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Gen. MacArthur had planned to transfer controls to S. Korea during Korean War

2015/09/23 11:02

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur had voiced willingness to return controls to South Korea's first president after leading a military operation to recapture Seoul from invading North Korean troops during the 1950-53 Korean War, a document showed Wednesday.

Gen. MacArthur led an amphibious operation, named "the Incheon landing mission" on Sept. 15, 1950, as the commander of the Allied Forces which fought against North Korean troops during the three-year conflict.

The operation helped turn the tide for South Korea and the U.N. forces and set the stage for them to recapture the South Korean capital of Seoul from North Korea two weeks later. MacArthur died at the age of 84 in 1964.

"I plan to return President Rhee (Syngman), his cabinet, senior members of the legislature, the United Nations Commission and perhaps others of similar official category to domicile in Seoul as soon as conditions there are sufficiently stable to permit reasonable security," showed a classified message sent by MacArthur to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sept. 23, 1950.

The Institute for Military History under the Ministry of National Defense released the document to Yonhap News Agency.

The Republic of Korea was established on Aug. 15, 1948, when Rhee was sworn in as the inaugural president, three years after Korea was liberated from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

The Korean Peninsula was divided into the Soviet-backed North and the U.S.-backed South after the liberation. The U.S. forces ruled the South for three years until the ROK government was created.

In the message, MacArthur showed confidence toward Rhee, stressing that Rhee's government was recognized by the United States and the U.N. as a responsible governing and lawful authority.

"This of course involves no re-establishment of government nor indeed any change in government but merely a restoration of the existing government to its constitutional seat in order to facilitate the resumption of the civil process and to promote the prompt and effective restoration of law and order in areas liberated from enemy control," he said.

The U.S. seemed to have sought to govern South Korea with its military-led rules for a certain period of time, rather than handing over control to Rhee's government, experts say.

"Gen. MacArthur's commitment to returning controls to Rhee's government seemed to have taken effect," said Major Nam Bo-ram at the institute.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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