KOREAN WAR AND THE PEACE WITH JAPAN, 1950-52
WASHINGTON interpreted the North Korean attack of June 25, 1950, on the Republic of Korea as ultimately directed against Japan. As Dulles commented during the first months of fighting, the "communist offensive in Korea was probably aimed at getting control over Japan, for had Korea been conquered Japan would have fallen without an open struggle." The Korean attack made it "more important, rather than less important" to conclude a treaty. The "very fact" that Communist aggression in Korea sought to "check positive and constructive action" in Japan proved the "importance to take such action." Finally, Dulles warned, if progress toward a peace treaty stalled "because of total preoccupation with the Korean war . . . we may lose in Japan more than we can gain in Korea." 1
When President Truman sent the Seventh Fleet to protect Taiwan, boosted aid to Indochina, and committed American troops to the Korean peninsula, Japan received a critical economic stimulus and emerged as the locus of the American defense strategy in Asia. State and Defense officials recognized that the Korean War would result in American forces playing an expanded role in and around Japan. MacArthur's June 23 proposal for "unrestricted" base rights became the reference point for security plans. The trick, as Dulles saw it, was to get the military establishment to endorse "in a form as inoffensive as possible to the Japanese," an arrangement giving the United States "broad power . . . to place military forces wherever in Japan the United States may determine to be desirable."
Dulles assured Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson that the United States should have "the right to maintain in Japan as much force as we wanted, anywhere we wanted for as long as we wanted." This, Johnson