SGM HERBERT A. FRIEDMAN (Ret.)
The Classified Report on Operation Jilli
One of the dirty little secrets of the Cold War was that from the years 1964 to 1968 the United States Air Force dropped leaflets over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in an attempt to influence the citizens and ruling class of that Communist nation. Information on this operation first became available when the 7th Psychological Group confidential document A Report on Operation Jilli was declassified in 1979. The vast majority of facts that you will read in this article came directly from the Jilli Report. The manual notes that past leafleting operations have been very inefficient. In the case of Jilli:
This is Operation Jilli. Using giant cargo planes to drop at high altitude and into favorable winds, millions of leaflets all along the demilitarized zone into North Korea Light military aircraft, balloons, and covert means supplement large scale leaflet delivery by targeting their drops for military and other special targets Also, a program is underway to deliver information by inexpensive water floats, using the Korean rivers, tides and ocean currents .
study found that during WWII and the Korean War: Hopkins University
1. Formulae for leafleting was not based on sound criteria, but arose out of the judgment of individuals with varying degrees and fields of experience.
2. The release methods used in leafleting missions resulted in grossly excessive leaflet concentrations and grossly insufficient target coverage.
3. Four to sixteen times as many leaflets as were required to do the job were used on most missions.
4. Leafleting procedures employed in the past was incapable of achieving stated objectives.
In 1964, the 7th Psychological Operations Group (
Koreadetachment) was given the task of disseminating western news and propaganda into . The program was called Operation Jilli. Jilli is a Korean word meaning truth. Previously, the American code for dropping leaflets in Korea had been Litterbug. The Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command was General Hamilton H. Howze. He hated the name and said, Have the Koreans rename it. The American Operations Officer (J-3) asked a Korean aide in the office the Korean word for truth. The response was Jilli. Thus, the fledgling operation was named. Several years later, it was renamed in Hawaii as a part of a program to rename various Pacific Theater operations. It was then called Focus Truth. North Korea
Jilli Leaflet Coverage
The plan called for American aircraft to fly along the southern edge of the demilitarized zone or well out over the open sea and drop millions of leaflets that would be carried by wind currents over
. The content of the program was initially designed to present the North Korea in a favorable light through information concerning economic, social and political progress and prosperity. The program of high-altitude drops was supplemented by light military aircraft, balloons, and other covert means of placing leaflets inside Republicof Korea . Major Rodrick Renick, the Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Group Korea Detachment is credited with developing the Operation Jilli working in partnership with Lieutenant Colonel David Underhill. North Korea
C-130 Crew Member sends off a Box of Leaflets to
The United Nations had branded
the aggressor because of their unprovoked attack on the South in 1950. The Communists wished to justify their actions to both the world and their own citizens. In North Korea the people could read the newspapers and see the results of the rebuilding of their country. In South Korea , the people saw only what their government allowed. They were told on a daily basis that the South had started the Korean War, that the South blocked reunification, and that their brothers in the south were starving and being plundered by Americans and other imperialists. North Korea
A 1966 United States Information Agency research report entitled North Korean Propaganda: Themes and Tactics notes:
Five major propaganda campaigns were identified which dealt individually with the following topics:
1. The rewards of the Communist form of government.
2. Reunification of North and
. South Korea
3.The alleged incompetency and criminal activities of South Korean President Park Chung-hee.
4. U. S. "imperialistic" meddling in
s affairs. Korea
5. Japan's Aggressive designs in
Koreaand East Asia.
A 1968 7th PSYOP Group report entitled North Korean Propaganda adds:
North Korean propaganda is devoted to the principle that one hundred repetitions is a good beginning. To the Westerner, North Korean propaganda sounds boring, repetitive, totally immersed in broad irresponsible generalizations, and replete with many falsehoods.
North Korea prints leaflets which it infiltrates into the
by balloon. It also tries to infiltrate propaganda in the Republicof Korea through the use of Japanese, American and other magazines. The propaganda is inserted into these magazines and sent into Republicof Korea through the mails. South Korea
C130 Static Line and leaflet Box use off the Coast of
The Basic Objectives and Directions of North Korean Psychological Warfare are listed in a more recent article entitled Security Environment and Threat Assessment in the 1996-1997 Defense White Paper, published by the Department of Defense in Washington DC. The paper states that:
The basic objectives of North Korean psychological warfare are to create a favorable condition to communize the entire peninsula, and the directions can be categorized as follows:
First, to spread revolutionary indoctrination throughout the South Korean populace, that is, to instill anti-America and anti-government sentiment in the South and to instigate struggle against the South Korean government through revolutionary indoctrination of a whole range of South Korean society including workers, farmers, the youth, students, intellectuals and the military.
Second, to provoke struggles for anti-American independence and anti-dictatorship democratization among South Koreans, thus linking anti-American and anti-government struggle with the communization of the entire peninsula.
Third, to launch, consistently and aggressively, disguised peace offensives against South Korea, thus attempting to create a favorable atmosphere to communize the South by urging the United States to withdraw from the peninsula, precipitating the disintegration of the South, and putting forward false peace offensives to dress up the regime's image.
Fourth, to induce internal discord within South Korean society and the disintegration of its system,
has been launching political and ideological offensives to create chaos in South Korean society, drive a wedge between the people and the government, and provoke strife between the ruling elite and the military. North Korea
Fifth, to create a favorable international environment to incite revolution in the South. By continuously asserting the inevitability and righteousness of the revolutionary struggle in the South,
hopes to gain support from the international community. North Korea
A C-130 fully loaded and on its way for a Jilli Leaflet drop
There was no way for the democracies of the world to reach the people of
. Television was unknown, radios were scarce and in the hands of the Communist elite and the newspapers were censored and controlled. What was known is that the Koreans had a high literacy rate and most could read. In fact, the CIA Fact Book states that the rate of literacy in North Korea is 99%. It was clear that leaflets and airdropped newspapers were the way to bring the truth to the people of North Korea , but the question was how to do it. North Korea
7th PSYOP Group Crest
The first attempt to send leaflets north was by the South Korean government and entailed the use of balloons. The 1963 program met with limited success under the codename of Project Mole. The operation sent both leaflets and gift items to the north. Four launch sites were operated by an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Team. It involved 109 men, including a control group. The launch site was located at Baengnyeongdo (
White Wing Island), a small island in the Han Riverestuary. Because of its proximity to North Korea, it served as a base for intelligence activity by both Republicof Koreaand forces. Numerous North Korean defectors fled to the island to escape economic and political conditions in their homeland. United States
David G. Underhill
David G. Underhill enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951. He volunteered for Korea and was assigned to the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing Headquarters. He later enlisted in the United States Army and was deployed to Japan in the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, United Nations and Far East Command. He was recommended for OCS and studied Korean at the Army Language School, now called the Defense Language Institute. During the Vietnam War he served as a U.S. Army officer in the 7th Psychological Operations Group in Okinawa, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was PSYOP liaison to the 1st Special Forces and trained and jumped with them in Okinawa and Korea. Prior to 1964 he was sent to Vietnam to access the needs of PSYOP units. He recommended a Battalion and four companies. He was awarded Legion of Merit awards in 1967 and 1973. In 1968 he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service while serving as Psychological Warfare Officer, Development Branch, Psychological Operations Directorate, United States Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. He wrote the Bible of leafleting, The Low, Medium, and High Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide.
Dave Underhill talked more about this project:
I conducted training for representatives of each team. They were delivering very few leaflets. Around a pound of leaflets per balloon. They were using the J-100 weather balloon. It was capable of carrying several times that. These balloons had deteriorated on the shelves and burst while inflating them. CIA agent said to boil them for twenty minutes, and they would be as good as new. They tend to fill with air from boiling as steam is released from the water. Need to use a wooden spoon to keep them under water. Metal spoon can touch container and balloon and cause holes in the rubber. We prepared one in the class room. We covered the floor with paper so that a grain of sand would not cause it to burst. We were seated in a circle around the paper. They had an air compressor to inflate the balloon. The balloon was supposed to inflate to eighty-one inches. When it reached around 50 inches, they put their hands over their ears. That was the size most of their burst. It continued to inflate, and they started moving the chairs back. It reached the point you could read the print on the newspaper protecting the base. Finally, with a near silent poof, it split from the top to the bottom and collapsed to the floor. About air, a ten foot cube (1,000 cubic feet at sea level) weighs 81 pounds. 1,000 cubic feet of hydrogen weighs five pounds, thereby providing 76 pounds of lift. In a year of operation the teams could move about 3,000 pounds of leaflets. When they started, we were invited to provide one leaflet.
Dave Underhill had a number of men on his Jilli team. One was Martin Donegan.
Specialist 6 Martin Donegan's Promotion to Specialist 7
Specialist 6 Martin Donegan was one of the members of the Jilli team. He did two tours with the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa and one with the 4th PSYOP Group in Vietnam dropping leaflets from C130s, C47s, U10s, and Huey helicopters. He returned to the United States in 1968 and was stationed at Ft. Holabird, the home of the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Baltimore, Maryland. He retired as a Master Sergeant. He told me a bit about his life, his time on Okinawa and later with Jilli:
I was born and raised in east Toledo and graduated Waite High School in 1950. My brother and I joined the Army together. I first went to France where as a member of the Chemical Corps. I was discharged as a Buck Sergeant and attended the University of Toledo for a year and a half. I reenlisted in 1955 as a Private First Class and became a Military Policeman. I made Specialist 4 and in 1956 was sent to the Language School in Monterey, California. I met my wife there and graduated the school in 1958. I then was sent to Texas as a Specialist 5 in the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion as a Russian linguist. We did a lot of training and maneuvers. In early 1963 I was ordered to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for Psychological Operations training and immediately afterwards to Okinawa.
I was a Russian linguist and was assigned to the Russian desk. We wrote and updated area studies of the Soviet Far East. We read books and magazines, classified as well as unclassified documents, their newspaper Pravda, etc. My wife and three young sons arrived in late June, 1963. We lived in Kadena Chata across from the Kadena Air Base front gate. Dave Underhill was a Captain in charge of the Korean desk which was a lot more active than our desk.
On 7 April 1966 I was assigned to him and we started Jilli together. We managed to find a black book, I suspect printed by the Central Intelligence Agency and it taught us a lot. We went to Korea to Osan Air Force Base in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, and joined Detachment 2. The Group had a detachment in Seoul. [Authors note: The 7th PSYOP Group had detachments in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, etc.]
We were both first assigned to the balloon team, learning how to prepare and launch leaflet balloons. We then started using weather balloons off the local cliffs and dropping them to get statistics about lift, weight and the spread of leaflets. I think Underhill later used those calculations when he wrote his book: Low, medium and high altitude leaflet dissemination guide. We did some computer calculations then practiced with a C47. We worked a bit with the 314th Air Detachment that flew along the Demilitarized Zone using the Douglas C-47 Skytrain. Its nickname was Gooney Bird.
Jilli was a high altitude leaflet operations against North Korea. Our first mission was flown from the west coast of North Korea south to the DMZ then flying east to the coast over South Korean territory. Later, the mission changed to only along the DMZ. We were constantly testing the ones and way to drop the leaflets to make the program more efficient. We needed low pressure systems to do the missions.
All Jilli missions were classified TOP SECRET until after it was completed, then it was downgraded to CONFIDENTIAL and the after action report was also classified and NEED TO KNOW only.
We tried lots of different ways to improve our leafleting. One interesting plan was to buy all the prophylactics at the Post Exchange at Machinato with the idea of dropping leaflets inside of them. We joked as they were being rung up by the cashier and I asked my buddy if he thought that was enough for the weekend. The very proper young Okinawan girl that was working the cash register got so embarrassed that she hid her face and ran off.
Machinato is where many of the leaflets were printed. The Machinato Service Area encompassed an area along the West Coast north of Naha (the Capital of Okinawa) and south of Futenma. It later became part of Marine Camp Kinser and the area is now known as the Makiminato Service Area.
Other members of the Jilli team were Bill Schultz and Pat Gier, both on flight status like Dave Underhill as aircraft crew members, and after flying ten missions they all received permanent flight wings. There was also a Sergeant Major Bullard who acted as First Sergeant.
Specialist Six Martin A. Donegan was awarded the Air Medal in April 1966 for flights over North Korea and Vietnam as a member of the 7th PSYOP Group. The award adds that he participated in 14 PSYOP missions in depressurized aircraft operations at 25,000 feet and assisted in the aerial dissemination of millions of leaflets. He completed these tasks with complete disregard for his personal safety. He also took part in other missions and dropped millions more leaflets.
A Jilli C-130 Releases a Leaflet Box
Notice the line that held the leaflet box hanging from the back of the aircraft. The box has torn apart as it is designed to do and the leaflets have been released into the air. The interesting thing about this photo is that there were no actual leaflets. There was a request for a film of leaflets being released. The Jilli team did not want classified leaflets floating around that might stay airborne for days in the Okinawa winds. So, instead of leaflets, they used scrap paper from the printing plant.
On 19 June 1966 my oxygen hose somehow got crimped and I passed out. The medical technician, an Air Force Sergeant, who was monitoring the oxygen consul immediately put me on 100% oxygen and brought me back. I was fine. I told the pilot not to terminate the mission but after it was over we had to land at Osan Air Base and see the flight surgeon. Someone in Korea called our base on Okinawa to explain the problem and the call was overheard. That was a security violation. The next thing we knew the United States Army Security Agency (ASA) was questioning us. It turned out OK though.
The Commanding General of the Ryukus Islands also sent a Letter of Commendation stressing that both Specialist Six Martin A. Donegan and Captain David G. Underhill had established a high degree of rapport with the Chinese General Political Warfare Department and their Ministry of National Defense as a member of the Mobile Training Team to the Republic of China in 1966 where they took part in teaching the Chinese the methods of high altitude dissemination of propaganda leaflets.
Chinese-English Political Warfare Terms
During the Vietnam War the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa had a detachment assigned to Taiwan. They also regularly sent teams to work with the nationalist Chinese. This is an interesting example of the items they helped design and produce. It is a small 301-page booklet entitled Chinese-English Political Warfare Terms. In seven chapters the book depicts and defines every term or phrase that might be used while reading or writing Allied, Chinese, or Soviet PSYWAR documents.
The Commander of the PSYOP Development Center also sent a letter of Appreciation on 4 September 1968 to now Specialist Seven Donegan which read in part: The many challenging and varied projects you were assigned and those which you initiated tested your imagination as well as your military experience, tactfulness and resourcefulness We are extremely appreciative that you applied your military capabilities and experience so diligently while assigned to the PDC. You can be proud that you have significantly aided the 6th PSYOP Battalion accomplish its mission in the Republic of Vietnam.
In late 1963 The 7th PSYOP Group (then the United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activity, Pacific) was assigned along with the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron, the task of improving techniques for the dissemination of leaflets over the North. Thus was born Operation Jilli.
military published a manual entitled Handbook of Leaflet Dispersion via Balloon which discussed the characteristics of leaflet descent and dispersions, the J-100 balloon delivery system, the 170F balloon delivery system, and the J-9-10-300 balloon delivery system. The study was conducted under contract by a civilian governmental agency with United States . The formula in use for Operation Jilli was obtained through extensive testing from altitudes up to 50,000 feet during the years 1955-1958 in the western plains area of the American University . The military used the calculations to predict leaflet drift and dispersion. One former PSYOP officer told me that he could literally drop his leaflets on Kim Il-Sungs doorstep from 200 miles away. United States
The introduction of the manual explains:
This handbook describes the process of delivering leaflets to specified target areas via balloons. It covers the technical aspects of sending up balloons from different types of launching sites, the calculations which must be made to deliver the payload to its destination, and dispersal in desired patterns. A section is included which describes the characteristics of leaflet descent and dispersion. The effects of long and short range drift, and considerations of altitude and weather conditions as they apply to the various balloon delivery systems are detailed along with the instrument checkout and launching instructions.
Another military manual written by
and published by the 7th PSYOP Group entitled Low, Medium and High Altitude leaflet Dissemination Guide gave accurate data on the size, shape and weight of leaflets and where they would settle when dropped from different altitudes. We have integrated some data from both of these military manuals into this report. Once all this information was gathered and charts drawn up, Operation Jilli was ready to be put into action. U.S. Army PSYOP Officer David G. Underhill
The official Jilli report adds:
The Jilli leaflet sizes are selected for their unusual and unique drift and dispersion characteristics. There are less than a half dozen out of approximately 200 sizes and paper weights tested that meet the dissemination requirements for Operation Jilli. Tampering with either the length or width of the leaflet, or changing the paper weight can make an outstanding leaflet (for dissemination purposes) worthless. Without a detailed study, it is safe to assume that the new North Korean leaflet sizes patterned after the Jilli sizes are 60 to 90 percent less effective in the dissemination phase as far as target coverage is concerned. This was also true of their old leaflet sizes. The new sizes are a distinct advantage for their program because they can now double or perhaps triple their total leaflet quantity without increasing the amount of paper required or the number of balloons required to deliver the leaflets. Fortunately, any North Korean high altitude aircraft leaflet program will be less effective in the dissemination phase because they do not have the formula for leaflet drift and dispersion. The wind conditions, size of the country, and terrain would make it extremely difficult to obtain accurate empirical data. The formula in use in Operation Jilli was obtained through extensive testing from altitudes up to 50,000 feet during the period 1955-1958 in the plains area of the United States. However, the more favorable wind direction does enable the North Koreans to create a program that could surpass Operation Jilli in terms of quantity of leaflets dropped, and would enable them to reach several million South Koreans on a regular basis.
C-47 dropping leaflets
The first Jilli mission was flown on 30 June 1964. C-47 aircraft flying at altitudes up to 15,000 feet eventually dropped a total of over 19 million leaflets. Each C-47 mission carried about one and a half million leaflets, a weight of 3,000 pounds. Larger C-130 cargo aircraft were added to the program in 1965, resulting in 98 million leaflets being disseminated from 25,000 feet. Each C-130 carried 20,000 pounds of leaflets with quantities ranging from ten to sixteen to twenty million leaflets depending on leaflet size(s) used. I have seen one report that 600 million leaflets were dropped in a year but that number cannot be verified. We do know from published reports that the plan was to eventually drop one billion leaflets over
annually. North Korea
Official statistics for the years 1964, 1965 and 1966 indicate that the total number of leaflets dropped each year were 18,850,000, 98,000,000 and 183,323,000. The major themes of the leaflets were:
1. Economic progress in the
. Republicof Korea
2. Social progress in
. Republicof Korea
3. Economic and social progress in
. Republicof Korea
4. Education in the
. Republicof Korea
5. Radio frequencies
6. News commentary
7. Inducements for defections.
9. Kim Il-sung.
The 7th PSYOP Group Unit History of 1967 mentions the numbers of leaflets dropped that year:
Printing production records soared. The 7th PSYOP Group as responsible for the printing of over 7 billion propaganda leaflets for
Vietnamand , recording a 300% increase over calendar year 1966. Of the 7 billion leaflet produced, 282 million of these were dropped from aircraft during 22 high altitude missions in support of the North Korea program, JILLI. This registered a 35 percent increase in the JILLI program over calendar year 1966. Korea
The patch of the 35th TAS
Airman First Class Sam McGowan was a loadmaster in the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron at
Air Force Base from February 1966 to August 1967 and flew Jilli missions. His first Jilli mission was shortly after his arrival on Naha Okinawaabout March 1966. He says:
We were operating off the coast of
and the presence of MiGs wasn't just a threat, they were there. A Jilli mission could occur in daylight or after dark. Since those of us in the back were working our butts off, we couldn't see outside but we'd hear the cockpit crew talking about the MiGs that were shadowing us. We were always conscious of the fact that we were sitting ducks if they decided to come after us. It took around half an hour to get rid of the load, and by the time all of the boxes were gone, we'd be worn out. We had been told in a briefing that one Jilli aircraft had been lost to MiGs. Perhaps the briefers wanted to keep us alert. North Korea
The Jilli missions were predicated on the winds aloft being out of the east, so they were always short notice. Missions were flown as soon as a crew could be rounded up and the airplane loaded. The whole thing was bizarre. You'd be sitting around in the barracks or at home and all of a sudden the phone would ring and the next thing you knew, you were on your way to the flight line for a mission to
. There was no such thing as being on alert for a mission. The squadron would round up the first qualified people they could find. Being qualified meant you had been on a leaflet mission and had been signed off. North Korea
The airplane would be positioned behind a hangar, parked facing the road, with the tail toward the hangar. That way it was out of sight from the flight line and anyone passing by on the road couldn't tell what was going on. Once the crew arrived at the airplane, the crew chiefs were not allowed on board. The load would come in on an Army flatbed truck with a tarp over the boxes. Because the contents were classified, only one aerial port forklift driver would have anything to do with the load.
The squadron had rigged up a special rig for the mission. Instead of removing the dual rails and installing skate-wheels, a set of pallets had been rigged with skate-wheels mounted on top of them. They were designed so that they would interlock. An oxygen console with several very long hoses was positioned toward the middle of the airplane. The forklift driver would pick the wooden pallets off of the truck and position them at the rear of the airplane, then the loadmasters would take them off the pallets and move them forward into the airplane and position them, then tie them down. It was hard, backbreaking work, and the heat and humidity did not help. Although it never happened on an airplane when I was aboard, there were several incidents when some of the loadmasters developed the Bends. Our flight surgeon said it was impossible to get the bends at that altitude. He went on a mission and did everything the loadmasters did, and came down with a case of them himself and was hospitalized! Thereafter, one crew of loadmasters would load the airplane and another would fly the mission. It was as a result of those incidents that aviation medicine became aware that Bends were not solely a function of changes in pressure, that fatigue was also a factor.
As soon as the airplane was loaded, we'd head out for
. It seems to me that by the time we reached altitude it was time to start getting ready to drop. In addition to the five loadmasters, we had a technician from the altitude chamber at Kadena Air Force Base aboard and our own squadron medic. They flew all of the leaflet missions. We also had a second navigator on board and the two navigators would back each other up to insure that we were outside the 12-mile limit. North Korea
Other pilots and crew discussed the Jilli flights in some detail. They seem to enjoy mentioning the various screw-ups that occurred on missions. Captain Dave Horn was the liaison between the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 7th PSYOP Group. He says:
We test dropped boxes from a UH1 helicopter and played with the box cut to find a point where the box could take some handling but was weak enough to come apart before terminal velocity. The 10 test drops we made in the
area were filmed. There was a reason the boxes where cut the way they were. They typically broke open at about 100 feet below the aircraft. This all worked as planned until someone decided to start taping them. A box that was taped up too securely landed on the ground and did some damage. They broke a lot of static lines. You could see a few boxes from each load unopened at the end of the ramp. Naha
I attended leaflet school and received a certificate from the 7th PSYOP Group dated 5 April 66. We flew some test missions in the
area before that but no operational missions until a few weeks after the school. The Army had their computations all screwed up and they had to fix them before we would fly for real. They had no clue about density altitude and averaging wind vectors. Later, it turned out the computations were reasonably accurate. Few knew that each drop result was verified. It took about 6 months but the PSYOP guys would overlay the verified plot over the Navigators predicted fallout and it was amazing. Then there was the night on a Jilli when we spilled a load of sensitive stuff into Naha . The paper was on the ground right where we said it would be. South Korea
Loadmaster Gary Peters says:
I kicked a lot of paper over
. A lot of static lines broke. On the Korea missions we were dropping over clouds with a full moon or close to it. It was bright. I could see those boxes drop a long way and never open. I always wondered if we nailed some poor SOB on the ground. I never heard that we caused any damage. We did hear that some Vietnamese leaflets got mixed in with the Korean leaflets and shook up the Koreans and Chinese. That was in August 1966. I remember flying Jilli mission every other night for a week or so. The wind must have been just right. Korea
Sid Griest was a pilot in the 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron at
from late 1968 to early 1971. He says: Naha
I never flew a PSYOP mission, but later talked to the
guys that did. The C-130A's at Naha Nahahad several different missions dropping PSYOP leaflets in North Korea, North Vietnam, South Vietnamand ; and counterfeit currency in NVN. All of these were printed in Okinawa and on one occasion the shipments got mixed up; with the result that a load of phony NVA currency got dropped over Laos . I've always carried in my mind a picture of some North Korean holding a North Vietnamese dong banknote and wondering just where he was supposed to spend it; or perhaps thinking, "crazy American Imperialists. North Korea
Navigator Captain Bob Wyatt joined the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron in May 1968. He adds:
I went on seven leaflet missions with at least two drops each mission over
South Vietnamor . I dropped over 97 million pieces of paper. All of my missions were under the name of Frantic Goat. I was sent to Laos on a Jilli mission once or twice, but the winds were never favorable so we turned around and brought our paper back home. Korea
The boxes were serrated along the edges with a one inch cut every other inch, and the static line was interwoven inside the box. Due to differing quality control, some boxes split open on the ramp and some didn't open at the end of the static line. One night I heard what sounded like an explosion come from the cargo compartment. Since I was observing the other navigator work I took a look to see what caused the noise. The static line had pulled out of the forward screw when the box hit the air stream. Luckily the loadmaster only lost the one earpiece to his headphone when the bolt and cable struck the headset. Obviously the box did not split open.
Retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel Bob Evans was a navigator assigned to the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron at Naha Air Base, Okinawa. He remembers the Jilli missions:
I was a captain (navigator in C-130As) assigned to the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron, 6315th Operations Group at Naha Air Base. The unit changed designation probably sometime in 1966 or 1967 to 35th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing.
In early 1966, I was one of five navigators tapped to support the U.S. Armys 7th Psychological Operations Group by dropping leaflets over North Korea. The code name was initially Jilli (Truth in Korean) but later changed to Focus Truth. The 7th PSYOP Group had, through experimentation, devised ballistics for several sized leaflets. With the aerodynamic tables, we could now drop leaflets from high altitudes and determine where the center mass would land and how much spread the leaflets had from the center point. The 7th PSYOP Group came up with two types of leaflets: an auto-rotator (rotates around the center axis) and a flip-flop. The greatest spread factor of any of the two-hundred or so leaflets for which data was developed was the 6x3-inch leaflet on 20 pound paper with a ground rate of descent of 2.5 feet per second and a spread factor of 1.11, contrasted with the 6x3 inch leaflet on 16-pound paper, with a ground rate of descent of 4.7 feet per second and a spread factor of 1.04. The auto-rotator would stay in the air for a long time but with a smaller spread. On the other hand, the flip-flop would result in a widespread area but would not float as long and therefore would not travel as far when dropped from the same altitude. Within each category, the size of the leaflet and paper weight also affected the float time and spread.
The leaflet boxes were comprised of cardboard that had been sliced open on each side and then taped back together. The webbing was mainly on the outside of the box, and inserted into slots where it came together at the top. Then a heavy parachute strap was tied around the cross at the bottom of the box and held up while leaflets were packed into the box. Then the flaps were folded over and taped. When the parachute strap was tied to the aircraft and the box pushed out of the aircraft, the box would literally explode releasing all of the leaflets. Initially, we had problems, because the army guys would tape up the boxes too well, and when they reached the end of the parachute strap, they would break the cord and fly off just like a rock. The army found a box manufacturer that perforated the boxes, and that solved the problem.
If we dropped leaflets over water near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, they would be blown into North Korea. We could put a leaflet into every square mile of Korea except for the area in the far northeast portion of North Korea. I recall our deepest penetration was calculated at 250 nautical miles. We would normally drop about 10 million leaflets, later with smaller leaflets the count rose to about 16 million. Basically, there are two bands of winds blowing from west to east, midway, north and south of the equator. During spring, summer, early fall, in the case of North Korea, the wind has a more southwest component. This allowed our leaflet drops to begin as early as mid-late April and continue into September.
We would climb near the drop area, and I would compute the winds every 5,000 feet. Once at drop altitude (usually 25,000 to 30,000 feet), I would determine an average wind speed and direction. In Korea, we had a fixed flight path, to include a rectangular "drop and turn-around box" out over the water on the west coast. Crew members at the end of the aircraft carried a stick to hold to place one end in the rollers to keep the boxes from sliding off the rollers on the aircraft floor. The aircraft flew in a nose-high attitude so it took no effort to dispense. Crew member just had to insure one box at the proper interval Depending on how many boxes we had; I would determine the drop interval for maximum coverage of the area. An average drop interval was usually around twenty to thirty seconds. In thirty minutes, we would release up to 100 boxes of leaflets weighing about 135 pounds each.
To print the leaflets, Army PSYOP personnel went to the United States Information Service and searched through their files to find appropriate photographs reflecting South Korean activities. That is where most early leaflet materials were obtained. Major Renick, Commanding Officer of the 7th PSYOP Korea Detachment later hired a military photographer that understood the needs of the program. Eventually, five Korean military were made part of the campaign; A Korean captain was made the liaison officer.
We also found out that the defectors sometimes read the leaflet in an outhouse and then dropped it into the waste; it was a death sentence if you were caught with a leaflet. When I left Okinawa, the PSYOP folks were working with a cigarette company trying to come up with a tobacco paper with similar characteristics to regular paper. This way, more people would pick up the leaflet if they could smoke it after they read it.
Our ideal Jilli drop location was over the East China Sea, but at times the winds were mostly southerly, so the only drop path was parallel to the DMZ. Coverage was not that good, but we never took a load home. We always dropped because the load was fragile and couldnt be used again. We always launched from Naha based on forecast winds and typhoon position. From notification to takeoff was about two hours for the crew and then we had about 2 ½ hours flying time to the drop location.
We kept at least two extra leaflet loads at Osan Air Base in South Korea as well as a hot load and a spare load in Okinawa. The leaflet loads were somewhat perishable; after being stored for a while sometimes the boxes needed tape repair. When drop conditions were favorable, we would launch from Naha with a load, fly directly to the drop area, and drop the leaflets. This in and of itself was a major undertaking. We had about four kickers that would be strapped to the aircraft and hold the boxes from rolling off the rollers into open space where they dispersed the box of leaflets. There was also a monitor from the 15th Physiological Training Flight trained in high altitude flights to constantly monitor the kickers for altitude sickness. We would be flying at 150 knots (the airspeed limit with the cargo door open and ramp down) with everyone on 100 percent oxygen. The kickers would have to pre-breathe 100 percent oxygen for thirty minutes before we opened the doors, because they would be working so hard manhandling the boxes at high altitudes.
If the drop conditions remained favorable, we would recover at Osan, refuel, reload, and drop again. I had four double-drops. One time after a double-drop, the conditions remained so favorable that we recovered at Osan, and a replacement C-130 loaded with leaflets, kickers, and aerospace physiology techs launched from Naha with two non-Jilli navigators. I got a few hours of sleep waiting for the Naha aircraft. One of the navigators joined my original crew to navigate them back to Naha. I got on the replacement aircraft and flew a third leaflet drop mission. When we finished the drop, I sacked out while the crew navigator took us back to Naha. That was the only three-drop mission ever flown.
Sometimes a typhoon would enter the East China Sea, but the winds were westerly, and we could not get good coverage from where we normally droppedeven though that was about thirty miles north of the DMZ over international waters. The PSYOP guys and I had discussed several times the idea of going further north in ten-mile increments until we were dropping thirty miles north of our most northerly approved track (sixty miles north of the DMZ). The army coordinated with the Pacific Air Forces, and our proposal was approved.
My last Jilli mission, and also the last mission flown by the Air Force (as far as I know) was on November 28, 1967 when we flew our east-west drop leg 30 miles north of our normal track (about 60 miles north of the DMZ) over the East China Sea (again because of wind direction) directly toward China, coming within 30 miles of the Chinese Changshan Islands. Less than 2 months later the USS Pueblo was seized by the North Koreans and the Air Force suspended all Jilli flights. The November 1967 mission was the last Jilli mission ever! On April 15, 1969, a Navy EC-121 aircraft on a reconnaissance mission was shot down by a North Korean MiG over the Sea of Japan, ninety miles off the coast of North Korea.
Flight Engineer Staff Sergeant Walt (Cecil) Hebdon mostly remembers the cold:
I flew several leaflet drops into
North Koreawhile in the 35th at . The thing I remember the most was how cold it was and that we always came back with at least 1 cracked NESA window. (Note: the three front windows were a laminate of a plastic panel with a coating on one side sandwiched between the inner and other panes of plate glass). We tried to keep the flight deck warm, but with the freezing temperature outside the windows often cracked. The crew chiefs hated us, as it is a hard job to replace a NESA window what with all the screws to remove then the sealant to get the window out. The windows were changed by maintenance personal when we returned. I remember there would be 1 man working outside the aircraft (to turn the screws) and 1 man on the flight deck holding the nuts. Then there would be the relief mechanics sitting in a truck with the heater going to stay warm. The screws were so small they had to work without gloves to do this job and they could only work for a few minutes before their hands froze. Naha
Walt also told me another story that combines both leaflets and the weather on the Korean peninsula:
Many of the refugees that came south from
had our PSYOP leaflets stuffed into their pants and jackets to provide insulation and keep them warm. Another victory for PSYOP! North Vietnam
Pete Brown recalls a story he heard:
There was a great war story about the box that failed to open and dropped through a chow hall on the Korean DMZ while some Army General was addressing the troops. They thought WW III had started!
Airman Sam McGowan thinks that Brown errs. He says:
Pete Brown told about a story of a box that failed to open that fell into a building where an Army general was addressing the troops on the DMZ in Korea. I think that incident, if it actually happened, was in South Vietnam, not Korea. All of the Jilli missions I flew were out over the water outside the 12-mile limit from around 27,000 feet. Some of the FACT SHEET missions, on the other hand, were flown right over the DMZ that divided the two Vietnams. We flew a race track orbit between the South China Sea and the Laotian Border - which wasn't that far - and dropped on the straight legs right over or just north of the DMZ.
planned many of the missions and he agrees: Dave Underhill
The potential flight path was selected from a permanently authorized flight path that stretched from the East Coast to out over the water to a rectangular box on the west coast. We could actually disseminate while descending to permit covering close-in areas without danger of dumping leaflet into
. The whole idea in my program was stand off delivery without being shot down. Prior to the beginning of the favorable weather season (generally Mid-April to late September), I used actual 1964-mission weather reports to plot drops from 25,000 feet. From the very first mission in 1964, I would submit an after-action report with projected coverage overlaid on a map of South Korea . (Did the same on SEA maps for missions there.) By the way, no aircraft were lost in North Korea Southeast Asiausing my technique. They were in the Korean War and WWII.
When they authorized a second C-130 in 1966, I proposed we stock leaflets at
(K-13) where our C-47 aircraft were based. We could rig the boxes for C-130 dissemination. After dropping a C-130 load launched from Suwon Okinawa, we could land at K-13, load again, and drop another 10,000,000 leaflets. We could launch two C-130s from Okinawa. They land, reload and disperse two more loads from our prepositioned stock. That is forty million leaflets in less than three hours.
Packing the C130 was quite a job. The floor of the C-130 was covered with rollers on both sides of the aircraft. The boxes were stood on end. They were too fragile to stack. They were loaded by the aircraft crew, including me. Remember, we were short on manpower. The aircraft would fly at 120-130 knots in a nose-high attitude. A stick held by crew members would hold the boxes until ready for release. Release was pre-determined based upon planned duration of the dissemination. I always wanted as many passes as possible, and the aircraft commander wanted to get the hell out of as soon as possible. At most I could sometimes hope for two passes or a second partial pass depending on wind direction.
The Jilli Leaflet Box Assembly Line
Filling the Individual Jilli Leaflet Box
A Filled Jilli Leaflet Box ready to be Dropped over North Korea
I spoke to retired Colonel Charles V. Nahlik who replaced Dave Underhill and ran the Jilli Operation against North Korea while a Captain from 1966-1968. He told me:
Dave was nearing the end of his tour in 1966 when I got there. I was initially in the Operations Plans office but was asked if I wanted to become a replacement/understudy for this strange Major who specialized in dropping leaflets and timing their fall from atop the inside of our printing plant. He gave me a book to read about how John Hopkins University had conducted a study on dropping leaflets of various sizes and weight of paper. It was very interesting and I was hooked.
About Jilli - During the months from March to October the prevailing winds were from the south so I had a C-130 and crew on standby along with prepositioned loads of leaflets in a Quonset by the runway. I would get a phone call from the weather people at Naha Air Base that the winds were starting to shift and would soon be blowing from south to north in Korea along the DMZ. They gave me the winds at levels from 5000 to 30000 feet, I made the calculations and if they were good, I notified the Operations Center at Naha Air Base who would alert the crew. By the time I got to Naha, the airmen were at the Quonset hut loading the pallets of leaflets onto the aircraft. Meanwhile the crew was in Operations getting their briefings before takeoff. We departed Naha and while we were in flight, the news would reach us from Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC) that we had approval for the leaflet drop. In the two years I was flying, we never got turned back. When the Pueblo incident happened, [The North Koreans attacked and captured the U.S. spy ship Pueblo 23 January 1968 while on the high seas] I was called by CINCPAC and told that we could not fly until the incident was over.
North Korea Celebrates
Note: the North Koreans were quite jubilant over the capture of the Pueblo. They produced a leaflet depicting a heroic North Korean soldier holding the ship and crew. The text is:
This is the People's Army's answer to provocation.
American Imperialist, tread lightly!
The Crew Answers as Only Americans Can
Later the American crew would strike back when they were photographed as repentant sinners and criminals by the North Koreas. The crew all gave the photographer the one-finger salute, a propaganda statement apparently not understood by their communist captors.
Since the Jilli leaflets were an army load, I always brought two soldiers along to assist the airmen and help the navigator if he had a question about leaflet drift and where to fly. They never actually needed help since we gave lessons during the winter and early spring to new navigators. Most of the time we just helped to flip the leaflet boxes down from the standing on end position to the flat position and shoved them towards the back of the aircraft. The Air Force crew appreciated any help as working at high altitudes on oxygen can be tiring. We all collapsed on the return flight. The Load Master watched the timer light and every so many seconds, when it flashed, he would give the box a final shove out the back.
To increase our drop ability, I worked it out with Ft. Bragg to box and ship leaflets to Osan AFB (Korea) where I obtained another Quonset hut. Ft Bragg printed and packed the leaflets and the boxes were shipped directly there. After making the first drop, we flew into OSAN, reloaded and made another drop on the way home. I can't recall the totals but this enabled us to drop perhaps an additional 100,000 million leaflets each year.
There were some problems. On their very first mission, I got a call from
Detachment saying the people along the DMZ were up to their butt in leaflets. I asked for their winds aloft report in plotting the mission. Where the DMZ takes a rather sharp turn to the Southwest when traveling West, I calculated there would be 1,100,000 leaflets in Korea . So much for smart navigators. They failed to consider the natural dispersion in still air effect. From 25,000 feet it is substantial. You need to add 6,250 feet on both sides of the flight path when flying into the wind. They were away from the DMZ and still dropping leaflets over a mile wide into the South Korean side. South Korea
Bob de Hass flew Cold War missions against
after Operation Jilli was terminated. Apparently, not much had changed: North Korea
During my time, the leaflet mission was known as Frantic Goat. Missions to
were called "Focus Truth." The Korean leaflets depicted photographs of city traffic, high-rise buildings and Koreans lounging on the beaches enjoying the good life available in the South. These were "hurry-up" scenarios as it was all predicated on winds blowing on-land from off the coast allowing proper dispersal into our intended area and didn't occur favorably that often. Korea
Numerous times, boxes burst open while leaving the aircraft ramp, with leaflets blowing back inside. Most ended on top of the cargo door or along its sides, or scattered throughout the cargo compartment. Once empty of boxes, and with the aircraft closed up, we would police up all the leaflets. Didn't want to piss off the crew chief, you know.
All during this period other means of dissemination were being tested and tried. For instance, starting in 1965 there was a program to deliver leaflets by water float, using the Korean rivers, tides and ocean currents to deliver them. Much of this information was gathered from another 7th PSYOP Group manual; The Propaganda Float in Psychological Operations. Curiously, since the
was involved in the Vietnam War at the exact same time as the North Korean operations, many of the techniques created for Jilli were also used against the North Vietnamese as part of Operation Fact Sheet. The object was always to find a better way of getting the truth to a captive audience. The manual explains the benefits of the float: United States
The ability to present a comprehensive packet of selected gift items and printed media in a single float marks the biggest single advantage of floats over other delivery methods. Although the target audience is limited primarily to fishermen, security forces and costal and river inhabitants, the receipt of a single float permits the operator to place the full story into the hands of the target members. Thus, use of floats opens up almost unlimited possibilities for employment of psychological operations against a target audience that has, for the most part, a vehicle for defection. The very least to be gained on even a limited program is increased security precautions on the part of the target area security forces.
The handbook goes on to mention specific gifts that North Korean fishermen defectors stated were desirable. Among them were cigarette holders (fishermens hands are usually wet); cigarette lighters; nylon cord; sunglasses; and ball-point pens. Non-fisherman defectors preferred work clothes; winter underwear; socks; undershirts; gloves and cloth among others. The manual concludes:
In selecting gift items for the float program, the widest variety possible should be obtained. No standard float package should be created; rather a variety of packages should be disseminated on each mission, and as far as possible each mission should include a new variety of float packages.
The reasoning behind this recommendation is that if a standard package was created, it would be very easy for North Korean security forces to check the packages found by fishermen and tell if anything had been hidden away. By keeping the contents random, the security forces would never know what had originally been inside the float.
The float operation was fairly successful. One fisherman defector stated:
One morning in May or June, we were fishing near Mu
Island. I was taking a nap after having cast the fishing net, when I was awakened by noise made by other crewmen. I saw the men reading five or six South Korean booklets of different types. The men said that these publications had been packed in a vinyl bag found floating on the water. One of the crewmen had picked it out of the water with a basket-type scoop net. While the crewmen were reading the material, the chief engineer of the boat, who was also the officer in charge of Party activity on board, confiscated the material and took it to his room. The chief engineer said that this material was from . South Korea
United States Army Captain Jeremy S. Mushtare wrote Jilli in his 2005 Naval Post Graduate school thesis PSYOP in Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations: Preparing for Korean Reunification: He seems to imply that the North Koreans used the Jilli leaflets to improve their own propaganda:
The North Korean regime was forced to undertake substantial counter-propaganda techniques to mitigate the effects of Operation Jilli. Such techniques included the mass gathering of leaflets for incineration followed by speeches refuting the leaflets themes. Further, the PSYOP analysts noted that, The success of the Jilli program has been underscored by the use of Jilli themes and techniques by the North Koreans in their own leaflet dissemination program. Also, analyses of the North Korean Labor Party newspaper over a ten-month period has revealed a four to five-fold increase in what can be interpreted as counter-Operation Jilli, pro-North Korea, propaganda. Hence, the conduct of Operation Jilli appeared inadvertently to help North Korea hone their own leaflet efforts as their styles and themes soon began to coincide with the basic principles used in producing leaflets for Operation Jilli.
Printed leaflet sheets stacked high and ready for cutting.
The themes of the Jilli leaflets were developed by the Propaganda Branch and the Korea Detachment of the 7th PSYOP Group. Each leaflet was carefully planned and designed to make the most efficient use of pictures and text and leave as little blank space as possible. Photographs were used where possible as they were found to be more powerful than cartoons and drawings in influencing a target audience. The margins were one-quarter inch all around to allow for the play of high-speed printing presses. The paper whipped back and forth as it passed through the very high speed presses, resulting in very poor registration. That was acceptable when printing a single color but unacceptable in a multi-colored leaflet.
Once the leaflet was tested and approved, the final draft was forwarded to J-3, United Nations Command. The UNC had a panel composed of non-qualified PSYOP people that passed on the leaflets.
Boxes full of leaflets ready for transport.
The Jilli leaflets were designed for long drift and wide dispersion. Based on wind direction, speed and rate of descent, leaflet drift of over 175 miles from a 15,000 foot release altitude and 250 miles from a 25,000 foot release altitude were claimed. A leaflet mix was dropped on each mission in an attempt to assure that the widest possible amount of propaganda was read by each finder. One problem faced by the Korean detachment was the urgent need for Vietnamese-language leaflets for the war in
Southeast Asia. This requirement drained 7th PSYOP resources and made serious inroads into the ability of PSYOP printing units to produce leaflets for . One answer was to make the Jilli leaflets smaller, allowing more to be carried by the C-130 cargo aircraft. Because the smaller leaflets had dispersion problems, the aircraft had to make additional passes along the North Korean border. Korea
One of the ways that the printers tried to solve the problem is mentioned by Specialist Fifth Class (SP5) Dennis Kaliser of the 15th PSYOP Detachment, 7th PSYOP Group, a Lithographic Platemaker during 1966 and 1967. He says:
It may be worthwhile to mention that some of these Jilli leaflets were printed in Okinawa along with the Vietnamese leaflets. In fact, the imposition of the Vietnamese leaflets on the web press form left a smaller rectangular open area in one corner which otherwise would have been wasted paper. It was in that corner that a Jilli leaflet was sometimes inserted, flanked by the Vietnamese leaflets.
Charles J. Zoerb of the U.S. Armys 15th Psychological Operations printing branch talked about printing both leaflets for Korea and Banknotes for Vietnam in an article entitled Vietnam-era veteran counterfeited, legally, to make life hard for the enemy written by Lou Michel in The Buffalo News of 19 February 2017. Some of his comments are:
With a top secret security clearance, he arrived on the Pacific island of Okinawa on Feb. 18, 1966, assigned to a fully furnished print shop that operated nonstop Under the guidance of U.S. military brass and South Vietnamese officials, Zoerb and 29 other printers produced counterfeit money and propaganda leaflets During one eight-hour shift, one of those off-set presses could produce close to 180,000 bills. We also had two sheet presses and they were quite a bit slower, but one of them could print 80,000 bills in a shift The counterfeit operation occurred on the midnight shift for security purposes. During the day and evening shifts, printers churned out the propaganda pamphlets.
Jilli Leaflet 143?
The article actually depicts a Jilli leaflet but of course the printer had no idea what he was printing and just calls it a piece of propaganda. I cannot quite make out the code number but it seems to be 143. The funny thing about this photograph is that if it were published prior to August 1979 when the program was declassified, the printer might have found himself spending some hard time at Leavenworth. Lucky for him, he waited 50 years to talk about his wartime exploits. The title of this leaflet has a black background and just below there is a second heading in bold. They are:
The Love story of a Young Man in Seoul
The Sacrifice of a Young Revolutionary for the Motherland
The most favorable winds for leaflet drops occurred each year from Mid-April to mid-September. When the weather was deemed favorable, the USAF was alerted and the leaflet aircraft sent north. The navigator checked the speed and direction of the winds and dropped his leaflets at the appointed time and altitude.
The major theme of the Jilli leaflet was to convey the truth about
. It was never the intention of the PSYOP Group to encourage defections, but the leaflets apparently did so and many of the defectors stated that the leaflets had influenced their decision. The leaflets depicted consumer goods available in the South and told the people that the economy there was geared toward developing small industries that contributed to better living standards and quality of life. They pointed out that industry in the North was aimed at producing weapons of war and goods to sell for hard cash to help the Communist leadership, and did little to ease the hardships of the common people. South Korea
North Korean leaflets sent to the South and picked up by members
of the U.S. Army's 2nd Division along the Demilitarized Zone
An old friend from the Sergeants Major Academy assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division would send me a package of these leaflets every month or two. A former S2 (Intelligence) officer with the 2nd Brigade, 2nd ID told me:
We would find leaflets every few weeks near or just over the fence of our compound (Camp Hovey). Standard procedure was all found leaflets were turned over to the Brigade S2. I would turn them over to the division G2 with the time, date and location found.
Both the Jilli report and the military manuals go into great detail about the reaction of the North Koreans. Dozens of interviews with defectors are quoted and North Korean leaflets are depicted showing how the dictatorship was forced to first answer the questions posed by the Jilli leaflets, and later began to copy their size, style and use of color in their own leaflets sent to the South. When Jilli leaflets depicted the
Ulsanindustrial complex, prepared a similar leaflet showing their own heavy industry. When Jilli leaflets spoke of the colleges and universities in the South, similar leaflets showing educational institutions like North Korea were prepared by the North. The two nations dueled on subjects like railroads, with both pointing out their railroad transportation systems, but the Jilli leaflets also reminding the readers that in the South everyone was free to use the trains to go anywhere. Both sides produced leaflets showing the goods for sale in their department stores. Kim Il-sung University
told me about the North Korean reaction to the Jilli leaflets. He said: Dave Underhill
We had a Captain in
Koreaon temporary duty at the time, and I asked him to stop by 8th Army G-2 (Intelligence) and see if we were getting any reaction out of . He walked in, and was totally ignored as chaos reigned in the office. He waited a while and then said in a loud voice: Are you guys getting any reaction out of North Korea ? He said you could have heard a pin drop. North Korea was on full military alert, and was moving troops. He left them content with the knowledge that the North Korean government was reacting to our leaflet drops and the movement was not an independent action on their own. North Korea
Some of the countermeasures (indirect indicators) taken by the North are mentioned in the report. For instance, areas were put off-limits for policing; civilians were forbidden to read leaflets, ordered to immediately turn them in and warned of punishment if found reading leaflets. At the same time, military personnel were ordered to hand in all leaflets to their cadre and told that the leaflets were treated with poisonous chemicals and that if they touched them, their fingers might decay. Students were told to report any leaflet drops to their teachers.
The themes and techniques used in the Jilli program were so effective that they apparently considered worthy of copying by the North Koreans. They changed their subject matter, approach, leaflet layout and size to approximate those of the South. They also went to great pains to counter the Jilli propaganda.
American and Western newspapers and publications
forged by the North Koreans to carry their propaganda
to South Korea and the West.
Some envelopes bearing forged stamps and
watermarks produced by North Korea to send
their propaganda to South Korea and the West.
North Koreamade a concentrated effort to introduce Communist propaganda into the Republic of Koreaconcealed within counterfeited or genuine Free-World publications. The propaganda consists of denunciations of the Republicof Korea Government, speeches by North Korean leaders, articles on the unification of by circumvention of the United Nations, and even reprints of North Korean magazines. In most instances as many as one thousand of the publications were mailed from Korea North Koreato Eastern Europe or Franceeach month and from there to the . By the mid-1960s fifty-seven such publications were known to South Korean intelligence. Republicof Korea North Koreaalso counterfeited both and French stamps as part of this postal propaganda operation. U.S. has also been accused of counterfeiting the currency of other nations, and specifically that of the
. In recent years the quality of the $100 counterfeits has been so high that the Treasury Department has called them super notes. The primary goal of the forging operation seems to have been to provide funds to support the bankrupt North Korean economy; a secondary aim has apparently been to help destabilize western economies. United States
Because the leaflets were dropped over
where they were immediately swept up and destroyed, Jilli leaflets are extremely rare. Over the course of almost 40 years I have seen just a few. Several military friends have helped in translating these leaflets. I want to give special thanks to First Lieutenant John Koh who was an Interpreter for the Army of the Republic of Korea and unselfishly volunteered to translate a number of these Korean-Language leaflets for our readers. He is a patriot. North Korea
The genuine 1 won North Korean banknote
Leaflet 41 - The Jilli Reproduction Banknote and
One of the more interesting Jilli concepts was the reproduction of a North Korean Central Bank 1 won note of 1959 with the back bearing a safe conduct pass message. The banknote leaflet was printed by the 7th PSYOP Group Japan Detachment. The front of the leaflet was an excellent reproduction of the North Korean one won note. The back consisted of the one won note border, the
Republicof Korea National Flagin full color, a message indicating it was a Safe Conduct Pass, and the signature of the Chairman of the Joint Military Staff, . Republicof Korea Armed Forces
The idea for using a North Korean one won note was to enable the target audience to "hide" the bill by placing it in with other bills.
Much of the technical data of this particular leaflet is known. The size of the banknote is 5-27/32 by 2-7/16. Twenty-pound paper was used. The number of leaflets per pound was 656. The V sub o (ground rate of descent; or falling rate): 1.5 feet per second. The spread factor (R sub T divided by T sub O): .14 (point fourteen). The slow falling rate of 1.5 feet per second combined with a very small spread factor of .14 results in long drifting from the release point, but with limited ground coverage (thereby resulting in increased leaflet density on the ground).
For example, for each mile of drift, the spread on the ground is .14 miles. This resulted in 1.11 miles of dispersion (along the direction of the blowing wind) for each mile of drift. For standoff delivery against
, the most common leaflet used had a falling rate of 1.8 feet per second and a spread factor of .91. This resulted in deep penetration into North Korea with .91 miles of spread for each mile of drift. A fifty mile drift to the center of the leaflet mass using a falling rate of 1.8 and spread factor .91 resulted in a spread over forty-five miles. This leaflet enabled the delivery system to place leaflets in North Korea with closest aircraft approach of 110 miles. Drops occurred from altitudes up to 25,000 feet using C-130 aircraft. Pyongyang
The banknote leaflet is known in three versions. Two are almost identical with the only change being the signature of the Chief of Staff of the Army of the
. The third note has not been disseminated. It is apparently stored in various secret locations in the unlikely event that renewal of hostilities on the Korean peninsula occurs once again. Republicof Korea
What was the result of these leaflets? A number of defectors were interviewed about the leaflets and some of their comments follow:
The facsimile of North Korean paper-money on the safe conduct pass was so hard to distinguish from real money that it was occasionally used to purchase goods at stores.
I saw the one won note safe conduct certificate at the
Pantu Museumin . I notice that some of the other visitors around me in the museum were also staring at it for some time, amazed at the nearly complete similarity between the one-won note on the leaflet and the real North Korean one-won note. Kaesong
A third defector notes:
Many children used to carry this leaflet with them, mistakenly thinking that the leaflet was a one-won North Korean note. According to what source had heard, some children tried to buy candy with this leaflet but the storekeeper scolded the children severely, warning them that the leaflet was not money but a South Korean leaflet on which poison was applied.
A warning on the bulletin board of the North Korean Social Safety Detachment:
South Korea has spread leaflets similar to North Korean money. As a result, there is a possibility of economic disorder. Those having leaflets in their possession are warned to report them without delay. Persons submitting leaflets will be rewarded to the value of the money leaflets.
The curious thing about this operation is that none of the Americans who designed the leaflet realized the value of a 1 won note in
. It seemed such a petty sum. The banknote vignette was used simply because it would catch the eye and was sure to be picked up by anyone who saw it on the ground. One 7th Group PSYOP officer told me later that he was against the printing of the banknote leaflet. He said: North Korea
The one won note represented about 6 weeks' pay for a North Korean Army private. If he was found to be carrying one won, it would be cause for suspicion.
Worse, the first message reaching the target audience would be one of disappointment. Half the leaflets could be expected to land with the money side up. The "finder" would think he had one won, only to be disappointed when he discovered the ROK flag on the other side. The entire quantity of leaflets was dropped on a single mission. It was not used by a single defector. However, it may well have been carried by a number of people with the intention of using it if the opportunity presented itself.
There were reports that copies of the safe conduct pass ended up in the cash registers of some North Korean stores at the end of the day. A Security Officer attempted to pass one to see if what was happening was in error or intentional. The sales clerk accepted the bogus one won note without looking at the reverse side. He chastised her severely.
The Flying Horse Leaflet
One of the most popular leaflet themes of the Jilli series was the North Korean flying horse. Several examples are shown in the Jilli booklet, for instance leaflets 162 and 218 of 1964. I have seen about a dozen different leaflets featuring the horse. LTC
Dave Underhilltold me about when the United States first decided to get involved with leafleting as part of a Korean balloon program called Operation Mole he was invited to take part. Later, the United States had its own program which we know as Jilli. North Korea
As Chief of the Korean Psychological Operations Intelligence Research Desk, I was asked to submit ideas. One or the most difficult aspects of life in
was the labor intensification movement called Chollima. We normally translated it as a horse that travels a thousand miles before the day is done. North Korea depicted the horse with wings. North Korea
One North Korean newspaper positively sang the praises of the program thusly: Chollima is described as a manifestation of the creativity of the people rallied around the Party, an exemplification of revolutionary self-reliance. Chollima is based upon Kim Il-song's work with the Korean people, and has produced magnificent results because he went directly to the masses, learning from them, and mobilizing their inexhaustible creativity. Chollima fights passivism and conservatism and raises mass revolutionary zeal. The Chollima Work Team Movement further expanded the Chollima concept and has now extended the work team aspect to virtually all aspects of North Korean society. Chollima has succeeded in drawing from the masses constant innovations that accelerate socialist construction. Kim Il-sung has said that the main purpose of Chollima is to make active elements out of passive elements in North Korean society and leave no North Korean in a backward situation in regard to building socialism and Communism
Everything in North Korea at the time took place under the Chollima Movement. Children went to school, even if sick, so as to meet the goal of Chollima. Workers tried for perfect attendance. Crops were produced to meet Chollima goals. We poked fun at it until I thought we killed the movement. It's mentioned nearly ceased. We used many versions of cartoons.
A Monument to the National Animal of North Korea
A winged horse that does not exist
We poked fun at it with cartoon leaflets. One had a couple in the bedroom, with the winged horse looking on, with the wife asking Does he have to be everywhere?
The PSYOP for North Korea booklet mentions the flying horse as a theme:
Target Group: workers. The Chollima horse, which Chinese legend holds ran a thousand ri in a day, finds it most difficult being ridden by two riders, one of which is driving toward economic progress while the other is striving toward military build-up.
North Korea erected a statue honoring Chollima. It stands on a pedestal higher than that on which the Statute of
stands. The leaflet depicted was the final result of my recommendations. It had a cartoon on the reverse side dealing with contrasts of use of spare time. The first leaflet had a drawing of a horse pulling a wagon being driven by a farmer walking along side. The reverse had a man walking with the winged horse being carried piggy-back style. It had the word Chollima on the horse. By the way, the first word on the first leaflet had Chollima misspelled. B.J. Kim did the art work. It should be written as chon (one thousand) ri (Korean unit of distance) ma (horse) When an "n" sound appears before an "r" sound it changes both to "LL" sound. Sounds bad, but not so serious, inasmuch as post testing revealed the information that South Korea adopted that for the spelling of the movement. Liberty
A group of Mixed Chollima leaflets
A large number of leaflet titles poking fun at the Chollima movement were prepared during the course of the program. While the number of titles was large, the total quantity was that for a single theme. A number of them were prepared on the odd size unused (scrap) space on the press sheet and disseminated on every mission flown. The size of the scrap sheet had unfavorable dispersion characteristics but this was partially overcome by using it on every mission. I remember we had one leaflet showing a man carrying the winged horse on his back. Later, I prepared a similar leaflet with a young boy walking beside the man and asking Will I have to carry that load when I grow up?
Since this leaflet is a cartoon like the horse leaflet above this seemed a good place to put it. The leaflet depicts a typical meeting where the Communist bosses talk on and on and the workers can barely stay awake. The back is all text and again complains about the boredom generated by Party meetings. There are various numbers radiating from the candle that the translator is unsure of; he thinks they might be radio frequencies.
The text on the front is:
Agenda: About how to make the meeting short.
Executive: Comrade Chairman, All are dozing.
Chairman: At tomorrow's meeting, let's discuss how not to doze.
At the far right sits Grandfather of truth. He says:
Even I am bored.
The text on the back is:
It is obvious that the resolutions made by the party during the meetings are unoriginal bombast. However your party forces you to hold meetings again and again in order to keep you busy so you don't have time to complain.
The Frog in a Well 144-64
This cartoon leaflet was designed to point out to North Koreans their complete lack of knowledge about the outside world. The frog represents North Korea, a censored nation, far down in a black hole with other frogs, no way to see the outside world and no idea of what is going on. The large frog at the center is labelled Communist Party. The short text below is an old proverb. It is a famous proverb among Korean and Chinese, and probably Japanese. It implies a man of narrow views or limited scope. The text is hard to translate into English but might be read as:
Seeing the sky through a needle's eye
Two North Korean defectors said about this leaflet:
The leaflet caused me to think deeply as to whether North Korea's situation today was really like the frog in the well. It reminded me that the North Korean populace was leading a life of regimentation. After reading the text, I was deeply impressed to learn that South Korea maintained close international ties. I feel that other North Koreans would be impressed in the same way.
In reflecting on North Korea's closed door policy and South Korea's open door policy, I came to the conclusion that North Korea's closed door policy pursued in the name of self-improvement must be the cause of her economic failures. I felt that since South Korea has advanced ahead of North Korea by keeping close relationship with the outside world, North Korea would make better economic progress if she, too, would establish ties with the outside world.
What really surprised me about this leaflet is that I found the same theme on a British leaflet to the Japanese in WWII. It depicts a Japanese soldier as a frog in a well with various leaders looking down at him. They lower a bucket to him labeled with the Japanese military motto Must Win. It was coded J-7 and used in Burma in 1943. I have noted over the years that a good propaganda theme can be used over and over. In this leaflet we are told that this is an old Japanese saying:
A Frog in a well doesnt know the great sea.
There was also a cartoon series called Freedoms that depicted the lack of individual freedom among the North Korean people. It depicts a physically healthy man with his hands tied; No individual freedom. A ball and chain is affixed is to his leg; No freedom of travel. A padlock locks his mouth shut; No freedom of speech. The text is:
Are we really treated like humans and do we entertain the freedoms of a human under communist rule?
Another ironic cartoon with a very short message shows a South Korean soldier returning home at the left and a North Korean soldier doing the same at the right.
The South Korean returns home to his prosperous family who says: Welcome Back Chang-Su.
The North Korean is greeted by his starving family that says: Did you bring back any money?
Do You Worry About your Family?
This Jilli leaflet uses a similar theme of the hunger of soldiers families back in North Korea. It depicts a soldier thinking of his family and the text:
Do you worry about your family?
How much grain do you think your family received this year?
Wonder if they ran out already? If so, what should you do?
This is the last cartoon in this section. Whether right or wrong, the Americans believed that the Communist method of self-criticism to strengthen Party loyalty and make a person a better Socialist by pointing out his errors was demeaning. Such comments had been found in many captured enemy diaries and from interviews with defectors. As a result, the theme of these embarrassing sessions was often found on propaganda leaflets against Communist nations. In the above leaflet a Political Commissar reads and lectures while the soldiers show their boredom and annoyance in various ways. The text is:
Are you not tired of self-criticism and political science discussions?
The cartoon show a North Korean who has just been discharged from the Army. It tells the veteran that he will next be sent to a collective farm. The text is long so I will just translate a small part of the message.
Isnt Eight Years enough to give to the State?
Do you know where the Party will send you after a discharge from long years of service in the Army? Perhaps to a work team in a remote farming village? Or to regimented factory life in a strange city? Both are possible. A man must have the right to choose his own occupation. This precious right is guaranteed to all the citizens of the Republic of Korea. You can also enjoy this right if you join us here in the south. Find a way to come south before you are sent far away from the demilitarized zone
These cartoons leaflets appear early in the program, but not later. In 1964 the Jilli guidance emphasized cartoon-like, anti-Communist leaflets. In 1965, based on intelligence and feedback from defectors the cartoons were de-emphasized. Gradually there was more use of photographs and pictures of progress in the Republic of Korea.
From 1964 to 1966 the following themes rose in numbers of leaflets: The Republic of Korea and the Free World; Economic progress in the Free World; Political, economic and social progress in the ROK; and education in the ROK. The two themes that actually disappeared are radio frequencies of ROK stations and news commentary.
Jilli leaflet 120
The President Park Chung-hee leaflet was developed in
Koreawith the assistance of the staff. It was a New Year's greeting to the North printed under contract by Korean printers. In what might have been a case of sabotage (or just an error) Parks signature line looked like the Korean word for Rat. The printer, as might be expected, was immediately arrested. The North Koreans had never seen a picture of Park. When their leaders depicted the president they used a caricature which was always highly uncomplimentary and associated him with all things evil. Project Jilli decided that the North Korean people should see an unbiased photograph of the southern leader and make their own decision about his honesty and integrity. Republicof Korea Army PSYOP
There is a long message on the back:
A Message to Our Countrymen
My dear fellow countrymen!
On this New Years Day, together with all the people of the nation, I bless all of you in the North. Last year domestically, our country in the South finished the first five year economic development project successfully bringing new prosperity to the nation. At the same time we opened a new Pacific era by convening many international conferences including the Asia-Pacific ministerial level meeting.
This is the fruit of our effort to pave the way for the national unification which has been the burning desire of the people in the South.
Our dear countrymen!
The people of the South, which is becoming a proud and blessed country, are preparing to liberate you from communist oppression in order to bring a second liberation to you. I ask you to overcome all hardships and press on with perseverance for unification and freedom.
God bless you.
President Park Chung-hee
mentions a comment by a North Korean defector: Dave Underhill
I had never seen a picture of President Park. I was anxious to see how the President looked. I learned from this leaflet that President Park was an intelligent and educated-looking person. I was impressed with the quality of paper used for the leaflet, and the clarity of the picture and printing.
Dave told me that not a single photograph of the President of the Republic of Korea had appeared in any North Korean publication. A highly uncomplimentary caricature of the President was always used which generally associated him with all things evil. Two examples were: An octopus with tentacles grasping the fruits of labor of the working people; A shark slicing through the waters slashing at various freedoms of the people. From the very beginning, North Korean propaganda had never mentioned the President without including a term of vituperation, which was used as if it were part of his name.
The response to the Park leaflet was so favorable that he decided to exploit the President and his wife, a former beauty queen. Later Jilli leaflets showed the President and his wife traveling abroad and being welcomed by various countries.
Leaflet 144 - President Park Travels
As stated above, it was decided to exploit President Park and when possible his wife by showing them travelling abroad. The front of this leaflet depicts Park in West Germany and Malaysia. The back of the leaflet depicts Park in Thailand and Taiwan. The text on the front is:
SOUTH KOREAS DIPLOMACY, BASED ON FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND PROSPERITY
It has set a firm foundation for international trade, technology, cooperation and cultural advancement.
In 1964, President Park visited West Germany and agreed upon economic cooperation and strengthening the alliance between the two countries. Both countries Presidents and First Ladies attended a West German musical festival.
When President Park Jung-hee visited Malaysia in 1966, he was escorted by the nations King.
The text on the back is:
KOREAS EXCEPTIONAL DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES
The Republic of Korea is currently allied with 75 countries and in cooperation in all aspects including economic and cultural.
Last February, when President Park Jung-hee visited Southeast Asia, he was escorted by the King and Queen of Thailand.
When President Park Jung-hee visited Free China he watched the Vi Jang-do with President Jang upon arrival at the Song-san airport.
A defector told the 7th PSYOP Group in July 1968:
Most of her fellow workers were curious about and interested in the fact that President Park was accompanied by his wife during his state visits to foreign countries. They marveled at the fact that President Park was accompanied by his wife and they remarked that it was only right that one should take one's wife with him on such an occasion. Some fellow workers said at the same time that presidents of foreign countries were accompanied by their wives whenever they visited foreign countries. Also, some of her fellow female workers expressed their private complaints towards their husbands by saying, "When such a high ranking person as the President of a country (referring to President Park) takes his wife with him, why is it that my husband never takes me with him when he goes out for recreation or even when he visits his relatives homes? Finally, source stated that she and her fellow workers had never seen nor heard of Kim Il-sung being accompanied by his wife when he made trips both in the country and abroad, and that fellow workers wondered why Kim never took his wife with him when he went on trips.
The Communists were less impressed with President Park. In mid-January 1968, thirty-one members of the elite 124th Unit of the North Korean People's Army were dispatched to
in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the President. Five infiltrators were killed and one captured, according to the New York Times article on January 23, 1968. A policeman and five civilians were killed by the infiltrators. South Korea
Another attempt was made on the life of President Park while he was delivering a National Day address on August 15, 1974 by Mun Se-kwang, a Korean living in
. The chief investigator in the Mun assassination attempt claimed that Kim Il-sung ordered the assassination. He said the plot dated to September 1972, when Mr. Mun was recruited by North Korean agents. He was assigned the mission in November 1973. One bullet dented the bullet proof podium President Park was standing behind. He escaped injury but his wife was struck in the head by the assassin's bullet. She died about three hours after coming off the operating table at Seoul National University Hospital. Japan
Curiously, although the North Koreans could not kill Park, his own people could. He was eventually killed by the head of his own Intelligence service in 1979.
The previous leaflet takes about trade. This leaflet goes so far as to mention shipping and show ocean routes. The front of the leaflet depicts a ship and sea routes. The back shows a ship unloading and another large ship being worked on by a welder.
The text on the front of the leaflet is:
KOREA, MAKING ITS WAY INTO THE FIVE SEAS THROUGH SHIPPING INDUSTRIES
Thanks to the restless efforts of the South Korean people, exports through shipping are on the increase and the shipping industry is advancing every day. The second largest trading ship, the Dong Meoyn-ho, has a weight of 11,437 tons.
The text on the back of the leaflet is:
In order to trade with the many countries of the world, it is important for shipping companies to grow. The South Korean Government is putting all its efforts into advancing and expanding the nations shipping industries and docks.
This large ship is contributing to the trading industry of the South Korean nation.
Jilli Leaflet 131
This leaflet tells the people of the North that South Korea has modern asphalt roads that make transportation safe and efficient. The front of this leaflet depicts three construction vehicles at work and the text:
Paving the country road of Kimhae-eub, in Kyungsangnam-do.
The continuing growth of road construction helps in the achievement of convenient transportation and helps the economy and the peoples livelihoods.
The back of the leaflet depicts a modern highway interchange and street construction in a town and the text:
Pavement Works Pavement Works are mechanized
The second Han River Bridge and the interchange at the entrance.
In the South, almost all of the local and city roads are covered with asphalt.
Jilli Leaflet 140
The front of this leaflet depicts a sculpture at Korea University and one of the buildings of Taegu University in South Korea. The text is:
Universities in the South contribute to the advancement of democracy
The education system in the South enables the people to develop their individual personality, enables their ability to live independently, and enhances their endowment as a member of society. It also expects them to contribute to the nation and the realization of the idealism of human co-prosperity.
The back of the leaflet depicts pictures of happy students at Kyung hee University walking and talking and students of Yunsei University congregating on the steps of a building. The text is:
Universities in the South are not under the control of a political party
Education Kyung hee University Yunsei University
A North Korean defector said about this leaflet:
I never believed that there were as many modern colleges and universities in South Korea as shown in the leaflet. North Korean propaganda claimed South Korea had only two or three schools, which could be called real colleges, and that the rest were makeshift type colleges. People in North Korea have been told that most colleges in South Korea have poor facilities and that in the rainy season they have to suspend classes because of leaky roofs. The leaflet convinced me that North Korean propaganda was false and that South Korea had excellent educational facilities.
Jilli Leaflet 146 (probably prepared in 1967) depicts apartment buildings in
South Koreaand compares them with living conditions in . Some of the Propaganda text is: North Korea
The interior of the apartments are designed for personal comfort. There are separate rooms for
tubs and toilets. Each apartment has 3 bedrooms and a separate kitchen. The complex has 642 units and currently 1062 occupants live in the complex. It has 6 floors with 10 sections. Bath
's modern apartment complex is a great place to live. It is a treasured living place. The apartment complex has modern plumbing, heating, and everything is designed for your comfort. South Korea
Brother and sisters in
, doesn't the apartment you are currently living in have leaks, plumbing problems, no private bathroom, and no modern heating system? North Korea
Jilli Railroad Leaflet
We mentioned leaflets showing railroads above. Page 25 of the Jilli book depicts the above leaflet and says:
The leaflet is a Jilli leaflet concerning the rapid progress of the railroad industry (driven by diesel engines) and attributing it to the fact that the South Korean brethren have freedom of travel.
The Jilli leaflet depicts a train and a train repair facility and some of the following text:
A passenger train for the working class is running through the beautiful Yi Mountain. Repair of the trains are done at one of the
facilities. South Korean industrial modernization can also be seen through railroad development. Pusan
North Korean Reply
The North Koreans often replied to the Jilli leaflet. In this case they produced a leaflet bragging about the electrification of their railway system and depicting a modern electric train with the text:
The train is going full speed ahead.
Leaflet 134-64 pictures Lieutenant YI Pil-eun, a North Korean naval defector. The North Korean government regularly told the people that defectors to the South were immediately shot.This leaflet showed Lt. YI at a press conference as proof that he was well treated. North Korean defectors who evaluated the leaflet said that they felt assured that they would be safe should they go over to the
. Another evaluator stated that after seeing this leaflet he came to realize that if he defected to Republicof Korea he would receive a warm welcome. South Korea