The Cold War in Korea - Operation Jilli


65JilliFront.jpg (70597 bytes)

65Jilliback.jpg (95089 bytes)

Leaflet 65

This is another leaflet that tells of the wonderful life of a defector. The front has cartoons of the defector with a wife, a house and money. The text is:

Do you know about the special aid program for the defectors? It was promulgated on 16 April 1962 and is known as legislation 1053.

According to the law

1. You will be paid from 50,000 to 10,000 Won.
2. You will be guaranteed for a job in the South which suits your skills
3. Provide you with a home in priority.

The back of the leaflet depicts an actual defector and all the items he can buy in the South:

Reunification of relatives in the freedom of the South

In Korea you can buy these with 100,000 Won:

33 Sacks of Rice
50 Modern high class wrist watches
40 High class Radios

3 Television sets
66 Rolls of Wide Cotton Cloth
20 Suits (Jacket and Pants)
5 One-year old cows

Most recently Mr. Yang Joonmyung, one of the defectors from the North met his three siblings including one older brother and an older sister in a tearful reunion during a welcome ceremony held in the Seoul City Square.

488KoreaJilli.jpg (138293 bytes)

Leaflet 488

This leaflet features defector Lee Yung-Kwang and tells of his good life. Some of the text is:

Former member of the People’s Army Lee Yung-Kwang enjoys a hopeful and happy life that he gained through coming over.

Lee Yung-Kwang at the Namsam Park in Seoul

Yesterday he was a private in the 2nd Battalion, the 123rd regiment, the 47th Division on the 1st North Korean Army Group…Now he is working at the Seoul Electric Devices Test Branch of the Korean Power Company.

565Jilli.jpg (24658 bytes)

Leaflet 5-65

Leaflet 5-65 depicts long lines of spools of threads at the left and a Korean factory making cloth at the right. The theme of the leaflet is economic progress in the Republic of Korea. Some North Korean defectors who evaluated this leaflet did not believe that the scene was a textile plant in Korea. They thought that it was a factory in some foreign country.

One defector who did believe said:

I had occasion to see pictures of textile plants in Pyongyang and Kaesong in North Korea, and therefore was able to make a comparison of the North Korean textile plants and the South Korean textile plants depicted in the leaflet 5-65. This comparison showed the South Korean textile plants were more modern and had automated equipment not available in North Korea. The leaflet served to discredit North Korean propaganda that the South Korean textile industry was still primitive and not capable of fulfilling the needs of the people.

The 7th PSYOP Group quotes another defector in their PSYOP Intelligence Notes, 9 July 1968:

This leaflet was very impressive to him, and he believed that it would have been to other North Koreans because the leaflet theme indirectly exploited a North Korean vulnerability,, the lack of cloth and clothing. The text of the leaflet, however, was not concrete. The annual output of cloth in the ROK should have been indicated in the text. Such words as "In South Korea, everyone can freely purchase a suit for such and such a price in North Korean currency" should have been given so that the target audience might know how cheap cloth and clothing were in the ROK. Recently, in North Korea, a cloth made of the chemical fibre, "nitron," went on sale at stores, but was so expensive (65 North Korean won per meter) and so rare that average people could hardly afford to buy it. Nylon materials were also expensive in North Korea. A nylon shirt cost 30 to 40 won. Usually, nylon shirts were out of stock at stores and so those who could afford to buy one had to make a purchase through a friendly storekeeper by paying installments in advance of receipt of the merchandise.

186JilliKoreaB.jpg (209671 bytes)

186JilliKoreaF.jpg (204193 bytes)

Leaflet 186

There were a number of leaflets that mentioned the Ulsan oil refinery produced by the Jilli propagandists. We show four of them in this article. The reason we show them was that there were apparently many North Korean defectors that decided to go south after seeing these leaflets. They were very effective.

This leaflet depicts the oil refinery on one side and the text:

The symbol of Korea’s modern industrialization: the Ulsan oil refinery.

It is the ideal size for a refinery, 1,860,000 square meters and it produces 5,600 kiloliters of various types of oils every day.

The other side of the leaflet depicts and names of and various forms of transportation and oil products. The text is:

Liquid gas; oil for cars; oil for jets, cooking oil; oil for ships and oil for busses and trains.

Since establishment in 1963 in Gyeng-Sang-Nam-Do, the refinery has imported crude oil from foreign countries and has produced various kinds of oil and gas. Even today, new discoveries of crude oil are found and the cost is inexpensive but the expense of processing it is not. By construction the refinery in Ulsan, Korea is self-sufficient in its oil consumption, transportation and industry and exports the surplus.

187fKorea.jpg (122504 bytes)

187bKorea.jpg (105939 bytes)

Leaflet 187

Leaflet 187 depicts the refinery in four photographs on the front and back. The text on the front is:

Processing the crude oil and even exporting to overseas for the use of industry, transportation and domestic use. Fully self-sufficient.

The oil refined from Ulsan, Kyungsangnam-do are being sold not only all over Korea but also overseas.

The text on the back is:

Ulsan refinery

Importing crude oil and processing it to make many oil products.

UlsanKoreaLeaf.jpg (213561 bytes)

Ulsan Refinery

I cannot make out the code number of this leaflet but the Jilli book says about it:

This leaflet on the Ulsan Industrial Complex is cited as an example of the high degree of industrial development in the Republic of Korea.

The leaflet text is:

The Korean manufacturing industry is growing day by day.

The splendor of the refinery facilities at the Ulsan manufacturing belt which produces 5,600 kiloliters daily.

665Jilli.jpg (21865 bytes)

Leaflet 6-65

This leaflet depicts the refinery and a woman using a gas stove with product produced in the refinery. Many North Koreans found it hard to understand why a refinery would be built in Republic of Korea when there were no oil fields beneath the peninsula. They were shocked to find out that the refinery received raw products from abroad. In addition, they were told that the refinery represented an investment in the nation’s future and a way to advance technology and provide fuel to the people conveniently and economically.

I added these leaflets because it became apparent from reading hundreds of North Korean classified defector interviews that the idea that South Korea had an oil refinery changed their minds about the conditions there and pointed out clearly that the North had lied about the economic condition of the South. I have seen about a dozen defector comments and quote three here to show how the truth can change a person’s attitude.

I read the text repeatedly and became convinced that the claims about the Ulsan Refinery made in the leaflet were true and I further reasoned that if this was an indication of South Korea's industrial potential, then South Korea must certainly possess a firm foundation for a self-supporting economy.

I accepted the leaflet on the Ulsan Oil Refinery as being true because I had some knowledge of the existence of an industrial complex at Ulsan City of South Korea. I obtained this knowledge from a North Korean cartoon attacking the construction of an industrial center in the city.

I accepted the truth of the leaflet about the Ulsan Oil Refinery. I knew about the existence of the refinery from North Korean radio broadcasts which asserted that it was being operated with foreign capital.

The leaflets on the Ulsan Oil Refinery were attacked by North Korean counter-propaganda. Typical of their claims were:

This was a fledgling attempt at industrialization.

Though masses of unemployed South Korean workers were flocking to Ulsan in search of jobs there were none and as a result the wives were turning to prostitution and the children were reduced to begging in the streets.

The oil being produced at Ulsan was being consumed by the rich at the expense of the poor.

865Jilli.jpg (23223 bytes)

Leaflet 8-65

Leaflet 8-65 depicts a modern playground in Republic of Korea. Not only is the playground clean and safe, but the children at play are all well dressed and healthy. Both the playground and the dress of the children greatly impressed North Koreans who saw the leaflets.

A North Korean defector explained:

I thought the facilities of the children's playground shown in the pictures were better than those in Kaesong City, and I also noticed that the children wore better clothes than the children in Kaesong. However, this was to be expected since even children in rural areas in North Korea, were not dressed as well as children in urban areas. The playground facilities, however, are very impressive and create a favorable reaction among North Koreans.

180JilliKoreaF.jpg (287968 bytes)

180JilliKoreaB.jpg (227734 bytes)

Leaflet 180

If you are going to show children at play you might as well talk about the fresh milk you can produce for them. This leaflet features the milk industry in South Korea, The text is:

The Greatly Developed South Korean Milk Industry

The manufacture of canned dairy products – Dairy products about to be distributed

Milk is one of the most important foods for humans and especially supports a healthy life in young children. The South Korean government and private companies have worked together to fulfill skyrocketing milk consumption and to produce high-quality milk by building new factories and increasing the number of milk cows. That is why factories have been built close to dairy farms in every corner of the country. The dairy industry has greatly contributed to the income and healthy lifestyle of the South Korean people.

The back of the leaflet depicts healthy children and milk being delivered. The text is:

Korean Children grow Healthy by Drinking Milk

Milk trucks deliver raw milk from farms to the milk factory

The milk factories of South Korea have modern facilities and scientific engineering for producing milk.

This leaflet was produced because Intelligence determined that North Korea was building heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods. Much of North Korea got powdered milk and the people believed that all of South Korea’s consumer goods were imported. When a panel of North Korean defectors was shown the leaflet they said The people of North Korea would be surprised that milk was so freely available in South Korea. They believed that the milk all came from the United States.

1365Jilli.jpg (22759 bytes)

Leaflet 13-65

Leaflet 13-65 depicts modern colleges and universities in the Republic of Korea. North Korea had stated that education was limited in the south and only two or three poorly equipped and supported schools existed. This leaflet points out that there are many learning centers in the South and they are well supported and highly accredited.

  1765FJilli.jpg (41024 bytes)  1765BJilli.jpg (33991 bytes)

Leaflet 17-65

Radio leaflets were dropped as part of Operation Jilli against the communist regime of North Korea. The leaflets were first passed out as handbills along the DMZ, and were later adapted to be dropped by air.

At least two Cold War radio leaflets were dropped on North Korea during the Jilli program. The first is coded 17-65 and the second is coded 23-65. They were identical except for some minor changes in their lay-out. The front depicts a South Korean radio with dials and a list of the stations. The radio is blue, which is a way of saying that it is a better choice. The text is:

These are the stations available in South Korea.

(A list of 10 AM, FM and shortwave stations follow in either two or three vertical columns)

Is everyone able to listen to any of the stations?

There is a North Korean radio on the back with no tuning dial. It is a drab color grey to show that it is lacking in technology. The text is:

Does everyone get to hear the station they want to hear? Do you want to listen to South Korea? What if everyone who wanted to listen to the radio station were not able to . . .

What is the dial on the radio for?

An interrogator questioning a defector stated:

This leaflet, according to the source, was a great help to him in selecting South Korean radio frequencies. He suggested that South Korean radio news program schedules should have been also supplied in the leaflet. Almost all defectors want more details in leaflets. This fact is taken into account when preparing leaflets but the space is too limited.

1865Korea.jpg (240721 bytes)

1865JilliKoreaBack.jpg (104608 bytes)

Leaflet 18-65

This leaflet depicts South Korean soldiers with their girlfriends or wives and their families. The text is:

Under the freedom of speech…
When do you expect to enjoy the delectable meal like this?
Halfway up the Mt. Namsan of Seoul.
The nation prospers and the love matures.

The back of the leaflet depicts three photographs of soldiers on leave. The text is:

A Korean soldier on Furlough

In the dining car bound for home

Soldiers of the South are given 25 days of furlough a year. In addition to this, 20 days of leave are allowed during farming season and 10 days extra leave upon request.

North Korean military defectors were questioned about this leaflet. One said:

I saw the leaflet concerning South Korean soldiers on leave. I did not accept the credibility of the leaflet because I thought that even North Korean Army officers could not afford to lead such a gay life, much less South Korean Army soldiers. Rather, I believed that these leaflets had been photographed for the sake of propaganda purposes. I and my fellows did know that the South Korean Army had a leave system for its soldiers.

One of the men that dropped it told me that he had heard:

This is one of the leaflets the north turned against the south. It shows a woman with her slip showing, she’s wearing a watch as well as the soldier, sitting in front of a TV. Another frame shows her in a nightgown in front of a stereo. A couple more frames showing her in western clothes. The north countered with statements like “see, they turn all women into prostitutes”, or “see, they are denied their culture”. The same leaflet was also printed in legal size or larger and was handed out along the DMZ to soldiers.

One of the men that printed the leaflet told me:

We were well aware of the modesty of Korean women. During the war when Chinese and Korean females were used to carry supplies to the front there were cases when they came upon deep rapidly moving streams The Chinese women would strip and carry the supplies across with no clothes on. The more modest Korean women would try to cross fully clothed and in some cases drown. We were careful not to print any salacious photographs of Korean women.

64JilliKoreaF.jpg (97053 bytes)  64JilliKoreaB.jpg (105523 bytes)

Leaflet 64

Many of the Jilli leaflets have a small candle holder where the code number is placed. I added this leaflet because it is partially in blue while most of the Jilli leaflets are in plain black and white. The front of the leaflet depicts a modern South Korean hospital and the text:

Modern Medical Science in Korea

In Korea there are many medical facilities both public and private all over the country. Catholic Hospital in Seoul has six affiliated hospitals in such places as Eujungbu and Boopyung. The building in the picture houses the Catholic medical school affiliated with the Catholic Hospital. It accommodates 330 patients who are taken care of by 143 carefully selected doctors of different specialties and 96 nurses. Each doctor is assigned to two patients. This hospital employs just as many doctors and other medical support teams as any other hospital of the same size.

The back of the leaflet features four photographs of doctors and technicians working and treating patients. The text is:

Under our free economic system, the health and welfare of the patients are individually taken care of.

Operating room
X-Ray room
Pediatric area

  207Korea.jpg (202240 bytes)

207FKoreaJilli.jpg (235802 bytes)

Leaflet 207

This leaflet also depicts some soldiers with civilians. However, they are Vietnamese civilians. The Jilli leaflet explains that the South Koreans are helping the Vietnamese in their fight for freedom. The text on this leaflet is written in the more classic northern style. The text is:

The Korean Army puts the most effort for the protection and support of the Vietnamese.

Countries of the free world including South Korea are engaged in the Vietnam War for the freedom of Vietnamese and the collective protection of Asia. The Korean Army looks after the Vietnamese children as they safely study. Sometimes school supplies are provided to them.

South Vietnamese women who are fighting against the communist aggression exchange a friendly “Hello” with a Korean soldier.

The back shows more scenes of the Korean soldiers doing civic action projects and the title:

Polite and humane civic activities of the Republic of Korea soldiers gained a deep respect from the Vietnamese people

A party sponsored by the Korean army for elderly Vietnamese citizens.

Medical services, construction projects and other support from the Korean army for the South Vietnamese further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. As seen here, South Vietnamese elders enjoy themselves at the senior’s party hosted by the Korean army.

Note: North Korea usually claimed that the South Koreans were nothing but puppets helping the "American Imperialists" invading and oppressing the South Vietnamese people. This leaflet might have been a rebuttal, showing the northerners that the South Koreas were doing valuable work helping workers and farmers.

JilliRadio0003.jpg (17609 bytes)   JilliRadio0003a.jpg (23710 bytes)

Leaflet 23-65

Both leaflets show a Communist radio on one side showing an on/off switch but no dial, and the second shows a western-style radio with both an on/off switch and a dial to change stations. The leaflets were originally produced in color, but we show them from an old military file in black and white. The text is the same on both leaflets.

The text above and below the Communist radio without a tuning dial is:

Does everyone get to hear the station they want to hear? Do you want to listen to South Korea? What if everyone who wanted to listen to the radio station were not able to . . .

What is the dial on the radio for?

The text on the side showing the western-style radio with a tuning dial gives the various frequencies of South Korean radio stations:

These are the stations available in South Korea.

(A list of 10 AM, FM and shortwave stations follow in either two or three vertical columns)

Is everyone able to listen to any of the stations?

The comments about the use of the tuning dial and the ability to listen to different radio stations is probably in regard to the North Korean system of having the owner take the radio to the local post office where it is tuned to a North Korean station, and then "fixed" so that the station cannot be changed. It is rumored that some handy radio owners have found ways of tampering with the "fix," so that they could tune to radio stations in the south.

7765Jilli.jpg (21138 bytes)

7765jilliBack.jpg (114137 bytes)


Leaflet 77-65 depicts a modern butcher shop on the front. Earlier leaflets had depicted fruits and vegetables but defectors had stated that they were available in North Korea and thus not influential propaganda. However, meat was scarce, and the concept that an average South Korean could walk into a store and purchase meat was very impressive. North Koreans were also impressed by the refrigerated display case and the modern meat cutting machines. One complaint by North Korean defectors who evaluated the leaflet was that the cost of the meat should have been displayed on the leaflet. Meat was so expensive in the North that the average person could not afford the price. By constant evaluation, the Jilli leaflets were regularly improved.

The text is:

In South Korea, anyone can buy meat any time he desires.

The back of the leaflet depicts a fruit and vegetable stand and shoppers of fresh food on the streets. The text is:

Fruit and Vegetables

When was the last time you ate fruit?

Commodities abound in the markets of the South and the prices are very low.

8165Jilli.jpg (22639 bytes)


Leaflet 81-65 depicts scenes of a destroyed Seoul at the left and the same area rebuilt at the right. The theme is rehabilitation and progress in South Korea. North Koreas were told that the people of the South were living in poverty among the ruins and devastation of the war. They were shocked to see that the cities had been rebuilt and the people had a high standard of living.

Two North Korean defectors stated:

While in the vicinity of my aunt's home, I saw South Korean leaflets for the first time. I was very favorably impressed by the leaflets, particularly those with scenes of streets in Seoul. The leaflets convinced me that I, too, could lead a happy life in such an environment and that I, therefore, should defect

I saw a leaflet on rehabilitation of Seoul and I never imagined Seoul had recovered from its war destruction. From this leaflet, I was convinced that South Korea was a wealthy and powerful nation and that the people undoubtedly could live better than North Korean people.

8465Jilli.jpg (26526 bytes)


Leaflet 84-65 depicts a group of cars in traffic at the left, and cars on a production line in a South Korean factory at the right. The theme of the leaflet is modern industry and automotive production. North Koreans found it hard to believe that South Koreans actually possessed such cars. The streets of North Korea were empty. Some of the text is:

Automobiles will soon become a daily necessity in South Korea.

A North Korean defector said about this leaflet:

I was impressed by the leaflet on the automobile industry because I had previously believed that South Korea was incapable of producing automobiles. I was particularly impressed by the scene of automobiles on the streets and the caption “Automobiles soon will become a daily necessity in South Korea.” When I visited Wonsan City in September, busses were running ten to twenty minutes late.

jilli111f.jpg (54463 bytes)  jilli111b.jpg (56600 bytes)


Leaflet 111-66 depicts the streets of South Korea crowded with both commercial and private traffic. The text is:

The Southern half of Korea has been progressing under the National Flag of Korea.

Dear northern brothers and sisters!

When are you going to live in a free and developed city like this?

Taepyong-Ro Street , Seoul

The back depicts another street with traffic and a message next to a symbol of a burning candle. In Western culture the candle would indicate the bringing of light and knowledge in the dark. The text is:

There will be endless enlightenment and good fortune in our Korean people's future.

South Korea's picture of development and a busy modern city can be seen in front of the Seoul CentralGovernment Building at Guanghwa-Moon Street.

116JilliKoreaF.jpg (197275 bytes)   116JilliKoreaB.jpg (202879 bytes)

Leaflet 116

This leaflet also depicts the busy streets of South Korea on both the front and back. The text on the front of this leaflet is:

Taepyungro Street

Brothers in the North!

When do you think you can live in modern free cities like this?

The text on the back is:

The growth of South Korea, home and abroad, is manifested on Kwanghwamoon Street in front of the government building.

God bless the future of our people!

jillinocodef4.jpg (61213 bytes)

jillinocodeb4.jpg (42757 bytes)

Leaflet 66

This leaflet depicts an old fashioned traditional Korean wedding ceremony at the left and the cold official Communist signing of the marriage document at the right.

Once again the back depicts the symbol of a burning candle and the text:

The traditional marriage ceremonies are performed earnestly in front of parents as in the past, but the North Korean Communist Government is interfering with the marriages now.

190Korea.jpg (108597 bytes)

190KoreaB.jpg (247634 bytes)

Leaflet 190

This leaflet also discusses marriage but shows that even Communist spies who come South and are caught can lead respectable lives and find love. The text is:

Wedding day of Mr. Ogiwan who is a former spy from the North

Tying the knot at the wedding ceremony in front of the wedding officer where friends and relatives from Gangsu-goon gathered.

With the wedding officer after the ceremony.

The text on the back is:

The Story of a Spy

The South Korean government guarantees the safety of defectors and their guides and supports them by finding them a decent living and fine job.

Mr. Ogiwan who defected to the South after being dispatched by the North was employed by the Research Institute of Asia when he met a beautiful maiden named Ms. Kim Sonae and married her. Mr. Oh graduated from Kim Il-sung University and studied in the Akmaata University of Russia. Until he was sent to the South he worked as a manager in the Department of Agriculture.

As soon as he was sent to the South he defected and ever since he is working as a free man.

Once they defect, spy agents sent to South Korea are given the opportunity to start a new and happy life.

123Jilli.jpg (36343 bytes)

Leaflet 123

This leaflet is designed to show the ability to produce electricity of South Korea. It features four photographs of a dam and various power plants on the front and back. The leaflet text is:


Rapid Growth

The electricity generation facility is expanding all the time and the supply of electricity is limitless without any rationing.

The Korean Electricity Company is located in Seoul and it contributes toward the people's daily lives and the development of industries.

Choonchun hydroelectric power generation station which was constructed in 1964 has the hydro-power generation capacity of 57,600 kilowatts

294Jilli.jpg (68766 bytes)

Leaflet 294

Here is another North Korean who has found love in the South. The front bears two photographs of the marriage of a former defector to a South Korean woman. The text is:


Han Il-sung, 24, defected to the Republic of Korea on 29 September 1966 with five fellow-workers formerly assigned to the North Korean Railroad Department, and married a beautiful girl, Kim Yoo-sun, 23, on 21 May 1967. He received blessing from many well-wishers from various walks of life.

jilli132F.jpg (30672 bytes)

jilli132b.jpg (28146 bytes)


Leaflet 132-66 depicts various forms of public transportation and civilian aircraft. It tells the people of the North that the Southerners can move about freely without restriction. The text on the front is:


Buses are also for farmers.

The text on the back us:

Republic of Korea 's Civil Aviation

South Korean Airlines not only offers daily domestic flights connecting the cities like Seoul, Busan, Guangju, etc. but also flies internationally in competition with foreign airliners.   Providing unrestricted air travel to South Koreans is the proof that South Korean civil air transportation industry has been well established.  

491Jilli.jpg (111383 bytes)

Leaflet 491

This 28 October 1969 leaflet also tells the North about the freedom to travel and the prosperity in the South. The front depicts the Seoul railway station:


Seoul station handles and average of 83,000 passengers a day. But during the New Year holidays, the number of passengers swells to 190,000.

Some of the text on the back is:


Whether it is a personal trip or official travel, one can go anywhere at any time without worry about food tickets.

jilli156F.jpg (22932 bytes)

jilli156B.jpg (30586 bytes)


Leaflet 156-66 depicts South Korean students reading magazines, brochures and newspapers. It tells the North of the great number of reading material freely available to people in the South. On the front, South Korean students publish their papers.

Freedom of Expression and Publication of Newspapers.

South Korean high school and college students publish their school papers.
This demonstrates their creativity and their schools' uniqueness.

The back depicts students reading various publications including one written by a Russian.

South Korean school papers not only publish research articles but also student
affairs as well as a variety of intellectual and educational write ups.

This high school student is reading Soviet writer Solokhof's article.

Dongkuk college students reading newspapers at the school campus.

A panel of North Korean defectors judged this leaflet and stated that there are few school newspapers in Korea and they do not differ from Communist newspapers.

jilli167F.jpg (39250 bytes)  jilli167B.jpg (41503 bytes)


Leaflet 167-66 depicts colleges in South Korea and implies to the people of the North that every Korean can attend school and be educated. This 7 July 1966 leaflet is in full color and was prepared at the USIS printing plant in the Philippines. In general, the Okinawa presses never produced full-color leaflets. Text on the front is:

Male and Female Students.

Text on the back is:

Lee Whua Women's College is the No. 1 women's college in the world.
Democratic education in progress.
College Education.
The Main Building of Pusan University.

185FJilliKprea.jpg (151612 bytes)

185BJilliKorea.jpg (165394 bytes)

Leaflet 185

Education was an important achievement for the South Koreans so they used in on many leaflets. On the front of this leaflet we see attendees at a 1966 educational conference. The text on the front is:

Foreign Educators are attracted to the Traditional Culture of Korea

376 foreign representatives who attended the International Education Conference in August 1966 in Seoul are seen sightseeing with their wives. All of them were deeply impressed by our country’s traditional culture and the success of the Seoul conference.

The foreign educators listen to the Royal music of Korea in the Mekohming Banquet area.

The back of the leaflet depicts more international meeting and says:

15th International Educators Organization Conference in Seoul

In 1966, there were many international conferences besides the International Educators Organization Conference. The Asian Congressmen’s Organization met and brought more recognition to our country.

Dr. Lim Young-sin, the Chairman of the Korean Education organization speaks in front of the representatives of foreign countries during the main conference.

When questioned, two North Korean defectors said about the education leaflets:

I was impressed by the leaflet on technical educational opportunities in South Korea and realized that my preconception of the South Korean educational situation was completely wrong and prejudiced. I also believe that this type of leaflet would strongly impress the educational counterparts in North Korea and lead them to re-evaluate North Korean propaganda regarding South Korea's educational situation.

I was very impressed by the leaflet and read it repeatedly. After reading the text, I realized that even in their school life, the students in South Korea were being encouraged to participate in various fields of arts according to their tastes.

jilli182f.jpg (47657 bytes)

jilli182b.jpg (48467 bytes)


Leaflet 182-66 depicts happy South Korean students at the beach on the front. The back of the leaflet has three photographs of South Koreans having fun on water slides and rubber rafts. Some of the text is:

The whole family is enjoying a summer vacation in South Korea.

Every summer in the economically developed country of the Republic of Korea, millions of people seeking cooler places vacation in Inchon Song-Do, Busan Son-Do, Haeundai, Kanwon-Do Gyonpo-Dai, Chunnam Manri-Pyo, Daechun, etc.

150JilliKoreaF.jpg (110578 bytes)

150JilliKoreaB.jpg (96379 bytes)

Leaflet 150

Another leaflet that shows the North that in South Korea the young people are offered entertainment in both summer and winter. The front depicts happy Koreans ice skating. The text is:

Indoor Skating Rink

In the South you can enjoy skating in the summer too

Seoul Dongdaemoon in-door skating rink has been recently opened and 700 skaters use the facility each day. The rink has 450 hose-power freezing equipment. It is the first such facility in Korea. Here is the freezing equipment room.

The back has photographs of skaters both indoors and outdoors. The text is:

A sport which is fun and good for your health

Skating is becoming a popular and public sport. In the South people without skates can come to the rink and borrow a pair from the rink.

The pond in Duksoo Palace is famous for its lotus blooms in summer and becomes a skating rink in the winter that is enjoyed by the young.

This leaflet was studied by a panel of North Korean defectors who stated that the well-dressed young skaters would certainly be attractive to those people of the target audience who continue to believe that South Korean children wear rags. There are no indoor skating rinks in North Korea.

154Korea.jpg (186287 bytes)

154KoreaJilliBack.jpg (370081 bytes)

Leaflet 154

I added this leaflet because it uses sports as a theme. The images depict a basketball game and a stadium. Sports have been a good way to get people to look at leaflets all the way back to WWII. The back depicts what looks like an ice rink and a soccer field. The text on the front is:


Basketball competition between Korea University and Yunsei University which is deeply rooted historically and traditionally.

In the South the Nationwide athletic competition is held at the public stadiums built at many cities. The events are held by turn. The stadiums are all over the country and hold the athletic competition throughout the year.

The Jangchoong Stadium which is of international scale.

The text on the back is:

Sports Events in the South

Various athletic events can be played in Jangchoong stadium which can hold tens of thousands of spectators, rain or snow.

Jeil Woolen fabric team of the South beat Yahada team of Japan by 3 to 1 in a soccer game played on Seoul stadium.

179KoreaJilliLeaf.jpg (108810 bytes)

179JilliKoreaB.jpg (106994 bytes)

Leaflet 179

I added this leaflet because once again it mentions education and a university. The 10 August 1966 leaflet features three images of Jeju University on the front. The back depicts various vacation sites and tells the North that people in the South can go wherever they like.

The text on the front is:

The students of Jeju University are harvesting tropical fruits.

Jeju Agricultural University possesses modern technology and harvests tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas.

Pigs grow well thanks to good pens and great management.

The text on the back of the leaflet is:

Jeju Island is the largest in Korea and emerging as an area of both tourism and livestock farming. One of pig farms which are a common sight on Jeju island.

The Jeju Tourist Hotel is furnished with all the modern facilities and serves the tourists visiting the island. In the South the transportation and communication services are so advanced that a week-end visit of the island is now possible.

People in the South can go on vacation without the permission of the Party or superiors.

The “Miniature” or “Corner” Leaflets

Most of the Jilli leaflets were of the same general size, 2.5 x 6 inches, or 2.75 x 8.5 inches, considered optimum for dropping from aircraft with a spread of leaflets that could be mathematically determined. At some point, the bean-counters must have complained about empty spaces at the corner of the sheet. It was impossible to fill every inch of paper. The Jilli printers solved the problem by producing smaller leaflets, sometimes 3 x 4 inches, sometimes 3 x 4.5 inches, depending on the empty space they needed to fill. Because of their size these small leaflets would not fall with the standard sized leaflets, but nobody cared. There was a short message, interesting photographs and as long as the North Koreans could read them and the bean-counters were happy, who cared where they fell? To make them easier to see, we print the leaflet fairly large here, but the reader will understand that they are much smaller than the usual Jilli leaflet.

119JilliFront.jpg (100847 bytes)   119Jilliback.jpg (110981 bytes)

Leaflet 119

In this miniature corner leaflet the Jilli team tries to tempt the North Korean soldiers by showing them a soldier in South Korea with a pretty girl and telling them:

Our soldiers receive 25 days of leave every year

The North Korean soldiers got basically no leave while they were in the service. The back shows a busy street scene and the text:

The soldiers on leave make up the scenery in the streets of Seoul with civilians

These street scenes made life in the south look very tempting to North Koreans. One defector who went south said:

My decision to defect was made after my wife and mother died of sickness and I received a strict warning from the Labor Party Committee which stated that I was considered disobedient to the Party due to my excessive absenteeism from political lectures and cell meetings. I was also told to make up a deficit of corn discovered missing from the Cooperative Farm Warehouse. I was determined to defect. I visited my aunt's home located near the DMZ where I thought I would have a favorable chance to cross to the South. While in the vicinity of my aunt's home, I saw South Korean leaflets for the first time. I was very favorably impressed by the leaflets, particularly those with scenes of streets in Seoul. The leaflets convinced me that I, too, could lead a happy life in such an environment and that I, therefore, should defect.

159JilliKorea.jpg (270172 bytes)

Leaflet 159

This small leaflet was prepared in May 1966 and depicts a soccer game on one side and a basketball game on the other. The text is:

Soccer game in the Free Republic of Korea

A view of a basketball game in progress at Seoul’s Changchung gymnasium,
the largest of its kind in Asia.

A panel of defectors said about the leaflet:

Soccer and basketball are the most popular games in North Korea. The target audience will want to see the pictures on the leaflet.

160Jilli.jpg (147329 bytes)  160bjilli.jpg (152521 bytes)

Leaflet 160

The miniature leaflet depicts young South Korean athletes playing basketball on the front and training for baseball on the back. The text on both sides is:

The growth of physical activity
Jangchoongdan indoor gymnasium
Training of the baseball team

Members of the baseball team of Baemoon High School runs on
Namsan Mountain to enhance their endurance

162bJilli.jpg (117647 bytes)  162Jilli.jpg (124314 bytes)

Leaflet 162

This small corner leaflet depicts young South Korean women on one side and on the other older women. The short text on both sides is:

Dresses worn by South Korean women

Summer attire

Light and good looking

In the south, even the elderly women go out in a cool dress in the summer time, visiting or touring

Country women, after sightseeing in Seoul City at the top of Namsan Mountain

164Korea.jpg (378207 bytes)  164JillKoreaBack.jpg (139044 bytes)

Leaflet 164

Many of the Jilli leaflets show Korean women in various artistic or intellectual endeavors. The front of this 16 May 1966 leaflet shows an adult woman reading. The back shows a young girl; perhaps the daughter, reading or studying with a pen in her hand.

To be a Good Wife and Wise Mother.

Women in the South try to enlighten themselves and pursue their personal happiness.

This is different from the women in the North who spend all their time for the purpose of arming themselves with Marxism–Leninism.

The text on the back is:

A Southern girl is absorbed in a book.

166JilliFront.jpg (116163 bytes)  166Jilliback.jpg (106231 bytes)

Leaflet 166

This small corner leaflet depicts a modern Hospital building on the front and the text:

St. Mary's Hospital in Myungdong, Seoul.

World Class Medical Technology in the South can do any surgery, no matter how difficult.

The back of the leaflet shows another hospital and the text:

Modern Hospitals protect the health of our brothers and sisters. This is Ehwa Woman's

University Hospital in Dongdaemun, Seoul.

149JilliFront.jpg (155598 bytes)

149JilliBack.jpg (131856 bytes)

Leaflet 149

This leaflet shows the North that the South has remained true to its customs. It depicts young girls dancing on Thanksgiving Day and an elder enjoying a birthday celebration. The text on the front is:

Korean Customs

In a free society beautiful and fine customs are preserved and bettered.
The girls of South Korea enjoy a folk dance on Thanksgiving day.
Elder Choi is celebrating his 60th birthday jubilee.

The back shows a young child at a celebration and asks:

Brothers in the North!

Are you allowed to enjoy the celebration of a first birthday, a wedding, or a 60th birthday jubilee like your brothers in the South?

We know very well that it is a fact that you cannot take part in the various celebrations like in the old days because you are without funds. Even if you had a modicum of savings to celebrate, you are not allowed to do so and you are not allowed to invite the people. In the South, no party or authority can meddle with your privacy.

190JilliF.jpg (222513 bytes)

190JilliBack.jpg (195445 bytes)

Leaflet 199

This is another leaflet that talks about the culture of Korea and the way it is revered in the South. The front of the leaflet depicts two old temples. The text is:

Old temples in Korea preserve the wisdom of people.

The main hall of Mangwol temple located in Eujungboo, Kyungi-do.

Bubjoo-tample in Junrabook-do was built during the Sinra Dynasty and it has the largest statue of Buddha.

In the South, many temples which were built thousand years ago still exist. These temples which manifest the glory of the culture of our ancestors are used for recreational purposes or are used as the precious resources for the study of history of the nation.

The back of the leaflet also depicts two temples. The text is:

Many temple witnesses to our past are well preserved permanently.

Kyunsungam [left] and Daewoongjun [right] of Sooduk temple in Dorye Mountain, Choongchungnam-do.

197Korea.jpg (177490 bytes)

197FKoreaJilli.jpg (130272 bytes)

Leaflet 197

I chose to add this leaflet because of the image of the lovely Korean women playing the zither at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. They wear traditional dress so I suspected that this leaflet would be very effective. The back depicts further traditional dances plus an exhibition at a national athletic competition. The text is:


To preserve our unique ancient culture Korean traditional dance and music are taught at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts and other numerous private traditional music research centers.

The Charm of Our Ladies. A Symbol of Beauty borne by our Culture.

The text on the back is:

Our traditional classical dance is ever-popular

In the fall of 1966, student girls in traditional dance attire formed the Korean flag at the opening ceremony of 47th national athletic competition.

Our classical dance was introduced to many countries abroad as a part of the international culture exchange program and is being well received. Domestically, it is well accepted by the people and watched anytime and anywhere because of the advancement of television which is broadcast by many television stations and rebroadcasting stations around the country.

The leaflet was liked by North Korean defectors. Two of them said:

1. These pictures tend to discredit North Korean propaganda and to bring out the fact that South Korean government encourages Korean national art. North Koreans are made to believe that all dramas played in the South are based on manslaughter and robbery themes stemming from problems. This leaflet would induce the North Korean people to re-evaluate their belief that their culture is superior to South Korean culture.

2. I was impressed by the picture of the students playing traditional Korean musical instruments as I had thought the youth of South Korea, influenced by American culture, never cared for the traditional Korean arts. I noticed the students wore watches and envied them for being able to own such luxury items.

[Note: In North Korea at the time, a watch cost about six months wages of an average North Korean worker.]

A member of a North Korean Army unit was in the hills cutting wood when he found the leaflet:

Source was alone when he found the leaflet, but about ten days later he discovered that other members of his military unit had also found the leaflet and all agreed it was printed for propaganda purposes. One of the men cut out the picture and put it in his wallet. Source was asked why he did not turn in his fellow member; he said nothing and only smiled. Source stated also that another member of his unit said the "South Korean regime takes advantage of beautiful women for propaganda." Source recommended continual use of this leaflet in color.

Jillifront286.jpg (29951 bytes)


The printing plant’s job order of Jilli leaflet 286-68 indicates that it was the 286th item printed in 1968 near at the end of the campaign. The actual leaflet is coded “236-front” and “236-back.” The leaflet was printed nine to a sheet with two horizontal groups of four and one vertical. The leaflet is 6 x 2.4 inches that allows for deep penetration into the target area before it starts hitting the ground. Small leaflets, more to a pound allows for a greater concentrtion deeper into the target area.  The front depicts a map of South Korea with the locations of the various government, military, commercial and private radio stations. The text of the leaflet uses the terminology and style of North Korea and includes some words that would not be used by a South Korean. The text says in part:

At present there are more than 36 private and government owned radio broadcasting stations in the Republic of Korea.

We have about 38 independent broadcasting companies; both domestic and international. Fourteen of these stations are privately owned. Because of the geographical layout of Korea, radio stations have no problem broadcasting to anywhere in the country, and so the people have a wide selection of stations from which to choose from. The Korean people's lives have been enriched because of this variety, being able to choose from arts programs, political programs, etc.

The stations all broadcast accurately and quickly, bringing in political stories from both the domestic and international stage. Because the Radio stations are for the Korean people, they are also able to criticize the Government and the politicians in power.

The back depicts a radio and the time and frequencies of South Korean broadcasts. The text is in part:

The people of the Republic of Korea are even free to listen to an unlimited number of foreign radio broadcasts.

The central Korean government has installed radio transmitters all over the country. The Korean people's radios are not limited to only Korean broadcasts, but are very capable of receiving foreign radio broadcasts as well. All you have to do is turn the dial to your required radio station. Companies such as Kum Song (Goldstar) manufacture and produce various styles of Radio sets, at various prices in order to please as many customers as possible. As of October 1966, 1,107,526 radio sets have been sold to the public.

401Jilli.jpg (71814 bytes)  401bJilli.jpg (65194 bytes)

Leaflet 401

Sometimes the enemy is illiterate. In those cases there is no point placing text on the leaflet, they cannot read it. Instead, a leaflet will be prepared with easy to understand pictures. After Korea, many such leaflets were prepared by the Americans for the highland natives in Vietnam.

The front and back of this leaflet bears a map of Korea with a line separating the North from the South. On the front a North Korean farmer works hard bearing the full weight of the Korean Chollima plan where everyone was expected to work until their nation was self-sufficient. Instead of carrying the horse, the South Korean uses it to help lighten his load.

On the back, a North Korean farm family works late into the night. Below, a South Korean family is home playing with their child. The message is simple and easy to understand.

403Jilli.jpg (35284 bytes)

Leaflet 403

This leaflet features three question marks. I have seen that on other leaflets from other wars, usually asking “How did things go so wrong?” The text on the front of this leaflet is economic in nature:

Why did the 7-year plan fail to achieve its goals?

Was it the fault of the workers?

Was it the fault of the technicians?

The back of the leaflet explains:

The workers and peasants have shown their ability to produce under difficult conditions with poor pay but they have continued to achieve the ever-increasing norms, despite the long tedious work days...So, who caused the 7-year plan to fail? It was certainly not the workers, peasants or technicians. It was certain narrow-minded Party members who fail to see the need for modern methods in modern times….

408JilliKorea.jpg (30915 bytes)

Leaflet 408

This July 1968 leaflet lists all of the things the people of North Korea should strive for. The text on the front is:


The 10 items are mentioned on the back:

More freedom of expression
More pay
More free time after work and holidays
Freedom to choose one’s own occupation
Freedom to select one’s educational fields
Freedom to choose one’s place of residence
More and greater variety of healthy foods
More consumer good to buy
More freedom of travel
For farmers: No more deductions, fees, etc.

411Jilli.jpg (98198 bytes)

Leaflet 411

This leaflet is dated 9 June 1968 and tells the North Korean soldiers and Party bosses how to defect to the south. The image depicts two soldiers south of the DMZ waving to a North Korean soldier on the north side. Some of the text on the back of the leaflet is:

Instructions to Come to the Republic of Korea

Do not speak your mind to anyone. Escape into the DMZ during the hours of darkness, or when the weather is bad, or when no one observes you. Hide in the bushes, in tall grass, or in a gully until daylight comes. Approach any Republic of Korea or United Nations outpost, unarmed with your hands over your head. The Republic of Korea or United Nations troops will welcome you and assist you in starting to a new life.

433Jilli.jpg (166086 bytes)

Leaflet 433

The front of this leaflet depicts a dead North Korean agent at the left and a live North Korean agent at the right. The back of the leaflet shows 32 coffins of North Korean agents killed while trying to enter Seoul on 27 January 1968. The text on the front is:

To members of the 283rd Unit

Which do you Choose, Death or Happiness?

A North Korean agent died a useless death by not turning himself in after invading Cheju Island on 21 August 1968.

A former North Korean agent Kim Kyu-hang sought his freedom by surrendering himself to the police on 1 July 1967. He said:

“I am very happy, because I have started a new life by turning myself in.”

477KoreaJilli.jpg (133007 bytes)

Leaflet 477

Let me end this story with a really interesting leaflet depicting a lunging German Shepard. At one point in my life on Korea I dealt with such dogs. They were ferocious. In the United States the police dogs knock down and hold their targets. In Korea they knocked them down and attacked them. It was quite common to hear of an interloper knocked down and the dog taking the victim by the head and shaking him and killing him. In one case there was a 135-pound dog that was so strong that they could no longer train him on padded handlers. His jaws were so strong that they could bite through the heavy padding. In the leaflet above, the North Korean spies are warned about such dogs. The text on the front is:

Do you know why the North Korean soldiers’ attempts to violate the southern portion of the Demilitarized Zone fail? Patrol dogs are one of the reasons.

The text on the back is:

A well-trained dog is fiercer and wiser that a wolf or a fox. Many trained dogs along the southern portion of the Demilitarized Zone are watching intruders from the North, even at night. On 28 September 1968, Dakiro, a patrol dog of a Republic of Korea military unit found four soldiers of the People’s Army trying to violate the southern portion of the DMZ. The dog caused all of the soldiers to be killed by pointing them out to the ROK Army. We advise you to rally to our side immediately if you are ordered by your superiors to invade the south.

JilliPressSheet.jpg (85719 bytes)

Press Sheet of Jilli Leaflets

The sheet depicted above shows that a great number of Jilli leaflets were printed on one sheet before being cut into individual pieces. 22 different leaflets are shown on this one sheet. This sheet was printed by the large but slow Harris 17-inch by 22-inch sheet fed press. Two such presses were in use during the 1966-1967 time periods.

When I discussed this strange use of multiple leaflets on a single sheet with one of the officers responsible for designing and printing the leaflets he explained:

The printed leaflet mix was my contribution to PSYOP.  During WWII and Korea, they were using 4 to 16 times as many leaflets as required to do the job. By sending my titles, it reduced the concentration of any given leaflet. Some mixes actually contained more than one copy within the mix. This permitted putting extra emphasis on a given leaflet (theme). We actually took the mixes and further mixed them in the box loading process. The most titles dropped on a single mission were fifty-one.

JilliUncutLeafletMix18.jpg (158507 bytes)

Jilli Leaflet Mix 18

I met a lot of resistance from the printing plant (initially). They wanted it nice and clean - One leaflet - one job order. However, after a little bit of mixing on the job order, they loved the idea of a run of ten million. They used copper plates that could handle the total run without any further action. Actually, once in a while when we had some special job or leaflet, they wanted others to print with the mix.

After North Korea captured and boarded the USS Pueblo on 23 January 1968 the Jilli project was shut down for over a year. The following year the USAF attempted a leaflet launch on 14 April. The winds were unstable in the early spring and the leaflet drop was aborted. The North Koreans, remembering that the U.S. had ceased propaganda flights after the taking of the Pueblo may have decided that the Americans could be bullied. As a result, the next day on 15 April 1969, an American EC-121M was attacked and shot down by two North Korean MiG-17 Fresco fighters 90 miles off the coast of Korea over the Sea of Japan. Thirty-one crewmembers were killed. By coincidence, this was Kim Il-song’s birthday. There is reason to believe that this attack might have led directly to the Jilli program termination.

It is possible that there was at least one other Jilli plane lost. There is no evidence of this action and many interested parties have attempted to prove whether or not it ever occurred. Notice that Sam McGowan mentions above that during his briefing he was told that an aircraft was lost. When I asked “intelligence types” about this alleged loss of a Jilli aircraft I was told that no American aircraft had been lost but one plane with an all-Korean crew was lost. So, we report this action strictly as rumor.

According to the unproven story, the first Jilli aircraft had a system with a wooden dispenser mounted in a troop door. The loadmasters would drop the leaflets through the dispenser. After a few aggressive test missions North Korea retaliated by shooting the aircraft down. A “cover story” was spread among the airmen in Okinawa that one of the electronic signals intelligence C-130 ELINT aircraft flying from Yokota Air Base in Japan had flown close to contested air space and was shot down. Allegedly, the whole operation was classified and while every other airplane shot down by Russians, Chinese or North Korea has been declassified, this one was not. All that has ever been released is the August 1963 date, with the loss of six lives and that the airplane call-sign “LT,” which might mean “leaflet transport.” After the airplane was shot down, missions were flown using C-47s, then in 1965 the mission resumed with C-130s.

Do I believe the story? I tend to doubt it, only because I suspect it would be hard to keep such a loss classified after all this time. I know that many former pilots and crew have tried to find out more about this alleged North Korean attack with little or no luck. It is an interesting project for a researcher that wants to take it on.

Post Script

OpnInstructionsPSYOPNorthKorea.jpg (51080 bytes)

Operating Instructions – PSYOP for North Korea


Years after the end of the Jilli program I ran across this 7th PSYOP Group book of instructions for PSYOP against North Korea. I was elated. I believed I had the actual manual for the leafleting on North Korea. Then I read this passage:


The purpose of these unclassified instructions is to provide guidance to and prescribe responsibilities to subordinate detachments of the 7th PSYOP Group for the conduct of day-to-day PSYOP directed to North Korea in support on the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces Korea PSYOP programs.

I knew that could not be right. The Jilli program was highly classified and the pilots were told they would be placed in Leavenworth if they ever mentioned the name. Then I looked at the date. It was 21 November 1968. Now it was clear. The classified program had shut down earlier the same year, but the Group, believing they would still be called upon to leaflet North Korea from time to time in the future had produced a new “cleansed” unclassified instruction booklet with general rules on how the leaflets should be prepared in the future. It was wonderful reference material, but not exactly what I thought I had.

The instructions and themes for the Propaganda to be dropped over North Korea post-Jilli are found in this 1968 18-page Department of the Army 7th Psychological Operation Group booklet: Operating Instructions – PSYOP for North Korea. The Groups mission is to on a continuous basis, conduct PSYOP directed at the North Korean military forces and civilian population. The Group will rely on the Korea Detachment and the 15th PSYOP Detachment to develop propaganda for North Korea. This very detailed Operation Plan contains about 200 different themes to be used specifically on soldiers, civilians, intellectuals, farmers, students, workers, party members, etc.

An example of how to explain to the North Koreans the advantages of defecting includes:

1. You are welcome to the South and will be treated with dignity and respect.
2. You will be free to seek a job of your choice.
3. You will have more free time after work
4. You will be able to select where you want to live.
5. You will contribute to the economic growth of the Republic of Korea.
6. The government will assist you in getting established.

Of all the themes, I found this one the most intriguing. One of the themes to be stressed among all the targeted groups is the fact that South Korea is helping South Vietnam in its war with the North. I do not see how this would help an unhappy North Korean defect to the south.

All target groups: Republic of Korea contributions to Vietnam.Continue to provide maximum publicity to what the Republic of Korea troops and civilians are doing in Vietnam. Point out to the North Korean audience that the presence of South Koreans in Vietnam reflects Allied unity against Communist aggression.

North Korean Reaction

There is no way to tell if the North Korean violations and incidents were a direct result of the leafleting campaign, but we can make s fair case that it could be. Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill wondered about the reaction of the North Koreans to his leaflets. He wrote to the United Nations Military Command and said:

I directed the high altitude leaflet program against North Korea in the mid to late 1960s. I noticed at the time that certain North Korean hostile actions appeared in direct response to various phases of the program. The leaflet program began in 1964 with the use of a C-47. In 1965, a C-130 aircraft was used which dropped ten tons per mission. Later, two C-130s were used until the final drop in late 1968.

The U.N. Command answered with a list of significant violations and incidents. The list listed air violations, naval violations, armed attacks, intrusions, and firings in the demilitarized zone. We find that in the years 1964 to 1966, the average number of violations was 21. In 1967, the violations rose to 200. In 1968, they reached 575. Shooting in the DMZ rose from the previous year’s 12 to 165. The program was ended by 1969 but there were still 157 violations. The following year they dropped to 79.

It is hard to draw any conclusions from these numbers. Remember, the Vietnam War was being fought at the same time so the North Koreans might have felt they were less likely to be called to task for these violations. Whatever the reason, it is interesting to see how the numbers peaked at the height of Operation Jilli.

I have a copy of the 21 November 1968 Department of the Army 7th Psychological Operations group booklet, Operating Instruction: PSYOP for North Vietnam. The document provides guidance for the conduct of PSYOP directed at North Korea. The Group mission is:

The Group, on a continuous basis, will conduct PSYOP which is directed to the North Korean military forces and civilian population and which is designed to fulfill psychological objectives delineated by United Nations Command and United States Forces – Korea.

The booklet goes on to give no less than twelve pages of leaflet themes to be used against the Communist North. There is no way to list all of the 100+ themes, so I have chosen six to give the reader an idea of the propaganda being prepared by the U.S. forces:

1. You are welcome in the South and will be treated with respect.

2. Defect immediately to the South when you reach the demilitarized zone.

3. The United States does not resort to the use of force unless they are attacked.

4. Purges are a constant threat to security and well-being of all Party members.

5. The United Nations and South Korean forces are strictly defensive.

6. North Korean leaders never accept blame for their failures.

The United States also introduced radios into North Korea. They were floated onto the shores in a float bag on the water.

KorFloats1.jpg (29280 bytes)

Preparation of floats

Republic of Korea Navy technicians with U. S. PSYOP specialist prepares float bags to be drifted into North Korean waters and along the shoreline as part of Operation Jilli (Truth).

KorFloats2.jpg (21694 bytes)

A Float Containing a PSYOP Radio

A U. S.  Republic of Korea Cold War float containing a radio in its protective package. The sea currents flow from North to South. The radio has been placed in a pillow-size inflated plastic bag that acts as a sail. The package is moved against the current using south-southwesterly winds where it is picked up by fishermen at sea, or people along the shoreline. Besides radio, magazines, leaflets, book marks, chopsticks, fishing line and other gift items were sent to North Korea through this method of dissemination.

The Propaganda Float in Psychological Operations mentions a North Korean military defector's comments on the program:

According to my company leader and the assistant company leader for political affairs, wristwatches, fountain pens, and radio sets sent from South Korea were found in the area north of the Imjin River. They said that these things were fixed with explosives. Dials of the radios are fixed to Republic of Korea broadcasts, and if turned to other stations they explode. Members of my company were told not to pick up such things when found in the company area.

A fisherman who defected to the south said: 

The leaflet listing the South Korean radio frequencies was a great help to me in listening to the South Korean radio stations. However, South Korean news program schedules should also have been supplied in the leaflet.

The South Korean/American propaganda broadcasts to the north were on the air 17 1/2 hours a day, seven days a week. The program content was aimed at the masses. Soap-opera villains were always Communist Party leaders. The heroes were always peasants or workers who fought the system.

A former PSYOP officer stated that this was terrible PSYOP since the only people in North Korea who had radios were the Party elite, and we were attacking them day after day.

LTC Underhill said in regard to the radio campaign:

An Army Reserve officer was assigned two weeks summer active duty to the 7th PSYOP Group.  The group commander assigned him the task of reviewing radio operations. 

At a conference room briefing, he found it so bad that he said his first impression was that we had been infiltrated by North Korean agents.   He went on by saying that he had changed his mind about that.  He said agents would have been more subtle in their sabotage.  It was too bad to have been deliberate.  I had reached the exact same opinion after thirty days with the unit. I was sent to the Korea Detachment for orientation.  The Detachment Commander gave me a file drawer of agent debriefings and other intelligent reports to read.  This was followed by a week's worth of each radio broadcast program.

There was no relationship between the intelligence data and the resulting radio product.  Upon my return to Okinawa, I arranged periodic briefings to the appropriate radio people. They were unhappy with my comments and recommendations.  Eventually, they eliminated the Drama programs.  I felt that was wrong.  They should have adjusted the drama to meet the realities of the North Korean situation.

The 7th PSYOP Group mentions what appears to be radio broadcasts involved with Jilli:

Based on subject matter contained in Jilli leaflets, a series of seven announcements were written and produced for the North Korean target audience. These announcements listed irresponsible acts by North Korea in term of infiltration and armed attacks south of the DMZ, and assured the North that the United Nations Command was fully prepared to take defensive measures against continuation or armistice agreement violations.

They also mention some special leaflet projects:

Nine quick-reaction leaflets for North Korean armistice violations were prepared; and one photographic leaflet on the defection of Lee Su-kun, former vice-chief of the North Korean Central News Agency was prepared. The latter was forwarded to the Group for printing with 24 hours of Lee’s defection….

Korea68PuebloIncident.JPG (49335 bytes)

Staff Sergeant Tony Newcomb of the U.S. Joint Special Warfare
Task Group with helicopter loudspeakers that were damaged
by North Korean weapons fire in 1968

In the almost four decades since the end of Operation Jilli the North and South Koreans have continued to send propaganda against each other. Leaflets are traded on a regular basis, sent by agent, balloon and sometimes even small rockets. In the 1960s, North Korea embarked on a program of counterfeiting United States and French stamps to mail propaganda to the west. At the same time, loudspeakers, billboards and even enormous electrified signs sent messages across the DMZ. On more than one occasion violence erupted and there were a number of deaths along the demilitarized zone as one side or the other tried to demonstrate their power or make a political statement.

In June 2004 this propaganda war allegedly ended. Both North and South Korea dismantled their signs and their loudspeakers and pledged to no longer broadcast to each other. The peace seems to be holding. It will be interesting to see how long both sides can keep from falling back into the old ways and sending massive amounts of propaganda to each other.

This report is just a very brief look at the Jilli program. It was highly classified and even today there has been almost nothing reported on this complex psychological operation. Should any readers who took part in the program care to contact the author with additional comments or corrections, you are encouraged to write to him at

Readers with questions or comments on the above article are encouraged to contact the author at