Crossing the Parallel: The Decision and the Plan
The Tide Turns
Events dramatically justified General MacArthur's firm confidence in
Operation CHROMITE. American Marines, backed by devastating naval and air
bombardment, assaulted Inch'on on 15 September and readily defeated the weak,
stunned North Korean defenders. (Map II) On hand to see for himself the
fruition of his plans, General MacArthur sent a cheering report from the scene
to the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "First phase landing successful with losses
slight. Surprise apparently complete. All goes well and on schedule." By
mid-day, Marines had seized Wolmi-do, the fortress island dominating Inch'on
harbor. By nightfall, more than a third of Inch'on had fallen into their hands.
Obviously enjoying his first taste of victory in Korea, the U.N. commander again
proudly reported to Washington, "Our losses are light. The clockwork
coordination and cooperation between the Services was noteworthy.... The command
distinguished itself. The whole operation is proceeding on schedule." 
 (1) Rad, 142215Z, CINCUNC to JCS, 15 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, C 63153 CINCUNC to
CINCFE and JCS, 5 Sep. 50.
 The Joint Chiefs of Staff were disturbed by newspaper reports that they
had opposed the Inch'on landing and had not fully supported General MacArthur,
One such dispatch said, "MacArthur sold the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Inchon
landing despite their unanimous objections to such an ambitious undertaking....
Sources close to General MacArthur said both General Collins and Admiral Sherman
were opposed to the landing at Inchon," The Joint Chiefs notified General
MacArthur that they were issuing a statement refuting these press reports and,
to a limited extent, giving their own side of the background story. See Rad, W
91763, DA to CINCFE, 17 Sep. 50.
Operation CHROMITE stayed on schedule. In the wake of the Marines, the 7th
Division landed and struck south toward Suwon. Kimp'o Airfield fell to the
Marines on 19 September, and on the 20th General MacArthur could tell the Joint
Chiefs of Staff that his forces were pounding at the gates of Seoul.  So far,
American forces had suffered only light casualties, while the North Koreans had
lost heavily. At Inch'on, supplies were being unloaded at the rate of 4,000 tons
daily; and Kimp'o Airfield
had swung into round-the-clock operation. When General Almond took command of
all forces ashore in the Inch'on-Seoul area at 1800 on 21 September, he had
almost 6,000 vehicles, 25,000 tons of equipment, and 50,000 troops. 
Fortunately, the success of MacArthur's plan did not depend upon an immediate
juncture of the Eighth Army and X Corps. For, although MacArthur had ordered
General Walker to attack out of the Pusan Perimeter beginning on the day after
the X Corps landing, the North Koreans along the Naktong fought as fiercely on
16 September as they had on the 14th, and for nearly a week stood off all
attempts by Eighth Army to punch through their defenses. The main body of the
North Korean Army appeared unaware of the landing at Inch'on, approximately 180
air miles to its rear, and saw no reason to quit.
 (1) Rad, C 63187, CINCUNC to CINCFE and JCS, 20 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, X 10042
IN, CG X Corps to CINCFE, 23 Sep. 50. (3) Appleman, South to the Naktong,
North to the Yalu, p. 519,
Eighth Army intelligence officers had predicted this kind of enemy reaction,
pointing out that a success at Inch'on would not necessarily relieve the
pressure on Eighth Army, since the enemy could still move men and supplies
against the perimeter over alternate routes along the east coast.  Indeed,
the Eighth Army G-3 had pessimistically speculated that the most likely enemy
reaction to the landing would be an all-out drive to push the Eighth Army into
 Intelligence Annex (10 Sep. 50), Eighth Army Opns Plan 10, 6 Sep. 50.
General Walker, who had never been convinced that he could break out on
schedule, blamed equipment shortages for the delay. He complained to General
Hickey on 21 September that he was ". . . ready to break loose if it weren't for
the physical trouble." He could not get his armor across the Naktong, he pointed
out, and, referring to the greater logistic support given the X Corps, noted,
"We have been bastard children lately, and as far as our engineering equipment
is concerned we are in pretty bad shape." He seemed anxious that General
MacArthur's staff should appreciate his plight, telling
Hickey, "I don't want you to think that I am dragging my heels, but I have a
river across my whole front and the two bridges which I have don't make much."
 Telecon, Gen. Walker with Gen. Hickey, 21 Sep. 50, in CofS GHQ, UNC
Walker's failure to keep to his schedule made General MacArthur somewhat
doubtful that the Eighth Army would be able to break out of the Pusan Perimeter
at all. He perhaps recalled earlier warnings by Eighth Army officers that
Walker's divisions could not fight their way north even if the Inch'on landing
were successful. At any rate, after three days of indecisive struggle along the
perimeter, MacArthur ordered General Wright to implement the alternate plan for
an amphibious landing at Kunsan, by using two of Walker's American divisions and
one of his ROK divisions in the amphibious assault. Kunsan, on the west coast
about one hundred air miles south of Inch'on, had originally been favored by
General Collins as the primary objective area. A landing there now, MacArthur
felt, would threaten the enemy's immediate rear and cause a
North Korean collapse. When General Hickey discussed this plan with General
Walker on 22 September, the latter objected to giving up any of his forces for a
landing at Kunsan or anywhere else. But the argument ended there. For by this
time, signs of an enemy collapse had appeared and MacArthur shelved the Kunsan
plan. The signs proved correct and by the next day the North Korean Army, at
last feeling the effects of its severed lines of communications and the presence
of a formidable force in its rear, began a general withdrawal from the Pusan
Perimeter. The withdrawal turned into a rout. During the next week, Eighth Army
pursued the fleeing enemy. On the morning of 26 September, a task force from the
7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, of Eighth Army met elements of the
31st Infantry, 7th Division, of X Corps near Osan to mark the juncture of the
two forces. 
General Almond's corps meanwhile had enlarged its holdings in the
Inch'on-Seoul area. By 26 September, the Marine-Army team had wrested control of
the South Korean capital from the enemy and North Korean resistance in the
sector was dwindling rapidly.
The 38th Parallel-Genesis of the Decision
Two decisions in the third week of September 195O were to rank among the most
significant of the Korean War. The first of these, the decision to invade North
Korea, stemmed in part from military expediency but the underlying issues were
mainly political. The second decision, to use the X Corps in another amphibious
operation, was completely military. General MacArthur figured to a large degree
in the 38th Parallel decision and personally decided how the X Corps would be
used. Both decisions were made as the recapture of Seoul became a certainty; and
both were reached in the course of establishing a plan for operations in Korea
that would best serve the interests of the United States and the rest of the
free world. 
 (1) Opn Plan 100-C, JSPOG, GHQ, UNC files. (2) Rad, 063180, CINCUNC
(Wright) to CINCFE (Hickey), 19 Sep. 50. (3) Memo, Gen. Hickey for Gen. Wright,
23 Sep. 50, JSPOG files. (4) For details of Eighth Army's breakout, see
Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, Chapters XXVII and
 Except as otherwise indicated, this section is based on the 091 Korea
file of G-3, Department of the Army, for 1950, Cases 14/14, 14/16; 14/17, 14/l9;
14/20, 14/22; 14/28, 14/30; 14/31, and 79/3.
 Symbolic of his approach to decision-making, a small sign resting on
President Truman's White House desk carried the reminder, "The Buck Stops Here."
President Truman, of course, bore the full and final responsibility for
choosing a course of action for Korea. But from his military and civilian
advisers at several stations within the executive branch, he demanded and
received the best advice available on all aspects of a problem, including the
alternatives and consequences, before he took a stand.  Before the Korean War
was three weeks old, and while American and ROK forces were falling back on
Taejon, the President called on these advisers to tell him whether MacArthur
should eventually send forces across the 38th Parallel. These advisers saw no
need to test the legality of crossing the parallel. The basic authority under
which the United
States directed operations of the unified command in Korea lay in the U.N.
Security Council's resolution of 7 July 1950; and within this resolution the
United States had been called upon to direct United Nations forces so as "to
assist the Republic of Korea in defending itself against armed attack and thus
to restore international peace and security in the area." The United Nations'
call for the restoration of peace and security in the area, was generally
considered sufficient legal basis to enter North Korea.
The main concern was whether crossing the parallel would provoke an attack by
the neighboring Chinese Communists or by Russia. Indeed, from the time of the
President's first call for recommendations through the period of preparation for
the Inch'on landing, American officials sought out the best ways to achieve
military and political objectives without causing World War III. They tried, in
particular, to determine a long-range policy toward Korea that would strengthen
the United States' position in relation to that of the USSR. For they assumed
that the USSR was America's chief antagonist in Korea and elsewhere, and that if
the course chosen by the United States came too directly into conflict with
Russian aims and interests, the United States might have to fight to hold that
Those authorities nearest the President concluded by 1 September 1950 that
the United States was in no position to commit itself finally to any single
course of action. There were too many unknowns, namely, what Russia or China
might do and whether the United States could count on the United Nations, even
on those members considered to be allies, to back up an American policy that
might bring on a general war.
In searching for some flexible stand for the United States to take, Truman's
top advisers became convinced that any crossing of the 38th Parallel by General
MacArthur would evoke certain reactions from Russia. The Russians might
encourage the Chinese to occupy North Korea, even to commit troops into battle
in the hope of fomenting war between the United States and China. In the latter
event, the American officials believed, U.N. forces should continue to fight as
long as there was a reasonable chance of successfully resisting the Chinese;
General MacArthur should be authorized to take appropriate air and naval action
against Communist China; and the United States should take the matter to the
U.N. Security Council in order to have the Chinese condemned as aggressors.
Or, as MacArthur's forces approached the parallel, the USSR itself could
reoccupy North Korea and trump up an arrangement with the North Korean
Government whereby the Russians would pledge to defend North Korean territory.
If this proved the case, that is, if major Russians units entered the fighting
either openly or covertly anywhere in Korea, the top advisory officials felt
that General MacArthur should go on the defensive, make no move that would
aggravate the situation, and report to Washington. Exactly what MacArthur would
be told once he had reported to Washington was not yet decided. But it was
definite that the United States did not want its resources tied up in Korea, an
area regarded as of
little strategic importance, if general war came.
In line with their own advice against commitment to any single course of
action, these advisory officials recognized that certain military conditions
could arise, such as an opportunity to destroy the North Korean Army completely
which would, from a tactical point of view, justify military operations north of
the parallel. But it the President, who alone had the authority and sufficient
knowledge of all factors to make a decision on the crossing, did authorize a
move above the parallel, there should be a clear understanding that no U N.
force would cross the northern boundary of Korea into Manchuria or the USSR, and
that as a matter of policy only Korean units should operate in the border region
Further, if either Russian or Chinese forces had already entered Korea or had
announced that they intended to enter, no matter how well the tactical situation
might otherwise favor crossing the parallel at the time, General MacArthur
should refrain from moving above the line. This did not mean, however, that he
should discontinue air and naval operations in North Korea.
Truman's top advisers did not consider crossing the parallel to be a
necessary ingredient of victory. They believed that the military situation
eventually would be stabilized along the parallel and that the United Nations,
instead of crossing, could offer surrender terms to the North Koreans as soon as
a U. N. victory seemed assured.
The opinions of President Truman's closest advisers did not find favor among
the Joint Chiefs of Staff or with General MacArthur. MacArthur, since mid-July,
when he had received the United Nations 7 July resolution as a guide but no
detailed instructions, held a directly opposing view "I intend to destroy and
not to drive back the North Korean forces," he told Generals Collins and
Vandenberg at the time, adding that "I may need to occupy all of North Korea."
 MacArthur continued to favor crossing the parallel even after his G-2,
General Willoughby, reported on 31 August that ". . . sources have reported
troop movements from Central China to Manchuria for sometime which suggest
movements preliminary to entering the Korean theater." Willoughby placed the
number of regular Chinese troops in Manchuria at about 246,000 men, organized
into nine armies totaling thirty-seven divisions. Eighty thousand men were
reported assembling near An-tung, just across the Yalu from Korea. 
 Memo, Col. Dickson for Gen. Bolte, 15 Jul. 50, sub: Rpt of Trip to FEC,
10-15 Jul. 50, in G-3, DA file 338 Pac, case 3.
 DIS, GHQ, FEC, No. 2913, 31 Aug. 50, p. 1-d.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff disagreed with the view that the Korean fighting
would be stabilized along the 38th Parallel. While quite aware of the
possibility of Russian or Chinese entry into the conflict, they did not believe
that MacArthur should be held back from crossing the parallel if he wished to do
so for tactical reasons. Any views and proposals to the contrary, the military
chiefs told Secretary of Defense Johnson on 7 September, were unrealistic. They
agreed with General MacArthur that the initial objective to be obtained was the
destruction of North Korean forces. "We believe," they stated:
that after the strength of the North Korean forces has been broken,
which is anticipated will occur south of 38 degrees North, that
subsequently operations must take place both north and south of the
38th Parallel. Such operations should be conducted by South
Korean forces since it is assumed that the actions will be of a
guerrilla character. General MacArthur has plans for increasing
the strength of the South Korean forces so that they should be
adequate at the time to cope with this situation. 
Touching next on the subject of the post-hostilities period, the Joint Chiefs
of Staff informed the Secretary of Defense that they and General MacArthur
agreed that the occupation by U.N. forces should be limited to the principal
cities south of the 38th Parallel and should be terminated as soon as possible.
Further, U.S. troops should be taken out of Korea as early as safe to do so. The
Joint Chiefs of Staff also pointed out that General MacArthur and President Rhee
had agreed that the Government of the Republic of Korea should be re-established
in Seoul as soon at it could be done. Rhee was willing, upon re-entry into the
capital, to grant a general amnesty to all except war criminals and to call for
a general election to set up a single government for all of Korea.
The final policy proposal sent to President Truman on 9 September included
the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Without making any changes, the
President approved the proposal on 11 September.
In order that General MacArthur might have advance notice, the Joint Chiefs
of Staff on 15 September sent him those provisions of the new national policy
applicable to operations above the 38th Parallel and actions to be taken if
Russia or Communist China intervened. The Joint Chiefs had not yet been told to
work this new policy into a new directive for MacArthur, but were anticipating
such instructions from the Secretary of Defense. General MacArthur had other
things on his mind on the day he received this informative message (it was D-day
for Operation CHROMITE), but he wanted to know more about the national policy on
Korea. As soon as he could, he asked the Joint Chiefs to forward by courier the
entire text of the approved policy paper. This the Joint Chiefs arranged by
handing copies to an officer from the Far East Command who was returning after
an official visit in Washington.
 Memo, JCS for Secy. Defense, 7 Sep. 50, sub: U.S. Courses of Action With
Respect to Korea.
As of 18 September, the Secretary of Defense had not yet told the Joint
Chiefs of Staff to prepare instructions for MacArthur based on the new policy.
This inaction perhaps was occasioned in part by Secretary Johnson's resignation,
which he had submitted on 12 September, and which President Truman had accepted
and made effective as of 19 September. General of the Army George C. Marshall
became the new Secretary of Defense on 21 September.
Meanwhile, hoping to lend impetus to the matter of new instructions to
MacArthur, General Gruenther, Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, proposed to
draft a directive at Army level for submission to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But
the Joint Chiefs had anticipated Gruenther and had already worked out the new
Ten days after American troops stormed Inch'on, the Joint Chiefs sent
MacArthur's directive for future operations in Korea to Secretary Marshall. They
told him that while they had dealt with military matters primarily, the
implications of the directive affected other agencies of the United States
Government; and they suggested that the Secretary obtain the concurrence of
these other agencies. They had taken no action on aspects of the new national
policy outside their purview, assuming that the responsible agencies would take
care of these in directives of their own. The Joint Chiefs did ask, however,
that they be allowed to comment from the military point of view on any
directives prepared by other agencies.
Several days went by with no word on the directive and General Bolte became
impatient. The reports from Korea, encouraging from the military viewpoint, were
nevertheless disconcerting to the Army G-3, who knew that General MacArthur
would soon reach the 38th Parallel and the limit of his current instructions.
The advance information which had gone to MacArthur had made it plain that he
would not cross the 38th Parallel without specific authority from the President.
"In view of the rapidity with which military operations in Korea are approaching
the 38th parallel," Bolte told the Chief of Staff on 27 September, "it is a
matter of military urgency that the commander of the United Nations forces be
given authority to cross this parallel to accomplish attainment of his military
objective."  General Bolte was fearful that a delay in definite orders from
Washington would cause U.N. forces to hesitate and break stride in their advance
at the parallel thus enabling the North Korean Army to retreat in orderly
fashion without being destroyed. He recommended that General Collins press the
Secretary of Defense for approval of MacArthur's crossing of the parallel.
 Memo, Gen. Bolte for CofS, 27 Sep. 50, sub: U.S. Course of Action in
Korea, with note by Gen. Gruenther on original.
Actually, Secretary Marshall had been waiting for State Department
concurrence in the directive before showing it to President Truman. The State
Department approved the draft but added a paragraph of instructions on the
return of Seoul to the Republic of Korea Government. Before General Bolte's
objections had reached the Chief of
Staff, the President had approved the directive. 
The Joint Chiefs of Staff sent the directive to General MacArthur on 27
September, stipulating that it was being furnished to provide him with
"amplifying instructions as to further military actions to be taken by you in
Korea." They warned him, "These instructions, however, cannot be considered to
be final since they may require modification in accordance with developments."
Obviously wary of what the Russians or Chinese might do, they ordered MacArthur
"to make special efforts to determine whether there is a Chinese Communist or
Soviet threat to the attainment of your objective, which will be reported to the
Joint Chiefs of Staff as a matter of urgency." 
For the first time MacArthur had a written directive to destroy North Korean
Your military objective is the destruction of the North Korean
Armed Forces. In attaining this objective you are authorized to
conduct military operations, including amphibious and airborne
landings or ground operations north of the 38th Parallel in Korea,
provided that at the time of such operation there has been no entry
into North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist Forces, no
announcement of intended entry, nor a threat to counter our
operations militarily in North Korea. Under no circumstances,
however, will your forces cross the Manchurian or USSR borders of
Korea and, as a matter of policy, no non-Korean Ground Forces will
be used in the northeast provinces bordering the Soviet Union or in
the area along the Manchurian border. Furthermore, support of your
operations north or south of the 38th Parallel will not include Air
or Naval action against Manchuria or against USSR territory.
In the event of the open or covert employment of major Soviet units
south of the 38th Parallel, you will assume the defense, make no
move to aggravate the situation and report to Washington. You
should take the same action in the event your forces are operating
north of the 38th Parallel, and major Soviet units are openly
employed. You will not discontinue Air and Naval operations north
of the 38th Parallel merely because the presence of Soviet or
Chinese Communist troops is detected in a target area, but if the
Soviet Union or Chinese Communists should announce in advance their
intention to reoccupy North Korea and give warning, either
explicitly or implicitly, that their forces should not be attacked,
you should refer the matter immediately to Washington.
In the event of the open or covert employment of major Chinese
Communist units south of the 38th Parallel, you should continue the
action as long as action by your forces offers a reasonable chance
of successful resistance. In the event of an attempt to employ
small Soviet or Chinese Communist units covertly south of the 38th
Parallel, you should continue the action.
MacArthur was directed to use all information media at his command to turn
"the inevitable bitterness and resentment of the war-victimized Korean people"
away from the United Nations and to direct it toward the Communists, Korean and
Russian, and, "depending on the role they play," the Chinese Communists.
 The genesis of this directive is not clear in President Truman's
memoirs. He states that he approved a statement of national policy on 11
September and that the JCS sent a "directive" based on this policy to MacArthur
on 15 September. The JCS sent only the substance of the policy statement to
MacArthur at that time, and did not send him the actual directive until 27
September. See Truman Memoirs, II, 59-60.
 Rad, JCS 92801, JCS (Personal) for MacArthur, 27 Sep. 50. Because of its
importance this directive will be quoted at length.
When organized armed resistance by North Korean forces has been
brought substantially to an end, you should direct the ROK forces to
take the lead in disarming remaining North Korean units and
enforcing the terms of surrender. Guerrilla activities should be
dealt with primarily by the forces of the Republic of Korea, with
minimum participation by United Nations contingents.
Circumstances obtaining at the time will determine the character of
and necessity for occupation of North Korea. Your plans for such
occupation will be forwarded for approval to the Joint Chiefs of
Staff. You will also submit your plan for future operations north
of the 38th Parallel to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for approval.
MacArthur was advised that the United States was formulating instructions
regarding "Armistice terms to be offered by you to the North Koreans in the
event of sudden collapse of North Korean forces and Course of Action to be
followed and activities to be undertaken during the post-hostilities period."
The directive then continued:
As soon as the military situation permits, you should facilitate
the restoration of the Government of the Republic of Korea with its
capital in Seoul. Although the Government of the Republic of Korea
has been generally recognized (except by the Soviet bloc) as the
only legal government in Korea, its sovereignty north of the 38th
Parallel has not been generally recognized. The Republic of Korea
and its Armed Forces should be expected to cooperate in such
military operations and military occupation as are conducted by
United Nations forces north of the 38th Parallel, but political
questions such as the formal extension of sovereignty over North
Korea should await action by the United Nations to complete the
unification of the country.
According to news reports appearing about the time the new directive reached
MacArthur, General Walker had informed reporters that his forces were going to
halt along the 38th Parallel for regrouping and, ostensibly, to await permission
to cross. These reports, while unconfirmed, disturbed the Secretary of Defense
to such an extent that he sent General MacArthur a personal message:
"Announcement . . . may precipitate embarrassment in the United Nations where
evident desire is not to be confronted with the necessity of a vote on passage
of the 38th parallel." Secretary Marshall left no doubt, however, as to how he
himself felt about the crossing when he said, "We want you to feel unhampered
tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel." 
 (1) Rad, JCS 92895, Secy. Defense (Personal) to MacArthur, 29 Sep. 50.
(2) The President had been advised on 1 October that General MacArthur had
informed the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he wished to issue a dramatic
announcement when the 38th Parallel had been crossed. The Joint Chiefs of Staff
had forbidden this, pointing out the unwisdom of such a statement. They had
instructed him, instead, to go ahead with his operations but without calling
special attention to the crossing of his forces into North Korea.
General MacArthur had received no confirmation that General Walker had made a
statement of this type and doubted that he had done so. But he took the
precaution of warning Walker to make no comment on the 38th Parallel to anyone.
"The matter is of such delicacy," he told the Eighth Army commander, "that all
reference thereto will be made either from GHQ or direct from Washington." And
in answer to the Secretary of Defense MacArthur replied that he had cautioned
Walker against "involvement connected with nomenclature." "Unless and until the
enemy capitulates," General MacArthur
told General Marshall, "I regard all of Korea open for our military
The ROK Government Returns to Seoul
General MacArthur, before landing at Inch'on, had conferred with President
Rhee and agreed informally that the government of the republic would be
reestablished in Seoul as early as possible. The two had also discussed
arrangements for an election. In Washington, when the Joint Chiefs of Staff
mentioned these dealings, great concern arose within the Department of State.
That agency, then discussing means of a final settlement in Korea with other
U.N. members, deplored any participation by the military commander in ROK
governmental matters. Through the Secretary of Defense, the Department of State
asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call upon MacArthur for a more complete
accounting of his diplomatic activities. H. Freeman Matthews of the Department
of State told the Secretary of Defense he did not wish to use diplomatic
channels for this inquiry, believing, ". . . it would be extremely awkward for
Sebald [Political Adviser to SCAP] to inquire into this matter, and equally
awkward for Ambassador Muccio." 
When, acting on the request, the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked General
MacArthur for complete details of his plans for restoring President Rhee's
authority in Korea, MacArthur protested any thought of meddling in the
Department of State's affairs. "I do not know precisely to what your message
refers," he said,
but I have no plans whatsoever except scrupulously to implement the
directives which I have received. I plan to return President Rhee,
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.
MacArthur pointed out that this involved no re-establishment of or change in
government, since the ROK Government had never ceased to function and would
merely resume control over its areas liberated from enemy control. 
Conditions in Seoul were not yet quite "sufficiently stable" for Rhee's
return, for the X Corps had encountered exceptionally bitter resistance in and
around the city. General Almond, under pressure from MacArthur, pushed his
commanders to take the capital quickly. By 26 September, his troops had seized
all key points within it, and the prize seemed almost within grasp. "On this
basis," Almond said, "I advised General MacArthur that he might expect to enter
Seoul on the 29th of September, that in my opinion the city would be perfectly
safe to restore President Syngman Rhee to his rightful position at the Capital
by that date." 
 (1) Rad, C 65035, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 30 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, C
65034, CINCFE to DA for Secy. Defense, 30 Sep. 50.
 Ltr., Mr. H. Freeman Matthews, Deputy Undersecy. State, to Gen. Burns,
OSD, 18 Sep. 50, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 14/26.
 (1) Memo, Gen. Bradley for Secy. Defense, 7 Sep. 50, sub: U.S. Courses
of Action With Respect to Korea, (2) Ltr., Mr. Matthews to Gen. Burns, 18 Sep.
50. (3) Rad, JCS 92329, JCS to CINCFE, 22 Sep. 50. (4) Rad, C 64159, CINCFE to
JCS, 23 Sep. 50.
 Ltr., Gen. Almond to Maj. James F. Schnabel, 8 Jul. 55.
Almond also sent MacArthur a tentative program for the liberation ceremonies.
But MacArthur replied:
Arrangements suggested by you are not in accordance with those
already set up by me. Following is the plan. Arrive Kimpo 0930. No
honor guard or other ceremony there. Will proceed direct to capital
building for informal conference with you and General Walker before
arrival of Pusan party. Ceremony at 1200 hours. I will personally
conduct the proceedings without being introduced. There will be no
invocation or benediction necessary as the spiritual features are
embodied in my own address. I will commence ceremony by five minute
speech to be followed by speeches of similar duration by the
Chairman UN COK, American ambassador and President Rhee, and I will
conclude the proceedings. 
General MacArthur arrived in Seoul on the 29th as scheduled. In his address
he told President Rhee:
In behalf of the United Nations I am happy to restore to you, Mr.
President, the seat of your Government, that from it you may better
fulfill your constitutional responsibility. It is my fervent hope
that a beneficent providence will give you and all of your public
officials the wisdom and strength to meet your perplexing problems
in a spirit of benevolence and justice, that from the travail of
the past there may emerge a new and hopeful dawn for the people of
After leading his audience in the Lord's Prayer, MacArthur told Rhee, "... my
officers and I will now resume our military duties and leave you and your
Government to the discharge of civil responsibility." 
When MacArthur returned to Tokyo, he received protests from the Departments
of State and Defense. Both departments noted with surprise and alarm that the
American flag had been displayed with undue prominence over the ROK Capitol
during the ceremonies, and complained that this placed too great an emphasis on
the nature of the Korean War as a United States, rather than a United Nations,
operation.  But congratulations also were in order. For, by the end of
September, MacArthur had achieved the objectives of his landing, and the Eighth
Army and the X Corps now controlled almost all of South Korea. Together, the two
commands had routed the North Korean Army, had killed or captured huge numbers
of its troops, and had destroyed or forced the abandonment of nearly all of its
tanks, trucks, and artillery.
In congratulating MacArthur on 30 September, President Truman said, in part:
No operations in military history can match either the delaying
action where you traded space for time in which to build up your
forces, or the brilliant maneuver which has now resulted in the
liberation of Seoul. I am particularly impressed by the splendid
cooperations of our Army, Navy, and Air Force and I wish you would
extend my thanks and congratulations to the commanders of these
services-Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, Vice Admiral Charles T. Joy,
and Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer. . . I salute you all, and say
to all, from all of us at home, 'Well and nobly done.'
 Rad, C 64724, CINCUNC to CG X Corps, 28 Sep. 50.
 Text of message by General MacArthur on return of Government of Korea to
Seoul, 29 September 1950, contained in MacArthur Hearings, page 3481.
 Rad, W 92972, DA to CINCFE, 30 Sep. 50.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff joined in the congratulations, praising MacArthur
and his men for a ". . . transition from defensive to offensive operations
was magnificently planned, timed and executed." 
General MacArthur passed along these compliments to all of his command, but
they brought no particular joy to General Almond. For neither President Truman
nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff had specifically credited the X Corps or Almond
with any contribution to the success of the operations. Though the oversight
presumably was unintentional, Almond complained that this absence of official
recognition adversely affected the morale of his command. 
The X Corps and General Almond were to have another opportunity for
recognition as a result of the 27 September directive from the Joint Chiefs of
Staff to MacArthur calling for the destruction of the North Korean armed forces.
During the recent offensive large numbers of North Koreans had managed to slip
away, particularly through the eastern mountains, into their home territory.
 Rad, ZC 18525, CINCFE to All Comdrs, 30 Sep. 50.
 (1) Ibid. (2) Telecon, Gen. Beiderlinden with Col. Harrison,
2020-2100, 1 Oct. 50, recorded in SGS GHQ, FEC 337 files, 1950.
In connection with the assigned objective to destroy the North Korean armed
forces, the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized MacArthur to broadcast a surrender
ultimatum to the North Korean Government. The broadcast also was to instruct the
military leaders on how to handle prisoners of war, to assure them that on
surrender their own forces would be fairly treated, to inform them that the
Republic of Korea would be re-established with its capital in Seoul, and to
point out that the question of the future of Korea was now before the United
Nations. MacArthur, however, placed little confidence in a call to surrender. He
doubted that the North Koreans would come to terms until he had beaten them so
decisively as to leave them no alternatives but surrender or annihilation. He
therefore concluded that he should try to crush the North Korean Army by a
pursuit above the 38th Parallel. He, in fact, had made this decision before he
received his newest directive from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he had seen
the gist of the new policy underlying the directive and therefore was able to
judge the latitude he would be allowed. 
New Operations Plans
Accordingly, on 26 September, MacArthur instructed General Wright and the
JSPOG staff to plan another amphibious encirclement well above the 38th
Parallel. The new landing was to be coordinated with a new overland attack.
MacArthur wanted Wright to consider two conceptions of advance into North Korea.
The first of these would send the Eighth Army in a main effort along the west
coast in conjunction with an amphibious landing at Chinnamp'o or elsewhere.
MacArthur's other idea provided for an overland attack to the east coast by the
Eighth Army and a simultaneous amphibious landing at Wonsan, a city of some
150,000, also on the east coast.  The plan eventually used included features
of both concepts.
General Wright furnished the hybrid plan, actually an up-to-date version of
an alternate concept prepared earlier for Operation CHROMITE, on 27 September.
 By this plan, the Eighth Army would make the main effort in the west to
seize the North Korean capital, P'yongyang, and the X Corps would make an
amphibious assault landing at Wonsan. Wright told General MacArthur that the
amphibious landing could be staged within ten days of the order to load out if
shipping was assembled early enough. 
 Rad, JCS 92762, JCS to CINCFE, 27 Sep. 50.
 (1) Memo, Gen. Hickey for JSPOG (Gen. Wright), 26 Sep. 50, sub: Plans
for Future Opns, JSPOG, GHQ, UNC files. (2) See also, Appleman, South to the
Naktong, North to the Yalu, pp. 609-14 and 618-21.
 General Wright, who carried out General MacArthur's planning directives
during this period and supervised their conversion into concrete plans, felt
that the method chosen for entering North Korea was a natural outgrowth of
MacArthur's preoccupation since July 1950 with the possibility of a double
amphibious envelopment. "Even while we were under the pressure of the Inchon
planning," Wright has written, ". . . I had JSPOG concurrently assembling the
data for a Wonsan operation." It was strictly the paucity of men and materiel
that had led MacArthur to settle for a single envelopment at Inch'on in the
first place, according to Wright, And he had kept the Wonsan operation in mind,
for the time when he would have enough strength to mount it. "I think it can be
inferred that he had rather definite plans for Wonsan immediately following the
success of the Inchon operation." See Ltr., Gen. Wright to Maj. Schnabel, 14
Jun. 55, copy in OCMH.
 (1) Memo, Gen. Wright for CofS GHQ, 26 Sep. 50, sub: Plans for Future
Opns. (2) Interv, Col. Appleman with Gen. Wright, Feb. 54.
Wonsan was an excellent choice for an amphibious landing. Besides being
sufficiently deep into North Korea, it was the principal port on the east coast;
it was the eastern terminus of the easiest route across the narrow waist of the
peninsula; and it was a road and rail communications center. Wonsan, in fact,
was the principal port of entry for Russian supplies and military equipment
received by sea from the Vladivostok area and a key point on the rail line from
the same area. Moreover, from Wonsan a military force could move inland and west
across the peninsula to P'yongyang or north to the Hamhung-Hungnam region, the
most important industrial area in all Korea. 
General MacArthur readily accepted the plan tailored to his specifications.
On 28 September he informed the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "If the North Korean
Armed Forces do not surrender in accordance with my proclamation to be issued on
1 October 195O, dispositions will be made to accomplish the military objective
of destroying them by entry into North Korea." He sketched his plan briefly. He
would send the Eighth Army across the 38th Parallel through Kaesong and Sariwon
to capture P'yongyang. Almond's X Corps would land amphibiously at Wonsan,
thereafter "making juncture With Eighth Army." Presumably, this juncture would
require the X Corps to attack west along the Wonsan-P'yongyang road. 
Mindful of the warning contained in his latest directive, General MacArthur
promised Washington that he would use only ROK troops for operations above the
line Ch'ungju-Yongwon-Hungnam. "Tentative date for the attack of Eighth Army,"
MacArthur reported, "will be not earlier than 15 October and not later than 30
October. You will be provided detailed plans later." Washington's concern over
possible Chinese or Russian interference in the Korean fighting prompted General
MacArthur to report also that there was no indication of "present entry into
North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist Forces." 
On the following day, just before he delivered his address in Seoul,
MacArthur summoned General Walker, General Almond, Admiral Joy, and General
Stratemeyer to a conference in a room on the second floor of the Capitol to tell
them of his new plan. Although the Joint Chiefs of Staff had not yet approved
the plan, he pointed out, approval was expected with no material change in the
concept of the operation. He directed Almond to relinquish the Seoul area to
Walker by 7 October, to plan on moving the 7th Division overland for embarkation
at Pusan, and to embark corps troops and the 1st Marine Division from Inch'on.
He tentatively set 20 October as the date for the Wonsan landing. 
 (1) JANIS 75, ch. VIII (Korea-Cities and Towns), pp. 52-53. (2) GHQ FEC
Terrain Study 6, North Korea, XIV, 26-27, and Map No. 760, Wonsan City Plan,
Plate 12. (3) War Diary, X Corps, Oct. 50, Opns, pp. 18-19, and Diary CG X
Corps, 24 Oct. 50.
 (1) Rad, C 64805, CINCFE to JCS, 28 Sep. 50. (2) See also Douglas
MacArthur, Reminiscences (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), pp. 357 60.
 Rad, C 64805, CINCFE to JCS, 28 Sep. 50.
 Ltr., Gen. Almond to Maj. Schnabel, 8 Jul. 55.
The actual plan for destroying North Korean forces above the 38th Parallel
was based on three assumptions. Two were correct, namely, that the bulk of the
North Korean forces had been destroyed and that the United Nations Command would
conduct operations north of the 38th Parallel. The third, that there would be no outside
interference, was less sound. The plan called on the forces of the Eighth Army
and the X Corps to advance to and hold a line across Korea from Ch'ongju,
through Yongwon, to Hamhung. The target date for the Eighth Army assault was set
at twelve days after the Eighth Army had passed through the X Corps in the
Inch'on-Seoul area. General Walker's ground attack might precede General
Almond's amphibious assault by three to seven days. General Wright estimated
that it would take six days to load the assault elements of the X Corps and four
days to sail to Wonsan. 
Most of MacArthur's principal staff officers had assumed, before seeing the
new plans, that the UNC commander intended to place the X Corps under General
Walker after Seoul was returned to ROK control. MacArthur had created the X
Corps specifically for the landing at Inch'on, had tailored it hurriedly, and
had taken its key officers from his own staff. As the corps completed its
mission in late September, it could logically be assumed that the combat
elements of the corps would be assimilated by the Eighth Army and that the key
officers would return to GHQ and their normal duties. Generals Hickey and Wright
advised General MacArthur to follow this course; Maj. Gen. George L. Eberle,
MacArthur's G-4, also strongly favored Walker's taking over the X Corps; and
General Almond had always understood "that when the Inchon operation was
completed that the X Corps troops would be absorbed by Eighth Army...." 
Subsequently, General MacArthur could not believe that these officers really
disagreed with his decision.
To the contrary, the decision to retain a function of GHQ command
and coordination between the Eighth Army and the X Corps until
such time as a juncture between the two forces had been effected
was, so far as I know, based upon the unanimous thinking of the
senior members of my staff. It but followed standard military
practice in the handling and control of widely separated forces
where lateral communications were difficult if not impossible. 
 (1) Opn Plan 9-50, 29 Sep. 50, in JSPOG, GHQ, UNC files. (2) Memo, Gen.
Hickey for JSPOG, Note 2, Gen. Wright to CofS, GHQ, UNC, 26 Sep. 50, sub: Plans
for Future Opns.
 (1) Interv, Col. Appleman with Gen. Wright, Feb. 54. (2) Interv, Col.
Appleman with Gen. Eberle, 12 Jan 54. (3) Ltr., Gen. Almond to Maj. Schnabel, 8
 Ltr., Gen. MacArthur to Gen. Snedeker, USMC, G-3, HQ USMC, Washington,
D.C., 24 Feb. 56, copy in OCMH.
General Walker and the Eighth Army staff apparently felt very strongly that
the X Corps should become part of the Eighth Army. Walker seems to have had two
plans in mind for the possible employment of Almond's forces. In one of these,
the X Corps would drive overland from Seoul to seize P'yongyang, and the rest of
the Eighth Army, after coming up behind the X Corps, would then move laterally
from P'yongyang to Wonsan on the east coast where it would join the ROK I Corps
as the latter moved up the east coast. Such a maneuver might save a great deal
of time, since the X Corps was already in position to advance on P'yongyang, and
would establish a line across Korea at the narrow waist that could cut off a
large number of North Koreans still trying to move northward through the central
and eastern mountains. Meanwhile, the X Corps
could move on above P'yongyang toward the Yalu River. The operations of both
the X Corps and the Eighth Army could be coordinated under Walker's command; and
both could be supplied from Pusan and Inch'on until the Wonsan area fell, at
which time the forces operating in the east could be supplied by sea through
Wonsan and Hungnam, farther north. 
General Walker's second plan was to approach Wonsan by a more direct,
diagonal route. Assuming that the X Corps became a part of the Eighth Army,
Walker would, in this instance, send a corps to the east coast objective through
the Seoul-Ch'orwon-Wonsan corridor. 
If these were the plans Walker had in mind, he did not ask authority to carry
out either of them. Apparently unaware of what Almond's plans were he contented
himself with asking General MacArthur discreetly that he be let in on what was
going on: "To facilitate advance planning for the approaching juncture with the
X Corps, request this headquarters be kept informed of the plans and progress of
this Corps to the greatest extent practicable. To date the X Corps operations
plans have not been received." 
General MacArthur told Walker that as soon as X Corps had completed its
CHROMITE missions, he would place it in GHQ Reserve in the Inch'on-Seoul area
and that he, MacArthur, would direct its future operations. These operations
would be revealed to the Eighth Army commander at an early date.  MacArthur,
in fact, consulted neither Walker nor Almond on the next operation until the
plan was almost in final form.
MacArthur's guidance to his planners was tantamount to an order that they
recommend another amphibious operation by the X Corps. While MacArthur did not
specify that the X Corps would make the amphibious landing, no other element of
the United Nations Command could have carried out the maneuver. Too, General
MacArthur had been most favorably impressed by Almond's performance at Inch'on
and by the over-all results of his operations. Furthermore, he saw amphibious
maneuver as the best means of slashing deep into North Korea, of cutting off
escape routes for thousands of fleeing enemy soldiers, and of seizing a major
port to support his troops. This last-named purpose was perhaps uppermost in his
thinking. Ammunition, food, gasoline, and most other supplies that kept the UNC
divisions fighting in late September came into Korea through two ports, Pusan
and Inch'on. As troops moved farther north, Pusan's value dwindled, since the
rail lines and roads over which materiel had to be brought from the port to the
combat units had been severely damaged in the earlier heavy fighting. The other
port, Inch'on, had a limited capacity for receiving vessels and could scarcely
have supported, with its facilities, all U.N. forces involved in the fighting.
 Interv, Col. Appleman with Maj. Gen. Leven C. Allen, 15 Dec. 53, copy in
 Ltr., Wright to Schnabel, 14 Jun. 55.
 Rad, G 25090 KGO, CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 26 Sep. 50.
 Rad, CX 64610, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 27 Sep. 50.
 General Wright points out in this connection. "Inchon was not capable of
fully supplying Eighth Army and I think a logistical check will show that,
temporary handicap to Eighth Army as it was, the movement out of X Corps enabled
Eighth Army to provide itself with the logistic capability to perform its
advance to the Pyongyang area." See Ltr., Wright to Schnabel, 14 Jun. 55.
General Wright, in later analyzing the decision and the planning for entering
North Korea, said,
Both General MacArthur and General Walker realized that any
successful campaign in North Korea would need the full operation of
an east coast port, preferably Wonsan or Hungnam. And I believe
that their staffs were in full agreement. The point at issue was
simply that of how to capture such a port and who should do it.
Any campaign north of the P'yongyang-Wonsan corridor would certainly
encounter a most difficult logistical problem. The northern Taebaek Range rose
to rugged heights in the east central part of the peninsula, forming a nearly
trackless mountain waste in the direction of the Manchurian border. Few roads or
trails ran west and east. The principal lanes of travel were axial routes that
followed the north and south trend of deep mountain valleys. The only reasonably
good lateral road connected P'yongyang with Wonsan, where it joined the coastal
road running northward to Hamhung and Hungnam. A rail line crossed the peninsula
in the same general area between P'yongyang and Wonsan.
General MacArthur apparently decided that he could not supply both Eighth
Army and X Corps through Pusan and Inch'on and over the crippled road and rail
system in a campaign that he wanted to end quickly so that his forces would not
have to fight during North Korea's severe winter weather. Weeks of concentrated
work by all the available engineer troops would be needed before even the main
lines of communication could be repaired as far as the 38th Parallel, not to
mention the area to the north where the next phase of the campaign would be
fought. But with the addition of the Wonsan port facilities, MacArthur reasoned,
two separate forces, coordinated and supported from Japan, could operate in
Korea without impairing the effectiveness of either.  Of the two methods by
which he could seize Wonsan, amphibious encirclement took precedence over ground
advance. The means were at hand in the X Corps, his directives specifically
authorized amphibious operations in North Korea, and he apparently hoped the
waterborne movement would be as successful as the one at Inch'on.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, having already established the principle that
MacArthur could carry the fight into North Korea, did not quibble over
MacArthur's methods. They passed the plan on to the Secretary of Defense for
final approval, asking that he act with great speed since "certain ROK Army
Forces may even now be crossing the 38th Parallel." President Truman and General
Marshall agreed to the plan at once, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff told General
MacArthur to carry out his plan on schedule. 
 Ltr., Wright to Schnabel, 14 Jun. 55.
 Interv, Col. Appleman with Gen. Ruffner, formerly CofS X Corps, 20 Aug.
 (1) Rad, JCS 92975, JCS to CINCFE, 29 Sep. 50. (2) Memo, Gen. Bradley
for Secy. Defense, 29 Sep. 50, sub: Future Korean Opns. (3) To later critics who
noted that ROK troops captured Wonsan on 11 October before American units were
even disembarked and that MacArthur had noticed this, General Wright pointed out
that General MacArthur had indeed noticed and was impressed by the remarkable
advance of ROK soldiers up the east coast of Korea where, by late September,
they had driven almost to the parallel. But those same ROK troops had, only
weeks before, shown themselves to be extremely vulnerable to pressure and
counterattack. And there was every good chance that these troops would run into
guerrilla forces, reinforced by retreating North Korean survivors, when they
reached the mountainous area west of Kaesong and Kojo. Too, MacArthur did not
feel that he had sufficient control of ROK troops. While technically under his
command, their subordination to him was based merely on an understanding between
himself and President Rhee of the Republic of Korea. This fact, according to
General Wright, made their conduct under certain conditions problematical, and
had to be considered in any planning for a major operation. In other words, any
plan which hinged on ROK troops to any degree (i.e., to seize and hold Wonsan)
was felt to be leaning on a weak reed. See Ltr., Gen. Wright to Maj. Schnabel,
14 Jun. 55.
(Continuation of footnote 43, which is appended to bottom of page 191.)