The South Korean government, still insisting that it will not require Tongsun Park's return to the United States, today offered alternatives to resolve the impasse that has endangered future U.S. aid to this country.
They include an invitation for Leon Jaworski, special counsel for the House ethics committee, to bring to Seoul an investigation into reports that Park, acting as an agent for the South Korean government, paid bribes to U.S. congressmen.
Other possibilities, according to government officials, were for a joint U.S. - Korean investigation or for a South Korean government inquiry that would furnish information on Park on Washington.
The proposed compromises came amid reports that the government of President Park Chung Hee is seriously concerned that the affair will damage its hopes for American aid programs pending in Congress.
But the officials reiterated their refusal to send Park to the United States for interrogation.
Jaworski's deputy, Peter A. White, had no comment Tuesday on the Koreans' proposal that Jaworski go to Seoul. Nevertheless, Jaworski is known to be skeptical of the offer because it would allow the South Korean government to appear to be cooperating with U.S. investigations while keeping Tongsun Park under its jurisdiction.
[Meanwhile, Justice Department officials made it clear that they will be satisfied only with Park's return to the United States to face charges Benjamin R. Civiletti, head of the department's criminal division, said: "We want him back here. We don't want any showpiece designed to be no more than a P.R. event." He said that the reports of South Korean prosecutors who have questioned Park have been provided to U.S. authorities, but "have not been very productive." He described the questions as "fat pitches."]
Foreign Minister Park Tong Jin, who is to leave Wednesday for talks in Washington, told a news conference that his country is willing to compromise only within the framework of its laws.
A South Korean businessman and once-prominent Washington social figure, Tongsun Park was indicted by a Washington grand jury on charges of bribing congressmen in an attempt to influence U.S. policy toward his country. He has refused to return to the United States for questioning, and the South Korean government has said it will not force him to do so.
The compromise offers arose after reports of congressional hostility toward South Korean aid programs reached here over weekend.
According to one unofficial source, the government was shocked last week when an amendment cutting the 1978 foreign aid budget by $108 million was defeated in the House by the narrow margin of 205 to 181. The margin, it was said, alerted the Seoul government to its loss of political support in Washington.
Newspapers here also gave prominent publicity today to a Washington Post story saying that legislation intended to support the withdrawal of U.S. ground troops is also endangered by the Tongsun Park affair. That legislation would permit U.S forces to leave behind a $500 million worth of supplies and weapons for South Korean use.
One government official expressed strong objections today to efforts to link the scandal charges with the U.S. pullout. Tongsun Park's presence here should not be allowed to become mixed up with South Korean defenses, he said.
For the record, officials insisted that the affair had been blown out of proportion by the American press and some members of Congress. One government spokesman, Yu Tae Wan, called it "a minor story that we want to end up as soon as possible." He questioned whether "this man's case" is worth "heating up friction" between the two countries.
He insisted that Tongsun Park was not working for the South Korean government when he was in Washington. The grand jury indicted Tongsun Park for conspiring with two former South Korean Central Intelligence Agency directors in the influence-buying scheme. They were named as unidicted co-conspirators. The Washington Post has reported that U.S. intelligence agencies found Tongsun Park to have been part of a lobbying effort the South Korean government started in about 1970 to assure continued U.S. assistance.
The government's offer of compromise surfaced first in the morning newspapers and later in Foreign Minister Park Tong Jin's news conferenc.
He said that his government is willing to cooperate with U.S investigators only it Korean sovereignty is respected. There will be no solution if the United States does not recognize this, he added.
There were no details available on what kind of investigation Jaworski would be allowed to conduct if he came here, nor were the other investigations mentioned by the foreign minister defined. Picture 4, Conductor Leopold Stokowski, 95, died yesterday of a heart attack at his home in England. By Harry Naltchayan - The Washington Post