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The Invasion of North Korea

At noon on 1 October, General MacArthur broadcast from Tokyo a call to the North Korean commander in chief, demanding his surrender. The call went unanswered. [1] Hence there appeared to be no alternative to sending UNC forces into North Korea if the remainder of the North Korean Army and the Communist regime were to be destroyed. But since the United Nations had not ordered or even clearly authorized the entry into and occupation of North Korea, American authorities were careful not to make public any plans for occupying the northern half of Korea while they worked to achieve some definite form of United Nations approval.

The United Nations Resolution of 7 October

The Departments of State and Defense agreed that if North Korea collapsed and its Russian and Chinese neighbors kept hands off, MacArthur should occupy North Korea under the auspices of the United Nations. Some officials favored a unilateral occupation by the United States if the United Nations took no new steps authorizing occupation, "even at the expense of some disagreement with friendly United Nations nations." [2] But this was decidedly a minority view.

In late September, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had sent MacArthur a State Department opinion which held, "It will be necessary to consult with and obtain the approval of United Nations members before the United Nations commander can be authorized to undertake the occupation of North Korea." The State Department proposed that MacArthur send mainly South Korean and other Asian troops to occupy only key points in North Korea. U. S. troops would leave Korea as early as possible. There would be no revenge or reprisal in the occupation. "The general posture of United Nations forces should be one of liberation rather than retaliation," State Department authorities believed. General MacArthur agreed and told the Joint Chiefs, "The suggested program from the standpoint of the field commander seems entirely feasible and practicable." [3]

[1] Text, Broadcast, CINCUNC to CINC NKPA, 1 Oct. 50, in State Dept. Bulletin, 9 Oct. 50.

[2] Memo, Chief, Plans Div. G-3 (Col. Johnson) for DCS for Plans (Gen. Gruenther), 21 Sep. 50, sub: Program for Bringing Korean Hostilities to an End, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 99/3.

[3] (1) Rad, JCS 92608, JCS to CINCFE, 26 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, CM-IN 15683, CINCFE to JCS, 26 Sep. 50.

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Secretary of Defense Marshall also wanted United States troops to stay out of the picture during any occupation of North Korea. "I wish to state," Marshall told Secretary of State Acheson on 3 October:

     that the Department of Defense continues to believe that as 

     few United States troops as possible should engage in the 

     physical occupation and pacification of areas north of the 

     38th Parallel, once organized military hostilities have ended.  

     It remains important, therefore, to increase the number of 

     other United Nations troops sent to Korea, particularly from 

     countries in Asia. [4]

General Marshall deplored the lack of an organized United Nations agency, other than military, to handle "the tremendous problems that will follow hostilities." He reminded Secretary Acheson that the United Nations Commission in Korea (UNCOK) was neither staffed nor equipped to meet the problems that would face it if the United Nations occupied North Korea. He called upon Acheson to sponsor the formation by the United Nations of one combined or three separate agencies to handle the three major problems-relief and reconstruction, political unification, and security. [5]

The Department of State had already drawn up a resolution for the United Nations to consider. This resolution supported the political objectives of the United Nations in Korea, including means for carrying them out through occupation if necessary. State Department officials talked informally with representatives of friendly member nations in the United Nations and solicited their support for the passage of the resolution. The United States could not work through the Security Council as in earlier days, since the USSR delegate to the council had returned to his seat in August, bringing a veto power likely to be used against any American-inspired resolution. Consequently, the American delegation moved the Korean question before the General Assembly where the USSR had no veto power and where American greatly outweighed Russian influence.

On 7 October the General Assembly passed the resolution. It did not clearly call for the conquest and occupation of North Korea but gave implicit assent. The General Assembly recommended:

     (a) All appropriate steps he taken to ensure conditions of 

     stability throughout Korea; and, (b) All constituent acts be taken, 

     including the holding of elections, under the auspices of the 

     United Nations, for the establishment of a unified independent and 

     democratic Government in the sovereign State of Korea . . .

This resolution also established the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK) which replaced the old United Nations Commission in Korea. [6] The Joint Chiefs of Staff had already sent a draft copy of the resolution to General MacArthur, at the same time informing him that the United States Government considered it as supporting operations north of the 38th Parallel. [7]

MacArthur's Plans Change

"All appropriate steps" to "ensure conditions of stability throughout Korea"

[4] Ltr., Secy. Defense (Marshall) to Secy. State (Acheson), 3 Oct. 50, Incl. to JCS 1776/129, 3 Oct. 50, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 99/11.

[5] Ibid.

[6] State Dept. Bulletin, XXIII (23 Oct. 50), 648-49.

[7] Rad, JCS 93555, JCS to CINCFE, 6 Oct. 50.

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meant only one thing to General MacArthur, particularly since the enemy refused to answer his surrender demand. He went ahead with his preparations for destroying the North Korean Army on its own ground. His original plans for doing so were scarcely recognizable by the time they went into effect. In order to keep pace with the swift advances in the east and west, General MacArthur had to change his scheme of late September. Other deviations from the prepared plans became necessary because of unexpected conditions encountered at Wonsan.

In late September, Walker's troops on the west and central fronts, although poised for the assault on North Korea, had to be held in check temporarily. Walker's divisions were delayed, not by reluctance or enemy opposition, but simply by a lack of sufficient food, fuel, and munitions for sustained operations in North Korea. All supplies had to come forward on badly damaged overland routes; incoming cargo jammed limited port facilities; and all available air transport was busy rushing supplies into the few usable airfields so that MacArthur's troops might attack as soon as possible.

As the Eighth Army and X Corps pressed into the crowded maneuver area along the border of west and central Korea, MacArthur established a boundary between them. He made Eighth Army responsible for establishment and publication of complete bombline locations for all of Korea. Boundary control points between areas of responsibility of the two major commands were selected by General Walker who then notified General Almond. Walker received permission to use roads through Almond's areas in carrying out the necessary surveying work. Direct communication between the two commanders was authorized. The U.N. commander, when it appeared that the enemy's lines of communication and other facilities would soon be under his control and would be needed in the advance into North Korea, changed policy and forbade any further unnecessary destruction of railroad facilities and equipment, bridges, and enemy airfields. [8]

The North Korean Army seemed to have melted away, so rapidly did it retreat. Even as MacArthur called for surrender and while American divisions waited in the west, the ROK 3d Division of the ROK I Corps on the east coast crossed almost unopposed into North Korea on 1 October. MacArthur reported the crossing to the Joint Chiefs the next day: "Probing by elements of the ROK Army are now well across the 38th Parallel. Advances on the extreme right are between ten and thirty miles in the coast sector with practically no resistance." These ROK troops were under Walker's command. [9]

General MacArthur foresaw that he might not need to use X Corps amphibiously, if successes in the east continued. "It is possible," he told the Joint Chiefs on 2 October, "if the enemy's weakness is pronounced that immediate exploitation may be put into effect before or in substitution for my prepared plans." [10] Yet he sent no more troops into the coastal operation in support of the ROK

[8] (1) Rad, C 64621, CINCFE to CG Eight Army and CG X Corps, 27 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, CX 65139, CINCFE to All Comds, 1 Oct. 50.

[9] Rad, C 65252, CINCFE to DA (JCS), 2 Oct. 50.

[10] Ibid.

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drive, and on the same day issued orders for an overland attack north along the Kaesong-Sariwon-P'yongyang axis and an east coast amphibious handing at Wonsan to encircle and destroy North Korean forces south of the Ch'ungju-Kunu-ri-Yongwon-Hamhung-Hungnam line. The Eighth Army was to make the main ground attack on P'yong-yang, and the X Corps was to perform the amphibious movement. After the Eighth Army had seized P'yongyang and the X Corps had invested Wonsan, each was to attack toward the other along an east-west axis, join up, and cut off all enemy escape routes. On the ground, only ROK troops would operate north of the line Ch'ongju-Kunu-ri-Yongwon-Hamhung-Hungnam, except on MacArthur's direct order. He ordered Admiral Joy, COMNAVFE, to outload X Corps. The assault force from the 1st Marine Division was to load at Inch'on; the remainder of the corps, principally the 7th Division, was to embark from Pusan. These orders were completely within the authority granted General MacArthur on 27 September. [11]

General Walker would command all United Nations ground forces in Korea with the exception of X Corps and the 187th Airborne RCT; X Corps, under General Almond, would revert to GHQ Reserve when passed through by Eighth Army and remain under the direct command of General MacArthur. Upon embarkation for the assault and while on the water, X Corps would be controlled by Admiral Joy. The commander of Joint Task Force Seven would command all forces in the amphibious assault until General Almond had landed and indicated his readiness to assume responsibility for further operations ashore.

On 3 October, General MacArthur canceled his previous delineation of the Inch'on-Seoul area as a X Corps objective and took direct control of the 187th Airborne RCT, which had entered Korea on 23 September and been operating in the Kimp'o area. General Walker relieved General Almond of responsibility for the Inch'on-Seoul area at noon on 7 October. [12]

By 1 October, the total ground force strength within the United Nations Command in Korea, divided among the Eighth Army, X Corps, and service units, amounted to more than a third of a million men. Far East Air Forces under General Stratemeyer, on the same date, totaled 36,677, and U.S. Naval Forces, Far East, under Admiral Joy numbered 59,438. [13]

The Likelihood of Chinese Intervention

Political Signs

From the very beginning of U.N. operations in Korea the United States and its allies had kept close watch on the political and military reactions of Korea's giant neighbor, Communist China. Possessed of a powerful army and led by men fanatically dedicated to communism, China could have interfered with serious effect during July, August, and

[11] GHQ, UNC Opns Order No. 2, 2 Oct. 50.

[12] (1) Rad, CX 65371, CINCFE to All Comdrs, 3 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, X 10665, CG X Corps to CINCFE, 8 Oct. 50.

[13] (1) Rpt., ROK and U.N. Ground Forces Strength in Korea, 31 July 1951-31 July 1953, DA COA, 7 Oct. 54. (2) Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, p. 605.

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September. The fighting in Korea, however, received far less attention in Chinese newspapers and in policy statements than did Formosa, which China seemed to consider more important to her immediate interests. Too, the relationship between China, the USSR, and North Korea did not emerge clearly at first. The Chinese appeared content to allow Russian propagandists and officials to champion the North Korean cause in July and August.

On 13 July, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India suggested to Premier Stalin and Secretary of State Acheson that Communist China, more formally, the Peoples' Republic of China, be admitted to the U.N. Security Council and that the United States, USSR, and China, "with the help and cooperation of other peace-loving nations," informally explore means to end the Korean War. Stalin promptly accepted, but the United States rejected the offer on i8 July. Chinese leaders made no immediate official comment. [14]

On 4 August, Jacob Malik, USSR representative to the United Nations, proposed that the "internal civil war" in Korea be discussed with Chinese Communist representation in the United Nations and that all foreign troops be withdrawn from Korea. On 22 August, Malik warned that any continuation of the Korean War would lead inevitably to a widening of the conflict. This statement seemed to signal a turning point for Chinese propagandists who, in public journals and official statements, began to hint darkly that if necessary the Chinese people would defend North Korea against its enemies. On 25 August, China formally charged the United States with strafing its territory across the Yalu. On 6 September, the U.N. Security Council voted down Malik's 4 August proposal and on 11 September, defeated his move to have Chinese Communists come to the United Nations to consider Chinese charges of border violation by the United States. [15]

MacArthur's successful landing at Inch'on brought no actual intervention, as feared by some, but it did trigger a barrage of threatening pronouncements from high Chinese officials. On 22 September, the Chinese Foreign Office declared that China would always stand on the side of the "Korean people," and on 30 September, the Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai publicly warned, "The Chinese people absolutely will not tolerate foreign aggression, nor will they supinely tolerate seeing their neighbors being savagely invaded by the imperialists." [16]

Late on 3 October, Chou En-lai called in the Indian Ambassador to Peiping, Dr. K. M. Pannikar, and, obviously expecting that his message would be conveyed to the U.S. Government, informed him that if United Nations troops entered North Korea, China would send in its forces from Manchuria. China would not interfere, however, if only South Koreans crossed the parallel. Next day, Pannikar communicated Chou's message to the United States through the British Minister at Peiping. [17]

[14] Allen S. Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1960), p.60.

[15] Ibid., pp. 69-70, 92-94.

[16] Ibid., p. 108.

[17] K. M. Pannikar, In Two Chinas: Memoirs of a Diplomat (London: Allen and Unwin, 1955), pp. 109-11.

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Because earlier threats had not materialized, and because of the assumption that the Chinese, if they really were serious, would not give away their intentions, Chou's warning caused no change in MacArthur's orders. The fact that the message came from Pannikar also raised doubts that the warning was genuine. For Pannikar had shown distinct Communist leanings and anti-American feelings in the past. Only a few days earlier, moreover, when the United States asked India to advise Communist China that it would be in the latter's best interest not to interfere in Korea, [18] Pannikar reported that China did not intend to enter Korea. [19] For these reasons, American intelligence officials discredited the newest message from Pannikar.

Still another factor which detracted from the validity of Chou's warning was a resolution pending before one of the committees of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The key vote on the resolution was to take place on 4 October. President Truman felt that the Chinese threat could well be a blatant attempt to blackmail the United Nations. [20]

Military Signs

Military indications of Chinese plans to invade North Korea were hard to come by. MacArthur on 29 June 1950 had been warned to stay well clear of Manchurian and Soviet borders. This order forced him to rely almost entirely upon outside sources for information on the strength and disposition of the Chinese Communist forces in Manchuria. Using these sources, General Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence chief, reported on 3 July that the Chinese had stationed two cavalry divisions and four armies in Manchuria. A Chinese army normally possessed about 30,000 men but this figure varied. [21]

Other reports, often conflicting and of doubtful credence, told of troops of Korean ancestry being sent into North Korea by the Chinese. Throughout July and August 1950, the Department of the Army received a mass of second- and

[18] Since the United States did not recognize the Peiping government, it did not deal directly with the Communist Chinese.

[19] Memo, G-2 DA for DCofS for Plans, DA, 25 Sep. 50, sub: Chinese Communist Attitude Toward Korean Hostilities, in CofS, DA file 000.1, Case 1.

[20] Truman, Memoirs, II, 362.

[21] MS, Col. Bruce W. Bidwell, History of the War Department Intelligence Division, Part VII, ch. V.

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third-hand reports that more Chinese troops were moving from south China to Manchuria. Willoughby estimated by the end of August that the Chinese had moved nine armies totaling 246,000 men to Manchuria. [22]

Indications that the Chinese Communists possibly intended to enter the fighting continued to be reported to the Department of the Army by the G-2 Section of the Far East Command. In daily teleconferences between officers at the Department of the Army and MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo, General Willoughby, or his officers, relayed the latest information of Communist Chinese military activities. Each day, also, the United Nation Command's Daily Intelligence Summary (DIS) went to the Department of the Army by courier, arriving several days later in Washington. This summary carried all reports received from intelligence sources on the Chinese Communists and made an effort to evaluate these reports. At the top intelligence level, the Central Intelligence Agency combined reports from its own sources with those of the United Nations Command and then analyzed the actions and intentions of the Chinese for high-level governmental agencies.

To determine through outward manifestations alone whether the Chinese intended to intervene was virtually impossible. But by using such indications as movements of troops and supplies, American intelligence agencies could gauge this intention with some hope of accuracy. Penetration of Communist China to ascertain these movements was an almost impossible task. But certain agencies, particularly those allied with the Chinese Nationalist Government on Formosa and others operating out of Hong Kong, relayed reports of Chinese Communist military movements.

Although there were no definite military indications after Inch'on that the Chinese meant to enter the fighting in Korea, General Willoughby speculated that 450,000 Chinese troops were massed in Manchuria. The nation's planners had given full consideration to Chinese strength and the possibility of its employment in Korea when they drew up their blueprint for national policy in September. [23] While the primary concern of these authorities continued to be the possibility of intervention by the USSR, much attention had also been given to whether or not Chinese forces would come into Korea, and if so, what course should be followed by the United Nations Command. On 27 September, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed General MacArthur to make a special effort to determine if the Chinese intended entering the war. [24] On the next day, General MacArthur assured them that there was no present indication of the entry into North Korea by Chinese Communist forces. [25]

On the day of Chou's warning, 3 October, the UNC intelligence staff reported some evidence that twenty Chinese Communist divisions were in North Korea and had been there since 10 September. They also commented on the reported warning from the Chinese Foreign Minister and other recent public statements that ""Even though the utterances . . .

[22] Ibid.

[23] DIS, GHQ, FEC, 2934, 21 Sep. 50.

[24] Rad, JCS 92801, JCS to CINCFE, 27 Sep. 50.

[25] Rad, C 64805, CINCFE to JCS, 28 Sep. 50.

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are a form of propaganda they cannot be fully ignored since they emit from presumably responsible leaders in the Chinese and North Korean Communist Governments. The enemy retains a potential of reinforcement by CCF troops." [26]

On 5 October, noting the purported entry into North Korea of nine Chinese divisions, GHQ intelligence officers observed that recent reports were taking on a "sinister connotation" and concluded that the potential "exists for Chinese Communist forces to openly intervene in the Korean War if United Nations forces cross the 38th Parallel." [27] General Willoughby told Washington officials that the USSR "would find it both convenient and economical to stay out of the conflict and let the idle millions of Communist China perform the task as part of the master plan to drain United States resources into geographical rat holes of the Orient." He informed them that a build-up of Chinese forces along the Korean-Manchurian border had been reported by many of his sources and that "while exaggerations and canards are always evident, the potential of massing at the Antung and other Manchurian crossings appears conclusive." According to his computations, between nine and eighteen of the thirty-eight Chinese divisions believed to be in Manchuria were massing at the border crossings. Yet, MacArthur's intelligence chief did not, as far as is known, attempt to dissuade General MacArthur from crossing the parallel. Moreover, continuing reports of Chinese Communist troops crossing into Korea in early October were discounted by the Far East Command intelligence officers since "no conclusive evidence" existed; and the recent Chinese threat to enter North Korea if American forces crossed the 38th Parallel was characterized as "probably in a category of diplomatic blackmail." [28]

Nevertheless, the possibility that the Chinese Communists might actually intervene caused President Truman to direct the Joint Chiefs of Staff to give General MacArthur instructions covering such an eventuality. On 9 October, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed Mac-Arthur that ". . . in the event of the open or covert employment anywhere in Korea of major Chinese Communist units, without prior announcement, you should continue the action as long as, in your judgment, action by forces now under your control offers a reasonable chance of success. In any case you will obtain authorization from Washington prior to taking any military action against objectives in Chinese territory." [29]

One day earlier, the delicate balance of international relations received a substantial jolt when two of MacArthur's jet

[26] DIS, GHQ, UNC, 2946, 3 Oct., and 2947, 4 Oct. 50.

[27] DIS, GHQ, UNC, 2948, 5 Oct. 50.

[28] (1) DIS, GHQ, FEC, Nos. 2951, 2952, 2957, 8, 9, 14 Oct. 50. (2) The Indian Ambassador to China asserts that on 9 October, Ernest Bevin, U. K. Foreign Minister, sent him a message to be transmitted to Chou En-lai personally and which was " . . friendly in tone and contained vague assurances . . . that the Korean Commission would give the Chinese views their most careful consideration." Dr. Pannikar sent along this message which, in his viewpoint, added insult to injury since the Korean Commission consisted of such countries as the Philippines and Siam. "In any case," Pannikar notes, "Bevin's approach was too late, for the Chinese armies were already in Korea." See Pannikar, In Two Chinas: Memoirs of a Diplomat, pp. 111-12.

[29] (1) Rad, JCS to CINCFE, 9 Oct. 50. (2) Truman, Memoirs, II, 362.

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fighters attacked a Soviet airfield in the Soviet maritime provinces near Sukhaya Rechk. This incident was tailor-made for the USSR to use as an excuse to intervene in the Far East, especially since it occurred at almost the same time that American divisions moved above the 38th Parallel for the first time.

The United States informed the Soviet Union that the pilots had made a navigational error and had used poor judgment, that the commander of the Air Force Group responsible had been relieved, and that disciplinary action had been taken against the two pilots. The United States also expressed deep regret and offered to pay for all damages to Soviet property which were, it was reported, considerable. But the Russians did not acknowledge this offer. [30]

One intelligence report reaching President Truman on 12 October stated that Chinese military forces, while lacking the necessary air and naval support, could intervene effectively but not necessarily decisively. Further, in spite of statements by Chou En-lai and troop movements to Manchuria, there were no convincing indications of Chinese Communist intentions to resort to full-scale intervention in Korea. The general conclusion of the report was that the Chinese were not expected to enter North Korea to oppose the United Nations Command, at least not in the foreseeable future. Several reasons were given for this conclusion: The Chinese Communists undoubtedly feared the consequences of war with the United States. Anti-Communist forces would be encouraged and the regime's very existence would be endangered. The Chinese Communists also would hesitate to endanger their chances for a seat in the United Nations. Moreover, in the unlikely event that the Chinese entered the war without the benefit of Soviet naval and air support, they were bound to suffer costly losses. On the other hand, acceptance of Soviet aid, if forthcoming, would make China more dependent on Russia and would increase Russian control in Manchuria. This report agreed with many others that from a military standpoint, the most favorable time for intervention had passed. For all of these reasons, U. S. intelligence officials concluded that while full-scale Communist intervention in Korea had to be regarded as a continuing possibility, such action,

[30] (1) Rad, JCS 93885, JCS to CINCFE, 11 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, No. 412, Secy. State (Acheson) to USUN, N. Y., 18 Oct. 50.

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barring a Soviet decision for global war, was not probable in 1950. This optimistic forecast was bolstered by a report from the Far East Command on 14 October implying that China and the USSR, "in spite of their continued interest and some blatant public statements," had decided against "further expensive investment in support of a lost cause." [31]

Eighth Army Enters North Korea

By 3 October, the ROK I Corps was well inside North Korea on the east coast. But until the second week of October, Walker's divisions in the west continued to occupy the Seoul-Inch'on area and to prepare for their drive on P'yongyang.

Supply shortages still plagued Walker's forces. Lt. Gen. Frank W. Milburn, now commanding the U.S. I Corps which was slated to head the Eighth Army attack, was uneasy about these shortages, and especially wanted at least 3,000 tons of ammunition in forward supply points near Kaesong to support his divisions in the attack. But it was physically impossible to raise the forward supply levels. The Army simply had outrun its logistic support (I Corps, for instance, was 200 miles north of its railhead at Waegwan); and Inch'on helped hardly at all since unloading almost halted during the first half of October when its port facilities were diverted to the out-loading of X Corps. [32]

Walker nonetheless was convinced by 7 October that it was time to move. Since MacArthur's order for the attack to the north had not designated a beginning date for the Eighth Army advance and since Walker had had no word since the initial order on 2 October, he directed his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Leven C. Allen, to get in touch with Tokyo and find out what was wanted. Allen immediately called General Hickey, acting chief of staff, FEC GHQ, for an answer. "Your A-Day will be at such time as you see it ready," Hickey replied. Allen asked for and received immediate confirmation of this by radio. Two days later, on 9 October, Walker notified MacArthur that he had ordered his commanders to strike out for P'yongyang without delay. [33]

[31] (1) Rpt. in CofS, DA file 323.3, 12 Oct. 50. (2) DIS, GHQ, FEC, 2957, 14 Oct. 50.

[32] (1) 3d Log Comd Hist. Rpt., Oct. 50. (2) EUSAK War Diary, G-4 Sec Rpt., to Oct. 50. (3) Interv, Col. Appleman with Gen. Eberle, GHQ, FEC, UNC G-4, 12 Jan. 54.

[33] (1) Telecon, Gen. Hickey (Tokyo) with Gen. Allen (Korea), 1130, 7 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, CX 65711, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 7 Oct. 50.

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Also on 9 October, basing his action on the new U. N. Security Council resolution, General MacArthur made a second attempt to persuade the North Koreans to surrender. "In order that the decisions of the United Nations may be carried out with a minimum of further loss of life and destruction of property," he told enemy leaders by radio, "I, as the United Nations Commander-in-Chief, forces under your command, in whatever part of Korea situated, to lay down your arms and cease hostilities." He assured the enemy that the people of North Korea would be treated fairly and that the United Nations would rehabilitate their devastated country as part of a unified Korea. But he warned that unless he got an immediate agreement from the North Korean Government, "I shall at once proceed to take such military ac-

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tions as may be necessary to enforce the decrees of the United Nations." [34]

Kim Il Sung, the North Korean Premier, rejected this demand out of hand. He knew that, even as MacArthur's message reached him, Walker's divisions in the west were entering North Korea while in the east the ROK I Corps was fast approaching Wonsan.

Information on North Korean activities north of the parallel had already convinced the Eighth Army that hard fighting awaited on the road to P'yongyang. ROK intelligence agents described extensive North Korean fortifications and other defensive preparations, including the moving up of new units of fresh troops who had not fought in South Korea. [35]

In the U.S. I Corps zone, patrols from the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division crossed the 38th Parallel on 7 and 8 October; and on 9 October, the full division struck across the boundary north of Kaesong. The

[34] Radio Broadcast, CINCUNC to CINC NKPA, 9 Oct. 50.

[35] EUSAK PIR Nos. 82[7] 89, and 90, dated 2, 9, and 10 Oct. 50.

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British 27th Brigade, the ROK 1st Division, and the U. S. 24th Division also took part in the drive. The attackers encountered prolonged and fierce resistance at Kumch'on, but on 14 October they seized that battered town and by 16 October the enemy front lines ceased to exist. American, British, and ROK troops then raced toward P'yongyang. (Map III)

The progress of the two divisions of the ROK I Corps along the east coast of Korea was even faster, and at times spectacular. Although enemy resistance appears to have been lighter in the area, the ROK advance nevertheless reflected a creditable offensive spirit. [36] The speed with which these South Korean soldiers pursued their adversaries up the peninsula made inevitable the bypassing of comparatively large numbers of enemy troops in the east coast mountains. These troops later turned to guerrilla warfare and proved an annoying, even dangerous, thorn in the side of U. N. forces.

Because General Walker was not sure of how much control he held over ROK units, General Allen, when he talked to General Hickey on 7 October, had asked for guidance. Referring to the attack order from GHQ, Allen said, "In the order you notice, there is a line up beyond which certain people [ROK] go. ... Is KMAG under our control and logistic support? We would like to know if we can organize the ROK Army itself." Hickey was not able to provide an immediate answer, but called Allen back fifteen minutes later saying, "Red, I've got the confirmation on the way to you by wire regarding those elements you mentioned. They are to be considered as members of the team and working with the team in whatever area they may be employed." [37]

ROK units on 11 October captured Wonsan, the objective area for the pending X Corps assault. General Walker flew into the city on the day of its capture. He was so impressed by the ROK's successes that he tacitly established his own plan for cutting a line across Korea from P'yongyang to Wonsan. By taking Wonsan before X Corps arrived the ROK units had changed considerably the tactical picture existing at the time of the issuance of Operations Order No. 2, nine days before. The ROK forces seemed to be in a position to carry out the original mission assigned to X Corps, advancing along the Wonsan-P'yongyang axis to link up with other Eighth Army forces and sealing off Korea to that line.

The success scored by the ROK I Corps and mounting evidence of landing problems at Wonsan had already caused General MacArthur to think of changing the employment of X Corps. He had directed his planners to modify plans for Almond's landing and to prepare for a possible landing by the Marines at Hungnam instead of Wonsan. The 7th Division would land administratively a few miles north of Wonsan, then strike out overhand for P'yongyang. The Marines, in the meantime, from their base at Hungnam would head toward P'yongyang also. On 8 October, General Wright presented General MacArthur with such a plan. This plan pointed

[36] General MacArthur paid tribute to the ROK forces engaged in this operation by stating that. "In ... the exploitive pursuit. they are unequaled." see MacArthur Hearings, p. 4.

[37] Telecon, Gen. Hickey and Gen. Allen, 1115, 7 Oct. 50, and 1130, 7 Oct. 50.

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out that the Hungnam area was a feasible location for an amphibious assault operation. After reviewing the plan, General MacArthur called in Admiral Joy, pointed out that ROK units were even then approaching Wonsan, and told him that he was considering this alternative method of landing. Joy strongly opposed the change. He pointed to the great disadvantages of splitting the two forces, the lack of time for detailed naval planning, and the impracticability of clearing both Wonsan and Hungnam harbors of mines in the short time left before the landing was to take place. General MacArthur accepted Joy's views, gave up the idea of changing landing places, and on 10 October ordered all major commanders to carry out the original plan as scheduled. [38]

General Walker, on the next day, reported to General MacArthur, "The I ROK Corps has entered Wonsan and is now mopping up enemy resistance. The II ROK Corps [is] advancing north on the Wonsan area from the vicinity of Chorwon-Kumhwa-Kumsong." Then, apparently believing that this welcome news gave him sufficient license, General Walker announced some plans of his own:

     In order to support the planned operations of the ROK Army in 

     securing the Wonsan area and advance to the west to Pyongyang in 

     conjunction with the advance of the U. S. I Corps from the south 

     and southeast, it is vital to provide for the supply of five 

     divisions of the ROK Army through the port of Wonsan. Request that 

     the harbor be swept clear of GF mines as soon as possible. [39]

General MacArthur had no intention of leaving X Corps out of the operations. He made this very clear to Walker, removing any delusions that Eighth Army was going to expand its mission. "Wonsan port facilities will be secured and utilized for operations of X Corps in accordance with the United Nations Command Operations Order No. 2," he instructed General Walker. He told him that the Navy would continue its sweeping operations to remove mines from Wonsan Harbor and would maintain its gunfire and air support of ROK divisions. But no additional LST's for carrying supplies to the ROK troops could be furnished until after X Corps troops had landed. MacArthur also told Walker that the Eighth Army would lose the ROK forces in the Wonsan area when X Corps came in. "I now plan to place X Corps in operational control of I ROK Corps. ..." [40]

The X Corps Prepares

At the close of September, at X Corps headquarters in Ascom City near Inch'on, General Almond briefed his division commanders and principal staff officers on the coming amphibious operation. General Smith, commanding the 1st Marine Division, viewed the plan skeptically especially the concept of marching westward across the peninsula to contact Eighth Army. "It involved a movement

[38] Karig, Battle Report, The War in Korea, ch. 25, pp. 301-02. (2) Rad, C 55002, CINCFE 10 All Cmdrs, 10 Oct. 50. (3) Opn Plan CINCFE 9-50 (Alternate).

[39] (1) War Diary X Corps 8 Oct. 50, Wonsan-Iwon Landings. (2) Rad, GX 25744, CG EUSAK to CINCFE, 11 Oct. 50.

[40] Rad, CX 66169, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 11 Oct. 50.

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of 125 miles across the rugged central mountain chain of Korea," he wrote later. "There were many defiles and many stretches of the road were one-way. The Eighth Army in its rapid drive north from the Pusan Perimeter had by-passed thousands of North Korean troops. These enemy troops had faded into the central mountains and were making their way north to a sanctuary somewhere in North Korea. In a drive across the central mountain range, the protection of the MSR would present a serious problem, as the drift of the North Koreans would be across the MSR." The matter was not for Smith to decide, however, and the division officers began planning for the new operation at once. [41]

The 1st Marine Division, scheduled to assault the Wonsan beaches, began assembling in the Inch'on area on 4 October. By 7 October, the division and a regiment of South Korean marines moved into staging areas at Inch'on and on 9 October began boarding ship for the 830-mile sea voyage to Wonsan.

The other major component of the X Corps, the U. S. 7th Division, started moving south to Pusan by road and rail on 5 October. Several times during the long trip, groups of bypassed enemy soldiers attacked the column, but were beaten off. The leading regiment of the 7th Division reached Pusan on 10 October. By the 12th, all units were in their Pusan assembly areas; and on 16 and 17 October, the division boarded ship.

By General MacArthur's direction, the Eighth Army was responsible for the logistical support of all United Nations forces in Korea. Thus, General Walker was responsible for supplying the X Corps without having any control over the corps' operations. This arrangement added confusion and misunderstanding to an already unusual relationship between the two major commands. Mac-Arthur may have felt that Almond's extremely tight time schedule in preparing for the amphibious move, the general dislocation of Almond's forces during the transfer of divisions, and the weaknesses inherent in corps logistical facilities as compared to an army, justified saddling Walker with this additional responsibility. Too, there was reason to believe that the Wonsan operation would be completed within a matter of weeks, thus rendering Walker's obligation a temporary measure of short duration.

Colonel Smith, X Corps G-4, had decided views on the effect of MacArthur's decision to make Eighth Army responsible for X Corps supply. "The preparation for the East Coast landing," Smith commented:

     was further complicated from a logistic viewpoint by action taken 

     by GHQ to revise channels during the out-loading so that the Eighth 

     Army became responsible for logistic support of the Corps instead 

     of Corps dealing directly with logistical agencies in Japan. 

     Through direct contact of X Corps staff with JLCOM [Japan 

     Logistical Command] Agencies, detailed supply plans had been 

     completed. . . . The introduction of Eighth Army into channels 

     interrupted these arrangements at a critical time.

     Although Eighth Army made every effort to assist the Corps in out-

     loading in conformance with the plan, the loss of direct contact 

     with JLCOM resulted in resupply difficulties during the unloading 

     phases. Rations arrived on large ships, bulk loaded. In order to 

     assemble logical menus for issue to troops, almost the entire ship 

     had to be unloaded before a balanced meal could be 

[41] General Smith's Chronicles, p. 371.

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     provided.  This required emergency airlift of rations into the 

     Corps area. Had the original plan for shallow-draft ships with 

     cargo prepared for selective discharge been followed, it would have 

     been possible to have met the troop requirements from day to day.

     A similar problem occurred in the out-loading of Signal supplies.   

     At this time the Corps was utilizing three ports for unloading. 

     Instead of distributing Signal supply items to permit this 

     discharge at each area, all items were placed on one ship and 

     unloaded at Iwon with the Seventh Division. Lack of rail facilities 

     and limited truck transportation delayed redistribution of these 

     supplies to other units.

     POL intended for resupply of Seventh Division was never outloaded 

     by JLCOM due to a misunderstanding based on a cancellation of what 

     they thought to be a duplication.  This necessitated an emergency 

     shipment by LST to meet an urgent requirement for the Seventh 


     It is believed that the above and many similar problems were 

     created primarily by the change of channels at a time when all 

     staffs were over-worked and involved in a very complicated 

     operation requiring the closest of liaison and direct coordination. 

     Many of these difficulties would not have arisen had X Corps 

     continued to receive logistic support direct from JLCOM at least 

     until the initial landings had been established on the Fast Coast. 


A New Obstacle

While the loading of X Corps ran its course, other developments in the objective area threatened even more directly than supply and shipping problems to wreck the entire landing operation. The enemy had mined Wonsan Harbor and all its approaches.

The U. S. Navy had discovered enemy mines in Korean waters as early as 4 September. Operations at Inch'on had been somewhat hampered by contact mines laid in the entrance channel. (Magnetic mines had also been discovered but, fortunately, ashore.) Between 26 September and 2 October five U.N. ships had struck mines. Intelligence reports confirmed that the enemy had mined the approaches to Wonsan Harbor. But the depth and thoroughness of the enemy's mining operations along the coast of northeast Korea did not become apparent until Almond's troops had already begun loading at Pusan and Inch'on. [43]

The Navy attack order, issued on 1 October, had called for minesweeping operations to begin five days before the landing date. But reports of mines at Wonsan and the possibility of bad weather or influence mines making the clearing a longer operation, prompted Admiral Struble to advance the beginning date to 10 October. [44]

When on the 10th ships of Joint Task Force Seven turned toward Wonsan to begin their minesweeping, they encountered mine patterns as concentrated and effective as any in the history of naval warfare. At least 2,000 mines of all types-contact inertia, contact chemical, pressure, and electronic-lay in the path of any invasion fleet. Intelligence reports later disclosed that Russian technicians and advisers had assembled the mines, planned the minefields, and su-

[42] Blumenson, Miscellaneous Problems and Their Solution, p. 52.

[43] (1) Comd and Hist. Rpt, COMNAVFE, Sep.-Nov. 50, Annex to Rpt of GHQ, FEC, UNC. (2) Field, History of United States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 229-42.

[44] Field, History of United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 233.

Page 209

pervised their laying. Civilians impressed from Wonsan had laid the mines simply and economically by rolling them off towed barges. The Russians had meant to lay 4,000 mines, but had not finished when ROK forces drove them out of Wonsan. [45]

Although 20 October had been established as the corps landing date, Admiral Doyle, commanding Task Force 90, directed that the landing be delayed until the transport and landing areas were positively clear of all mines. The command ship for the operation, USS Mt. McKinley, with Generals Almond and Smith aboard, proceeded to the Wonsan area to await developments; but the remainder of the assault shipping was ordered to delay arrival at Wonsan by alternately sailing north for twelve hours then south for twelve hours and while awaiting orders from Admiral Doyle to proceed to Wonsan. [46]

Since the ten American minesweepers in the theater were not enough to sweep the harbor in time for a 20 October landing, and with no time to bring more sweepers from the United States, Admiral Joy had petitioned General MacArthur for permission to use Japanese minesweepers. Necessity overcame any political objections, and General MacArthur granted permission. He stipulated that Japanese crew members must be volunteers and that they receive double pay. Subsequently, 19 minesweepers-10 American, 8 Japanese, and 1 ROK-concentrated for the sweeping operations which began on 10 October. [47]

The use of Japanese contract vessels and crews introduced problems stemming from misunderstanding. The Japanese had been informed that they would not be used in sweeping operations north of the 38th Parallel; they did not know how to communicate with the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency without breaking radio silence; a question arose as to whether the double pay feature was applicable to base pay and allowances or merely to base pay; they felt that they were inadequately supplied; they were sweeping with 3.2-meter draft ships while the mines were planted only three meters below the surface; and they were conducting the first sweep, the combat sweep, whereas they had been promised that they should perform only the second sweep. They registered their complaints but to little avail. [48]

The situation hardly improved on 17 October when one of the Japanese-manned vessels struck a mine and sank. The Department of State hurriedly cabled General MacArthur and cautioned him not to release any information on the sinking because of the great propaganda advantage that the Communists could gain from the fact of Japanese participation in Korean operations. MacArthur assured Washington that he was keeping the news under wraps, but insisted that his use of Jap-

[45] (1) Comd Rpt., NAVFE, Sep.-Nov. 50. (2) Field, History of United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 237.

[46] General Smith's Chronicles, pp. 404-09.

[47] For additional details of minesweeping operations in Korea, see Field, History of United States Naval Operations, Korea, pages 229-42.

[48] (1) Rad, 012344Z, COMNAVFE to CINCFE, 1 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, C 65564, CINCFE to COMNAVFE, 6 Oct. 50. (3) Action Rpt., Joint. Task Force Seven, Wonsan Opn, 1-C-2. (4) Rad, 230310Z, COMNAVFE to Comdr, Task Force Seven, Info CINCFE, 24 Oct. 50.

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anese minesweepers was perfectly legitimate. "These vessels," he asserted, were hired and employed, not for combat, but humanitarian purposes involved in neutralizing infractions of the accepted rules of warfare." The infractions MacArthur mentioned referred to the use of free-floating mines by the North Koreans. Whether classified as a combat operation or a humanitarian effort, the sweeping continued with Japanese participation. [49]

The Wake Island Conference

While Eighth Army troops pressed forward into North Korea and X Corps prepared to land at Wonsan, President Truman called General MacArthur to a conference at Wake Island. On 10 October, the President announced:

     General MacArthur and I are making a quick trip over the coming 

     weekend to meet in the Pacific. . . . I shall discuss with him the 

     final phase of United Nations action in Korea. . . . We should like 

     to get our armed forces out and back to their other duties at the 

     earliest moment consistent with the fulfillment of our obligations 

     as a

[49] (1) Rad, No. 650, Secy. State to SCAP, 19 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, CX 67066, CINCFE to DA, 21 Oct. 50. (3) Comd and Hist. Rpt, NAVFE, Sep.-Nov. 50.

Page 211

     member of the United Nations.  Naturally, I shall take advantage 

     of this opportunity to discuss with General MacArthur other 

     matters within his responsibility. [50]

President Truman had intended to take all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with him. But after being advised of the danger of taking them all from Washington under conditions then existing in Korea and in other potential trouble spots, the President took only the chairman, General Bradley, and Secretary of the Army Pace as his military advisers. [51] In addition to his two military experts,

[50] Rad, 101910Z, DA to SCAP, 11 Oct. 50.

[51] For the details of the Wake Island Conference, the author has relied upon a compilations of notes by General Bradley. These notes, which were kept by the Washington conferees, were augmented by shorthand recordings taken by a secretary who listened to the meeting from an adjacent room. General MacArthur later objected that he had no knowledge that a verbatim transcript was being taken, or that, indeed, any record of the conference was kept. General Bradley states that five copies of this material were forwarded to General MacArthur on 19 October 1950 and that one of General MacArthur's aides signed for them on 27 October 1950. According to his own testimony, General MacArthur did not. bother to look at. the copies of the record furnished him. He said, however, "I have no doubt. that. in general they are an accurate report of what took place."

Immediately after his return from Wake Island, Secretary Pace reported to the Army Policy Council on the meetings. His report, made at a time when the record was not the political issue it later became, is identical in content to General Bradley's notes. See also Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Substance of Statements Made at Wake Island Conference on October 15, 1950 (Washington, 1951).

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President Truman was accompanied to Wake Island by Ambassador-at-large Philip C. Jessup, W. Averell Harriman, and Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk. General MacArthur arrived with Maj. Gen. Courtney Whitney of his staff. Admiral Radford, Commander in Chief, Pacific, also attended the main conference. All conferees arrived on 15 October.

The President and General MacArthur first conferred privately for approximately an hour. Afterward, Mr. Truman opened the general conference by asking the United Nations commander to give his views on the problems facing the United States in rehabilitating Korea. In reply MacArthur was extremely optimistic, stating that he believed that formal resistance by the enemy would end by Thanksgiving. The North Korean Army was pursuing a forlorn hope in resisting the United Nations forces then attacking it. The enemy, according to MacArthur, had only about 100,000 men left and these were poorly trained, led, and equipped. They were fighting obstinately, but only to save face. "Orientals," General MacArthur pointed out, "prefer to die rather than to lose face."

General MacArthur described his tactical plan in broad outline, saying that he was landing X Corps at captured Wonsan from which this corps could cut across the peninsula to P'yongyang in one week. He compared this planned maneuver to the Inch'on operation and noted that the North Koreans had once again erred fatally in not deploying in depth. "When the gap is closed, the same thing will happen in the north as happened in the south."

Eighth Army, if things went according to General MacArthur's schedule, would be withdrawn to Japan by Christmas. The 2d and 3d Divisions and certain U.N. units of smaller size would remain in Korea under the X Corps to carry out security missions and to support the United Nations Commission for the Rehabilitation and Unification of Korea. He hoped that elections could be held before the first of the year, thus avoiding a military occupation. "All occupations are failures," General MacArthur commented.

General Bradley, who was quite concerned over the shortage of American forces in Europe and who saw the end of the Korean War as an opportunity to get another division into Europe in a hurry, asked General MacArthur if the 2d or 3d Division could be made available for shipment to Europe by January. MacArthur responded with a promise to make either division ready for shipment by that time, but recommended that the 2d Division be sent since it was a battle-proven organization and better trained than the newly arrived 3d Division.

Before their 1-day conference ended, President Truman asked MacArthur what chance there was of Chinese interference. The United Nations com-

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mander replied, "Very little." He felt that the Red Chinese had lost their chance to intervene effectively. He credited the Chinese with having 300,000 men in Manchuria, with between 100,000-125,000 men along the Yalu, and estimated that 50,000-60,000 could be brought across the Yalu. But the Chinese had no air force, according to General MacArthur; hence, in view of U.N. air bases in Korea, "if the Chinese tried to get down to Pyongyang there would be the greatest slaughter." This broad assurance from MacArthur must have done much to allay any fears entertained by Mr. Truman and the other top authorities that China meant to intervene. [52]

[52] See Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, pp. 761-61.

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