The United States and the United Nations React

Thus we see that war is not only a political act, but a true instrument of politics, a continuation of politics by other means.


The first official word of the North Korean attack across the border into South Korea reached Tokyo in an information copy of an emergency telegram dispatched from Seoul at 0925, 25 June, by the military attaché at the American Embassy there to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Department of the Army, in Washington. [1] About the same time the Far East Air Forces in Tokyo began receiving radio messages from Kimpo Airfield near Seoul stating that fighting was taking place along the 38th Parallel on a scale that seemed to indicate more than the usual border incidents. Northwest Airlines, with Air Force support, operated Kimpo Airfield at this time. Brig. Gen. Jared V. Crabb, Deputy Chief of Staff for Far East Air Forces, telephoned Brig. Gen. Edwin K. Wright, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Far East Command, about 1030 and the two compared information. Thereafter throughout the day the two men were in constant communication with each other on the direct line they maintained between their offices. Most of the messages to Tokyo during 25 June came to the U.S. Air Force from Kimpo Airfield, and there was a constant stream of them. By 1500 in the afternoon both Crabb and Wright were convinced that the North Koreans were engaged in a full-scale invasion of South Korea. [2]

About the time the military attaché in Seoul sent the first message to the Department of the Army, representatives of press associations in Korea began sending news bulletins to their offices in the United States. It was about eight o'clock Saturday night, 24 June, Washington time, when the first reports reached that city of the North Korean attacks that had begun five hours earlier. Soon afterward, Ambassador Muccio sent his first radio message from Seoul to the Department of State, which received it at 9:26 p.m., 24 June. This would correspond to 10:26

[1] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in Korean War, ch. II, 

p. 24.

[2] Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 12 Feb 54. 


a.m., 25 June, in Korea. Ambassador Muccio said in part, "It would appear from the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was launched that it constitutes an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea." [3]

The North Korean attack surprised official Washington. Maj. Gen. L. L. Lemnitzer in a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense on 29 June gave what is undoubtedly an accurate statement of the climate of opinion prevailing in Washington in informed circles at the time of the attack. He said it had been known for many months that the North Korean forces possessed the capability of attacking South Korea; that similar capabilities existed in practically every other country bordering the USSR; but that he knew of no intelligence agency that had centered attention on Korea as a point of imminent attack. [4] The surprise in Washington on Sunday, 25 June 1950, according to some observers, resembled that of another, earlier Sunday-Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.

U.S. and U.N. Action

When Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at his Long Island home that night received the news of the North Korean attack he reportedly burst out over the telephone, "This is war against the United Nations." [5] He called a meeting of the Security Council for the next day. When the Council met at 2 p.m., 25 June (New York time), it debated, amended, and revised a resolution with respect to Korea and then adopted it by a vote of nine to zero, with one abstention and one absence. Voting for the resolution were China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Yugoslavia abstained from voting; the Soviet Union was not represented. The Soviet delegate had boycotted the meetings of the Security Council since January 10, 1950, over the issue of seating Red China's representative in the United Nations as the official Chinese representative. [6]

The Security Council resolution stated that the armed attack upon the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea "constitutes a breach of the peace." It called for (1) immediate cessation of hostilities; (2) authorities of North Korea to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th Parallel; and, finally, "all Members to render every assistance to the United Nations in the execution of this resolution and to refrain from giving assistance to the North Korean authorities." [7]

President Truman had received the news at his home in Independence, Mo. He started back to Washington by plane in the early afternoon of 25 June. At a meeting in Blair House that night, with

[3] This radio message is reproduced in full in Dept of State Pub 3922, 
United States Policy in the Korean Crisis, Doc. 1, p. 11.

[4] Memo, Maj Gen L. L. Lemnitzer, Director, Off of Mil Assistance, for 
Secy Defense, 29 Jun 50; S. Comm. on Armed Services and S. Comm. on 
Foreign Relations, 82d Cong., 1st Sess., 1951, Joint Hearings, Military 
Situation in the Far East (MacArthur Hearings), pt. III, pp. 1990-92, 
Testimony of Secretary of State Acheson.

[5] Albert L. Warner, "How the Korea Decision was Made," Harper's 
Magazine, June 26, 1950, pp. 99-106; Beverly Smith, "Why We Went to War 
in Korea," Saturday Evening Post, November 10, 1951.

[6] United States Policy in the Korean Crisis, p. 1, n. 5, and Docs. 3, 
4, and 5, pp. 12-16.

[7] Ibid., Doc. 5, p. 16.


officials of the State and Defense Departments present, President Truman made a number of decisions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff established a teletype conference with General MacArthur in Tokyo at once and relayed to him President Truman's decisions. They authorized General MacArthur to do the following: (1) send ammunition and equipment to Korea to prevent loss of the Seoul-Kimpo area with appropriate air and naval cover to assure their safe arrival; (2) provide ships and planes to evacuate American dependents from Korea and to protect the evacuation; and (3) dispatch a survey party to Korea to study the situation and determine how best to assist the Republic of Korea. President Truman also ordered the Seventh Fleet to start from the Philippines and Okinawa for Sasebo, Japan, and report to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Far East (NAVFE), for operational control. [8]

In the evening of 26 June President Truman received General MacArthur's report that ROK forces could not hold Seoul, that the ROK forces were in danger of collapse, that evacuation of American nationals was under way, and that the first North Korean plane had been shot down. After a short meeting with leading advisers the President approved a number of measures.

Further instructions went to MacArthur in another teletype conference that night. They authorized him to use the Far East naval and air forces in support of the Republic of Korea against all targets south of the 38th Parallel. These instructions stated that the purpose of this action was to clear South Korea of North Korean military forces. On 27 June, Far Eastern time, therefore, General MacArthur had authorization to intervene in Korea with air and naval forces. [9]

During the night of 27 June the United Nations Security Council passed a second momentous resolution calling upon member nations to give military aid to South Korea in repelling the North Korean attack. After a statement on the act of aggression and the fruitless efforts of the United Nations to halt it, the Security Council resolution ended with these fateful words: "Recommends that the Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area." [10]

Thus, events on the international stage by the third day of the invasion had progressed swiftly to the point where the United States had authorized its commander in the Far East to use air and naval forces below the 38th Parallel to help repel the aggression and the United Nations had called upon its member nations to help repel the attack. The North Koreans were now in Seoul.

Evacuation of U.S. Nationals From Korea

From the moment United States KMAG officers in Korea and responsible

[8] Telecon TT3418, 25 Jun 50. For a detailed discussion of the 
Department of the Army and Far East Command interchange of views and 
instructions concerning the Korean crisis and later conduct of the war 
following intervention see Maj James F. Schnabel, Theater Command.

[9] Telecon TT3426, 27 Jun 50.

[10] United States Policy in the Korean Crisis, p. 4, and Doc. 16, p. 
24: The vote was seven in favor, one opposed, two abstentions, and one 
absence: the Soviet Union was absent. Two days later India accepted the 
resolution. See Doc. 52, pp. 42-43.


officers in General MacArthur's Far East Command headquarters accepted the North Korean attack across the Parallel as an act of full-scale war, it became imperative for them to evacuate American women and children and other nonmilitary persons from Korea.

Almost a year earlier, on 21 July 1949, an operational plan had been distributed by the Far East Command to accomplish such an evacuation by sea and by air. NAVFE was to provide the ships and naval escort protection for the water lift; the Far East Air Forces was to provide the planes for the airlift and give fighter cover to both the water and air evacuation upon orders from the Commander in Chief, Far East. [11] By midnight, 25 June, General Wright in Tokyo had alerted every agency concerned to be ready to put the evacuation plan into effect upon the request of Ambassador Muccio. [12] About 2200, 25 June, Ambassador Muccio authorized the evacuation of the women and children by any means without delay, and an hour later he ordered all American women and children and others who wished to leave to assemble at Camp Sobinggo, the American housing compound in Seoul, for transportation to Inch'on. [13]

The movement of the American dependents from Seoul to Inch'on began at 0100, 26 June, and continued during the night. The last families cleared the Han River bridge about 0900 and by 1800 682 women and children were aboard the Norwegian fertilizer ship, the Reinholt, which had hurriedly unloaded its cargo during the day, and was under way in Inch'on Harbor to put to sea. At the southern tip of the peninsula, at Pusan, the ship Pioneer Dale took on American dependents from Taejon, Taegu, and Pusan. [14] American fighter planes from Japan flew twenty-seven escort and surveillance sorties during the day covering the evacuation.

On 27 June the evacuation of American and other foreign nationals continued from Kimpo and Suwon Airfields at an increased pace. During the morning 3 North Korean planes fired on four American fighters covering the air evacuation and, in the ensuing engagement, the U.S. fighters shot down all 3 enemy planes near Inch'on. Later in the day, American fighter planes shot down 4 more North Korean YAK-3 planes in the Inch'on-Seoul area. During 27 June F-80 and F-82 planes of the 68th and 338th All-Weather Fighter Squadrons and the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron of the Fifth Air Force flew 163 sorties over Korea. [15]

During the period 26-29 June sea and air carriers evacuated a total of 2,001 persons from Korea to Japan. Of this number, 1,527 were U.S. nationals-718 of them traveled by air, 809 by water.

[11] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. 
II, pp. 11-12.

[12] Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 12 Feb 54.

[13] Sawyer, KMAG MS; John C. Caldwell, The Korea Story (Chicago: H. 
Regnery Co., 1952), p. 170.

[14] Sawyer, KMAG MS; Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer, 22 Feb 54.

[15] GHQ FEC, Ann Narr Hist Rpt, 1 Jan-31 Oct 50, pp. 8-9; Capt Robert 
L. Gray, Jr., "Air Operations Over Korea," Army Information Digest, 
January 1952, p. 17; USAF Opns in the Korean Conflict, 25 Jun-1 Nov 50, 
USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 5-6; 24th Div G-3 and G-2 Jnl Msg files, 27 Jun 
50: New York Herald-Tribune, June 27, 1950.


The largest single group of evacuees was aboard the Reinholt.

KMAG Starts To Leave Korea

On Sunday, 25 June, while Colonel Wright, KMAG Chief of Staff, was in church in Tokyo (he had gone to Japan to see his wife, the night before, board a ship bound for the United States, and expected to follow her in a few days), a messenger found him and whispered in his ear, "You had better get back to Korea." Colonel Wright left church at once and telephoned Colonel Greenwood in Seoul. Colonel Wright arrived at Seoul at 0400, Monday, after flying to Kimpo Airfield from Japan. [16]

Colonel Wright reached the decision, with Ambassador Muccio's approval, to evacuate all KMAG personnel from Korea except thirty-three that Colonel Wright selected to remain with the ROK Army headquarters. Most of the KMAG group departed Suwon by air on the 27th. Strangely enough, the last evacuation plane arriving at Kimpo that evening from Japan brought four correspondents from Tokyo: Keyes Beech of the Chicago Daily News, Burton Crane of the New York Times, Frank Gibney of Time Magazine, and Marguerite Higgins of the New York Herald-Tribune. They joined a KMAG group that returned to Seoul. In the east and south of Korea, meanwhile, some fifty-six KMAG advisers by 29 June had made their way to Pusan where they put themselves under the command of Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich, KMAG adviser to the ROK 3d Division. [17]

Shortly after midnight of 26 June the State Department ordered Ambassador Muccio to leave Seoul and, accordingly, he went south to Suwon the morning of the 27th. [18] Colonel Wright with his selected group of advisers followed the ROK Army headquarters to Sihung on the south side of the river. Colonel Wright had with him the KMAG command radio, an SCR-399 mounted on a 2 1/2-ton truck. Soon after crossing the Han River en route to Sihung Colonel Wright received a radio message from General MacArthur in Tokyo stating that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had directed him to take command of all U.S. military personnel in Korea, including KMAG, and that he was sending an advance command and liaison group from his headquarters to Korea. [19] After he arrived at Sihung, Colonel Wright received another radio message from General MacArthur, intercepted by the radio station at Suwon Airfield. It said in effect, "Personal MacArthur to Wright: Repair to your former locations. Momentous decisions are in the offing. Be of good cheer." [20] Aided by the import of these messages, Colonel Wright persuaded General Chae to return the ROK Army headquarters to Seoul that evening.

[16] Sawyer, KMAG MS; Col Wright, Notes for author, 1952; Ltr, Gen 
Wright to author, 12 Feb 54; Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer.

[17] Wright, Notes for author; Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer: Sawyer, 
KMAG MS; Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Ltr, Scott to friend, ca. 
6-7 Jul 50; Col Emmerich, MS review comments, 26 Nov 57.

[18] Msg 270136Z, State Dept to Supreme Commander, Allied Powers (U.S. 
Political Adviser), cited in Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and 
Participation in the Korean War, ch. 2, p. 17.

[19] Col Wright, Notes for author; Sawyer, KMAG MS.

[20] Col Wright, Notes for author; Gen MacArthur MS review comments, 15 
Nov 57.


That night the blowing of the Han River bridges cut off the KMAG group in Seoul. Colonel Wright had had practically no rest since Sunday and, accompanied by Lt. Col. William J. Mahoney, he had retired to his quarters before midnight to get some sleep. Beginning about 0100, 28 June, KMAG officers at ROK Army headquarters tried repeatedly to telephone him the information that the ROK Army headquarters was leaving Seoul. This would necessitate a decision by Colonel Wright as to whether KMAG should also leave. But the telephone message never got to Colonel Wright because Colonel Mahoney who took the calls refused to disturb him. Finally, after the ROK Army headquarters staff had departed, Lt. Col. Lewis D. Vieman went to Colonel Wright's quarters for the second time, found the houseboy, and had him awaken Colonel Wright. Colonel Vieman then informed Colonel Wright of the situation. [21]

The latter was just leaving his quarters when the Han River bridges blew up. Colonel Wright assembled all the Americans in a convoy and started for a bridge east of the city. [22] En route they learned from Korean soldiers that this bridge too had been blown. The convoy turned around and returned to the KMAG housing area at Camp Sobinggo. About daylight a small reconnaissance party reported that ferries were in operation along the Han River east of the highway bridge. At this juncture Lt. Col. Lee Chi Yep, a member of the ROK Army staff, long friendly with the Americans and in turn highly regarded by the KMAG advisers, walked up to them. He volunteered to help in securing ferry transportation across the river.

Upon arriving at the river bank, Colonel Wright's party found a chaotic melee. ROK soldiers and unit leaders fired at the boatmen and, using threats, tried to commandeer transportation from among the ferries and various kinds of craft engaged in transporting soldiers and refugees across the river. Colonel Lee adopted this method, persuading a boatman to bring his craft alongside by putting a bullet through the man's shirt. It took about two hours for the party to make the crossing. Colonel Wright, two other officers, and two or three enlisted men stayed behind and finally succeeded in getting the command radio vehicle across the river. It provided the only communication the KMAG group had with Japan, and Colonel Wright would not leave it behind. Enemy artillery fire was falling some distance upstream and tank fire had drawn perceptibly closer when the last boatload started across the river. [23]

After reaching the south bank, about 0800, the KMAG party struck out and walked the 15-mile cross-country trail to Anyang-ni, arriving there at 1500, 28 June. Waiting vehicles, obtained by an advance party that had gone ahead in a jeep, picked up the tired men and carried them to Suwon. Upon arriving at Suwon they found Colonel Wright and

[21] Vieman, Notes on Korea, 15 Feb 51; Interv, author with Vieman, 15 
Jun 54; Interv, author with Hausman, 12 Jan 52: Interv, author with Col 
Wright, 3 Jan 52; Ltr, Col George R. Seaberry, Jr., to Capt Sawyer, 22 
Dec 53.

[22] Greenwood estimates there were 130-odd men in the convoy, other 
estimates are as low as sixty.

[23] Vieman, Notes on Korea, 15 Feb 51; Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer; 
Ltr, Maj Ray B. May to Capt Sawyer, 2, Apr 54; Ltr, Scott to friend; 
Marguerite Higgins, War in Korea (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and 
Company, Inc., 1951), pp. 27-30.


[Caption] GENERAL CHURCH (left) being met at Suwon Airfield by (left to right) Mr. E. F. Drumwright, Counselor of U.S. Embassy at Seoul, President Rhee, and Ambassador Muccio.

his command radio already there. After Although in the first few days some getting across the river Wright had members of the KMAG group report turned through Yongdungp'o, which, contrary to rumors, proved to be free of enemy and had then traveled the main road. [24]

Although in the first few days some members of the KMAG group reportedly were cut off and missing, all reached safety by the end of the month, and up to 5 July only three had been slightly wounded. [25]

ADCOM in Korea

General MacArthur as Commander in Chief, Far East, had no responsibility in Korea on 25 June 1950 except to support KMAG and the American Embassy logistically to the Korean water line. This situation changed when President Truman authorized him on 26 June, Far

[24] Vieman, Notes on Korea, 15 Feb 51; Higgins,  War in Korea; 
Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer;  Ltr, May to Sawyer, 23 Apr 54.  

The British Minister to South Korea, Capt.  Vyvyan Holt, members of his 
staff, and a few other  British subjects remained in Seoul and claimed  
diplomatic immunity. Instead of getting it they spent almost three years 
in a North Korean prison camp. The North Koreans finally released 
Captain Holt and six other British subjects to the Soviets in April 1953 
for return to Britain during the prisoner exchange negotiations. Two, 
Father Charles Hunt and Sister Mary Claire, died during the internment. 
See the New York Times, April 21 and 22, 1953; the Washington Post, 
April 10, 1953.

[25] Crawford, Notes on Korea.


Eastern Time, to send a survey party to Korea.

General MacArthur formed at once a survey party of thirteen GHQ General and Special Staff officers and two enlisted men, headed by Brig. Gen. John H. Church. Its mission upon arrival in Korea was to help Ambassador Muccio and KMAG to determine logistical requirements for assisting the ROK Army. The party left Haneda Airfield at 0400, 27 June, and arrived at Itazuke Air Base in southern Japan two hours later. While there awaiting further orders before proceeding to Seoul, General Church received telephone instructions from Tokyo about 1425 changing his destination from Seoul to Suwon because it was feared the former might be in enemy hands by the time he got there. MacArthur had by this time received the Joint Chiefs of Staff directive which instructed him to assume operational control of all U.S. military activities in Korea. Accordingly, he redesignated the survey group as GHQ Advance Command and Liaison Group in Korea (ADCOM), and gave it an expanded mission of assuming control of KMAG and of lending all possible assistance to the ROK Army in striving to check the Red drive southward. [26]

The ADCOM group arrived at Suwon Airfield at 1900, 27 June, where Ambassador Muccio met it. General Church telephoned Colonel Wright in Seoul, who advised him not to come into the city that night. The ADCOM group thereupon set up temporary headquarters in the Experimental Agriculture Building in Suwon. [27]

The next day about 0400 Colonel Hazlett and Captain Hausman, KMAG advisers, arrived at Suwon from Seoul. They told General Church that the Han River bridges were down, that some North Korean tanks were in Seoul, that the South Korean forces defending Seoul were crumbling and fleeing toward Suwon, and that they feared the majority of KMAG was still in Seoul and trapped there. [28] Such was the dark picture presented to General Church before dawn of his first full day in Korea, 28 June.

General Church asked Hazlett and Hausman to find General Chae, ROK Chief of Staff. Several hours later General Chae arrived at ADCOM headquarters. Church told him that MacArthur was in operational control of the American air and naval support of the ROK forces, and that the group at Suwon was his, MacArthur's, advance headquarters in Korea. At Church's suggestion Chae moved the ROK Army headquarters into the same building with Church's ADCOM headquarters.

General Church advised General Chae to order ROK forces in the vicinity of Seoul to continue street fighting in the city; to establish straggler points be-

[26] Gen Church, Memo for Record, ADCOM Activities in Korea, 27 Jun-15 
July 1950, GHQ FEC G-3, Ann Narr Hist Rpt, 1 Jan-31 Oct 51, Incl 11, pt. 
III. The Church ADCOM document grew out of stenographic notes of an 
interview by Major Schnabel with General Church, 17 July 1950. General 
Church was not satisfied with the notes thus produced and rewrote the 
draft himself a few days later. This source will hereafter be cited as 
Church MS. Lt Col Olinto M. Barsanti (G-1 ADCOM Rep), contemporary 
handwritten notes on ADCOM activities; Interv, author with Col Martin L. 
Green, ADCOM G-3, 14 Jul 51: Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and 
Participation in the Korean War, ch. 2, pp. 18-19.

[27] Church MS; Barsanti Notes: Statement, Greenwood for Sawyer.

[28] Church MS; Interv, author with Col Robert T. Hazlett, 11 Jun 54; 
Interv, author with Hausman, 12 Jan 52.


tween Seoul and Suwon and to collect all ROK troops south of the Han River and reorganize them into units, and to defend the Han River line at all cost. [29] During the day, KMAG and ROK officers collected about 1,000 ROK officers and 8,000 men and organized them into provisional units in the vicinity of Suwon. General Chae sent them back to the Han River.

General Church sent a radio message to General MacArthur on the 28th, describing the situation and stating that the United States would have to commit ground troops to restore the original boundary line. [30] That evening he received a radio message from Tokyo stating that a high-ranking officer would arrive the next morning and asking if the Suwon Airfield was operational. General Church replied that it was.

MacArthur Flies to Korea

The "high-ranking officer" mentioned in the radio message of the 28th was General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Shortly before noon on 28 June, General MacArthur called Lt. Col. Anthony F. Story, his personal pilot, to his office in the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo and said he wanted to go to Suwon the next day to make a personal inspection. Colonel Story checked the weather reports and found them negative-storms, rains, low ceiling, and heavy winds predicted for the morrow. [31]

At 0400, 29 June, MacArthur was up and preparing for the flight to Suwon. At 0600 he arrived at Haneda and, with the assembled group, climbed aboard the Bataan, his personal C-54 plane. A total of fifteen individuals made the trip, including seven high-ranking officers of General MacArthur's staff. Rain was falling when the Bataan took off from Haneda at 0610. About 0800 General MacArthur dictated a radiogram to Maj. Gen. Earl E. Partridge, commanding FEAF in Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer's absence. General Stratemeyer wrote it out and handed it to Story to send. It said, "Stratemeyer to Partridge: Take out North Korean Airfield immediately. No publicity. MacArthur approves." [32]

The weather had now improved sufficiently to permit fighter planes to take off, and at 1000 four of them intercepted and escorted the Bataan to Suwon. That morning North Korean fighter planes had strafed the Suwon Airfield and set on fire a C-54 at the end of the runway. This wrecked plane constituted a 20-foot obstacle on an already short runway, but Colonel Story succeeded in setting the Bataan down without mishap. Waiting at the airfield were President Rhee, Ambassador Muccio, and General Church. The party got into an old black sedan and drove to General Church's headquarters. In the conversation there Church told MacArthur that that morning not more than 8,000 ROK's could be accounted for; that at that moment, noon, they had 8,000 more; and that by night he expected to have an additional

[29] Church MS; Barsanti Notes.

[30] Church MS. Church gives the date as 27 June, but this is a mistake.

[31] Interv, Dr. Gordon W. Prange with Col Story, 19 Feb 51, Tokyo. 
Colonel Story referred to his logbook of the flight for the details 
related in this interview

[32] Ibid.


[Caption] GENERAL MACARTHUR, accompanied by Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond, discusses the military situation with Ambassador Muccio at ROK Army Headquarters.

8,000; therefore at day's end they could count on about 25,000. [33]

Colonel Story, in the meantime, took off from the Suwon Airfield at 1130 and flew to Fukuoka, Japan where he refueled and made ready to return to Suwon. During the afternoon North Korean planes bombed the Suwon Airfield and a YAK fighter destroyed a recently arrived C-47 plane. [34]

General MacArthur insisted on going up to the Han River, opposite Seoul, to form his own impression of the situation. On the trip to and from the Han, MacArthur saw thousands of refugees and disorganized ROK soldiers moving away from the battle area. He told General Church that in his opinion the situation required the immediate commitment of American ground forces. He said he would request authority from Washington that night for such action. [35]

Colonel Story brought the Bataan back to Suwon at 1715. Within an hour General MacArthur was on his way back to Japan.

[32] Interv, Prange with Story; Church MS; Ltr, Lt Gen Edward M. Almond 
to author, 18 Dec 53. (Almond was a member of the party.) 

[34] Interv, Prange with Story.

[35] Church MS; Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 8 Feb 54 (Wright was a member 
of the party.)


Other than KMAG and ADCOM personnel, the first American troops to go to Korea arrived at Suwon Airfield on 29 June, the day of MacArthur's visit. The unit, known as Detachment X, consisted of thirty-three officers and men and four M55 machine guns of the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion. At 1615 they engaged 4 enemy planes that attacked the airfield, shooting down 1 and probably destroying another, and again at 2005 that evening they engaged 3 planes. [36]

The President Authorizes Use of U.S. Ground Troops in Korea

Reports coming into the Pentagon from the Far East during the morning of 29 June described the situation in Korea as so bad that Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson telephoned President Truman before noon. In a meeting late that afternoon the President approved a new directive greatly broadening the authority of the Far East commander in meeting the Korean crisis.

This directive, received by the Far East commander on 30 June, Tokyo time, authorized him to (1) employ U.S. Army service forces in South Korea to maintain communications and other essential services; (2) employ Army combat and service troops to ensure the retention of a port and air base in the general area of Pusan-Chinhae; (3) employ naval and air forces against military targets in North Korea but to stay well clear of the frontiers of Manchuria and the Soviet Union; (4) by naval and air action defend Formosa against invasion by the Chinese Communists and, conversely, prevent Chinese Nationalists from using Formosa as a base of operations against the Chinese mainland; (5) send to Korea any supplies and munitions at his disposal and submit estimates for amounts and types of aid required outside his control. It also assigned the Seventh Fleet to MacArthur's operational control, and indicated that naval commanders in the Pacific would support and reinforce him as necessary and practicable. The directive ended with a statement that the instructions did not constitute a decision to engage in war with the Soviet Union if Soviet forces intervened in Korea, but that there was full realization of the risks involved in the decisions with respect to Korea. [37] It is to be noted that this directive of 29 June did not authorize General MacArthur to use U.S. ground combat troops in the Han River area-only at the southern tip of the peninsula to assure the retention of a port.

Several hours after this portentous directive had gone to the Far East Command, the Pentagon received at approximately 0300, 30 June, General MacArthur's report on his trip to Korea the previous day. This report described the great loss of personnel and equipment in the ROK forces, estimated their effective military strength at not more than 25,000 men, stated that everything possible was being done in Japan to establish and maintain a flow of supplies to the ROK Army through the Port of Pusan and Suwon Airfield, and that every effort was being made to establish

[36] Det X, 507th AAA AW Bn Act Rpt, 1 Jul 50.

[37] JCS 84681 DA (JCS) to CINCFE, 29 Jun 50; Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support 
and Participation in the Korean War, ch. 2, p. 26; MacArthur Hearings, 
pt. I, pp. 535-36, Secy of Defense George C. Marshall's testimony; New 
York Times, May 12, 1951.


a Han River line but the result was problematical. MacArthur concluded:

The only assurance for the holding of the present line, and the ability to regain later the lost ground, is through the introduction of U.S. ground combat forces into the Korean battle area. To continue to utilize the forces of our Air and Navy without an effective ground element cannot be decisive.

If authorized, it is my intention to immediately move a U.S. regimental combat team to the reinforcement of the vital area discussed and to provide for a possible build-up to a two division strength from the troops in Japan for an early counteroffensive. [38]

General J. Lawton Collins, Army Chief of Staff, notified Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, Jr., of MacArthur's report and then established a teletype connection with MacArthur in Tokyo. In a teletype conversation MacArthur told Collins that the authority already given to use a regimental combat team at Pusan did not provide sufficient latitude for efficient operations in the prevailing situation and did not satisfy the basic requirements described in his report. MacArthur said, "Time is of the essence and a clear-cut decision without delay is essential." Collins replied that he would proceed through the Secretary of the Army to request Presidential approval to send a regimental combat team into the forward combat area, and that he would advise him further, possibly within half an hour. [39]

Collins immediately telephoned Secretary Pace and gave him a summary of Secretary Pace in turn telephoned the President at Blair House. President Truman, already up, took the call at 0457, 30 June. Pace informed the President of MacArthur's report and the teletype conversations just concluded. President Truman approved without hesitation sending one regiment to the combat zone and said he would give his decision within a few hours on sending two divisions. In less than half an hour after the conclusion of the MacArthur-Collins teletype conversations the President's decision to send one regiment to the combat zone was on its way to MacArthur. [40]

At midmorning President Truman held a meeting with State and Defense Department officials and approved two orders: (1) to send two divisions to Korea from Japan; and (2) to establish a naval blockade of North Korea. He then called a meeting of the Vice President, the Cabinet, and Congressional and military leaders at the White House at 1100 and informed them of the action he had taken.

That afternoon Delegate Warren Austin addressed the Security Council of the United Nations telling them of the action taken by the United States in conformity with their resolutions of 25 and 27 June. On the afternoon of 30 June, also, the President announced his momentous decision to the world in a terse and formal press release. [41]

The die was cast. The United States was in the Korean War.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 29 June had sent

[38] Msg, CINCFE to JCS, 30 Jun 50.

[39] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. 
2, pp. 27-R8, citing and quoting telecons.

[40] Ibid., ch. 2, p. 28.

[41] United States Policy in the Korean Crisis, Doc. 17, pp. 24-25, 
and Doc. 18, pp. 25-26; Smith, "Why We Went to War in Korea," op. cit


a communication to all member nations asking what type of assistance they would give South Korea in response to the Security Council resolution of 27 June. Three members-the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia-declared the resolution illegal. Most of the others promised moral or material support. Material support took the form chiefly of supplies, foodstuffs, or services that were most readily available to the particular countries.

The United Kingdom Defense Committee on 28 June placed British naval forces in Japanese waters (1 light fleet carrier, 2 cruisers, and 5 destroyers and frigates) under the control of the U.S. naval commander. This naval force came under General MacArthur's control the next day. On 29 June, the Australian Ambassador called on Secretary of State Dean Acheson and said that his country would make available for use in Korea a destroyer and a frigate based in Japan, and that a squadron of short-range Mustang fighter planes (77th Squadron Royal Australian Air Force) also based in Japan would be available. [42] Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands said they were dispatching naval units.

Only Nationalist China offered ground troops-three divisions totaling 33,000 men, together with twenty transport planes and some naval escort. General MacArthur eventually turned down this offer on 1 August because the Nationalist Chinese troops were considered to be untrained and had no artillery or motor transport.

[42] United States Policy in the Korean Crisis, Docs. 20-90, pp.