NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Short-Term Outlook for South Korea
DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
yUNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE tOARD
RFFROVtl] FOIMIUSI DATLIUItIM
fa/lowing'1 yen,organltrflioni parlklpal^ in ihs prtporarion of tfvi oPi'tki'o.-
Tha Control Intelligence Agency and tho Intelligence ofgoniiortoni of tha Deport-menurt, Detente, thoha Navy, and tha Air force.
Director of infe'Saenca and BeteorcK Deportment of Slot* Dlracror. Detente intelligence Agorcy
An Mora Chief of Staff for intelligence, Deportment of tha Army
Chief of Novol Operation*ipurtmoni of the .Sovy
Aiiiironl Chiefoff, Intelligence, USA"
Director foroint Stoff
D.-ertor of Ihe rMtoeaJ Security Age-*.
The Atom* Energy Corrutataiono me USS, ond the AnbeantFederal Bureau of InveHigollon, tho lubftct being oVWcU of their kr'HoHltoA
national intelligence estimate
Short-Term Outlook for South Korea
short-term outlook for south korea
To assess the political situation in South Korea and to estimate probable developments over the next few months
recent outbreak of factional strife within thejunta which rules South Korea has been causedcontroversy over the expanding role of Coloneland the ROK Central Intelligence Agencybetween the senior officers and the Eighthof field grade officers led by Kim will continue, butseems Likely that the two factions will seek to avoidWe believe that the junta, withs the key figure, will remain in power untilschedulednd willargecontrol over the new civilian government. (Paras.
junta currently has little popular support.rigged elections or further economiccause riots and demonstrations. While the regimelocal outbursts, massive public demonstrationscoup attempts by disgruntled military leaders,in concert with presently disbarred politicaloutcome of such attempts cannot be estimated, butwhich emerged fromituationcertainlyarge degree of backing frommilitary. (Paras.
relations will continue to be difficult overfew months. There will probably be someimprove liaison with US officials in economicthe CIA will continue its largely uncontrolledactivities. In political matters, it is doubtfulPak or Kim will accept US suggestions whichlimitations on their actions. Despite strong USit is doubtful that the issue of ROK-Japanesesoon be resolved. Only on the military plane willrelations remain reasonably open and friendly.
strife within the junta, increased publicand even hostility toward the regime, and strainedwith the US have increased the danger ofactivities. Appeals to Korean nationalism andunification may prove more effective than inDuring the next feweal Communistthe regime is unlikely to develop, but if the politicalwhich has already commenced, is not halted and ifstagnation persists, the problem of counteringsubversion will become far more serious.
I. POSITION OF THE REGIME
military junta that seizedSouth Korea in1 was anof senior army and marinefield grade army officers most ofmembers of the "Eighth Class" ofcommissionedhewere divided into severalimportant were the Hamgyonggroups, neither of which hadleadershipery coherent-youngn the otherelatively cohesive group ledKiman ofenergy and ability, and generallymeasures and stern nationalto solve South Korea's problem*Pak Chong-hui. the coup leader,no faction, but was respected for hisqualities and was acceptable toe emerged as Chairman ofgoverning body, the SupremeNational Reconstruction (SCNR).time. Pak has sought to preserveof the junta through arbitrationudicious distribution ofthe several elements.
a few months ago. Pak'seffective in controlling tensionsJunta andirectbetween its various factions.behind the scenes. Kim Chong-p'Ujunior officers steadily Increasedpower and Influence. Kim Isthe niece of Chairman Pak and has foryears been his principal confidantAppointed Director of the ROKthe coup, Kim was given extensiveboth the government and the armedHe reinforced his positiony placing supportersadministrative and military posts and forming covert alliances with certain financial interests- Opposition in the SCNR to therole of Kim and tne CIA resultederious outbreak of factional strife, which lasted from May until2 Kim has emerged from the struggle relatively stronger. Such highly-placed opponents as First ROK Army commander Lt. General Pak Im-hang. Prime Minister Song Yo-chan, and ROK Army CIC Chief, Brigadier General Kim Chae-ch'un, have been forced out of their key posts along with lesser SCNR members,officials, and army officers Thesenior officers within the Junta probably no longer constitute an effectiveto Kim and the Eighth Class colonels.
im's high position In the regime has been achieved through his control of the CIA and, reciprocally, the power of the CIA has been extended with the growth of Kim'sThe CIA was originally charged only with ontlsubversion and intelligencebut It Is now so deeply involved in the planning and execution of regime policies that the SCNR has almost been displaced as the chief instrument of the revolutionary junta. The CIA has also intervened in Ihe economic life of the country, both directly and through cooperating businessmen and frontIts Involvement this spring inof the Seoul stock market, and itsof the drastic currency conversion and blocking regulations of June are only the most spectacular examples of Its economicIt has also Imported Japanese taxis and TV sets, contracted for an auto assembly plant,ecreation project, and participated In collusive bidding on UScontracts. In the political sphere and in anticipation of3 changeover to a
Civilian government, the CIA has been taking the leading role in plans lor revising the ROK constitution. It has also ussumedfor securing the presidency forPak and Ihe election of appropriate candidates to the national assembly.
Chairman Puk is probably not entirely happy about the growth of Kim's Influence or the expanding role ol the CIA. Theof the power balance within the junta has necessarily diminished Pak's own role as the arbiter of factional disputes. Perhaps of greater importance to Pak. the CIAin the stock market scandal and other business corruption has seriously damaged his cherished image of the juntaeform movement. Tensions between the two menlimax when an SCNR investigating committee pnvately confirmed Kim'sin the stock market scandal.therealter. onune, Pak ordered Kim's removal tot CIA Director. However, the ouster proved abortive;atter of hours, Pak rescinded his decision, perhaps in response to aigumontselegation of Eighth Class colonels. Subsequently, the leading contender for Kim's post, ROK Army CIC Chief Kim Chaeeh'un, lost his command, thereby eliminating Kim Chong-p'il'srival in the Internal security fieldongstanding opponent ot CIA interference in the army.
In abandoning his attempt to remove Kim. Pak was probably motivated by several considerations oilier than his family andrelationship Upon reflection. Pak must have realized that the menacingly powerful CIA could prove more dangerous to hisunder new leadership than under thatonfederate with strong personal ties.iminution in Kim's power would increase the influence of the Hamgyongmembersk probably doubts both their revolutionary teal and their Pak is also swarc of the regime's heavy dependence upon the CIA for protection against the political conspiracies endemic to South Korea and equally appreciative of Kim's proven ability in this field. He Is cognisant too ot the meager public support that the junta has engendered duringmonth tenure and of his almost complete reliance upon Kim to arrange his accession to the presidency, should he choose to run. and the election of an acceptable legislature. Finally, it is possible that Kim's reported threats of counteraction moved Pak to consider how the regime would be shaken by an open clash between the senior officers and the Eighth Class colonels. In any case. Pak's decision to retain Kim has made him more dependent upon Kim than ever before.
II. PUBLIC ATTITUDES
The1 military coup received some welcome from many Koreans who had grown Impatient with the apparent inability of the politicians in Seoul to forego the game of politics and graft and settle down to work on the country's urgent economic and social problems. The people had been disappointed by the failure of Chang Myon's parliamentary democracy to remedy the wrongs of the Rhee regime. The Pak junta, despite Its lack ofpersonalities and the authoritarian Ideals ol its leaders, initially struck achord with its call for the elimination of corruption, the regeneration of Koreanand the fostering of economic growth. The apparently monolithic character of the new regime behind strongman Pak also had considerable appeal for those disgusted with the ceaseless factional infighting of the Chang era.
As the repressive nature of the regime became evident, its standing among students and intellectuals quicklyew months ago. the bulk of the population accorded It at least passive The governmenthole had shown
to bo well-intentloiied and rairly honest, even though Lacking In political andknow-how. However, recent events promise to destroy even this meager degree of support, particularly as news spreads ofhigh-level corruption. The harsh and restrictive Political Purification Law of2 blacklisted for six years most of the former politicians, including almost all those with substantial experience and highThe stock market scandal, tbeCIA involvement tn the economy, and the chaos caused by the June currencyeast grave doubt upon the regimo's honesty as well aa its economic comjietence. The business community was also alienated by the evident hostility of powerful juntato private enterprise. In early June, the government tacitly encouraged student demonstrationseans of forcing the US totatus-of-forces agreement, but these quickly took on an anlLrcgune cast. Urban workers are apparently dissatlsfled with the Junta's failure to improve wages andconditions, and reduce unemployment. Farmers apparently remain grateful forefforts in their behalf, particularly for prompt and adequate distribution of fertiliser this spring, but instances of corruption and favoritism on local levels have caused some damage to their confidence in the military leadership.
a. The Pak Junta is strongly committed to turning over control to an elected civilian government3 Current plans call for resumption of "normal" political activity early in the year, elections during the spring, and Inauguration of the new government inThe military regime is now in the somewhat paradoxical position of exposing Its leaders and their program, both shownin solving basic political andissues, to the uncertainties of theprocess. It Is seeking to eliminate these uncertainties by every means at its including severely restrictive laws, press controls and propaganda, organization, bribery, and intimidation. The current trial of diverse politicians, including former Prime Minister Chang Myon. for alleged coupu only the most recent indication of thc junta's Intention to eliminate potentialopposition. Such activities are already well advanced and thereeneralamong South Koreans that the Junta will somehow perpetuate its control and give little opportunity for the further development of free Institutions in the republic.
the recent dissension withinit now seems apparent that allseek tohowdown.will try to give some satisfaction toof senior members of thethe interests of retaining theirChong-pll Is alreadyositionthe guiding hand in thecan probably look forward toin power. He will probably remainlo exercise his authority behindFor their part, the seniorconsistently appeared unwilling toto halt the growth of Kim's powerthe point may already havewhere only the use of all outcould be effective. The uncertaintiesmilitary confrontation argue againstexcept under the greatestexample, the assassination of Pakthe assumption of leadership by Kimof his group. At present, it isthat neither faction would wish toPak since he is the only leader ofstature in the ruling group.
has given some indications thatready to restrict the CIA to itsand intelligence functions and thatconstitute appropriate SCNH elements to
monitor its activities. These moves would be helpful inalance within the junta and in appeasing public opinion at home and abroad, but only limited actions have yet been taken and any restrictions imposed on the CIA will probably be more apparent than real- As its popularity has decreased, thehas become Increasingly dependent upon Kim and his organisation In addition, the junta leaders, and especially Chairman Pak. are concerned over the impending difficulties of changingivilian form of government They will rely on the CIA lo insure theircontrol of the country and therefore it is likely that CIA power will continue to grow rather than diminish over the next few months.
he undertaking to return South Korea lo civilian rule may prove to be the roost serious threat to the shurt-run stability of the regime. Within the junta itself, conflicts are inevitable over election tactics, politicaland the allocation of public offices, and could possibly become serious enough toplit. More serious, however, is the danger of sharply increased public resentment If the election is rigged to Insure the continued dominance of the Pak-Kim combination. Should Kim's efforts become blatant or violent In the tradition ol the Hhee era, there is likely to be some sort of public protest, possibly riots and demonstrations. Any further economic deterioration would significantly lower the threshold at which such protest* would occur The regime is capable of suppressing localbut massive demonstrations of popular discontent could trigger coup attempts byor opportunistic military leaders, perhaps acting In concert with presentlypolitical elements. The outcome of such attempts cannot be estimated, but the government which emerged from such awould almost certainlyarge degree of backing from the ROK military.
quarreling within thecontinue, it is unlikely that hostilitythe factions will leadilitaryNeither faction could safelythe response of South Korean troopsissued inituation. Asopen conflict Is avoided, Pak and Kimmaintain essentially theirrelationship. On balance, wethe Junta will remain in power, withthe key figure, through the scheduledand that members of the junta willa large degree of control over thegovernment.
B. ROK-US Relations
South Korean relations with the US have been strained during the last few months. These difficulties are largely attributable to the increased influence of Kim Chong-p'lL and his ultranatwnalistic and, occasionally, antl-American supporters in the ROK Government. The loss of contact between the parties has been evidenced most clearly by the failure of the regime to consult with American officials concerning matters of major significance lo US policy. Advance notice was not received on the initiation of such major steps as the Political Purification Law, the currencyand blocking regulations, and the ambitious Ulsan industrial project.In attempting to pressure the US Into status-of-forces negotiations, the regime has tacitly encouraged anti-US press campaigns and student demonstrations. The regime is also trying to discourage close associationAmericans and prominent Koreans; the implication of American nationals In the trial of former Prime Minister Chang and other Democratic Party elements Istep In this campaign.
US influence on the internal political and economic policies of the regimeow point In June and It Is uncertain whether It will be more effective over the next few
In recent weeks, both Kim and Pak have officially acknowledged theUS interest In South Korean economicand have expressed their desire to avoid further misunderstandings In this field. Pak has recently appointed competent economists acceptable to the US to two key CabinetHe is aware of the absolute necessity of continued and even increased US assistance for the achievement of his economic goals and will probably improve liaison with American officials to some degree in hopes ofenevolent US attitude. However, concrete evidence of promised cooperation has been lacking; for example, there was noon the recent2 supplemental budget. Kim. moreover, Is resentful over open US attempts lo curtail his power and he is not likely to abandon his free-wheeling economic activities.
In political matters, It Is doubtful that either Pak or Kim will accept US suggestions which might Impose limitations on theirBoth have frequently expressedto US Interference in domestic politics, and they will be reluctant to apprise the US of their schemes for retaining power under the coming civilian regime. The probable continuation of the status of-forces dispute will add to the difficulties of Improving mutual confidence.
Only on the military plane have ROK relationships with the US remained relatively unaffected by recent events. The combatof ROK forces has probably not been Impaired by recent political difficulties. During the period of this estimate, the Junta will continue to respect the principle of the subordination of the ROK Armed Forces to the UN Command. However,eriod of political crisis, command relationships might be seriously Impaired. In any event. ROK US military relationships al the working level will probably remain reasonably open and friendly.
strong US pressures forIt Is unlikely that the issuerelations will be resolvedthe next few months. Preliminarybeen resumed, but the financial gapKorean claims and Japanese offerscompromise difficult. Even If anshould be reached, It is unlikely thatbe implemented quickly enough tosignificant Japanese funds toKorean economy during the next
C. The Communis Threat
the military danger fromcontinues lo exist, theto South Korea remainspsychological, and subversiveThe events of recentof leadership within the junta, thepublic apathy and even hostilitythe regime, the depressed state ofand the differences with theclearly Increased these dangers.Koreans have already moved toconflicts by resurrecting anline. The former vitriolicagainst the ROK militarybeen submerged; the campaignKorean nationalism and calls forof US troops. The peacefultheme, which proved effectivewing Intellectuals and studentthe Chang era, Is also beingultra nationalism which the Pakencouraged may give this propagandaeven broader appeal than It once hadhas dovetailed its policies with thatKorea by formally requesting theon the current UN agenda of an Itemwithdrawal of foreign troops from
IB. The Communists are well aware of the internal tensions within South Korea. The present situation, with Its broadening gap be-
the public and the junta, providesopportunities for stirring dissension and gaining recruits for subversion. Thewithin the Junta Itself presents openings for penetration of the government apparatus and the organization of antiregirnc groups. Increased concentration of power In the hands of the CIA and the dubious backgrounds and leftist ideologies of certain of Kim's close supporters are another source of concern.
uring the period of this estimate, none of these dangers Is likely to develop into any real Communist threat to the regime. The desire for unification is .still largely offset by memories of Communist actions during the war. Additionally, there is little evidence that subversion and infiltration have materiallyin recent months or that tbe CIA's recognized capability to counter such activities has declined. However, if the politicalwhich has already commenced, is not halted and if economic stagnation persists or if the CIA should turn to massive repression or blatant fraud to maintain its position of power during and after the transitionivilian regime, the problem of countering Communist subversion will become far more serious than at present.
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