The American Central Intelligence Agency had reason to know as far back as the early 1960s that Tongsun Park, a central figure in investigations of South Korean influence-buying on Capitol Hill, had ties with the Korean CIA.
An American CIA station chief in Seoul who met him frequently said he regarded Park as an important "agent of influence."
In addition to Park's official Korean role he had at least circumstantial ties with the American CIA through his prominent membership in two student groups.
Justice Department and congressional investigators, as part of their inquires into the Korean lobbying effort, have been trying to determine what the American CIA knew about the campaign and what it told law enforcement authorities about it.
A Washington Post investigation, based on private and official papers and interviews, provides new documentation of the scope of connections to the Korean government and its CIA.
This contrasts with the South Korean government's consistent claim that Park has never had an official connection. Park himself said last week in Seoul that his activities in the United States, which included entertaining and making "campaign contributions to members of Congress, were done solely as a private businessman.
Taking them chronologically. The Post findings show that:
Tongsun Park, in 1960, was the chairman of the Korean government-sanctioned student group in Seoul that received a grant from the Asia Foundation, at the time a money conduit of the American CIA.
Tongsun Park, in 1962, helped with preparations and participated in the visit to the United States by the founder and first director of the Korean CIA. TThe visit was coordinated by the American CIA.
Tongsun Park, in 1964, became an incorporator, director and president of an international anti-Communist youth organization based in Washington, which had circumstantial links to the American CIA.
Tongsun Park, from at least 1969 to 1973, was in contact with the American CIA station chief in Seoul, with whom he maintained a highly visible party-going social friendship that was regarded as enhancing Park's prestige with his own government. This relationship, by some accounts, survived a direct order by the U.S. Ambassador, Philip C. Habib,. to his staff to terminate all contact with Park.
Tongsun Park, in 1969, was receiving cabled instructions from a senior official on President Park Chung Hee's staff - instructions which, at least once, were coordinated with the head of the KCIA, Lee Hu Rak.
It is not clear what the formal or legal responsibilities are for the intelligence agencies to share such information with other segments of government, executive and legislative. Many highly placed persons in both branches who accepted Park's lavish hospitality and/or campaign contributions, have told federal investigators that one ever alerted them to the fact that Park was anything other than a gregarious, ambitious rice merchant with Perle Mesta aspirations.
Some accepted contributions that would have been legal coming from a resident alien businessman but would be illegal coming from the agent of a foreign government.
In an interview with The Washington Post last week, the new director of the American CIA, Adm. Stansfield Turner, declined either to confirm or to deny that "anybody in the CIA knew Park to be an agent of influence." The only comment he would make, he said, was that "I have been assured that all of the relevant information the CIA had on Park of KCIA activities was passed to appropriate authorities in the executive branch of our government."
The CIA has been "fully cooperative" with investigators seeking information, Turner said, although some data might have been withheld at various times because "people's lives were at stake." It is "part of our ethic not to disclose sources," he said.
Turner said he did not know if the CIA had any legal or formal resposibilities to pass along information on Park, but added: "I would think it's common sense."
Turner did not deny that American CIA agents "knew Tongsun Park on a social basis." But he had been assured, he said, "that there is no connection between Tongsun Park and the CIA of the United States . . . no official connection, not a working relationship."
Turner did not say precisely when the CIA had passed along information on Park or to whom. An aide, asked to check the records, reported the next day that "there is no real definite date when information was passed, because it was being passed continuously whenever we became aware of it."
He added: "It was passed in a variety of ways and this was done several times when it was requested."
He declined to say whether the passing along of information on Park was something that commenced years ago or only recently. "I don't know if we have dates," he said. "And even if we did, I don't know if we would tell you."
According to some accounts in the past, CIA officials at the Langley, Va. headquaters have produced only sketchy biographical data on Park when queried by other government agIn 1975, when the Justice Department first began its inquiry into Park's activities, an FBI agent who asked to see any files the CIA might have on Park was given little more than a folder, of old newspaper clippings from society page coverage of his parties.
Earlier, in 1971, the State Department's Korea desk officer, Don Ranard, asked for a CIA briefing on Park and all that was known about him. Ranard made the request because FBI agents had come to him in their investigations of Park's friend, former Rep. Cornelius Gallgher (D.N.J.).
"The CIA didn't seem to have much on him." Ranard recalled, "where he went to school, the fact that he had once been arrested on some kind of minor thing - a traffic accident or something."
It was John (Jocko) Richardson, the American CIA station chief in Seoul, who indentified Park as an "agent of influence."
"That's our jargon for something the British started in World Warr II," Richardson said in a telephone call from his retirement home in Mexico. "We had a feeling he was not just an ROK [Republic of Korea] CIA agent, but reported higher to someone in the government."
The indentity of the person to whom Park reported "remained a mystery" to him, Richardson said.
Copies of cables in the possession of The Washington Post indicated that Tongsun Park, at least during one period in 1969, was getting some operating instructions from Dr. Dong Shik Shin, senior economic secretary to President Park Chung Hee in the Blue House, the presidential residence.
A source close to Tongsun Park used the word "debriefing" to describe the regular session Park had each time he visited Seoul during that time. Richardson said he preferred to "say just that I had a friendly conversation with him requently from time to time."
Richardson said that he entertained Park at parties in his home and went in turn to parties Park gave for visiting American dignitaries.
One party Richardson recalled attending was given by Park for then-Rep. Richard Hanna (D-Calif.). Another was in honor of Rep. Gallagher. Both men are now prime targets in both the Justice Department and House Standards of Official Conduct Committee investigations.
Richardson conceded that his presence at these affairs was obviously helpful to Park in impressing Korean officials.
Asked what he got out of the relationship of how the CIA benefited, Richardson replied: "That's a good question."
Park has a close American friend in Washington who served both as an agent of the FBi and later as a CIA "agent of influence" in Latin America. His cover, like Park's, was that of an international businessman.
"I had tea with Tongsun in London two months ago," the friend told The Washington Post last week. "He is bewildered by what has happened. He said to me: 'What did I ever do except try to help my country exactly the same way you helped your country when you worked for the CIA? I could understand if the American public suddenly found out I was spying for the Russians, why they would be upset. But Korea is an ally."
As recently as July. 1975, Park was using a Korean government diplomatic tax exemption number according to a Waldorf Astoria hotel bill made out to "Tongsun Park, Korean Consulate General."
A official for the hotel credit office said that Patk would have had to produce a valid diplomatic indentificatian - we are very strict."TA former employee who paid Park's bills said use of the tax exemption number stopped suddenly that summer, shortly after news accounts of Park's lobbying activities appeared. "We were told to stop, that he wasn't the Korean Consulate General anymore," the former aide said.
Published stories about Park have left the impression that he was a student playboy at Georgetown University in the late 1950s and early 1960s, taking seven years to graduate 137th in a class of 138.
In reality, Park was not even living in the United States during two crucial years of that period. Suspendend from Georgetown for "academic deficiencies," he returned to Seoul in 1960.
Although he was working on government-sanctioned student projects during the time of the historic "Student Revolution" which outsted President Syngman Rhee, there is a dispute as to whether Park played a role in it.
He remained in Korea until after May, 1961, when the "Young Colonels coup d'etat" brought military man Park Chung Hee into power.
By the time Park returned to Georgetown in the fall of 1961 to resume his studies at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, he had, according to a knowledgeable American source, apparently made some powerful friends among the men closest to the newly proclaimed President, Park Chung Hee.
Kim Jong Pil, whose credentials include the fact that he is married to President Park's niece, that he was one of the small group of colonels who backed Park in the revolution and that he founded the Korean Central Intelligence Agency and became its first director in 1961.
Kim Dong Hwan, a military school classmate of President Park's and another one of the colonels, who became the first KCIA station chief in Washington in 1961.
Chung II Kwon, who became Korea's ambassador to Washington in 1961 and remains Tongsun Park's close friend and mentor in diplomatic and business dealings.
Before a year had passed, Tongsun Park was helping to plan Kim Jong Pil's first visit to Washington as head of the KCIA in October, 1962.
A telegraph invitation sent out by Ambassador Chung on that occasion to a "limited few" Washington VIPs for a "buffet dinner and discussion" on Oct. 24 with Kim Jong Pil informed invitees that "my good friend Tongsun Park . . . helped make all arrangments for anti-Communist leaders in this country to meet director Kim."
Kim Jong Pil's 1962 visit was coordinated by American CIA operatives, according to two itineraries - one in English and the other in Korean - which have been made available to The Washington Post.
American CIA agents are identified in severeal places as escort officers. In Florida, the KCIA director was entertained at one of the CIA "safehouses" which had been set up all over the state because of the Cuban crisis.
The English copy of Kim Jong Pil's itinerary, according to a penciled notation at the top of the page, belonged to a "Mr. Campen."
Campen has been identified by former State Department and Cia associates as Kenneth Campen, who was the No. 2 CIA agent in the U.S. embassy in Seoul at the time. He eventually left that job, friends said, to go to work for the KCIA.
Campen, according to the Kim Jong Pil itinerary which was printed in Korean, was part of his traveling entourage in this country.
Both itineraries mention Tongsun Park. In addition to the buffet which the ambassador credited Park with planning, Park also attended an exclusive luncheon on Oct. 30, with Kim Tong Phil and 11 persons at the Korean embassy according to Campen's copy of the itenerary.
Sen. John G. Tower (R-Tex) was listed as the ranking American. The Koreans were listed as "Director Kim, Amb. Chung, Minister Kim, Mr. S. I. Kim and Mr. Tong Sun Park."
S. I. Kim was Kim Sang In, or "Steve" Kim, who was Kim Jong Pil's translator. Steve Kim, according to U.S. diplomatic and intelligence sources, served for many years as the chief liaison officer between the KCIA and the American CIA.
In recent years, Steve Kim served as KCIA station chief in Mexico City and was frequently in Washington to attend parties Tongsun Park gave for VIPs in 1974 and 1975.
Kim's brother-in-law, B. Y. Lee, became Park's principal Korean aide here in Pacific Development Corp., the K Street holding company which Park used for his U.S. business dealings.Lee is now undergoing extensive enterrogation by investigators for both the Justice Department and the House committee. "He's talking," one source said, "but he isn't telling us much."
Kim, who was summoned home to Seoul after he was identified last year by The Washington Post, is viewed in intelligence circles as "an intermediary . . . a message carrier" between Park and KCIA and Seoul.
No identification or explanation for Tongsun Park's presence at the 1962 luncheon was given in either the English or the Korean itineraries. According to the age he gave in his school records and elsewhere, Park was 26 years old at that time.
At least one American CIA official familiar with the Kim Jong Pil visit is skeptical that his colleagues back in Washington would have allowed Tongsun Park to participate with such high visibility without knowing all about him in advance.
"It would be illogical to assume otherwise," said Peer De Silva, who was the U.S. station chief for the CIA in Seoul in 1961 when Park Chung Hee took power.
According to De Silva, his superiors in Washington knew virtually nothing about Park Chung Hee and Kim Jong Pil and the other 'Young Colonels' involved in the coup.
"They came down out of the trees, as far as Washington was concerned, " he recalled, "stinking of kimchee and eating with their fingers, Washington thought they were all Communists, particularly Park Chung Hee. He was one of five brothers, one of whom was a North Korean Communist general.
"I spent months trying to prove to Washington's satisfaction that Park Chung Hee was not the brother who was the North Korean Communist general," De Silva said. "They kept asking us: Do you know any of these colonels, have you ever played golf with them, tennis with them, had lunch with them, played bridge with them?"
De Silva, who left Seoul in July, 1962, said that those in charge at the CIA in Washington were watching Kim Jong Pil's upcoming visit that October "with great interest." Kim Jong Pil was at that time, De Silva said, pressuring the American CIA for assistance in funding and organizing the newly formed Korean CIA.
De Silva does not recall knowing Tongsun Park in Seoul, "although I must have, in view of what I have since learned about his hanging around the embassy and going to embassy parties."
"In retrospect," De Silva said, "Tongsun Park would appear to have had many assets that would have attracted the attention of the new government after the 1961 coup.
"Few of the young colonels could speak English, including Park Chung Hee," De Silva said.
"They didn't know how to use knives and forks, they were very uncomfortable in social situations . . . they were reluctant to go to parties, even at the American ambassador's residence."
"Along comes Tongsun Park, fluent in English, graceful in all the Emily Post skills, moving with ease through diplomatic receptions and formal affairs, boasting of all the important people he knows back in Washington. He would have been invaluable."
Tongsun Park also had one other asset that would be badly needed by the Park Chung Hee government during the period. De Silva said. Through campus activities for conservative causes in the United States, and through social contacts with right-wing Republicans in Washington, Tongsun Park was well-known in anti-Communist circles in the United States.
It was "very important," De Silva said, for Park Chung Hee and those brought him to power" to establish themselves in U.S. minds as being anti-Communist since there were people in Washington who were still not 100 per cent convinced."
In 1960, Park was the chairman of a Korean student employment placement project in Seoul which received a grant from the CIA-supported Asia Foundation.
At the time he applied to the Asia Foundation, Park was also the head of the Korean Students Federation in the United States, whose letterhead listed its national headquaters in Washington at 2322 Massachusetts Ave. NW, at the time the address of the Korean embassy.
The grant was intended to help Korean students educated in the United States find jobs when they returned home.
Whe first queried by the Washington Post, spokesmen for the Asia Foundation could find "no records" of any grants to either Tongsun Park or the Korean Students Federation. After several unsuccessful attempts to get information, a reporter read aloud from Tongsun Park's letter of application and another piece of personal correspondence in which Park confided that the application had been approved.
Following that, the foundation located a "small" grant of $1,019 for, a group of Korean students of whom Tongsun Park was listed as "chair
The Asia Foundation representative in Seoul to whom Tongsun Park made his application, John E. (Jack) James, later told The Washington Post that he does not recall knowing Tongsun Park James - unlike some Asia Foundation personnel at the time - said that he was aware that it was CIA money he was dispensing. But he denied that he would have been under any obligation to CIA headquaters to familiarize himself with Park's background or report to Washington about the recipients of the grant.
His successor, not speaking to the James statement, but describing his own understanding, said the application itself should have been enough to bring Park under the scrutiny of the CIA.
William Eilers, a Washingtonian who represented the Asia Foundation in Seoul from 1960 to 1963, talking about how the foundation operated, said that "there is no way we didn't check Park out . . . we'd do a name check, background, everything to make sure we were not dealing with a red-hot Commie."
Tongsun Park, according to an auto-biography prepared for Georgetown University, I was born in North Korea A U.S. military Chaplain who befriended him during the Korean War said that Park has "a high-ranking relative in either the North Korean government or the military - it was either his own brother or his mother's brother - I can't remember which."
Students, in 1960, were the focus of much attention within the CIA. The Asia Foundation was funneling up to $8 million of CIA money a year into anti-Communist academic programs throughout the Far East.
One of Tongsun Park's two older brothers, Ken Park, had been an aide to Syngman Rhee's prime minister, Dr. John M. Chang. When the students overthrew Rhee, he was succeeded by Chang, who was thrown into jail by his successor, Park Chung Hee.
Instead of falling into disfavor themselves when their family friend and mentor was ousted, the Park brothers quickly made friends with the new military regime.
Gregory Henderson, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University who was cultural and later political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Seoul in the early 1960s, knew Tongsun Park well then.
Henderson, one of the most vocal critics of the Park Chung Hee government said that his unsympathetic attitude toward the military regime was "apparently a factor" in his being removed abruptly from his post in Seoul and brought home.
As the head of the Korean Students Federation in the United States, Park called frequently on Henderson at the embassy.
"He was no student activist, storming the streets with his professors, getting shot at by the police and soldiers," Henderson recalled. He scoffed at a letter Park had written to an American educator at the time that makes it seem as if he were a participant in the Student Revolution.
Instead, Henderson said, Park used the prestige of this student work to get to know key government figures who could help him at home and in the United States.
"He as a wheeler-dealer, even then," Henderson said.
Henderson, who served on a civic committee that helped Park get the Asia Foundation grant, also helped him stage a charity concert for students that Park later boosted in a letter had raised "two million won ($2,00)" which was "forwaded to the Korean embassy in Washington."
Back in the Unted States two years later Park got busy with another project which former associates of his say attracted the attention of the CIA - or should have.
On Oct. 12, 1964, Tongsun Park became an incorporator, a director and the president of a non-profit anti-Communist group that called itself the International Youth Federation for Freedom. The group's stated purpose, in papers filed in the District of Columbia, was to "promote freedom, liberty and democratic principles among the youth of the free world and to do all things necessary to achieve these purposes."
Although others connected with IYFF during the two years it war functioning denied that the American CIA contributed anything in financial or operational asistance, two of Park's former associates at IYFF have confirmed to The Washington Post in separate interviews that "someone from the CIA" visited the IYFF offices occasionally to check on its activities.
Among Park's fellow incorporators and officers of IYFF was M. Douglas Caddy, a classmate of Park at Georgetown University. Caddy was later to figure in the Watergate affair.
Caddy, now a Washington lawyer, was a friend of E. Howard Hunt. Caddy was cited for contempt of court and jailed briefly in July, 1972, for refusing to answer questions about his relationship with Hunt.
Caddy was telephoned by Hunt right after the arrest of the Watergate burglars and he appeared in court the morning following the break-in. All of the burglars had had ties with the CIA.
Caddy and Hunt had shared an office in 1970 in the public relations firm of Robert R. Mullen & Co., later identified as a CIA front in the Far East.
Caddy admitted having "intimations" about Mullen's CIA activities but has denied that he himself has ever worked for the agency.
Caddy and Tongsun Park had been friends at Georgetown from their freshman year in 1956, when Park was elected class president. He and Caddy served together on the student council.
When Park became president of the Korean Students Federation in the U.S. in 1958, the organization began distributing a glossy newspaper nationwide and Caddy was listed on the masthead as a consultant.
Caddy was already well-known on college campuses around the country during that period as one of the founders of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom.
Caddy was a law school student at New York University in Manhattan when IYFF was founded. He was papers. The other officers included listed as secretary on the corporation Roland M. Riddell, a former YAFer from Boston University who now is a mortgage banker in Washington, and Joseph W. Harrison, an Army buddy of Caddy's who was employed at the time by the Republican National Committee.
Riddell is the son of a former OSS officer who later worked, the younger Riddell said, "on assignment" for the CIA. One of Riddell's sisters was working in the Overt Section of the agency when IYFF got under way.
Riddell said in a recent interview that he was "unaware" if the CIA had any interest in IYFF "other than to come by and check on us once in a while."
IYFF was actually started ealier than its 1964 incorporation data, Riddell recalled. He and Park each contributed a "total of about $3,000" of their own money to begin, he said. Riddell's father allowed them the use of a building he owned on 18th Street. Eventually, IYFF moved into office space at 1534 Wilconsin Ave. NW, next door to a building that Park was at that time remodeling into what would become The George Town Club.
Although Riddell was treasurer of IYFF, he said that he knew very little about the source of the organization's income "except that it was all supposed to be raised in direct mailing campaigns."
"We were about $40,000 in debt when I got out," he said. "Tongsun must have come up with the money somewhere because I was down on notes with him for furniture and office equipment and stuff and no one ever told me they didn't get paid and IYFF never filed for bankruptcy."
The executive director of IYFF was another former YAFer, James Fred Coldren. He, too, "vaguely" remembers someone from the CIA who came by "to talk" from time to time. But Coldren insisted that the believed the CIA's interest to be nothing but "curiousity about what we were up to."
Coldren's duties at IYFF were taken over by Norman Larsen, a onetime stock company actor who had been working previously here for H. L. Hunt's right-wing educational "Life Line Foundation."
Sometime after Larsen took over, the IYFF office was moved next door to The George Town Club, where Larsen became manager. According to Wes McCume, director of Group Research, Inc., a liberal organization that keeps track of right-wing activities, IYFF continued to operate for a period out of The George Town Club.
Anyone dialing the IYFF office in late 1966, McCune's records show, would be referred by the telephone company to a number listed in the directory for The George Town Club. Inquiries about IYFF were referred to the manager, Norm Larsen, who assured one caller from Group Research that IYFF was still operating and selling its reference service.
Norm Larsen at first told The Washington Post that he had never heard of IYFF, but when informed that the paper had two files of his correspondence as the organization's executive director, Larsen said:
"I was given the title of executive director, but I never had any connection to the organization, it was just on paper. When I was called in the IYFF was in shambles and there wasn't any money. I recommended that it be disbanded and it was."
A representative of McCune's Group Research paid the IYFF offices a vist in June, 1965 and judged them to be "extremely well-heeled for a youth group." One office, maintained "for show" was reported to be "outfitted for a $50,000 executive" with plush pile carpeting, shantung draperies and an impressive desk.
One room was being turned by carpenters into a library for "a staff of researchers." Another contained a floor model Xerox machine, multiple-line telephones everywhere and stacks of IYFF pamphlets and brochures in expensive two and three color graphics.
The Group Research visitor was told that IYFF at that time had already sent out two fun-solicitation mailings of 500,000 each. Appeals carried endorsements and photographs of such well-known anti-Communists as Sen. Tower, J. Edgar Hoover, Herbert A. Philbrick and Anna Chennault.
Hoover's picture adorned one pamphlet which promised would-be subscribers that a 12-month $20 subscription would bring them among other things, a copy of the FBI Director's "Communist Party Line."
Sen. Tower, who said in a recent interview that he only "vaguely remembers" ever having heard of IYFF, gave the organization his endorsement in a letter writen on his official Senate stationery on Feb. 4, 1965.
In addition to Hoover's "Communist Party Line," the IYFF promised subscribers a monthly publication entitled "The Party Line" in which "IYFF's highly qualified research staff reveals each day translations from Soviet and Chinese Communist news organs, as well as daily reviews of monitored transcriptions of foreign radio broadcasts, plus excerpts from all major Marxist-Socialist literature."
According to a story on IYFF in Human Events on Aug. 21, 1965, the group was also offering a Free World Book Service to place anti-Communist books into junior high school, high school, college and university libraries in the United States and other countries. But the "major international project" in preparaton was to have been a Free World Youth Conference in the fall of 1966.
No one connected with IYFF can remember if such a conference took place, although Tongsun Park was traveling all over the world in 1965 and 1966, according to travel records and canceled airline tickets in the possession of The Washington Post.
During 1965 and 1966, Park made at least three trips to Seoul, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka and Tokyo. In addition, he visited Saigon, London, Cairo, Cologne Rome, Tehran, Athens and Alaska.
Inside the United States, he was traveling between Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles.
One former IYFF official remembered some meetings with foreign students in Washington, including one which included African and Oriental groups invited to Park's home.
On Feb. 5, 1965, Park was in Seoul to sign a "Declaration of Common Purpose" with a government-endorsed Free Asia Youth Alliance. A pale blue leaflet proclaiming the signing, with a picture of Park and his FAYA counterparts, announces their intention to "champion a world-wide anti-Communist campaign . . . to (involve) all youth and youth organizations . . . to eradicate Communism on earth."
According to one student revolution leader who is now a professor in the United States, the pact between IYFF and FAYA could not have been signed without the full backing of the Park Chung Hee government. "Most democratic-minded students were in jail then," he said. "Including me."