Niles W. Bond Oral History Interview

Niles Bond  

Oral History Interview with
Niles W. Bond

U.S. Foreign Service officer, 1939-68; 3d secretary, vice consul, Madrid, Spain, 1942-45, second secretary 1945-46; adviser to U.S. delegation to 4th session Economic and Social Council, 1947; 2d secretary, vice consul, Bern, Switzerland, 1947, 1st secretary and consul, 1947; assistant chief, Division of Northeast Asian Affairs, Department of State, 1947-49, officer in charge Korean affairs, 1949-50; adviser to U.S. delegation to the 4th session U.N. General Assembly, 1949; 1st secretary Office of U.S. Political Advisor to Supreme Commander Allied Powers, Tokyo, Japan, 1950; acting chairman Allied Council for Japan, 1952; counselor embassy, Tokyo, 1952.

Washington, D.C.
December 28, 1973
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Notices and Restrictions | InterviewTranscript | List of Subjects Discussed]


This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened July 1979
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


Oral History Interview with

Washington, D.C.
December 28, 1973
by Richard D. McKinzie


MCKINZIE: Mr. Bond, historians are always interested in the background of the people who entered Foreign Service and I wonder if you might talk about your background, why you came to choose a career in Foreign Service, and your career before the Truman administration?

BOND: Well, I decided when I was in high school to join the Foreign Service. This was in Lexington, Massachusetts and can be documented by my high


school yearbook, which has a notation of what everybody’s ambition was to be. Mine was to be in the Foreign Service, and this I attribute to a wonderful history teacher I had. So many people have had the courses of their lives determined or changed by great teachers, and I had a wonderful history teacher who really, without trying to or without knowing she was doing it, got me interested in Foreign Service. I studied international affairs in college as an undergraduate. Then I took a master’s degree at the Fletcher School in diplomatic history and international law, and took the Foreign Service exams in Boston, in September, 1938. I had the good fortune to pass the writtens. I took my orals in December of that year and was at my first post beginning in March of ‘39 in Havana.

In those days the format was to send all new Foreign Service officers out for what they call the probationary year. Everybody, for the first


year or so, was on probation and could be fired without cause at any time. After that year, we came back to the Foreign Service School here in Washington, which was a very different thing from the Foreign Service Institute now. It was just a room over in the old State Building where a lovely lady named Cornelia Bassel ran this little school. We had gone out to our first post with no briefing of any kind. We were even told not to proceed to our posts by way of Washington, and we arrived, all of us, completely green at our first post. The first posts were almost all very close to the United States, for reasons of economy. Once in a while somebody would be sent to Europe for his first post, but 99 percent of the time one went to Mexican posts, Caribbean posts, or Canadian posts. Mine just happened to be Havana. I think there were three of us in Havana at that time, all on probationary assignments. Then we


came back and went to Cornelia Bassel’s little school for about three months. This was an official State Department thing. She was a niece of Woodrow Wilson, I think, who had been given this sinecure years before and went on running it. If we were still in the Foreign Service when we finished that course, we were no longer probationary; then we went out to our first regular post, and that’s when I went to Japan.

MCKINZIE: What kind of courses were taught at this school?

BOND: It was a really elementary thing, since we’d gone with no training at all and had been forced to learn on the job, as it were. The theory was that you did a little bit of everything at that first post, so I did a little bit of everything in Havana. We were all sent to consular positions as probationary posts. I ended up doing


visa work most of the time, because visa work was the big problem in Havana then. We had something like 25,000 European refugees waiting for visas in Havana, about 24,000 of whom came to the consulate everyday to see if there was any change in their situation. We just went out and did a little bit of everything. When we came back to the Department, it was mainly just basic training in the primary functions of the Foreign Service officer. Most of us knew consulate work pretty well by the time we came back. We studied accounting because in those days many of us at small posts had to do our own accounting. We sometimes had to do our own coding and decoding and so we took courses in cryptography. We did a little bit on political reporting, economic reporting and that sort of thing. The people who lectured were all officials in the Department who would come down and talk to us about their particular specialty, and there was some area


training which was pretty elemental. Nobody at that point knew where he was going, so we really didn’t know which one to take seriously and concentrate on. It lasted, as I recall, about three months and we were supposed to know a bit more when we came out than when we went in. I think most of us did.

I went to Yokohama after that. I was assigned actually to Bagdad, because I requested the Middle East for rather poor reasons. I requested it because, really, the only old friends I had in the Foreign Service, two of whom were from my home town in Massachusetts, were in Middle Eastern Affairs, and they had persuaded me that that was the place to be. I had asked for Bagdad, but just at that point I got married, and they weren’t sending married officers to Bagdad. So I was sent to Japan instead, which was not a very great place to send married officers either, at that point. This was 1940. As a matter of


fact, my wife was repatriated from there after we’d been there for two months, so we didn’t have a very long honeymoon. I was in Yokohama at the time of Pearl Harbor and came back on the first repatriation.

MCKINZIE: Could you talk a little bit about the process of repatriation and what happened to you after Pearl Harbor?

BOND: Nothing very much happened to us. The Japanese Kempeitai decided that since the consulate in Yokohama was a combined office and residence and had a high wall and fence around it, it was a good internment place. We were all interned there ourselves, a very small American staff of about a half a dozen people. Gradually they brought other people over and put them in with us; our Foreign Service people from Manchukuo and Korea were brought down there and interned. We spent a pretty uneventful six or seven months


interned there, and we were finally repatriated in late June of ‘42. It took us two months to get home because we went a rather round-about way. We went by Japanese ship from Yokohama to Lourenzo Marques in Portuguese East Africa; and then we went aboard the Gripsholm there; that’s where we were actually exchanged.

MCKINZIE: It appears that you were sent immediately out again, once you had come back?

BOND: Yes. I had gotten back about the end of August and they gave me two months leave. I then went to Madrid early in November and spent the rest of the war there, until ‘46.

MCKINZIE: You were in Madrid at the time that President Roosevelt died and Truman became President. You weren’t too enthusiastic about Truman, were you?

BOND: That’s right. I was a tremendous admirer of


Roosevelt, and I think it was the tragedy of Roosevelt’s passing, really. He was a very tough act to follow, at least in my eyes. In the eyes of some of my family back in Massachusetts, any change would have been an improvement. I think President Truman’s background really didn’t give any idea of the sort of man he would turn out to be, at least as I knew of him. He took office in April of ‘45 and I came back from Madrid in October of ‘46, so he had already been in for over a year.

MCKINZIE: In 1945 and ‘46, how did you envision the reintegration of Spain into European affairs?

BOND: With an Allied victory, the continued existence of Franco as Chief of State was an anomaly in the eyes of many people. Although Spain was neutral, he had been associated, at least in the public mind, much more with the Axis than


with the Allies. It’s true that, in the early part of the war, he had been repaying to some extent the debt that he owed the Axis nations for helping him win the civil war. When I first arrived in Madrid, the Axis orientation was very strong; Serrano Suner was Foreign Minister, and was very pro-Axis. The position of the Allies was very difficult in Spain, and we were constantly harassed. Although there were people in the Foreign Office who were at least secretly on our side and we could get covert cooperation in certain situations, the overall atmosphere was pro-Axis. I doubt that Franco was motivated during this time by any love for the Germans and the Italians. He really didn’t love the Germans and Italians, and as time went by he constantly frustrated them. He didn’t keep his promises to them, and he really was very naughty to the Germans and the Italians. The main reason that he was supporting them, I think,


was that for him Germany was the bulwark between Spain and Communist Russia. After the battle of Stalingrad, when it became apparent to Franco that the Germans were no longer going to be able to play that role, he started looking around for another counterbalance to the Russians. He decided the United States was the only plausible candidate. He therefore started doing things, although he couldn’t do them publicly, which were very much in our interest. He cooperated with us on a number of things, and infuriated the Germans time after time. Some things he managed to do without the Germans knowing it.

MCKINZIE: Did this include the sale of strategic materials?

BOND: Yes. Of course, the sale of wolfram to the Germans was one thing that concerned us more than almost anything else, and we used the supply of petroleum to Spain as a weapon to keep them from


selling wolfram to the Germans. There was always a certain clandestine trade in wolfram, with the knowledge and connivance of the Spanish Government, in the early days. We had Foreign Service officers posted along the northern borders of Spain keeping an eye on wolfram. Wolfram is something you can’t move secretly, because it’s not something, like heroin, that you can put in the lining of a suitcase. You have to send it over in freight cars; that sort of thing.

After Franco lost his faith in the Germans as an anti-Bolshevik bulwark, he turned more and more to us. This started as early as 1943, and continued until the end of the war. For example, there was a case at the time of the Italian surrender. The Spezia squadron of the Italian Navy managed to get out of Spezia before being immobilized by Mussolini forces and the Germans, and were on their way to Oran, where they had been instructed by the Allies to go. They were


coming down the straits off the west coast of Italy when they were caught by German dive bombers. The battleship Roma was the flagship of the Spezia squadron and there were half a dozen cruisers and several destroyers. German dive bombers attacked them and scored a lucky hit on the Roma. They dropped a bomb down the funnel of the Roma , and the magazine was right below the bottom of the funnel. It blew up and split the Roma in two. What was left of the Spezia squadron put into Palma de Mallorca. They had picked up a lot of survivors of the Roma and other ships, and they came in to land the wounded and to refuel, because they had been caught low on fuel when the crisis came. The Spanish authorities in Palma said there was no fuel available at that time. When the 24-hour grace period was up, they interned the whole squadron, although it obviously was not the squadron’s fault that they were still there. They just


stayed mainly to get fuel. They did allow them to land their wounded.

We were instructed to negotiate with the Spaniards for the release of the Spezia squadron. This went on for months. Finally we put up a very good case in international law, I think, that the 24-hour grace period was in order to prevent belligerent vessels from overstaying their legitimate time or hiding out in a neutral port. Actually, the 24 hours should have started from the time that they were given their fuel, but if they couldn’t leave because they couldn’t get fuel, obviously they weren’t violating the 24-hour grace. Anyway, after months and months, the Spaniards finally agreed to an extraordinary solution to this problem, which involved sort of a rigged arbitration. We had to agree to their proposal that the question be arbitrated. Then the question came up, “Who’s going to arbitrate?” Their solution was a single arbiter who would be a


Spaniard appointed by the Spanish Government. Well, obviously, when you have an arbitration and allow one side to appoint the sole arbiter, it doesn’t sound very attractive. The gimmick was that his decision would be agreed upon beforehand. He was a very respected international lawyer and had been Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican. He didn’t much like this idea of rigged arbitration and so he insisted on studying the case first. We had put our case into numerous communications and he finally decided that there would be no need for rigged arbitration, as he would find in our favor anyway on the basis of international law. On that basis, he agreed to do it.

The Germans had told the Spaniards that if the Spezia squadron tried to leave Palma they would sink it, because the Germans were outside the harbor and had control of the seas there. So then we had to get it out of Palma, and that had to be done without the Spanish Minister of


Marine knowing about it, because he was very pro-German. The ships were secretly refueled and left under cover of darkness. The Germans didn’t know it until they were gone and saw the empty harbor the next morning, and the Spanish Minister of Marine didn’t even know about it. This was one example, although it took about 18 months to pull off. They also gave us landing rights for military aircraft along toward the end of the war and other concessions, but they never got credit for it because they didn’t want anybody to know they were doing these things. They were still a little afraid of the Germans. That’s why I wrote a balance sheet of Spanish neutrality after the war, to put down on paper just exactly what Franco had done for us and against us. That study pretty well balances out and also leads to the conclusion that Franco was never either genuinely pro-Axis or pro-Ally; he was just pro-Franco, which to him meant pro-Spanish.


There was a period right after the war in which this anomaly of Franco’s continued existence in power upset a lot of the people. There was a decision made, I believe a U.N. (i.e. Allied) decision, to withdraw Ambassadors from Spain; so we would withdraw Ambassadors from Spain and everybody else would too. This was meant to punish Franco, to demonstrate the general Allied opprobrium of Franco, and hopefully to undermine him so that he would be overthrown or would leave power. It didn’t work that way; it really didn’t have any significant negative effect on Franco’s position. Eventually, when it was seen that this was not having any effect on Franco, the idea was dropped and the Ambassadors gradually started coming back. My own feeling, and, I think, the general feelings in the Embassy, was against this U.N. resolution. We didn’t see that it would serve any useful purpose. On the contrary, it could substantially strengthen


Franco’s position in Spain. There was a lot of anti-Franco sentiment in Spain at that time. (I had contact during the war with a group of the Spanish anti-Franco underground, and they came very close to throwing Franco out in about late ‘45, right after the end of the war.) This action by the U.N. against Spain really strengthened his hand a great deal; he became stronger and it may have enabled him to survive his own internal opposition. We were all against it; we didn’t like Franco but we didn’t see that it was going to do any good.

The other question was that, if Franco goes, what do you get in his place? That was not a very easy question because there was really no group that was in a position to take over. The Monarchists were fragmented and totally ineffectual; the anti-Franca left was divided between the Socialists, the Communists, and the Anarchists; and the old school nostalgic Republicans


were not in positions of power. Nobody was in a position to take over, so we thought it was a bad idea. I think the Department probably agreed with us at that time. I don’t know how the White House felt.

MCKINZIE: American public opinion was not on your side.

BOND: No. I remember we had some trouble with the old New York newspaper, P.M. They thought that we in the Embassy liked Franco because there were certain anti-Franco things that we didn’t like, such as that U.N. resolution. As I say, we didn’t dislike them because we loved Franco; we disliked them because we didn’t like Franco, and we knew that these things were likely to strengthen him. The Spaniards resent outside interference and all of this anti-Franco thing, although we might have agreed with it in other circumstances, was just doing Franco more good


than harm.

MCKINZIE: Was there any talk in the Embassy about what role Spain was going to play in postwar Europe? Spain was relatively unscathed as a result of the war.

BOND: They had never really recovered from the civil war completely, but they were better off than most. This was one of the things that one used to talk about, because Spain does have a strategic position, and we were already asking the Spanish for all sorts of things, like landing rights; and after the war, American business was just beginning to come in and see possibilities there. I think there was a feeling that if Spain survived the immediate postwar period, if the Spanish regime survived, they would probably go on. If there’d been a better alternative, that would have disturbed people a lot more than it did. Even some of the anti-Franco people who were my best friends were in that category; they


were worried because they didn’t see who was going to take over if Franco left. The Monarchists, under Don Juan made a brief attempt to stage a comeback, but that didn’t work. I think one felt that Franco’s Spain was probably there to stay, if they got through a year or so after the war and Franco survived, which he’s done very well, physically.

MCKINZIE: How did you happen to end up, in February, 1947, as an advisor to the U.S. delegation of the U.N. Economic and Social Council?

BOND: That was one of those things that happens. I had come back from Madrid in October of ‘46. I had had four years uninterruptedly in Spain without any leave during that time, so I went home on leave and I didn’t know where I was going after that. When they have a U.N. delegation to staff, they sort of look around for people who are on leave, on consultation, or between


posts, and they put them on TDY in New York. That was what happened in my case and it happened to be the ECOSOC session, when they were drawing up the terms of reference for the European economic community; a very interesting session. This was just sort of a temporary thing. In the meantime, my assignment to Berne had come through. I just did the U.N. thing until ECOSOC was over and then I went to Berne.

MCKINZIE: You weren’t at ECOSOC particularly as an advocate of the Spanish position?

BOND: No. It had nothing to do with my having been in Spain at all.

I went to Berne in April of ‘47. It was the only Foreign Service post I didn’t like. It was the dullest; I think Ulan Bator would have been a more fascinating capital than Berne. After four years of Madrid, where people eat dinner at about 11 or 12 o’clock at night, the


women are beautiful, and there was a real style of living even in the difficult days after the civil war, to go to Berne, where dinner and supper are about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, they roll up the sidewalks by about 8 o’clock and all the women look like men, was really a let-down.

The Bernese made the Scotch look like free spenders. One example is something I had to do before I left Spain. We had the problem, after the war, of a large number of American military aircraft in Europe, which had either force-landed, crash-landed, or otherwise ended up in neutral countries. What our government decided to do was to ask the neutral countries for permission to take all classified equipment out of the aircraft and then sell the aircraft to the neutral countries. I’d been involved in these negotiations in Spain and they went very well. They allowed us to take out the classified equipment and they bought all the aircraft. They bought transport


aircraft, C-54’s, C-47’s, and that sort of thing, for commercial use. There were a few fighter planes that were taken over by the Spanish air force; and planes that had been wrecked they bought for scrap. There was no problem. I then went to Switzerland and I got involved in the same set of negotiations with the Swiss. They were very difficult about it. They let us take out the secret equipment, but they finally decided that these military aircraft that had landed in Switzerland during the war actually constituted illegal importation of aluminum into the country. They said, “Before you can do anything with these planes, sell them, take them out, or anything, you must pay an import duty pound for pound for the aluminum in the planes.” Only the Swiss could think up something like that. I mean, we, in a sense, had been fighting their war. That was one reason it was such a disappointment after the Spaniards, who were really


much easier to work with.

MCKINZIE: You weren’t in Switzerland very long?

BOND: No, I wasn’t. The reason was that Walt Butterworth was made Assistant Secretary for the Far East in ‘47 and was looking around for somebody to take over Korean affairs, because Korea was just beginning to become an area of interest. He thought of me, because we’d always gotten along very well, and he got me transferred from Switzerland back to the Department to take over Korean affairs. We’d only been in Berne for five months and over four months of that had been taken up looking for a house. We finally found a house and we were still unpacking our effects when we got transferred back. Berne, even in those days, was terribly expensive. The only thing that bailed me out financially was that I was Charge’ for quite a period between Leland Harrison and John Carter Vincent, and so I got Charge pay.


We lived for four months in the Bellevue Palace Hotel, which was terribly expensive.

Anyway, Walt Butterworth instructed me to return from Switzerland by way of the Far East; to go to Tokyo to talk to MacArthur at his headquarters; and then to go on over to Korea, where we still had a military occupation at that time, with a political advisor. So I did that. I returned to Washington by way of Japan and Korea, and in late ‘47 I took over as Assistant Chief of the Division of Northeast Asian Affairs. John Allison was the Chief and my particular responsibility was Korea. He was an old Japan hand so he handled Japan.

MCKINZIE: Did it seem to you that withdrawal of American and Russian forces from Korea was something that was inevitably going to happen, or at that point did it seem to be problematic?

BOND: It seemed very problematic at that time. Of


course, no one knew how long the occupation of Japan was going to go on. In Korea, even then, there were hopes of a unified Korea; of a withdrawal, elections, and then a united peninsula. Still, it was really too early to see very much of what was coming. When I got back to the Department I started learning something about Korea; eventually they set up the position of Officer-in-Charge of Korean Affairs, of which I was the first.

MCKINZIE: You had been dealing exclusively with Korea?

BOND: No. I had had a certain amount to do with Japan. Of course, when John Allison was travelling a fair amount, I was in charge of the Division and I had to work on Japan then. And we had a lot of occupied area affairs in working with Charlie Saltzman’s office. The main purpose was for me to work myself into the Korean problem,


which was getting more important all the time. It was getting to the point where we were looking for a way to get out of Korea and were developing the concept of a U.N. -supervised election for the whole country, which would be accompanied by withdrawal of U.S. and Russian troops from the respective occupation zones.

I spent maybe a week in Korea in ‘47. I had been in Korea twice before in ‘41, when I was travelling by train from Yokohama to Peking and back on a courier trip. Then, while I was on the Korean desk, I went to Korea a few times. I was out there in, I think, December of ‘49, as the head of an MDA mission. It was a big mission consisting of two people, myself and an Army colonel, sent to negotiate an agreement for military assistance with the Korean Government. I was very deeply involved in Korea from then on and I drafted almost every document on Korea during that time, because it was small enough to be almost


a one-man peration.

MCKINZIE: You said that when you arrived in ‘47 that the U.S. was beginning to look for ways to get out?

BOND: Yes, they were thinking then of how to liquidate this involvement. The military never felt, and I don’t think the political side of the Government did either, that we had any long term interest in Korea. There was general tacit agreement between State and Defense that we should eventually disengage.

The resolution was adopted by the U.N. calling for elections in both zones. Once it became apparent that this was not going to be permitted by the Russians in North Korea, we had to think in terms of getting out of South Korea after setting up a separate government there and giving it means to defend itself. In the whole period from mid-’48 on up to the Korean War, one of the


major elements in State-Defense relations on Korea (and I spent much more time negotiating with Defense than with the Koreans or anybody else) was the Pentagon trying to withdraw militarily from Korea and the State Department saying, “No, wait, you can’t do it yet.” Time after time this went on. They would set a date for withdrawal and ask for State Department concurrence and we would say, “Yes, but .. .“

MCKINZIE: Was the “but” more based upon the needs for U.S. presence there, or to prevent internal disorder?

BOND: It was based (this was from mid or early ‘48 on) on the fact that the U.N. General Assembly had passed a resolution calling for withdrawal of troops from both zones as soon as practicable; but this was predicated upon an election in both zones and unification of the country. Then there would be withdrawal.


The Defense Department wanted to withdraw troops very quickly. The first “but,” really, was based on the fact that the General Assembly was to meet a few months later to reconsider the question of troop withdrawal in light of the fact that the original terms of their resolution had not been possible to achieve. We said, “We have to wait and see what the General Assembly is going to do. We can’t do anything about troop withdrawal until the General Assembly has reconsidered the problem.” Then the General Assembly did reconsider the problem and came up with a resolution that still called on us to withdraw from South Korea, without reference to what the Russians were doing. Predicated upon the setting up of indigenous security forces that could meet certain levels of readiness, State finally agreed to a phased partial withdrawal. We had something like 50,000 occupation troops there in ‘47 and this number was gradually reduced to about 8,000; in effect it was down to, I think, one augmented


regimental combat team. State did agree to that, but then we’d say, “When you get to the point beyond which you cannot withdraw without making the whole occupation untenable, then stop and we’ll reconsider the thing.”

By the time that point was reached things were beginning to heat up; the North Koreans were acting rather aggressive. We said, “Wait again. We need more time to build up the Korean security forces.”

This process went on; the military trying to pull out and the State Department saying, “No you can’t do it, yet.” During this time there was a gradual withdrawal, as I say, from 50,000 down to about 8,000. Then finally, in early ‘49, the State Department did agree to an announcement that the occupation was over, and that the last of the occupation troops had been withdrawn. A military advisory group, KMAG, which consisted, as I recall, of 500 officers and men,


had been set up to help the Koreans build up their own security forces. The feeling then was that such security forces would be enough to take care of any internal difficulties. The Army at that time regarded even the occupation force, when it got down to the level of 8,000, as more of a liability than an asset. They said that in a determined invasion of South Korea, this regimental combat team couldn’t stop it. You may lose them all, they said, and they won’t be able to substantially slow it down. It’s not doing any good except psychologically- -a reassuring thing for the Koreans to have.

MCKINZIE: While all that was occurring, was there any discussion going on about whether or not Korea should be considered a part of the defense perimeter?

BOND: Yes, there was, but nobody considered it that, really. The military did not consider it that.


Up to about the beginning of ‘49, the State Department had pretty much gone along with the military on not regarding Korea as within our area of strategic interest. Then that began to change, in terms of long-run interest. The State Department always felt that we had a responsibility there. Under the U.N. resolution and because we were the occupying force, we couldn’t cut and run and let them go down the drain; but I don’t think there was really much feeling that it was of long term interest to us until maybe in ‘49. Then we began to think maybe this was an area of our national interest, and we were becoming more involved. I think the thing that changed it, really, was when the Korean Government was established, and when we established relations with that government. The Korean Government, the Republic of Korea, was in a sense our creation. Once that was set up we began, I think, to feel that we had a commitment to them, and it became


more a matter of political interest. The Koreans, of course, were very good at playing on this feeling, on this moral responsibility of ours.

MCKINZIE: Were there any discussions with the Soviets about their troop withdrawal?

BOND: I don’t think there were any discussions going on with the Soviets. I don’t have any recollection of them, and there is nothing in what documents I’ve seen lately to indicate that there were any discussions at all going on about withdrawal of their troops. If so, it was all within the framework of the U.N. I think it was regarded as somewhat of an academic matter, because with the main forces of the North Korean army, they really didn’t need the Russians. The North Korean army included a lot of Soviet citizens of Korean origin who had fled into Siberia during the Japanese occupation and had become Russians. A lot had been in the Russian army and were


brought back into North Korea. There were certain Koreans who had gone over into China and had been in the Chinese army, and they were brought back. They really didn’t need the Russian troops, and the Russian troops, of course, were never involved in the invasion, as far as I know. Russian troops never fought in Korea. So it was a fact that they had all of these resources in building up the North Korean army which we didn’t have in building up the South Korean army. They had many native Korean-speaking Soviet citizens, including Soviet military personnel.

MCKINZIE: You were a member of the negotiating team that negotiated armaments with the Korean Government. Those armaments were to be of a defensive nature only, is that correct?

BOND: Oh, absolutely. And they were just really token. It was a pitiful, pitiful thing.


MCKINZIE: Was this in keeping with your own best judgment?

BOND: No. As John Muccio may already have stated (he was Ambassador then), the Embassy certainly was in favor of greater magnitude of equipment. There was a hassle over aircraft, for example. The Embassy and the State Department felt that they should have aircraft, but the military didn’t think they needed anything but liaison aircraft, and they wouldn’t even give them much of that. The Koreans were very modest in their demands. On the aircraft thing, as I recall, this plan that I took out called for them to get a certain number of L-4 liaison aircraft, and they wanted L-5. That is a pretty modest upgrading.

MCKINZIE: They never asked for tanks?

BOND: No, not to my knowledge. Eventually, the question of fighter aircraft came up, and I think


that the Embassy was putting more pressure on than the Koreans for equipment. They did get more equipment later. This was the first time the financial limits were raised considerably, after that mission that I went out on. They did have a certain number of aircraft, a small amount of artillery, and so forth, by the time the war started. I remember going up to Uijongbu, which sits in one of the major invasion corridors from North Korea to South Korea, on the west end of the 38th parallel. The Korean First Army was defending the sector when I went up there and visited in ‘49, and they had just two 105 millimeter guns. That was their entire artillery. But there was a lot of difference of opinion about the real threat of invasion. There were a lot of people who really didn’t think that the North Koreans would invade.

MCKINZIE: There were a lot of people, too, who argued that if Syngman Rhee had had more equipment he would


have used it himself against the North Koreans.

BOND: I think that’s entirely possible. He was given to that sort of thing. It’s possible also that if he’d had more equipment, substantially more, the invasion wouldn’t have taken place. I’ve never really understood why the Communists didn’t just go along with the idea of unification and then try to take over the government by political means. I think, if they’d have done that, they might well have had the whole peninsula by now.

MCKINZIE: What was the role of Douglas MacArthur in determining the Army’s position in all of that; was he discernible?

BOND: He was very discernible. When the Korean war broke out I was still on the Korean desk, although I had been given my papers and was supposed to go to the Air War College. When the Korean war broke out on that Sunday, the 25th of June (Saturday by Washington time), I was called


back to the Department. That happened to be our wedding anniversary and we’d been out on the town for dinner. I went down to the Department, and I didn’t get home again for three days or something like that. One of the things I had to deal with was to go over every morning, at about 4 a.m., to the Pentagon for a daily telecon with General MacArthur. This rather outlandish hour was selected so as not to inconvenience General MacArthur. It inconvenienced everybody on the Washington end, but it had to be at an hour convenient to him. This was a very confused period, of course, right from the very beginning. The battle order information was sketchy, and we had only a few telegrams from the Embassy before they closed down their operations. Seoul was invaded in the first day or so of the attack; it was very quick.

Anyway, we would have this telecon. I don’t know whether they have it still, but it’s a communication back and forth and the messages


go up on a screen. There was some discussion, and General MacArthur, as I recall, somewhat reluctantly agreed that we should give air and naval support to the Koreans. President Truman’s first announcement on the 27th of June was that the United States would give air and naval support cover to the Korean forces.

MCKINZIE: This was before the U.N. resolution was passed?

BOND: No. The first U.N. resolution was passed on the 25th, and then there was another one passed on the 27th. It may have been before the second one was passed.

Those telecons were attended by pretty high level brass. General Bradley was there every night, General Vandenberg, and, I believe, the Secretary of the Army. It was that sort of level.

I think the only contribution I made was when it was finally decided to come to the aid of the


Koreans in this way. The Embassy had already left Seoul at this point, and nobody knew exactly where Ambassador Muccio was. He was headed south with