You would have thought he had the million dollars on him.
When Republic of Korea President Chun Doo Hwan dropped in at the Freer Gallery yesterday to present his official gift, he was guarded by at least five different kinds of police.
They surrounded the building long before his 10 a.m. arrival, uniformed museum guards, city an park police Secret Service and Korean agents with buttons in their ears. At the presentation ceremony in a room full of 19th-century American paintings, they formed a discreet circle around the dignitaries and press. And when the Koreans left in their limos they were flanked by police cars and motorcycles.
They even ran alongside the president's car.
The only crowd was a Korean Woman who waved little flags and called out friendly things in Korean. One driver, confused by the sirens and uproar behind her as she passed the gallery, drove up over the curb to get out of the way but was furiously chased off by an excited cop.
A battery of museum officials met Chun, his wife, Korean Ambassador Yong Shik Kim and his wife and others on the red-carpeted sidewalk. No one bothered to wear a coat, though the press was bundled to the eyes. Everybody hustled inside to gather before models of the planned Smithsonian addition for Eastern art, part of a $50 million expansion around the old castle on the Mall, and of the new hall at the Museum of Natural History where the "5,000 Years of Korean Art" exhibit will open July 15.
"We are a highly homogeneous people with a single language and culture," said Chun through a translator. "We have developed our own unique art forms which, while they are clearly Asian, are nevertheless our very own." aHe said the million-dollar gift from the Korean people toward the new building symbolized the expansion of relations between the two countries from "a single treaty of commerce and navigation" signed exactly a century ago to full cultural ties.
James E. Webb of the board of regents accepted the gift for the Smithsonian and presumably for the nation, too. He gave Mrs. Chun a blue vase by American potter Sid Oakley and the president a clear plastic celestial globe showing all the 888 constellations and 1,100 assorted stars.
Everyone trooped outdoors again, and with a great slamming of car doors the visitors and their guards took off. CAPTION:
Picture, President Chun; by Harry Naltchayan