stressed that it was the view of the United States that Korea needed civilian control of the military and continuation of the program of political liberalization. Gleysteen concluded from his meeting, however, that it was unlikely that the weak administration under President Choi would ever be able to gain effective control of the army. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Richard Holbrooke also that day, December 13, in Washington, underscored U.S. concern in a meeting with the Korean Ambassador.
10. On December 14, Ambassador Gleysteen met with Major General Chun Doo Hwan. The Ambassador strongly warned that disunity in the Korean army invited North Korean attack and noted that the United States was very concerned. He also stressed to Chun the importance of maintaining constitutional order and of making progress towards political liberalization. Chun replied that the 12/12 incident was an accidental outgrowth of a legitimate effort to carry out his investigation of the assassination of President Park. Chun said that he had no personal ambitions, that he supported President Choi's liberalization program, and that he expected unity in the military to be strengthened as a result of his changes in the command structure.
11. To demonstrate U.S. anger over the December 12 seizure of power, General Wickham refused to meet with Chun on the advice of the Ambassador. Instead, Wickham met with the Prime Minister, the new Defense Minister, and other officials; his message was stark and strong---the movement of ROK Army troops under CFC OPCON without prior notification to CFC ran an unacceptable risk that the CFC would not be able to defend against a North Korean attack. Gen. Wickham also conveyed this point in writing and emphasized it in numerous discussions with senior ROK military officers.
12. To deliver to the ROKG the message of U.S. displeasure with the events of December 12 as strongly as possible, President Jimmy Carter wrote a personal letter to President Choi on January 4, 1980. The U.S. Embassy disseminated the contents of this letter throughout the Korean government and military. President Carter applauded President Choi's plans for political reconciliation and constitutional change. He noted he was "deeply distressed" by the events of December 12 and warned that similar occurrences in the future "would have serious consequences for our close cooperation."
U.S. Policy following 12/12
13. The White House, Department of State, and Department of Defense reviewed U.S. policy toward Korea following the 12/12 incident and reaffirmed U.S. objectives:
-- attempt to preserve momentum toward a broadly based democratic government under civilian leadership;
-- continue to deter North Korean aggression;
-- strive to keep the new ROK military leadership focused on its primary role of defending the country against attack.
14. USG officials recognized that their options were limited. Threats to lessen or remove U.S. military support would lack credibility and risk encouraging North Korean adventurism. Economic sanctions might aggravate South Korea's already serious economic situation, cause social unrest, and play into the hands of those advocating strongly authoritarian policies in the South.
15. The U.S. understood that U.S. actions would not be decisive in affecting the direction of Korea's domestic politics, although it hoped to promote democracy to the degree possible. U. S. officials believed that despite whatever actions were undertaken by the U.S., the outcome of Korea's political transition would ultimately be decided by how the system itself reconciled conflicting pressures.
16. From the beginning there was strong suspicion both in Washington and among U.S. officials in Seoul that the political trend was away from democracy toward authoritarian rule. Nevertheless, the U.S. did not accept as inevitable that General Chun's ascendency in the army would preclude democratization in Korea. With few illusions about where the real locus of power lay or about Chun's ultimate objectives, the U.S. decided that its best and only feasible course would be to continue to express support for President Choi¡¯s civilian government while advocating. at every opportunity, that it implement a timetable for democratization. Also. the U.S. recognized the need to continue urging the young generals who had seized control of the army on December 12 to refocus their attention away from intervention in politics and back to legitimate defense matters.
17. Thus, over the next few weeks, the U.S. coupled expressions of support for President Choi and for setting a timetable for democratization with warnings to military leaders of the dangers of upsetting the democratization process and of failing to focus on the continuing, genuine security threat posed by North Korea.
18. On February 14, 1980, General Wickham met with General Chun. This was their first meeting since the December 12 incident. The CFC commander emphasized the importance of civilian government, democratization, and adhering to CFC OPCON procedures. Afterwards, Wickham reported to Washington that he was not certain he had been able to make any impression on Chun.
19. Still, there had been some favorable developments. The formal constitutional order was preserved, Kim Dae Jung's civil rights were fully restored, political prisoners were released, media censorship slackened, and there was a significant relaxation of constraints on student political activity on campus.
20. However, economic conditions continued to deteriorate. In March and April the military began to talk of "instability." Partial martial law and selective media censorship continued. USG officials were concerned that the ROK Government had still not committed itself to a specific timetable for democratization, including the lifting of martial law. Large-scale, but generally non-violent student protests reemerged over this issue.
21. Especially disturbing and surprising to the U.S. was Chun Doo Hwan's sudden appointment as KCIA Director on April 14, 1980. To show its disapproval, the United States announced to senior Korean officials the indefinite postponement of the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), which is held annually between the ROK Defense Minister and the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The U.S. hoped that this would signal that Chun's move to consolidate his position could impair ROK-U.S. relations.
22. Among American officials in Washington as well as in Seoul, concern grew that Gen. Chun was seeking to manipulate the political situation to further increase his power. Senior officials of the State Department, Department of Defense, and White House met in Washington on May 2 and reaffirmed U.S. policy to do what it could to promote constitutional reform and to encourage a political outcome acceptable to the Korean people.
23. U.S. officials were alarmed by reports of plans to use military units to back up the police in dealing with student demonstrations. On May 8 Ambassador Gleysteen was instructed to stress these U.S. concerns to Korean government officials. On May 9 Ambassador Gleysteen met with General Chun Doo Hwan, who blamed the unrest on "a small number" of student radicals, professors, and ambitious politicians. He said the situation was not critical, however, and that military force would be used only as a last resort. Ambassador Gleysteen expressed the U.S. view that real stability in Korea required that the people recognize that orderly progress was being made toward political liberalization. He added that it was important not to alienate moderate students and the populace in general; he specifically cautioned against repression of opposition politicians. Afterwards, amidst widespread speculation that martial law would be lifted and a political democratization schedule announced, Ambassador Gleysteen reported to Washington that there seemed a good possibility that upcoming student demonstrations would be treated with moderation.
24. Also on May 9, General Wickham met with the ROK Defense Minister and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to point out the dangers of escalation if troops were used against civilians. General Wickham told them that he was obliged to stress the importance of coordination with CFC before movement of any troops under CFC OPCON so as not to impair the ability of the CFC to fulfill its mission of deterring North Korean aggression.
Toward Full Martial Law
25. Within days, however, this optimism began to fade. During the second week of May, numerous reports began reaching the Embassy that hardline elements were calling for a crackdown on students. The Blue House informed Ambassador Gleysteen and the Korean army informed General Wickham that the Korean Government might take back OPCON of some units from the CFC.
26. General Wickham met Chun Doo Hwan on May 13. In contrast to what he had told Ambassador Gleysteen previously, General Chun now told General Wickham that North Korea was the hidden hand behind the student demonstrations and that the decisive moment for an attack on the South might be at hand. Wickham replied that the U.S. as always stood ready to defend Korea, but that there was no sign that a North Korean invasion was imminent. General Wickham asserted the U.S. view that movement toward political liberalization would bring stability to South Korea and that stability was the principal means of deterring North Korea. General Wickham reported that Chun's pessimistic assessment of the domestic situation and his stress on the North Korean threat seemed only a pretext for a move into the Blue House.
27. On May 13, Washington reacted to reports from Ambassador Gleysteen and General Wickham and to rumors of North Korean activity then circulating in Seoul. The State Department press spokesman stated:
"From our information we see no movement of troops in North Korea out of the usual and we see no movement which would lead us to believe that some sort of attack upon the South is imminent."
28. On May 14, Ambassador Gleysteen met with Blue House Secretary General Choi Kwang Soo and urged restraint. General Wickham was absent from Korea. Lieutenant General Rosencrans, Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces Korea, delivered the same message to the Defense Minister. Ambassador Gleysteen also appealed to Kim Dae Jung, Kim Young Sam and other politicians to make every effort to head off confrontation. Although opposition leaders were clearly reluctant to appear to be serving the government's purpose by calling for restraint, the Ambassador reported that they were beginning to do what they could in this regard. He also told Washington that the censored press was not reporting calls for moderation by opposition politicians.
29. Although the student demonstrations had grown to massive proportions, the police, without the military, were able to contain them. U.S. observers reported that given the tremendous political tension and the numbers of those involved in the protests, there was considerable restraint from violence on both sides. However, Embassy officers were concerned that troops had been deployed in some areas to back up the police.
Events of May 16 - 17
30. There were no demonstrations in Seoul on May 16, and student leaders announced a suspension of further demonstrations until after a National Assembly session scheduled for May 20. The U.S. noted a widespread perception that the demonstrations had sobered the government, and that the National Assembly would demand the lifting of martial law and the publication of a timetable for democratization. ROK officials reinforced this impression by announcing that President Choi was cutting short his Middle East trip. He returned to Seoul on May 17.
31. Also on May 16, military authorities notified CFC officials of their intent to remove the 20th Division's artillery and its 60th Regiment from CFC OPCON. The CFC received the Martial Law Command'S OPCON retrieval notification while General Wickham was in the United States on official duties. CFC Deputy Commander, Korean four-star General Baek Sok Chu, responded for the CFC, acknowledging the OPCON release notification, but requesting that other forces be provided to replace the 20th Division troops being transferred to control of the Martial Law Command.
(See Para 3 above for account of removal of three of the Division's regiments plus artillery on October 27 and return to CFC OPCON of the artillery on October 30 and one of the three regiments on November 28.)
32. The discernible lull in demonstrations continued through Saturday, May 17. However, concerned over the hardline stance being taken within the government, Ambassador Gleysteen met Blue House Secretary General Choi Kwang Soo. Ambassador Gleysteen urged the Korean government not to let the military dictate hardline policies and specifically warned that any actions against politicians, such as arresting Kim Dae Jung, would prove "incendiary." The Ambassador was not told by Choi of the imminent decision to impose full martial law.
Full Martial Law
33. Early in the evening of May 17. U.S. officials learned of the arrests of student leaders on one campus. The U.S. had no information about the impending arrests of opposition politicians or other repressive measures. Around 9:30 p.m. that night, U.S. officials were informed by the Blue House that full martial law was to be imposed at 0001 hours on May 18. By then, reports of the arrests of Kim Dae Jung, Kim Young Sam, Kim Jong Pil and other political leaders were making clear the sweeping nature of the government's actions. Acting on instructions from Washington, Ambassador Gleysteen called on President Choi on May 18 to deliver a sharp U.S. protest, stating that the U.S. found the May 17 crackdown and the move to full martial law, "shocking and astounding." President Choi responded that his government had been forced to declare full martial law because it feared it would be toppled by uncontrollable student demonstrations. Ambassador Gleysteen, acting on instructions, also called for the release of opposition leaders including Kim Dae Jung. He also made a forceful protest to martial law commander Lee Hui-Seung.
34. At the Ambassador's instruction, his special adviser delivered the same strong U.S. protest directly to General Chun Doo Hwan. General Chun responded with the same argument as President Choi about uncontrollable demonstrations by students. He added that leadership of the demonstrations had been taken over by "radical" elements. Ambassador Gleysteen reported to Washington that he did not believe that justification. He felt the full martial law order, the accompanying arrests, and the suspension of the National Assembly meant that "the military (had) all but formally taken over the country."
35. When Korean Ambassador Kim Yong Shik called upon Assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Richard Holbrooke on Sunday morning, May 18, Holbrooke informed the Ambassador that the Department of State was issuing a public statement at 1 p.m. that day deploring the extension of complete martial law throughout Korea. Kim protested the U.S. statement, but Holbrooke said future statements would be even more critical if events "continued down the present path." He warned that relations between the U.S. and Korea would be endangered.
36. The State Department issued the following public statement in Washington on May 18 and again on May 19:
"We are deeply disturbed by the extension of martial law throughout the Republic of Korea, the closing of universities, and the arrest of a number of political and student leaders. Progress toward political liberalization must be accompanied by respect for the law. However, we are concerned that the actions which the government has now taken will exacerbate problems in the Republic of Korea. We have made clear the seriousness of our concern to Korean leaders, and we have stressed our belief that progress toward constitutional reform and the election of a broadly based civilian government, as earlier outlined by President Choi, should be resumed promptly.
We urge all elements in Korean society to act with restraint at this difficult time. As we affirmed on October 26, 1979, the U.S. Government will react strongly in accordance with its treaty obligations to any external attempt to exploit the situation in the Republic of Korea."
37. On May 20, the new Secretary of State, Edmund Muskie, addressed the situation in Korea in a press conference, stating:
"I must say that my reaction to the Korean situation is one of deep concern that it is moving away from liberalization policies, which I think are essential to its long-term political health. I would hope that all elements of the society would exercise restraint in this transition period, and that those in authority will find it expedient and appropriate to move in the direction of political liberalization."
38. On May 21, the Department's spokesman stated, in response to a press inquiry:
"The reports of escalating confrontation in Kwangju are most disturbing. The United States repeats its urgent call to all parties to exercise restraint. We have seen reports that military security forces are pulling out of the city to establish a cordon around it."
"We have also been informed that efforts are underway to develop a conciliatory dialogue, but it is not clear at all whether this effort is going to be successful."
Events in Kwangju
39. To recapitulate, the Korean authorities gave the U.S. two hours' advance notice of the declaration of full martial law. Neither the CFC Commander nor the Ambassador anticipated the subsequent closing of campuses and the National Assembly, the arrests of political leaders and journalists or the intrusion of military officers into various civilian areas, including the media.
40. The Korean military units used for full martial law fell into two categories -- those which had never been under CFC OPCON at the normal alert status prevailing in May, 1980, and those which had been removed from CFC OPCON. The brigades mobilized from the Special Warfare Command (SWC) and the 31st Division, based in Kwangju under the 2nd ROK Army, had not been under CFC OPCON. Elements of the 20th Infantry Division had been removed from CFC OPCON (see paras 3 and 31). None of the forces deployed at Kwangju were, during that time, under the control of any American authorities.
41. U.S. officials were caught up in a maelstrom of activity Sunday morning May 18, as they protested the imposition of full martial law and attempted to ascertain its scope and meaning, especially the arrests of Kim Dae Jung, Kim Young Sam, Kim Jong Pil and other political leaders. U.S. observers reported that armed martial law troops were occupying college campuses and guarding key facilities throughout Seoul, but were unaware of any reports of significant clashes. 42. Embassy officials did not know the situation in Kwangju was starkly different from that in Seoul. It was not until the morning of Monday, May 19, that the U.S. received its first fragmentary information on violence in Kwangju when David Miller, American Cultural Center Director there, telephoned the Embassy. Miller said Kwangju citizens told him that serious rioting was taking place in the city and that Special Warfare troops were responsible for numerous casualties and even some deaths. A U.S. military official in Seoul received a similar telephone call on May 19 from an acquaintance in Kwangju.
43. Since the situation in Kwangju which these reports described contrasted so greatly with the sullen, repressed but non-violent atmosphere in Seoul, it was at first difficult for the Embassy to understand their full significance. It was believed that any disturbances in Kwangju would be brought under control without the loss of life, as had been generally the case with earlier demonstrations.
44. Korean media, strictly controlled by martial law censors, also reported nothing Sunday, May 18 or Monday, May 19 about the events in Kwangju. The U.S. Embassy's fragmentary knowledge of developments in Kwangju during May 19 and 20 was based on bits of information from American Cultural Center Director David Miller; on limited observations from U.S. Air Force officials at an air base some 12 miles outside the city; and, increasingly, on the reports of foreign journalists. However, Miller's information was scanty as he had been ordered by the Embassy to remain indoors for security reasons. Official Korean sources either denied there was any particular problem in Kwangju or downplayed the seriousness of events there.
45. General Wickham returned to Seoul from the United States on May 19. He realized that he would need continuous and accurate information on the serious situation in Kwangju, which could affect his mission of defending the Republic of Korea against external aggression.
46. All available channels were used to urge moderation and patience. The key channel was military, through General Wickham, whose primary contacts were General Lew Byong Hion and the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Wickham also remained in constant touch with Ambassador Gleysteen. The Ambassador urged civilian officials, including the President and Prime Minister, to work for restraint, to seek contact with the citizens of Kwangju and to seriously consider apologizing or expressing regret for the excessive use of military force. Ambassador Gleysteen also made contact with leaders of the Catholic Church, who were urging the same thing.
Troop Deployments: Special Warfare Units and the 20th Division
47. The U.S. had neither authority over nor prior knowledge of the movement of the Special Warfare Command (SWC) units to Kwangju. SWC forces were not under CFC OPCON. When the U.S. had finally pieced together a picture of what had happened in Kwangju, Ambassador Gleysteen concluded that overreaction by Special Warfare troops was the basic cause of the tragedy.
48. By May 20, U.S. officials had become aware that the ROK military authorities were considering use of 20th Division units in Kwangju. The 20th Division was one of the few regular army units trained in riot control. The Korean authorities asserted that the 20th Division would be perceived by the populace of Kwangju as less confrontational than the Special warfare troops then in the city.
49. U.S. officials in Seoul agreed that use of the specially trained 20th Division -- if negotiations to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis failed -- would be preferable to continued deployment of the SWC against the citizens of Kwangju. General Wickham and Ambassador Gleysteen therefore responded to a query from the ROK authorities -- after consulting with their own superiors in Washington -- that they reluctantly accepted that it would be preferable to replace SWC units with elements of the 20th Division. (General Wickham asked that the 20th Division's heavy artillery remain near Seoul so it would be available in view of the continuing threat from the North, and this was done.)
50. Although the martial law command was not required to notify the UC of the movement to Kwangju of elements of the 20th Division as it was no longer under CFC OPCON, it did so on May 20. U.S. officials assumed this was done because following the unnotified movement of units under CFC OPCON on December 12, Gen. Wickham had protested repeatedly and forcefully. It was also a fact that the movement of the division from its normal area of operations near Seoul would lessen its availability in case of a military emergency.
51. In subsequent publications and interviews Ambassador Gleysteen has stated that the U.S. "approved" the movement of the 20th Division, and a U.S. Department of Defense spokesman on May 23, 1980 stated that the U.S. had "agreed" to release from OPCON of the troops sent to Kwangju. Irrespective of the terminology, under the rights of national sovereignty the ROKG had the authority to deploy the 20th Division as it saw fit, once it had OPCON, regardless of the views of the U.S. Government.
52. By the time the special forces were withdrawn to the perimeter of Kwangju on May 21, the U.S. Government was well aware of the extreme seriousness of the situation. The Korean Government asked the U.S. Government to help deter North Korea from taking military advantage of unrest in the South. In response, the U.S. on May 21 dispatched two E-3A Early Warning Aircraft to the Far East to watch for any signs of North Korean activity. Some major U.S. Naval units were also deployed near the peninsula.
53. On May 22, the U.S. made a public announcement, on Ambassador Gleysteen'S advice, which both warned North Korea and called for dialogue between opposing sides in Kwangju:
"We are deeply concerned by the civil strife in the southern City of Kwangju."
"We urge all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint and undertake a dialogue in search of a peaceful settlement."
"Continued unrest and an escalation of violence would risk dangerous miscalculation by external forces."
"When calm has been restored, we will urge all parties to seek means to resume a program of political development as outlined by President Choi."
"We reiterate that the U.S. Government will react strongly in accordance with its treaty obligations to any external attempt to exploit the situation in the R.O.K."
Although this statement and subsequent ones were broadcast by the Voice of America, they were not carried by the Korean media. Ambassador Gleysteen and General Wickham were assured by Korean military authorities that the May 22 U.S. statement would be broadcast and airdropped into Kwangju. Leaflets containing the statement were printed, but U.S. authorities discovered later that they were never dropped or distributed. U.S. officials also discovered later that, on the contrary, the local government-controlled radio in Kwangju was reporting that the U.S. had approved the dispatch of the SWC forces into Kwangju. Ambassador Gleysteen protested this disinformation to the Korean government and demanded an official retraction. It was never given.
54. On May 22 at a high level policy review meeting on Korea chaired by the Secretary of State, it was decided that U.S. policy toward Korea in the face of the Kwangju incident was to:
-- advise the Korean government to restore order in Kwangju through dialogue and minimum use of force in order to avoid sowing the seeds of wide disorder;
-- after resolution of the problem in Kwangju, continue pressure for "responsive political structures and broadly based civilian government;"
-- continue signals that the U.S. would defend South Korea from North Korean attack.
55. On May 23, Ambassador Gleysteen met with Acting Prime Minister Park Choong Hoon. Gleysteen told Park that the policy decisions of May 17 had staggered the U.S. The U.S. agreed that the ROKG had an obligation to maintain public order, but the accompanying political crackdown was political folly and clearly had contributed to the serious breakdown of order in Kwangju. Gleysteen stressed that political progress must resume when calm was restored; the situation would not stabilize unless the people had hope for the future. The same day, Ambassador Gleysteen had lunch with a bipartisan group of National Assemblymen and discussed U.S. views on Korea. The Korean language press reported that the Ambassador had expressed "understanding" or "approval" of the events of May 17. However, this was not true. At the luncheon, Gleysteen had expressed strong disapproval of the arrest of political leaders, the closing of the National Assembly and of the general political clampdown that began May 17.
The Kwangju Lull and Negotiations
56. As for Kwangju, both Wickham and Gleysteen encouraged martial law officials to enter into a dialogue with citizen groups in Kwangju to seek a non-violent end to the confrontation. Ambassador Gleysteen urged Korean authorities to talk to an ad hoc, informal citizens' committee comprised of concerned civic and religious leaders who were trying to restore peace to Kwangju. Gleysteen also maintained contact with the Catholic Church to support its efforts to promote dialogue. When David Miller, the Director of the American Cultural Center in Kwangju, left the city for Seoul on May 24, he carried a message from Bishop Yun in Kwangju for cardinal Kim which stated that the ROK Government would have to apologize for the SWC's actions in order to defuse tensions in the city. Ambassador Gleysteen endorsed the concept of an official apology for the misconduct of the Special Warfare units in Kwangju.
57. On May 24, General Lew Byong Hion told General Wickham that the martial law command had finalized plans to reenter and retake Kwangju. General Wickham acknowledged he could not dictate to the martial law command, but he pointed out to General Lew that using military force to solve political problems usually made the situation worse. Use of the military could erode popular support for the government and might raise the possibility of mutiny within the army. Gen. Wickham forcefully argued for restraint. He also urged that, if military units were sent to reoccupy the city, operational plans be carefully worked out to minimize the use of force and prevent needless casualties. Lew promised restraint. Wickham reported to Washington that the likelihood of martial law command forces having to reenter Kwangju was low because both he and Gleysteen believed that the Citizens' Committee was having some success at calming the situation.
58. On May 25, however, the U.S. Government began receiving ominous signals. The Korean Foreign Ministry asked all foreigners to leave Kwangju, a step presumed to presage further military action and potential violence. The U.S. Embassy and other embassies collected the names of their nationals who had not yet left Kwangju. The U.S. Air Force unit at Kwangju Air Base, which was able to make local phone calls into the city, tried to contact the citizens of various countries. Ninety-one nationals of the United States, Canada, Italy, Great Britain and South Africa gathered at Kwangju Air Base. Twenty-three of them were evacuated by the U.S. Air force on May 26; the rest stayed at the base. Several U.S. and other non-Korean citizens, including Peace Corps volunteers and missionaries, elected to stay in Kwangju.
59. Korean military authorities also began to tell the U.S. on May 25 that hard-core radical students had taken over the city, that their demands were excessive, and that they did not seem interested in good faith negotiations.
The Retaking of Kwangju
60. The next day, May 26, Blue House Secretary General Choi Kwang Soo informed Ambassador Gleysteen that the local ROK military commander in Kwangju had been given discretionary authority to reenter the city and the operation would begin soon. Gleysteen said he realized the Korean government wanted the incident ended, but suggested that all non-military options be exhausted first. He also specifically said that it would be a mistake for the Special Warfare forces to be involved in the reoccupation of the city.
61. It was only a few hours before the beginning of the operation to retake Kwangju, when it was already common knowledge that an attack was imminent, that someone in the provincial capital building asked a journalist to relay to Ambassador Gleysteen a request that he act as a mediator. Gleysteen declined a telephoned request to mediate with the Martial Law Command because he believed such a role was inappropriate for the U.S. Ambassador and would not be accepted by the ROK authorities.
62. After martial law forces entered the city in the early morning hours of May 27, the Martial Law Command informed the CFC commander that the operation had been well-conducted and that, except for 30 persons killed after refusing to surrender their arms, casualties had been "light."
63. The bulk of forces used were from the 20th Division, not the SWC, which had provoked the incident. However, SWC troops, wearing regular army uniforms to disguise their identity, had conducted the final assault on the provincial capital building and other places in Kwangju and, only after the end of fighting, had turned over their responsibilities to 20th Division forces.
Kwangju Aftermath: U.S. Policy
64. In a May 28 evaluation for Washington, Ambassador Gleysteen concluded that a group of army officers had taken power step by step and that an atmosphere of military occupation now permeated the country. The United States had been "demonstrably unsuccessful in trying to stop the march of these self-appointed leaders or even to slow them down." He concluded that, in essence, these leaders had discounted U.S. reactions because they thought that Washington had no option but to acquiesce. Gleysteen predicted that if Chun Doo Hwan and his group continued on their course there was the definite possibility of long-term instability in Korea.
65. On May 31, a high-level meeting in Washington considered the next steps the United States should take. Further meetings were held throughout June. To avoid signaling U.S. acceptance of the young generals, it was decided to take a "cool and aloof" public stance toward them. It was also decided to seek ways to encourage the new ROK power structure toward resumption of constitutional reform and elections. USG officials hoped that the generals, in the first stages of consolidating their power, would modify their actions to avoid public confrontation with the United States.
66. The United States decided not to threaten disruption of the ROK-U.S. security relationship (as opposed to taking political steps to demonstrate our displeasure, which was done) because of the North Korean military threat. U.S. policy makers, however, noted that dictatorship and instability in South Korea would eventually erode public and congressional support in the United States for the security relationship. In a May 31 TV interview, President Carter declared that the two considerations that underlay U.S. policy in Korea -- South Korean security and human rights -- had not changed. Carter stated firmly that the security commitment had not been shaken, but he also noted that democratization had been "given a setback" and that the U.S. was urging the Koreans "to move as rapidly as possible toward a completely democratic government."
67. Upon instructions from Secretary of State Muskie, Ambassador Gleysteen met with Chun Doo Hwan on June 4 and told him that recent events in Korea since May 17 had caused serious concern in the USG. Gleysteen told Chun it was unfortunate that ROK Special Forces had been used in Kwangju. They had been very rough and were not intended for crowd control, but for use on North Korean invaders. They were too tough ever to be used against South Koreans. The Ambassador hoped this tragic aspect of the incident could be publicly acknowledged. Chun told Gleysteen that he regretted that they had to be used, but that they were used as a last resort to control the situation.
68. In a June 26 meeting with Chun, Ambassador Gleysteen laid out U.S. views. Gleysteen stressed the need for overall progress toward political liberalization and the difficulty of sustaining the basic security and economic relationship in the absence of such an evolution. He urged an end to martial law. Gleysteen also complained that many Koreans believed that the U.S. Government was at fault for the Kwangju incident because of misinformation that had been broadcast. Chun responded that the U.S. should not worry about anti-Americanism in Korea because there were only a few who were using the issue for their own purposes.
69. Again, under instruction from Secretary of State Muskie, Gleysteen met with Chun Doo Hwan on July 8 to emphasize to him the Secretary's view that Chun had "abused' the U.S.-ROK security relationship. Gleysteen stressed to Chun that the long-term security relationship between the U.S. and Korea required that the Korean government have the support of the majority of its people.
Distortions of the U.S. Position
70. The U.S. policy of aloofness and public displeasure with the Chun takeover was known to the world, but not to the Korean people. The Chun regime used its control over the media under total martial law to distort the U.S. position, portraying it not as condemnation but as support. The distorted official radio reports of U.S. support for the actions of the Special Warfare forces in Kwangju and the authorities' reneging on their agreement to drop leaflets containing a U.S. statement supportive of a negotiated Kwangju settlement were only the first deceptions. On May 23, the Korean press distorted Ambassador Gleysteen's remarks to National Assemblymen as "understanding" or "approval" of the events of May 17 (as noted Paras 54-55)
71. Immediately after the end of the Kwangju incident, Chun Doo Hwan gathered a group of Korean publishers and editors and told them that the United States had been informed in advance of the December 12 seizure of power, of his appointment at the KCIA, and of the declaration of full martial law on May 18. Ambassador Gleysteen sent the Embassy Press Attache to each of the media figures Chun had met with to set the record straight, but none reported the true U.S. position---nor, under martial law, could they. The Associated Press did quote the Embassy's denial which made explicit that Chun's statement "simply was not true and Chun knew it." The AP report, however, was not carried in the Korean media.
72. Under martial law, statements by U.S. officials on Korean developments were regularly ignored and distorted by the Korean media. Whenever a U.S. official mentioned support for the ROK-U.S. security arrangement, that statement was highlighted, but statements urging democratization and human rights were downplayed or not carried at all. On June 22, the U.S. Embassy took the highly unusual step of publishing its own compilation of statements by U.S. officials on Korea and mailing it out to over 3000 people in Korea. In response to Korean disinformation and to clarify U.S. policy, Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Armacost appeared before a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee on June 25 to discuss recent events and U.S policy in Korea. On June 26, Gleysteen complained directly to Chun about misinformation on the U.S role in Kwangju being broadcast.
73. Manipulation of the facts by the Korean media continued through the summer with the misquoting of President Jimmy Carter's strongly worded letter to Chun Doo Hwan upon his election to the Presidency on August 27, 1980. Carter said that political liberalization must resume in Korea, but the controlled media reported it differently. Korean newspaper headlines read: "Carter: Personal Message to President Chun Expresses Support for Korea's New Government" (Donga Ilbo) and "Security Commitment to Korea: The Major U.S. Policy" (Joong-ang Ilbo). A heavily censored wire service report of September 2 read (deleted material in parentheses):
"President Carter said today that South Korea's new president, Chun Doo Hwan, should move quickly to restore democracy (and complete freedom of expression) to his country." Mr. Carter urged the liberalization of South Korea's political life when he answered a question at a town meeting held as he campaigned for re-election in November. (He said he believed the South Korean government should move faster toward complete freedom of expression and of the news media and should eliminate imprisonment of political opponents.) "Mr. carter said his views were clear and were well-known to President Chun. (He said he would continue to use his influence to persuade South Korea to move towards a democracy.) At the same time, reconfirming U.S. security commitments to South Korea. Mr. Carter said..."
The Kim Dae Jung Trial and Human Rights Issues
74. The United States was deeply concerned about the fate of Kim Dae Jung and others who had been arrested. On May 18, the day after Kim's arrest, it protested to the Korean authorities on his behalf. President Carter had met Kim a year earlier and took a personal interest in his case. Although ROK authorities were displeased, they acceded to strong Embassy demands that a U.S. official be allowed to attend Kim's trial. The U.S. went on record after the trial that the charges against Kim were "far-fetched" (a statement not carried by the controlled Korean media). These efforts helped to focus international attention on Kim's case. Some months after Kim Dae Jung had been condemned to death, the Chun Government made it clear to the U.S. that it linked Kim's fate to some degree of normalization in the frigid political relations between the two governments. After extensive discussions with Chun, Kim's death sentence was lifted, and Chun visited the United States early in the Reagan Administration.
75. As outlined in this statement, the United States Government at the highest levels was extremely concerned at events in Korea from December 12, 1979 through the May, 1980 declaration of Full Martial Law and the ensuing Kwangju tragedy, and beyond, as military rule was consolidated and prospects for democracy receded. It is also apparent that despite persistent, strong remonstrances by both military and civilian officials, the United States' efforts had only a marginal impact on events. Human rights and civil liberties issues, nonetheless, remained significant areas of dispute between the U.S. and the Chun Government throughout the fifth republic. The record reveals that the U.S. Government exerted its best efforts for Korean democratization and for restraint of ROK military actions against civilians during this troubled period. The U.S. Government only regrets that U.S. objectives were not achieved at the time: consolidation of civilian, constitutional rule and resumption of the democratization process.
June 19, 1989
Appendix to the
United States Government Statement on the
Events in Kwangju, Republic of Korea, in May 1980
This Appendix contains the written questions addressed to the United States Government by the Chairman of the Special Committee on Investigation of the May 18th Kwangju Democratization Movement. The Department of State received the questions on March 17, 1989 from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington D.C. Each question is accompanied by reference to the appropriate paragraph or paragraphs in the United States Government Statement on the Events in Kwangju, Republic of Korea, in may 1980 (hereinafter referred to as the Statement). Some questions are also accompanied by clarifying comment.
It should be recalled that in agreeing to respond to written questions on December 2, 1988 the U.S. Government stated:
"Recognizing that the May 18th Kwangju Movement for Democracy is a matter of great concern to the Assembly and to the people of Korea, and therefore wishing to cooperate as fully as possible with the Committee, the Department is prepared to respond to written questions from the Committee. The Department's response would of course fully incorporate the facts as known by Ambassador Gleysteen and by General Wickham, as well as information provided by other cognizant persons and in relevant documents."
"We would expect such questions to focus on the matter before the Committee, that is, the May 18th Democratization Movement and relevant events. This exchange should also be public."
The furnishing of the Statement and Appendix does not constitute a waiver of applicable privileges and immunities of the United States Government, its officials, or its former officials under international law.
COMMITTEE QUESTIONS, REFERENCES TO PERTINENT STATEMENT PARAGRAPHS AND CLARIFYING COMMENTS
A. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DECEMBER 12 INCIDENT OF 1979
A.l. It appears that the Kwangju tragedy of 1980 grew out of the so-called 12/12 Incident of 1979. Did the United States have prior knowledge of the December 12, 1979 incident involving the arrest of Army Chief of Staff Cheong Sung Hwa by a group of soldiers including then DSC Commander Chun Doo Hwan?
O See Statement, paras 5 - 6
A.2. General Sennewald has said that "prior to 1980 reconnaissance aircraft were active over Korea. Inside Korea they could even catch the movements of a single baby ant." That the movement of the troops during the 12/12 Incident, including the movement of the 9th Division which was under Combined Forces Command (CFC) operational control, was not known cannot be understood. From this point of view, to let those Korean units that were guarding the front line move to Seoul during December 12, disregarding their duty, is the responsibility of the CFC Commander, and going one step further, the responsibility of the U.S. What is your opinion of this?
0 See Statement, paras 5 - 10.
0 General Sennewald made no such statement. Furthermore, no such information gathering capability existed then or now. Elements of the Ninth Division moved into Seoul without the knowledge of U.S. authorities.
A.3. When did the U.S. first come to know of the 12/12 incident (from whom), when, and of (sic) the U.S. actions on the matter?
O See Statement, paras 1, 5-12.
A.4. After the 12/12 incident you said that you expressed your strong protest and dissatisfaction with the violation of CFC rules by the Korean military. What measures has the U.S. taken to ensure that such a disgraceful event does not happen again?
0 See Statement paras 1, 5-12.
0 In addition to the strong U.S. action after the 12/12 incident, the U.S. has continued to work closely with ROK authorities to ensure compliance with CFC procedures. Steadfast U.S. support for democracy in Korea contributes to a stable civilian government and the growth and institutionalization of democratic structures.
A.5. What are the details of the steps taken by the U.S. in regard to the demands made by Defense Minister Ro Che Hyon who had escaped onto the compound of the Eighth U.S. Army?
0 See Statement, paras 5-12.
0 ROK Minister of Defense Ro Jae Hyun arrived at the bunker command post on Yongsan garrison during the evening of December 12, accompanied by General Kim Chong Hwan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several other Korean officers. According to the senior American officials present, Ro and his ROK military colleagues knew little. Ro attempted to contact various ROK officers to persuade them to remain loyal to the government. He left the bunker later that night after receiving what he believed to be a guarantee of personal safety from the Vice Minister of Defense and the insurgent officers. He did this despite Ambassador Gleysteen's and General Wickham's advice to remain in the bunker. On arrival at the Defense Ministry, General Ro was arrested and taken to President Choi¡¯s house where documents were signed which authorized actions relating to the arrest of Martial Law Commander General Chung Sung Hwa. Ro was subsequently released.
A.6. Is it true that in early 1980 Chief of Staff Cheong Sung Hwa¡¯s direct subordinates sounded out the U.S. side on their plan to remove the officers who were the main culprits in December 12? If so, who did so? It is said that the U.S. refused. If so, why?
0 See Statement, paras 13-24.
0 There were many rumors of possible military moves against the December 12 insurgent officers in the ensuing months. The U.S. position, well known to all, strongly opposed any extralegal action by any group within the Korean military.
A.7. As the Special Committee's hearings have revealed to a certain degree, Chun Doo Hwan, Roh Tae Woo and the generals who grabbed military power through the December 12 incident were the center of administrative power. In the period after December 12 and before May 17, 1980 it is known that the U.S. consulted with this newly emerging military power, the so-called 'strongman' group. who was the channel for this consultation, and what discussions were held?
0 See Statement, paras 13-29.
B. QUESTIONS REGARDING THE EXPANSION OF MARTIAL LAW ON MAY 17
B.1. What advanced information did the U.S. receive regarding the expansion of martial law in Korea on May 17 and the creation of the Emergency Measures Committee for National Security?
0 See Statement paras 21-33.
B.2. There are differing opinions regarding the security situation in Korea during the spring of 1980, that is before the expansion of martial law on May 17. At the time, how did the U.S. analyze and assess the Korean security situation in light of North-South relations?
0 See Statement, paras 13-14. 26-27.
0 Throughout this troubled period, the U.S. remained alert to the possibility that heavily armed, unpredictable North Korea could perceive an opportunity to exploit the situation and order its massive military forces to attack. The U.S. issued repeated public warnings to forestall any possible misjudgements in Pyongyang and deployed air and naval units to the area. Gen. Wickham spent considerable time in early 1980 visiting front line units and talking with tactical commanders to focus attention on the continuing threat and the need to maintain readiness. However, no indications of an imminent North Korean attack were ever received, and the U.S. never perceived the ongoing military threat from the North as justification for measures taken by the authorities in power in Seoul. As the Statement makes clear, the precise contrary is the case. The U.S. position was repeatedly distorted by the government-controlled media.
B.3. In the Spring of 1980 did the U.S. authorities feel that whatever the student demonstrations, both on campus and in the streets, the danger justified the dissolution of the National Assembly through the expansion to nation-wide Martial Law?
0 See Statement, paras 16-38.
0 The U.S. consistently held that the situation never justified measures such as dissolution of the National Assembly, expansion of Martial Law, or the arrest of opposition politicians.
B.4. It is known that both before and after 5/17 U.S. authorities were frequently in contact with the leading forces of 5/17. Are you willing to publicly announce the list of those involved in the dialogue and their contents?
0 See Statement, entire text.
B.5. In particular, could you not release the contents of the mid-May meeting between President Reagan's Advisor Richard Allen and Chun Doo Hwan?
0 Mr. Richard Allen did not visit Korea in May 1980 nor at any time during that year. Ronald Reagan was not President of the United States in May 1980.
B.6. Also, the consultations on May 9 between Defense Minister Choo Young Bok and General Wiener (Warner), the Commander of the U.S. Readiness Command, who was then in Korea on an inspection tour? What was discussed?
0 Meetings and consultations between U.S. and Korean officials which had no bearing on U.S. policy or actions regarding the events within the purview of the Statement are not pertinent. Gen. Warner's visit to Korea was of this nature. Gen. Wickham participated in Gen. Warner's meetings, which dealt with professional U.S. military matters and also involved a number of courtesy meetings with ROK officers.
B.7. What were the contents of the May 10, 1980 discussions between the U.S. Embassy and Mrs. Colbert, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the State Department?
0 Mrs. Colbert's discussions in Seoul had no bearing on issues within the purview of the statement.
B.8. What were the contents of the discussion that took place on May 17-18, 1980, when the Ambassador to the U.S., Kim Young Sik called on Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Holbrooke at the State Department?
0 See Statement, para 35.
B.9. What were the contents of the discussions between Ambassador Gleysteen and Foreign Minister Park Tong Chin on May 19-20, 1980?
0 See Statement, para 46.
0 All available channels were utilized to urge moderation and patience, including contacts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have no record of the above cited discussions.
B.10. Did presidential candidate Reagan's Advisor for Foreign Affairs, Retired General Singlaub, visit Korea in mid-May 1980? What was the purpose of his visit and who did he meet?
0 During May 1980, Retired General Singlaub was a private U.S. citizen holding no U.S. Government position and did not represent the USG in any capacity. He engaged in no activity that is pertinent to the issues within the purview of the Statement.
B.11. Is it true that in a May 21, 1980 interview with American reporters at the U.S. Embassy you said that 'I hope that the political agenda promised by President Choi Kyu Ha will be observed," and that "the U.S. understands the background and the inevitability for the measures to expand Martial Law on May 17"? If so, what do you think was the background and the inevitability?
0 No transcript of the interview or alleged remarks can be located. However, as the Statement makes clear, at no time did the U.S. Government or Ambassador Gleysteen indicate that the expansion of Martial Law was appropriate, much less "inevitable." U.S. officials consistently urged a return to civilian rule and the implementation of a timetable for democratization.
B.12. In an interview for the August 1985 edition of "Shin Dong-A" you said that "since we could not know at the time that the situation was developing and because we tried to achieve a peaceful solution we have no reason to apologize." You also said that "reports offered by a USIA officer, Korean employees, Korean journalists, U.S. reporters, the U.S. Air Force Base, etc." were received. Given the fact that the documentaries of those days, which are available now, are all of them photographed by foreign journalists, we cannot understand how the U.S. Embassy, the 8th Army, or CFC could not know these facts. We wish you would please explain.
0 See Statement, paras 30-51.
B.13. Before the declaration of the expansion of Martial Law on May 17, 1980 did you request of Kim Dae Jung (currently President of the Party for Peace and Democracy), Kim Young Sam (currently President of the Reunification Democratic Party), or dissident leaders a statement calling for restraint of student demonstrations? If so, what is the reason this was never announced in newspapers or on T.V. or radio?
0 See Statement, para 28.
0 Statement, paras 53, 55, 70-73 also document the difficulties encountered in disseminating the American view of events.
B.14. What information on North Korean military activities did the U.S. have during the period from after the December 12 incident in 1979 till May 1980, particularly what were the North Korean front line activities prior to the May 17 expansion of Martial Law in the South? Did you provide the information on North Korea to the Korean military authorities or government? If so, what was reported?
0 See Statement, paras 2, 6-8, 10, ll, 13-14, 17, 24, 26-27, 52-54.
B.15. What was the content of discussions between General John Wickham and MND Minister Chu Yong-Bok on May 13, 1980?
0 See Statement, paras 24 and 28.
0 The record reveals a meeting on May 9 between General Wickham and Defense Minister Chu during which General Wickham warned of the dangers of escalation if troops were used against civilians.
0 Also see Statement, Para 26, which records a meeting on May 13 between General Wickham and General Chun Doo Hwan. At the May 13 meeting, General Wickham told Gen. Chun that there was no sign of an imminent North Korean invasion, that political liberalization would bring stability and that stability was the principal means of deterring the North.
B.16. On May 14, 1980, General Wickham returned to the U.S. on official duties. At that time, the mass media reported that the purpose of the visit was for consulatation with the Washington authorities on Korea's domestic situation as well as the situation on the Korean peninsula. Was it not to consult (with Washington) on those items that General Wickham had already agreed with the Chun Doo Hwan military group prior to the May 17 expansion of Martial Law?
0 See Statement, paras 21-32.
0 General Wickham returned to the U.S. for scheduled consultations and to attend his son's graduation from Wake Forest University. He had no discussion with General Chun concerning expansion of Martial Law; to the contrary, as the Statement paras 25-32 makes clear, American authorities including General Wickham did not believe that either the domestic situation or the threat from the North justified repressive measures.
B.17. What did General Wickham discuss with the U.S. authorities at that time, and what was decided? What relation was there between this and the meeting General Wickham had on May 13 with MND Minister Chu Yong-Bok?
0 See Comment on Questions B.15. and B.16. above.
0 Also see Statement, paras 25-29, which reflect U.S. officials' views and discussions. Gen. Wickham's discussions and reports were a part of this process.
B.18. what are the details of the U.S. Defense Department Announcement saying that on May 12, 1980 at 2230 Hours there was a small scale shooting engagement in an area South of the Joint Security Area in the DMZ?
0 Such incidents occurred periodically along the DMZ. NO special significance attached to activity along the DMZ during this period. Nothing occurred which would indicate that North Korea intended to attack.
B.19. On May 19, in answering questions by reporters at a briefing, a U.S. State Department Spokesman said that (the U.S.) has not detected any movement indicative of North Korean military provocation. On the other hand, the Korean military side maintained that "The danger of North Korean military invasion was very serious." Is it possible for Korea and the U.S. to have conflicting assessments of this situation? To what extent was the CFC's intelligence assessment utilized by Korea in its assessment of North Korea?
0 See Statement, paras 26-27, 52-53.
0 Also see comment on Question B.18. above.
0 Although information is freely shared between the US and ROK military authorities, each has an independent assessment capability. It is of course possible that such assessments may differ.
0 Questions about ROK military intelligence assessments during this period should be addressed to the ROK military authorities.
C. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE KOREAN SPECIAL FORCES
C.l. In an interview for the August 1985 Edition of "Shin Dong-A" you said that "since the Korean Special Forces do not come under the CFC, the U.S. could not know that they were thrown in." What is the reason that the Korean Special Forces do not come under the operational control of the CFC?
0 See Statement, para 1.
0 Under the CFC arrangements, many combat units of the ROK military are not placed under CFC OPCON at the usual defense alert condition on the peninsula. This was the case with Korean Special Warfare Units in May, 1980. They are to be committed to CFC OPCON as the alert status increases, which did not occur in May, 1980. It is a sovereign decision for each nation as to which national forces are placed under CFC OPCON.
0 During the period under review, the disposition of the Korean Special Warfare forces was not related to external defense, but rather was a domestic matter wholly within the sovereign authority of the Government of the Republic of Korea. Furthermore, the mutual defense treaty permits either party to develop appropriate individual means to deter armed attack.
C.2. When you consider it in light of Article 2 of the Mutual Defense Treaty's "spirit of consultation and agreement," even if the Korean Special Forces do not come under operational control of the Combined Forces Command, wasn't it necessary before they were committed to consult with or seek the cooperation of the U.S.?
0 See Statement, para l, and comment to question C.l. above and D.S. below.
0 Article 2 of the 1954 mutual defense treaty provides that the parties will consult whenever either believes that its own or the other party's political independence or security is threatened by "external armed attack," that the parties will develop appropriate means to deter such attack, and that they "will take suitable measures in consultation and agreement to implement the treaty and to further its purposes." It does not provide for consultation on all military or defense matters.
0 There was no requirement for ROK authorities to consult with the U.S. before moving Special Warfare units, and they did not consult or inform us before moving them to Kwangju.
C.3. According to Article 2 of the Korean-American Mutual Defense Treaty: "...the signatory parties acting singly or Together, through unilateral or mutual assistance will take appropriate measures to strengthen themselves to block an armed attack..." This implies that an attack on North Korea is impossible without a prior consultation or coordination between the U.S. and Korea. Then isn't the existence of Korean Special Forces, trained primarily for anti-North Korean assault missions such as intelligence gathering in North Korea, harassing the rear, kidnapping and assassination, destruction, etc. a violation of the basic spirit of the Mutual Defense Treaty?
0 See Statement, para 1, and comments to Questions C.l. and C.2. above.
0 The existence of the Korean Special Warfare forces does not violate the treaty, nor its "spirit."
0 ROK Special Warfare Command forces are tasked in the CFC defense plan, although these forces do not become OPCON to CFC until a higher state of readiness alert is declared than obtained in May, 1980.
C.4. In an interview for the August 1985 Edition of the "Shin Dong-A," Ambassador Gleysteen said, "Korean Special Forces were not under CFC Command and the U.S. could not know of their deployment." What is the reason and background for not including under the operational control of Korean-American CFC the Special Forces Units, which excel beyond all other ROK military units in combat capability and mobility and whose mission is to attack North Korea?
0 See Statement, para 1, and comments on Questions C.l. and C.2. above.
C.5. Nevertheless, General Wickham routinely received reports or notifications on the movements of these units and assented to their request for cooperation, why?
0 See Statement, para 1, and comments on Questions C.l., C.2., C.3., and C.4. above.
0 General Wickham, as CFC Commander, under normal circumstances was advised of the disposition of all U.S. or ROK combat forces on the Peninsular whether or not under CFC OPCON. However, in May 1980 the ROK authorities were not required to and did not see fit to advise the CINC/CFC of the Special Warfare units' deployment to Kwangju.
0 Gen. Wickham tried to keep open all available channels of communication, but he could not ensure that some information would not be withheld from him.
0 Questions as to why this was not done should be addressed to the appropriate ROK authorities.
C.6. Ambassador Gleysteen's remarks that "the U.S. could not know the deployment of the Korean Special Forces," is very much different from what General Sennewald had said earlier. Do you agree with what Ambassador Gleysteen said?
0 See Statement, para 1, and comments on Question A.2., C.l., C.2., C.3., C.4., and C.5. above.
0 Ambassador Gleysteen's observation is accurate.
C.7. What is the basis for assigning the task of "executing the Chung-jong operation," the task of suppressing a popular uprising, to the Special Forces units whose primary mission is to carry out an assault mission against North Korea?
0 This question should be addressed to the Korean authorities who made that decision.
D. APPROVAL OF THE MOVE OF THE 20TH DIVISION
D.l. in an interview for the July 1988 issue of the Wolgan Chosen, Ambassador Lilley said that 'the sole obligation of Korean military authorities towards the Combined Forces Command When it withdraws a division is to notify CM.0 wACcording to the CFC Agreement he (Gleysteen) did not have the authority to approve or disapprove the movement of the 20th.w Do you think that Ambassador Lilley was correct?
0 See Statement. paras 1, 33-51.
0 Ambassador Lilley's observation is accurate.
D.2. According to the 'New York Times' of may 23, 1980, 'The Defense Department has reported that the Korean government has requested the withdrawal from CFC operational control of several ground units to be used for demonstration suppression and security tasks, and the Commander of CFC, General John A. Wickham, has accepted this request.w Are the contents of this article factual? If as Ambassador Lilley said the sole obligation was to inform, then was not this request unnecessary and the seeking of advance approval even more unnecessary?
0 See Statement, paras 1. 31, 40r 47-51 and comments on Questions C.l.i C.2.r C.3.f C.4., C.5.. and C.6. above.
0 The ROKG was under no obligation to notify or inform the CFC of movement of elements of the 20th Division to Kwangju, as that move took place after the Division was removed from CPC OPCON by Korean military authorities.
0 As the Statement makes clearp after U.S. authorities learned of the serious situation in Kwangju and that the special warfare units had inflicted many civilian casualties# both Ambassador Gleysteen and General Wickham concluded that the Special Warfare units had clashed violently with the Kwangiu populace. When the Korean authorities asserted that the 20th Division would be perceived by the people of Kwangju as less confrontational than the SWC troops then in the city, Ambassador Gleysteen and General Wickham, after consulting with their superiors in Washington, reluctantly accepted that the use of 20th Division units (which had some training in riot control) would be preferable to the SWC if negotiations failed. Gen. Wickham specifically urged ROK CJCS Lew to use restraint should military force be applied.
0 AS to why the Korean military authorities acted as they did in regard to the 20th Division, that question should be addressed to the Korean authorities involved.
D.3. According to Ambassador Lilley and the organizational chart of the Korean-American Combined Forces Command, the issue of approving the request for release of the 20th Division from CFC operational control was different than at the time of the 10/26, 1979 incident in that it required a very important decision involving the Kwangju suppression. Isn't it true that both General Wickham and Ambassador Gleysteen at that time lacked actual power to make the decision on their own?
0 See Statement. paras 1. 31 31, 40, 47-51.
0 The legal framework and the authority for removal of the 20th Division from UC OPCON were the same in October 1979 and in May 1980.
D.4. One regiment of the 20th's Division (the 61st Regiment) began to move to Kwangju at 2230 Hours on May 20. When was the request to remove the unit from CFC operational control received, and when was assent given? And what was the process of deciding on the release of the 20th Division from operational control?
0 See Statement. paras li 3, 311 40, 47-51 and comments on Questions C.l., C.2., C.3.p C.4. C.5., and C6. above.
D.5. Under the guidelines of the Korean-American Mutual Defense Treaty? which provision allowed for operational control to be transferred?
0 See Statement, para 1, and comment on Question C.l. above.
0 NO provision in the 1954 ROK-U.S. mutual defense treaty deals specifically with the Combined Forces Command or the issue of CFC OPCON; the establishment of the CFC, and the procedures relating to WC OPCON, are measures taken under the authority of the treaty.
0 The Combined Forces Command (CFC) was established in 1978, by agreement between the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Korea. Pursuant to that Agreement, the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the U.S.-ROK military committee and the U.S.-ROK Combined Forces Command (CFC) provide that the Commander-In-Chief of the WC (CINC/WC) will exercise operational control of combat forces of the U.S. and the ROK that are assigned or attached to the WC. Both the U.S. and the ROK Governments retain their sovereign right of command over their military forces at all times. They also retain their sovereign right to assert operational control (OPCON) over their forces at any time, and may thus assign such forces to or remove them from CINC/CFC OPCON without the consent of the other party. Only the commander with OPCON can. consistent with WC proceduresi order forces to undertake any movements or military action. Notification to CINC/WC of removal of forces from the operational control of the CINC/WC is required as a practical matter in order that CINC/WC may be aware of the extent of forces under his operational control at any time, to enable him to make appropriate adjustments in force deployments as well as in defense plans.
0 At the same time, the U.S. and ROK have recognized the desirability of consultation prior to removal of their forces from CINC/WC OPCON, for the purpose of ensuring that such removal does not jeopardize the ability to respond to external armed attack. Such consultation furthers the WC goal of deterring and defending the ROK against external aggression and is consistent with the provision in Article 2 of the 1954 Mutual Defense Treaty that the parties will consult whenever, in the opinion of either, the political independence or territorial integrity of either is threatened by external attack.
D.6. Did you have a prior consultation on the replacement of the Special Forces troops which were deployed to Kwangju with the 20th Division?
0 See Statementi paras 1, 311 40, 47-51, and comments on Questions C.l., C.2., C.3., C.4., C.S.p C.6., and D.2. above.
0 There was no requirement for consultation regarding movement of the Special Warfare units or of the 20th Division, after it was removed from CFC OPCON.
0 Discussion between U.S. and ROK officials of the 20th Division's move did take place, and is described abovet in the referenced paras of the Statement and in comments on the Questions noted.
D.7. After the 20th Division was deployed to Kwangju the Special Forces continued their violent actions for a certain period of time. In particular, very early in the morning of the 27th the Special Forces carried out the suppressive action against the provincial government building. What do you think of the assertion that the 20th Division was not sent to Kwangju to replace the Special Forces troops but to reinforce them?
0 See Statement, paras 56-63.
D.8. On December 21, 1988 at the Kwangju hearing the then Commander of the 20th Division, Park Joon Byong, testified that ffloperational control over the 20th Division was received from CFC on October 27, 1979.' Is this true?
-- If it is truer then at that timer toot were the procedures of the Korean side making a request and the CFC consenting observed?
-- Under CPC rules, after permission is received to withdraw a unit from CFC operational control, when and under what circumstances is it supposed to be given back to CFC?
-- Has there ever been a case where you were notified of the recovery of operational control?
-- At such time, were you notified that the entire division was recovered at the same time?
0 See Statement. paras 1. 3, 31, 40, 47-51.
0 Procedures for notifying withdrawal of the 20th Division from CFC OPCON on October 27, 1979 were observed. Return to CFC OPCON is routinely notified. although there are no written provisions for either withdrawal or return of units. Removal of OPCON normally involves either written or electronic means if time permits or verbal notification if the matter is more time critical.
0 CFC rules do not address the issue of when and under what circumstances return of troops to CPC OPCON is to occur.
D.9. Is it true that on May 23F 1980 you approved the request for the removal from operational control of one battalion of the 33rd Division to restore order in the Kwangju area?
-- If it is truer on what basis and for what goal did you give your assent?
-- What was the reason for subsequently cancelling that decision in such an abrupt manner?
0 See Statement, paras 40. 47-63.
0 we are unaware of any involvement of the 33rd Division in any Kwan9ju or Kwangju-related event. In 1980, the 33rd Division was stationed on the Kimpo Peninsula and was under CFC OPCON.
D.10. In an interview for the July 1987 edition of 'Shin Dong-A' you revealed in substance that 'the Korean military requested and permission was granted for the 20th Division which was deployed in Seoul to move to Kwangju.' On November 18, 1988 while appearing before a hearing of the Ad Hoc Kwangiu Committee, Lee Hee Sungi then Army Chief of Staff, commented on this, testifying that *it seems that Gleysteen's thinking was illusory.o Would you please once again state your position clearly in regard to this?
0 See Statement, paras l# 310 40, 47-51, and comment on Question D.2. above.
E. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SUPPRESSION OF THE KWANGJU STRUGGLE
E.l. Testifying at a hearing of the Kwangju Committee of the National Assembly, Lee Hee Song. the ex-Martial Law Commander said that when the then Commander of the 2nd Army, Chin Chong Che, proposed the operation to suppress Kwangju he said Obecause it is subject of Korean-U.S. consultations, let's put it off until the 24th of Mayo. After that, on the afternoon of may 26 at 1640 Hours General Robert Sennewald held consultations with General Kim Che Myong. Is this all true? If so, what was the content of the discussion?
0 See Statementr paras 52-61.
0 Throughout this period, General Wickham and his staff (General Sennewald was Director for Operations) had frequent contact with their ROK military counterparts. American officials at all levels persistently urged caution and restraint. The U.S. Government did not wish military force to be employed to reoccupy Kwangju; it urged negotiated settlement. If military force were to be employed, the U.S. urged utmost care to limit casualities. American officials were not at any point involved in decision makingi which was the sovereign responsibility of the ROK Government.
0 Only the ROK military officers directly involved could explain the rationale for the General's reported statement. it is possible he was referring to these repeated contacts with U.S. military officers during which the latter urged caution and a negotiated settlement.
E.2. What was the final process of consultation, and what were the points of instruction made by the U.S.?
0 See Statement, paras 52-63 and comment on Question E.l. above.
E.3. Although the United States said through a variety of channels before. during and after the Kwangju struggle.~ that *there is no indication for North Korean military activities,' on or about may 27, when the suppression operation against the provincial government building was carried out, U.S. Early Warning Aircraft were dispatched, and the U.S.S. Coral Sea was moved to a point off of Pusan. What was the goal of these military moves? Who demanded them? Who made the decisions? Also, what was the background?
0 See Statement, pars 52, and comment on Questions B.2r B.3.t B.14.f B.18., and B.19.
0 Although there were no indications during this period that North Korea was preparing to attack, the presence of massive North Korean forces normally deployed far forward along the DMZ in an offensive posture, plus the belligerent and unpredictable record of the North Korean leadership, gave rise to concern lest they perceive an opportunity to try to take advantage of the unsettled situation in the South. This led the U.S. to warn the North against provocations and, in coordination with Korean authorities, to deploy air and naval forces to give substance and credibility to that warning.
EA. Is it possible to send reconnaissance aircraft over Korean airspace or ships into Korean waters without consultations with the Korean side? What is the basis for this?
0 No. The U.S. does not enter another country's airspace or territorial waters without appropriate coordination. This applies equally to Korea.
E.5. In the May 26. 1980 edition of the New York Times it was reported that wthis afternoon (the 24th or the 25th Korean time) student leaders of the Kwan9ju uprising requested of the U.S. that Ambassador Gleysteen use his good offices to bring about a 'cease fire* so as to be able to put an end to the blood-shed.' Did you refuse this for the reason that you could not interfere in internal Korean affairs?
0 See Statementp para 61.
0 Ambassador Gleysteen concluded that the suggested use of good offices was not appropriate under the circumstances for the U.S. Ambassador and would not be accepted by the ROK authorities.
E.6. In an interview for the August 1985 Edition of wShin Dong-Al you said that wthe reason for the breakdown of negotiations between the Korean military and the demonstrators was, in the last instance. the refusal of the radicals to return their arms.*
- Does the Korean military have no responsibility for the breakdown of negotiations?
-- Also. why do you think the radicals refused to surrender their arms?
0 See Statement. paras 39-63.
0 Questions relating to negotiations between ROK authorities and the insurgent leaders in Kwan9ju should be addressed to those directly involved.
E.7. During the Kwan9ju struggle it is said that the U.S. side made an agreement with the Korean authorities for a statement addressed to the citizens of Kwangju to be dropped by helicopter and also broadcast on TV and radio. What was the reason for the Korean authorities breaking their promise? Also. what was the contents of that statement?
0 See Statemento paras 53, 70-73.
F. QUESTIONS REGARDING THE WEAPONS USED TO SUPPRESS THE KWANGJU STRUGGLE
F.l. We know that aside from our own weaponsi the Korean military uses weapons received via Military Aid Plan (MAR), 'Foreign Military Sales' (FMS) purchase, the *Surplus Arms Sales Plan (EDA), and through joint production with the U.S.; and that there are agreements so that these arms cannot be used to massacre citizens of the country. Did you approve the use by troops deployed to Kwangju of helicopters (UH-1H, 500MD, AH-1H, 0-1), tanks, APC'S, etc.?
0 The Arms Export Control Act states that the United States Government may sell of lease defense articles or services to friendly countries under the Foreign military Sales and Excess Defense Equipment programs solely for internal security, legitimate self-defensef participation in collective arrangements consistent with the U.N. Charter. or economic and social development. These limitations on use are reflected in documents exchanged in each case. Similar restrictions are applied to equipment provided under the Military Assistance Program, as well as co-produced defense articles. Although the term winternal security,w as used in the Arms Export Control Act, does not include routine law enforcement activities, it does include the preservation of internal order against armed uprisings and other serious disturbances. In some instances, although not in the case of Korea, statutory provisions or bilateral agreements impose additional limitations upon the uses to which certain defense articles may be put. The United States Government does not typically require its consent to the use in particular instances by a foreign government of defense articles of U.S. origin (unless the use is for a purpose other than that authorized by the U.S. Government).
0 In the case of Kwan9ju, the U.S. Government did not approve or disapprove in advance the use of any such articles by the ROK armed forces. Based on the information available at the time to the U.S. Government on the magnitude and nature of the situation in Kwangju, U.S. officials did not believe the use of U.S.-provided equipment to restore order would violate the terms of their transfer to the ROK Government. U.S. officials did, however, convey to responsible ROK officials on a variety of occasions concern over the behavior of certain ROK military units and urged against the use of military force to reoccupy the city and for a negotiated settlement. If negotiations failed and troops were sent into the city, U.S. officials urged utmost restraint on ROK military officers to limit casualties.
F.2. If they were used without U.S. approval. this is a violation of the agreements. Has the U.S. ever censured Chun Doo Hwan and his government for this violation? If noto does not this confer tacit approval or ratification?
0 See Statement. paras 64-69. and comment on Question F.l. above.
G. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE U.S. ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE KWANGJU STRUGGLE
G.1. On May 22# 1980 (U.S. time) State Department Spokesman Bodding Carter announced that 'the U.S. is very worried abut the popular strife that has developed in Kwangju in the southern part of Korea. We urge that all sides use the greatest self-restraint, and that a peaceful means for ending this conflict be found through negotiations. Should there be any foreign attempt to use the current situation in Koreaj the United States will respond fully under the provisions of the Korean-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.' What is the reason that this. coming 4 days after the start of the Kwan9ju incident, was the first public U.S. response?
0 See Statement. paras 30-51.
0 The U.S. Government spoke out forcefully and repeatedly as soon as it knew about the situation in Kwangju.
G.2. This was already after a large number of citizens had been killed in cold blood by the Special Forces troops. What was the reason that, in spite of this was there no warning or censure against such atrocities and only mention of the security situation on the Korean peninsula?
0 See statementi paras 30-51# 70-73.
0 Throughout this period U.S. official statements were repeatedly distorted and censored by the Korean mediaf which was strongly influenced by the Korean military authorities at that time.
G.3. Isn't it because the Carter Administration, at the same time it was announcing its policy of supporting human rights# thought that the U.S. national interest (the strategic importance of the Korean peninsula against the Soviet Union) was more important than democratization in Korea so that it gave tacit approval to the use of violence (the coup dletat) by the military authorities?
0 See statementr all paras and comments on Questions G.1. and G.2. above.
0 The Carter Administration, like prior and successor U.S. administrations, consistently held that true stability and security can be achieved only by governments which enjoy broad support from the people. This conviction guided the actions of the Carter Administration during the period under review.
G.4. Was it not because of the worry that if there was the slightest mistake in the use of the U.S. direct and physical power of influence that Korea, which had until then been the most anti-Communist and the most pro-U.S. country in the world, might become a second Iran or Vietnam?
0 See Statement, all paras and comments on Questions G.l., G.2., and G.3. above.
0 This question is based on totally erroneous assumptions.
G.5. Since 1980 the tide of anti-American sentiment and the anti-American movement have gradually risen in Korea. Why do you think this has happened?
0 It is clear that one cause of increased anti-Americanism in Korea in the 1980'S is the false impression held by many Koreans that the U.S. was directly involved in and significantly responsible for the Kwangju tragedy -- a misperception in part fostered by the deceptions of the Korean authorities at the time, and in part by the restrictions on the dissemination of facts about the Kwangju may 18th Democratization Movement throughout the Fifth Republic.
G.6. It is said that after the Kwan9ju struggle the U.S. Embassy wanted the creation of a civilian government through fair elections while the UN Command wanted a military government to be created for the sake of Korean security. Is this true? Did General Wickham help Chun Doo Hwan consolidate his power. If so, why?
0 Those rumors and allegations are unfounded and untrue.
0 The Statement and Appendix clearly demonstrate that throughout this period, the U.S. Government was united in its advocacy of democratization and in opposition to repressive military rule. General Wickham and his staff played a key role along with Ambassador Gleysteen in pursuit of those objectives.