WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — The United States believed late former South Korean President Park Chung-hee, father of current President Park Geun-hye, was neither an opportunist or a communist, according to a declassified 1961 CIA report.
The daily intelligence report to the president, which was dated on July 19, 1961, came two months after Park, then a military general, seized power in a coup. Citing then U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Samuel Berger, the report said the coup was anti-Communist.
“Berger concludes the motivations of the revolt are patriotic, nationalistic, and anti-Communist. There may be some opportunists and Communist ‘sleepers’ among the revolutionary leaders. Park Chong-hui is not in this category,” the report said.
“The greatest danger that the Communists will benefit lies in failure of the regime to solve its factional differences and meet its economic problems,” it said.
It was among some 2,500 declassified daily intelligence reports, called “President’s Daily Briefs,” spanning from the John F. Kennedy to the Lyndon B. Johnson administrations.
Former President Park ruled South Korea for 18 years until he was assassinated by his spy chief in 1979.