‘I think it improbable that the Americans would become involved’

  • Robin Renwick


In December 1949, the British Foreign Office asked the War Office for an assessment of the dangers of war in Korea. The War Office replied that the North Korean objective undoubtedly was to overrun the South, but an invasion seemed unlikely: they would probably proceed by subversion. If an invasion did take place,

I think it improbable that the Americans would become involved. The possession of South Korea is not essential for Allied strategic plans, and though it would obviously be desirable to deny it to the enemy, it would not be of sufficient importance to make it the cause of World War III. Meanwhile, we must … hope for the best.1

The author of this report, Major Ferguson Innes, did not lack confidence. Unfortunately, he was wrong on all counts.


Atomic Bomb British Government Security Council Resolution Ground Force British Foreign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 3.
    Max Hastings, The Korean War (Michael Joseph, 1987) p. 59.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Hastings, The Korean War, p. 118: William Manchester, MacArthur: American Caesar (Little, Brown, 1978) pp. 683–8.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Harry S. Truman, Years of Trial and Hope (Doubleday, 1956) p. 385.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sir Robin Renwick 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Renwick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations