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Letter to Governor Thornton, Chairman of the Governors' Conference 1954, Proposing a Visit to Korea by a Select Group of Governors.

February 11, 1954

[Released February 11, 1954. Dated February 9, 1954]

Dear Dan:

Our country, as you know, has an important stake in the fortunes and destiny of the Republic of Korea. Since the cessation of hostilities there last July, we have continued to improve its military position and have also assumed the task of helping to rebuild its war-torn economy. The results of these endeavors will profoundly affect our leadership and prestige in the Far East and indeed throughout the free world.

I am persuaded that a short visit to Korea by a select group of State executives who are constantly in direct touch with the American people would be highly beneficial. Their personal evaluation of our progress would provide the public with the essential knowledge and broad understanding to which it is entitled.

Accordingly, I would be deeply appreciative if you, together with other members of the Executive Committee of the Governors' Conference, could go to Korea on or about April 1 and, upon your return, give an appraisal of the situation there based on first-hand observation. Will you canvass your Committee and advise me which Governors wish to make the trip?

With kind regard,



Note: On July 9, 1954, the White House released the text of a report on Korea by Governor Dan Thornton of Colorado, and by Governors John Fine of Pennsylvania and Allan Shivers of Texas who accompanied him on his visit to Korea.

The Governors reported that a good job was being done in administering the U.S. aid programs. "The American and Korean people can be assured that operating overhead is being kept at a minimum and that a full dollar value is being extracted for every dollar spent. Measurable progress has been made toward repairing the devastation wrought by the Communist aggression. We believe that this progress will quicken in the months ahead through the joint efforts of Koreans and Americans."

After citing many examples of progress under the program, the Governors suggested that additional effort be directed toward (a) achieving still better coordination of the U.S., U.N., and Korean programs, (b) encouraging Korea to stimulate private enterprise and private foreign investment through monetary forms, (c) considering further utilization of U.S. surplus agricultural commodities, and (d) encouraging Korea to take additional measures toward economic and financial stabilization to permit maximum effectiveness in use of aid funds.

A supplemental report to the President on Japan was attached to the release of the Korean report.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Governor Thornton, Chairman of the Governors' Conference 1954, Proposing a Visit to Korea by a Select Group of Governors. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233424

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