Republic of Korea
Ministry of Foreign Affairs SEOUL
September 21, 1951
Dear Ambassador Muccio,
This note is to seek to draw your attention to the enclosed exerpt of Memorandum of SCAPIN-677, 29 January 1946, which should be regarded as a conslusive factor in deciding, in Korean favor, the controversy over the ownership of Dokdo, known as "Liancourt Rocks" and also as "Takeshima" in Japanese. The fact that the disputed isle has been put on the Korean side of the MacArthur Line is another manifestation of the SCAP memorandum under notice.
In 1948, if I do not remember wrongly, when air bombing practice caused casualities among the Korean fishermen in boats nestling near the isle SCAP apologized to this Goverment for the incident. Had SCAP regarded the isle as Japanese territory, the presence of the Koreans there would have been illegal and no apologies necessary. As evidenced by the Memorandum in question, SCAP has, at no time, doubted that the isle belongs or ought to belong, to Korea.
We have substantial documented evidence to prove that the isle has been in the Korean possession for many hundred years. The fact that Japan incorporated the isle into one of its nearby prefectures in 1905 (a deal sneaked on a prefectural level, not on a Governmental level, for the obvious convenience to back down more easily in case of a possible international trouble) cannot repudiate our rightful claims to the isle, supported not merely by Korean documents but by Japanese ones also.
Yung Tai PYUN
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Enclosure: Memorandum of SCAPIN-677, 29 January 1946
Note that this was sent AFTER the Peace Treaty was signed (08/09/1951). In other word, it is apparent Korean government did understand that Peace Treaty concluded that Takeshima was left to Japan as its sovereign territory, or she wouldn't have sent such a letter to make U.S. pay attention to SCAPIN-677. In fact, Korean Ambassodor to U.S. was already told by Dean Rusk, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, that the Japanese claim to the Liancourt Rocks would not be renounced in the peace treaty on 10th Aug., 1951 and this official notification was reiterated to ROK government on 4th Dec., 1952.
Possible Methods of Resolving Liancourt Rocks Dispute between Japan and ROK (July 22, 1953)
With regard to the question of who has sovereignty over the Liancourt Rock (which are also known in Japanese as Takeshima, and in Korean as Dokdo), it may be of interest to recall that the United States position, contained in a note to the Republic of Korea's Ambassador date August 10, 1951 reads in part:
"....As regards the island of Dokdo, otherwise known as Takeshima or Liancourt Rocks, this normally uninhabited rock formation was according to our information never treated as part of Korea and, since about 1905, has been under the jurisdiction of the Oki Islands Branch Office of Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The island does not appear ever before to have been claimed by Korea......"
(This position has never been formally communicated to the Japanese Government but might well come to light were this dispute ever submitted to mediation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement.)
Since sending the August 10, 1951 note to the ROK Government, the United States Government has sent only one additional communication on the subject. This was done in response to the ROK protest of the alleged bombing of Dokdo Island by a United States military plane. The United States note of December 4, 1952 states:
"The Embassy has taken note of the statement contained in the Ministry's Note that 'Dokdo Island (Liancourt Rocks) .....is a part of the territory of the Republic of Korea.' The United States Government's understanding of the territorial status of this island was stated in Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s note to the Korean Ambassador in Washington dated August 10,1951."
Pyun’s attempts urging U.S. to reconsider was laughed off, as it was documented in the following corresponding letter, which was accompanied by Pyun’s letter above, from Pusan to Washington. The Minister apparently failed to present alleged "substantial documented evidence to prove that the isle has been in the Korean possession for many hundred years”.
TRANSMITTAL OF LETTER FROM MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON KOREAN CLAIM TO DOKDO ISLAND (Oct. 3, 1951) (Records of the U.S Department of State relating to the Internal Affairs of Korea, 1950-54 Department of State Decimal File 795)
With regard to the " substantial documented evidence" referred to in the last paragraph of the letter, an officer of the Embassy was orally informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that such evidence appears throughout Korean and Japanese archives. The implication was that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not possess a compilation of such "evidence" at this time. Although it was pointed out to the Minister that the Embassy would welcome the submission of such "evidence" for transmittal to the Department, it appears doubutful that such information will be forthcoming.
Today, Korean government claim that Takeshima was decided to be Korean territory by U.S.’s dropping its name from the article.
Later, Dokdo’s exclusion from Japan’s territory was reaffirmed by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, better known as the San Francisco Treaty, of September 8, 1951.
(Dokdo_Korean territory Basic Position of the Government of the Republic of Korea on Dokdo, 2010)
However, as Pyun’s letter shows, Korean government was well aware that Takeshima was left to Japan in San Francisco Peace Treaty. It is a shame ROK never stops distorting the fact and brainwashing her innocent nationals every day.