The purpose of this article is to describe character of military diplomacy of the Republic of Korea(ROK) during 1948∼1950. Previous studies indicate that pre-war defence policy of the ROK failed because of insufficient military assistance of United States(US). Therefore, they couldn't make a critical assessment of the character of military diplomacy of the ROK and role of the president Syngman Rhee.
Making of a modernized army for national defence was a most important task of the ROK government. The Korean Constabulary, organized by the US military government, was insufficient for national defence. Therefore, ROK government tried to reorganize constabulary as an army. In December 1948, the ROK government released a plan to create an army of 100,000 soldiers, six infantry divisions consists with 18 infantry regiments and 6 artillery regiments. This was a first detailed national defence plan by Koreans. The main point of this plan was that revise the basic tactical unit of the korean army from brigade to division. The infantry brigade structure, made by americans, insufficient for regular warfare. The US government decided compromise with Korean government because it had a strong need for liquidation of USAFIK. In March 1949, The Position of United States in respect to Korea(NSC 8/2) made it clear that US government would provide military assistance to ROK army of 65,000 men. This was a small victory of the ROK military diplomacy.
But Syngman Rhee, President of the ROK, felt disappointment because the US government didn't accept his plan and initiated withdrawal of USAFIK. In May 1949 the ROK government decided to increase strength of army to 100,000 soldiers, 8 infantry divisions without the US support. Equipment, supply and training problems were aggravated because the ROK government unilaterally raised the ROK Army's manpower ceiling to 100,000. After strength of the ROK Army reached 100,000 by August, stocks that were to support an army of 65,000 were quickly dwindling away. And the disruption to the training schedules caused by the continuing expansion of the ROK Army during 1949. The ROK government couldn't gain sufficient military assistance from the US after withdrawal of the USAFIK.
The ROK government has increased military assistance demand during later half of 1949. Some of the demands made by ROK government was beyond ability of US government. In example, the ROK government has requested delivery of M-26 medium tanks that wasn't sufficient for the US Army and F-80 jet fighters. The military diplomacy of the ROK government during later half of 1949 failed because of an unreasonable demand.
Consequently, irrational increasement of the ROK Army and excessive military assistance demands were a fatal blow for military diplomacy of the ROK. Therefore, President Syngman Rhee, key figure in military diplomacy, has responsibility for this disaster.