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

Dates: 1945-1953

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

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

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

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


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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.

 

Series

1-12

 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 1947-1952
Four Subseries:

  • 1 - BACKGROUND FILE, 1947-1950
    Copies of background reports on Korean history and U.S. policy toward Korea; and letters, memoranda and telegrams concerning the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea before 1950.
  • 1-2 CHRONOLOGY FILE, 1950-1952
    Copies of monthly reports summarizing the major military, diplomatic, and political events prepared by Foreign Policy Research of the Department of State. Arranged chronologically.
  • 2-4 DOCUMENT FILE, 1950-1952
    Copies of reports to the U.N Security Council; briefings to ambassadors; memoranda; intelligence reports; and cables pertaining to the events in Korea.
  • 4-12 TOPICAL FILE, 1950-1952
    Copies of telegrams, letters, memoranda, press releases, and reports pertaining to Korea-related topics.

13-14

  DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 1945-1953
Copies of reports, correspondence, and other documents relating to the military situation in the Far East and to the Korean War.
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FOLDER TITLE LIST

DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Background File, 1947-1950

Box 1

DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Chronology File, 1950-1952

Box 2

DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Document File, 1950-1952

  • Unified Command Reports to the United Nations [1 of 2: July, 1950 - December, 1951]
  • Unified Command Reports to the United Nations [2 of 2: January, 1952 - November, 1952]

Box 3

  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, January 12 - April 10, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, April 11 - July 12, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, July 16 - September 18, 1951
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, September 21, 1951 - March 11, 1952
  • Memoranda on Briefing of Ambassadors, March 14 - November 25, 1952
  • Korea Bulletin, July 1 - 28, 1950
  • Korea Bulletin, July 31 - September 5, 1950
  • Department of State - United States Policy in the: Korean Crisis [1950]
  • Department of State - United States Policy in the: Korean Conflict [1951]