Draft of typed letter signed, two pages, 8 x 10,5 inch, n. p., 29.03.1946, regarding emerging Cold War: "it is not a question of economic principles; it is the question of life and death of Korea as an independent nation", signed by Syngman Rhee in black ink "Syngman Rhee", with a horizontal letter fold and mild signs of age wear - in fine condition.
"The Russians plan to organize an interim government for Korea without consulting the Korean leaders. We insist that the following points are most important and we hope the American delegates see the wisdom of our suggestion: unification of Korea should be the first step to take by tearing down the 38th parallel which divides Korea into two halves before taking up the formation of a government. Also, no government will last that is not organized by the Koreans themselves.
It has been positively demonstrated that the Koreans are determined not to have Communism forced down their throats at this time. The Korean Communists are openly and deliberately undertaking to sell out their country, while the entire nation is willing to make great sacrifices and fight for a united and democratic Republic of Korea. Therefore, it is not a question of economic principles; it is the question of life and death of Korea as an independent nation.
[...] The American people who are willing to see all the small nations liberated and democratized according to the American idea of democracy in the interest of world peace and prosperity are our only hope."
This letter is a draft and includes numerous revisions in pencil in Rhee’s hand. This includes crossing out the original signatory of the letter, “James W. Fawcett”. Sir James Edmund Sandford Fawcett (1913-1991) was a British barrister and expert on international law who helped with the drafting of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. He later served as a member of the European Commission of Human Rights from 1962 to 1984, serving as its president from 1972 to 1982. By 1946, with Cold War tensions rising, it was becoming clear that a unified Korea was increasingly out of reach as the Soviet Union and the Kim regime consolidated control over the Northern portion over opposition by the U.S., U.N., and Rhee. By 1948, two separate nations on the Korean peninsula were founded and war was on the horizon. The letter is therefore an excellent reminder of Rhee’s worldview and virulent desire for unification and opposition to Communism.
Further Information on the person
(1875-1965) First president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea & the first president of the Republic of Korea.
Year of Birth: 1875
Syngman Rhee was a Korean political leader who served as the first president of South Korea from 1948 to 1960. He was born on April 18, 1875 in a small village near the city of Pyongyang in what is now North Korea. He was the eldest son of a poor farming family, and received only a basic education. At the age of 15 he left home to pursue his education in the United States, and eventually earned a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1910.
Rhee returned to Korea in 1910, and soon became involved in the Korean independence movement. He formed the Korean National Association in 1919, and in 1920 he was elected president of the provisional government in Shanghai. He was exiled to the United States in 1925, but continued to work for Korean independence. After World War II, Rhee returned to Korea and was elected president of the Republic of Korea in 1948.
As president, Rhee sought to modernize South Korea and established a strong authoritarian government. He was reelected in 1952 and 1956, but his rule was marred by increasing corruption and human rights abuses. In 1960, he was forced to resign following a popular uprising against his rule. He fled to the United States, where he died in 1965.
Despite his authoritarian rule, Rhee is credited with helping to lay the foundations for modern South Korea. He implemented a wide range of reforms, including land reform, economic development, and the expansion of the educational system. He also sought to strengthen South Korea's ties to the United States and other Western powers. His legacy is a mixed one, however, as his rule was also marked by widespread human rights abuses and corruption.
Rhee is remembered as a controversial figure in Korean history. His rule was marked by both successes and failures, and his legacy is a complex one. He is credited with helping to build the modern South Korean state, but his authoritarian rule and widespread human rights abuses will forever stain his legacy.
Today, Syngman Rhee is remembered as one of the most important figures in Korean history. He was a controversial leader who left a lasting impact on the Korean peninsula, and his legacy will continue to be debated for years to come.
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