Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William G. Colman
COLMAN: On the point of partial liquidation because it looked like South Korea might very well be, if not defeated, occupied. We had all kinds of contracts out for raw materials and various other things. On the logistical side we worked hand-in-glove with the G4 part of the military establishment of MacArthur's. The US Military occupation of Japan (SCAP) was still in existence. MacArthur was still “God Almighty,” and Japan hadn't yet formed its own government. That didn't come for a year or so later. We had to reduce our personnel. We had to cancel contracts. We had to divert shipments headed for our Mission in Korea to Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei and other ECA missions.
MARGE: Bill, you are forgetting that meeting in Manila right after you got there. You went down to Manila and met with the Mission Chiefs and everybody wanted cars. They didn't care about two by fours. They all wanted cars.
COLMAN: Yes. That was both an information and deal making conference. We had the Mission Chiefs from the Far East in there. We explained the situation to them, “Here are our orders and here are the personnel and so on, and who wants what?” Then about a month or two or three or four after that we had a similar meeting with the Mission Chiefs in Tokyo, to wrap up some more things. Essentially it was to protect property and to get out of there in an orderly way and get the personnel redeployed. Of course there were some ongoing things in which part delivery had been made and where it could be made by getting into the Pusan Harbor. That was the only way you could get it over there. The Japanese were very cooperative in some respects. They would transfer funds over there via the Japanese and Korean banking systems.
My time was about two thirds in Tokyo, maybe three fourths, and the rest over in Pusan. The dozen or so staff members in Pusan were under the immediate supervision of Allan Loren, who reported to me. There was a get-away plan that if Pusan got overrun, Korean military and civil personnel would go to Chegu.
Q: This was an island off of Korea obviously.
COLMAN: An island off of South Korea. I saw it in the paper, reading about it the other day. The plan was for the officials and the records and so on, both Korean and US in the office over in Pusan, to get on this ship. One of the staff people took me to the ship and I've got a picture of it. In fact I've got a whole album of pictures of these countries that I'm describing. Anytime your curiosity gets overpowering I imagine I have a picture of the get-away ship and many other things and people.