Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Harry S. Truman Papers
Staff Member and Office Files
Korean War File

Dates: 1945-1953.

The Korean War File consists of Departments of State and Defense documents relating to the Korean War that were copied and sent to the White House at the request of President Truman. It includes reports, correspondence, memoranda and other documents.

[Administrative Information | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 6 linear feet, 2 linear inches (ca. 11,200 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: President Truman donated his copyright interest in any of his writings in this collection to the people of the United States. In addition, documents prepared by United States Government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents which do not fall in these two categories is presumed to remain with the writers of the documents.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1975); Cynthia G. Edwards and David Clark (2001).


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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Korean War File, also known as "Selected Records of the Department of State and the Department of Defense relating to the Korean War," is part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers. It consists of State and Defense Department documents relating to the Korean War that were copied and sent to the White House at the request of President Truman.

The Korean War File consists of two series. The first, the Department of State Series, comprises most of the collection and is further divided into four subseries. The Background File Subseries contains a list of the State Department documents in the collection; various background reports on Korean history and U.S. policy toward Korea, including Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer's report to the President on his 1947 mission to China and Korea; and letters, memoranda, and telegrams concerning the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea before 1950. The Chronology File Subseries contains monthly reports summarizing the major military, diplomatic, and political events of the Korean conflict from June 1950 to May 1952, prepared by the State Department's Division of Historical Policy Research.

The Document File Subseries contains fifty-two reports to the United Nations Security Council on U.N. Command Operations in Korea from July 1950 to November 1952; memoranda summarizing periodic briefings on the situation in Korea that were conducted by the State Department for the ambassadors of allied countries from January 1951 to November 1952; copies of the Korea Bulletin, a daily State Department intelligence report produced from July 1950 to September 1950; State Department publications on the U.S. role in the Korean conflict; and daily reports summarizing the world reaction to events in Korea from June 1950 through August 1950.

The Topical File Subseries, which comprises more than half of the collection, contains telegrams, letters, memoranda, press releases, and reports pertaining to a number of Korea-related topics, including: efforts by India to mediate the conflict; the neutralization of Formosa; military incidents involving the Soviet Union; the Wake Island conference; Chinese intervention in the war; the possible use of atomic weapons; the dismissal of General MacArthur; Communist charges of bacteriological and chemical warfare; and the armistice negotiations.

The Department of Defense Series includes an orientation report on the military situation in the Far East, prepared for the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 1950, shortly before the outbreak of the Korean War. The rest of the series consists of the contents of eight volumes entitled Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation, containing copies of Defense Department correspondence and other documents relating to the war.

Other materials at the Truman Library which relate to this collection include the following personal papers collections: Naval Aide to the President Files, President's Secretary's Files, L. Laszlo Ecker-Racz Papers, George M. Elsey Papers, George M. Elsey Files, Edgar A. J. Johnson Papers, Merle Miller Papers, John B. Moullette Papers, Frank Pace, Jr., Papers, James T. Quirk Papers.

In addition, the following transcripts of oral history interviews relate to this collection: Nathan M. Becker, Laurence E. Bunker, John H. Chiles, Matthew J. Connelly, George M. Elsey, Thomas K. Finletter, John D. Hickerson, U. Alexis Johnson, Robert B. Landry, Felix E. Larkin, E. Allan Lightner, Jr., Wilfred J. McNeil, John H. Muccio, Charles S. Murphy, Robert G. Nixon. Frank Pace Jr. and John W. Snyder.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1-12DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 1947-1952
Four Subseries:
1
    Copies of background reports on Korean history and U.S. policy toward Korea; and letters, memoranda and telegrams concerning the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea before 1950.
1-2
    Copies of monthly reports summarizing the major military, diplomatic, and political events prepared by Foreign Policy Research of the Department of State. Arranged chronologically.
2-4
    Copies of reports to the U.N Security Council; briefings to ambassadors; memoranda; intelligence reports; and cables pertaining to the events in Korea.
4-12
    Copies of telegrams, letters, memoranda, press releases, and reports pertaining to Korea-related topics.
13-14DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 1945-1953
Copies of reports, correspondence, and other documents relating to the military situation in the Far East and to the Korean War.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Checklist of Documents [in Department of State series]
  • United States policy regarding Korea, 1834 - June, 1950 (narrative)
  • Published background material
  • The Wedemeyer Report on Korea, 1947
  • Documents on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea
  • June - November, 1950
  • December, 1950 - February, 1951
Box 2
  • March - May, 1951
  • June - September, 1951
  • October, 1951 - January, 1952
  • February - May, 1952
  • Unified Command Reports to the United Nations
      [1 of 2: July, 1950 - December, 1951]
      [2 of 2: January, 1952 - November, 1952]
Box 3
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, January 12 - April 10, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, April 11 - July 12, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, July 16 - September 18, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, September 21, 1951 - March 11, 1952
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, March 14 - November 25, 1952
  • Korea Bulletin, July 1 - 28, 1950
  • Korea Bulletin, July 31 - September 5, 1950
  • Department of State - United States Policy in the:
      Korean Crisis [1950]
      Korean Conflict [1951]
  • World Reaction to Korean Developments
      [1 of 3: June 28 - July 9, 1950]
Box 4
      [2 of 3: July 10 - 28, 1950]
      [3 of 3: July 29 - August 31, 1950]
  • 1. North Korean aggression: Immediate evaluations and reaction
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
      [3 of 3]
  • 2. American and British approaches to the Soviet Union, July, 1950
  • 3. Anglo-American policy discussions
Box 5
  • 4. Indian efforts to mediate and prevent the spread of hostilities
      [1 of 2: July, 1950]
      [2 of 2: August - November, 1950]
  • 5. Role of the UN in the Korean Conflict
      [1 of 2: July - August, 1950]
      [2 of 2: September - December, 1950]
  • 6. Contributions to the UN effort
      [1 of 3: June - July, 1950]
      [2 of 3: August, 1950 - December, 1951]
      [3 of 3: February - September, 1952]
Box 6
  • 7. Policy re UN crossing of the 38th parallel: Summer, 1950
  • 8. Control of exports to Korea and Communist China
  • 9. Neutralization of Formosa
      [1 of 2: July - August, 1950]
      [2 of 2: September - December, 1950]
  • 10. Blockade of the Korean Coast
  • 11. Legal basis of U.S. and UN action
  • 12. Arming and utilization of South Korean manpower
  • 13. Political situation in Korea
  • 14. Tripartite political discussions in Paris: August, 1950
  • 15. Issue of bombing North Korean cities
  • 16. Relief and rehabilitation in Korea
      [1 of 2: July - November, 1950]
Box 7
      [2 of 2: December, 1950 - September, 1952]
  • 17. Tripartite meeting of foreign ministers, September, 1950
  • 18. Information and estimates re Chinese Communist and Soviet intentions in Korea
  • 19. Military incidents involving the Soviet Union
  • 20. Efforts to prevent enlargement of hostilities
  • 21. Wake Island conference
  • 22. Civil affairs in Korea
  • 23. The question of hot pursuit, November, 1950
  • 24. Massive Chinese Communist intervention and allied reactions
  • 25. Allied criticisms of the UN commander
Box 8
  • 26. United States effort to obtain UN action concerning Chinese intervention
  • 27. Proposed quadripartite meeting of foreign ministers
  • 28. Reactions to President's statement re possible use of the atom bomb
  • 29. Truman - Attlee discussions, December, 1950
  • 30. Relations with ROK and the political situation in Korea
  • 31. Negotiations for an armistice, December, 1950 - June, 1951
      [1 of 3: December, 1950]
      [2 of 3: January - March, 1951]
Box 9
      [3 of 3: April - June, 1951]
  • 32. Adoption by UN of economic sanctions
      [1 of 2: February - April, 1951]
      [2 of 2: May - September, 1951]
  • 33. Truman - Plevin conversations, January, 1951
  • 34. The question of the reports to the UN by the UN Commander
  • 35. Restudy of the question of the 38th parallel
  • 36. The proposed Presidential statement and Gen. MacArthur's statement of March 24, 1951
  • 37. The dismissal of General MacArthur
  • 38. Senate hearings following General MacArthur's dismissal
Box 10
  • 39. Allied views re reconnaissance and possible retaliatory bombing outside Korea
  • 40. Communist charges of bacteriological and chemical warfare
  • 41. Embargo action outside the UN
  • 42. Armistice negotiations in Korea
      [1 of 2: July, 1951 - June, 1952]
      [2 of 2: July - October, 1952]
  • 43. Planning and negotiations re policy after the armistice talks
  • 44. "Greater Sanctions"
Box 11
  • 45. The Korean question in the Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly
  • 46. Continued economic action
      [1 of 2: January, 1951 - January, 1952]
      [2 of 2: February - December, 1952]
  • 47. The Political crisis in Korea
      [1 of 2: February - June 14, 1952]
      [2 of 2: June 16 - October, 1952]
  • 48. Other developments in U.S. relations with the Republic of Korea
  • 49. Bombing of North Korean power plants, 1952
  • 50. Establishment of sea defense zone around Korea
Box 12
  • 51. Consideration of the armistice question in the UN, 1952
      [1 of 2: May 24, 1951 - October 30, 1952]
      [2 of 2: November - December, 1952]
  • 52. Miscellaneous
Box 13
  • Miscellaneous [CICFE-SCAP General Orientation for Sec'y of Defense and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff: June 18, 1950]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Appendix and Index [in Department of Defense Series]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume I [1945-49: pp. 1 - 198]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume II [1950-51: pp. 199 - 400]
Box 14
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume III [1951: pp. 401 - 600]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume IV [1951-52: pp. 601 - 802]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume V [1952: pp. 803 - 1000]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume VI [1952: pp. 1001 - 1196]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume VII [1952-53: pp. 1197 - 1309]
  • Pertinent Papers on Korean Situation: Volume VIII [pp. 1310 - 1314]

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