Military Policy and Economic Aid: The Korean Case, 1950- 1953

Military Policy and Economic Aid: The Korean Case, 1950- 1953

Military Policy and Economic Aid: The Korean Case, 1950- 1953

Military Policy and Economic Aid: The Korean Case, 1950- 1953

Excerpt

This is a case study of one aspect of American policy during the Korean conflict -- the economic aid program. Against the intensity of the controversy over basic strategy, the issue of reconstruction may seem relatively uncomplicated. Nothing would be farther from the truth. Indeed, a study of American policy on Korean reconstruction involves a number of major problems of foreign and military policy: the problem of balancing the relative advantages and disadvantages of multilateral and bilateral economic aid programs; the problem of finding the proper perspective for taking military considerations into account in formulating policy; and the impact of party politics on policy formulation. Above all, perhaps, it becomes clear, in the telling, how narrow military requirements tended to restrict policy alternatives in the absence of positive political objectives to which both military policy and economic aid could be related.

To be of value, a case study of this kind has to probe deeply behind the story told by the public record. For this reason, I was particularly encouraged to undertake this work when Dr. J. Donald Kingsley, first Agent General of the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA), agreed to put his personal papers at my disposal. I have quoted freely from these papers with the consent of Dr. Kingsley who also gave me many hours of his time to help bridge the gaps in series of events where documentation was lacking or meaning ambiguous. He also read an early draft of the study and picked me up on a number of points. In all of this, it was clear, however, that what I wrote was my own responsibility. Indeed, Dr. Kingsley and I have not always agreed on the meaning of events or the intentions of people, but I was always aware that my understanding of the issues involved would have been many times poorer without his help and stimulation.

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