John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Chairman Chung Hee Park of Korea.

November 14, 1961

CHAIRMAN PARK and President Kennedy concluded today a friendly and constructive exchange of views on the current situation in Korea and the Far East and the various matters of interest to the governments and peoples of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. Foreign Minister Choi, Secretary Rusk and other officials of the two governments participated in the conversations.

The two leaders reaffirmed the strong bonds of friendship traditionally existing between the two countries and their determination to intensify their common efforts toward the establishment of world peace based on freedom and justice.

The Chairman reviewed the situation in Korea which led to the military revolution of May 16 and set forth the achievements made by the revolutionary Government. He emphasized the positive steps taken by the Government for social reform and economic stability, particularly the new Government's actions to reform the civil service, rationalize tax collections, abolish usury in local areas, increase employment opportunities, stimulate investment, and expand both domestic and foreign trade. He emphasized as well the positive steps taken by the Government in strengthening the nation against Communism and in eliminating corruption and other social evils.

The President welcomed Chairman Park's full exposition of the current situation in the Republic of Korea and expressed his gratification at the many indications of progress made by the new Government of the Republic.

The Chairman reiterated the solemn pledge of the revolutionary government to return the government to civilian control in the summer of 1963, as he declared in the statement made on August 12, 1961. The President particularly expressed his satisfaction with the Korean Government's intention to restore civilian government at the earliest possible date.

The two leaders discussed the position of Korea in the maintenance of peace and security in the Far East, and in this connection reviewed the continuing contribution of United States economic and military assistance to the strengthening of the Korean nation. Recognizing that the successful achievement of Korean economic development in accordance with a long-range plan is indispensable to build a democratic foundation and to maintain a strong anti-Communist posture in Korea, the President expressed great interest in Korea's draft Five Year Economic Development Plan. In this connection, he assured the Chairman that the United States Government would continue to extend all possible economic aid and cooperation to the Republic of Korea, in order to further such long range economic development.

The Chairman and the President discussed the problem of mutual defense against the threat of external armed aggression in the Pacific area. They recognized that the common interest of their two countries as bulwarks of the Free World against Communist expansion is deepened and reinforced by the fact that Korean and United States troops are brothers-in-arms, standing side by side in the United Nations Command for the defense of Korean soil. The President reaffirmed the determination of the United States to render forthwith and effectively all possible assistance to the Republic of Korea, in accordance with the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America signed on October 1, 1953, including the use of armed forces, if there is a renewal of armed attack.

The two leaders recalled that Korea had been successfully defended against armed aggression by the first collective military measures pursuant to the call of the United Nations. They recalled the declarations by United Nations members whose military forces participated in the Korean action, including their affirmation that in the interests of world peace, "If there is a renewal of armed attack, challenging again the principles of the United Nations, we would again be united and prompt to resist." The Chairman and the President reaffirmed their faith in the United Nations, and their determination to seek the unification of Korea in freedom through peaceful means under the principles laid down and reaffirmed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Chairman Park and President Kennedy expressed their deep satisfaction with their meeting and discussions and reiterated their resolve to continue to serve the cause of freedom and democracy, and to strengthen the friendly ties between their two peoples.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Chairman Chung Hee Park of Korea. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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