The Cold War in Korea - Operation Jilli

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The Classified Report on Operation Jilli

I was told by insiders that publishing this book on a previously top-secret operation was very difficult. The people involved with the project first wrote it and sent it upstairs for approval. Instead, it was classified "Confidential," and sent to S3 (Operations) for a rewrite. S3 allegedly did about three rewrites and finally approved it. They made numerous changes and my source said, "screwed up the works." Then there was discussion of another rewrite. If this story is true, the booklet I show above can be one of the original or rewritten versions. I have no idea if the story is true, I am just happy that I was able to find one of the editions to prove that Jilli happened.

One of the "dirty little secrets of the Cold War was that from the years 1964 to 1969 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….

High-altitude leaflet drops required supplemental oxygen for aircrew personnel
Pictured is Tech Sergeant Beck during a PSYOP mission.
Photo courtesy of Dave Sammons

The Report introduces the Jilli program:

Starting with data compiled under a United States Government contract in the "Handbook of Leaflet Dispersion via Balloon," [It is not mentioned anywhere but CIA documents seem to indicate that this was one of their books] usable information, some contrary to previous thoughts on the subject, was obtained. Calculations contained in this handbook provided a basis for accurate prediction of leaflet drift and dispersion. Leaflet dissemination from aircraft could be predicted with more accuracy if leaflet size, shape, and weight were carefully controlled, and accurate wind data at various altitudes obtained. With this information as a start, Operation Jilli was launched. The first Operation Jilli Mission was flown on 30 June 1964. Missions during 1964 were halted to C-47 aircraft flying at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet. Approximately 19 million leaflets were dropped covering 17 thousand square miles, where slightly more than 50% of the total North Korean population lives. In 1965, in addition to the C-47 aircraft operating from Osan Air Base, Korea, C-130 aircraft were added to the program, allowing not only greater operating heights (up to 25,000 feet) but also enabling the carrying of increased payloads (approximately 12.5 million leaflets per load). With this increased capacity, the program was expanded, and a total of approximately 98 million leaflets were dropped. Coverage for 1965 was estimated at 24 thousand square miles where 6l% of the total North Korean population lives. As a result of very favorable intelligence feedback, the program was further expanded in 1966, when 183 million leaflets were dropped. With this total, the accumulative leaflet density on the ground at the end of the favorable wind period is just beginning to approach the minimum desired density. The eventual short range planning goal for Operation Jilli is one billion leaflets per year.

A Johns Hopkins University study found that during WWII and the Korean War:

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 (Korea detachment) was given the task of disseminating western news and propaganda into North Korea. 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.”

PSYOP Intelligence Notes

How were the leaflets prepared? Where did the 7th PSYOP Group get their information? They prepared several publications after interrogation of defectors crossing the border from the north. They would ask about the prices of items, the quality of items, what was working and what was not. That information was published in PSYOP Intelligence Notes and Topical Reports. These publications could have as little as one page rarely, two pages was more common, and in some cases as many as 51 pages. PSYOP Intelligence Notes had subjects like: Restaurants in Pyongyang; Economic goals; The reactions of North Korea to psychological operations; Surveillance of restaurants in North Korea; Food prohibition in North Korea, Food in rural North Korea; More protein sources, and More food variety. Knowing the problems and current events in North Korea told the PSYOP troops what themes to write about. It is clear from the above titles that food was a major subject, and we can assume that many leaflets spoke of the wonderful and bountiful food in South Korea and showed happy eaters in restaurants with the table covered with delicacies.

Topical Reports

Topical Reports usually are two pages, sometimes more. These were prepared by the 7th PSYOP Group to be used as reference when producing leaflets to use against North Korea. They tell of what is going on in North Korea from defector interrogations. The data is then made available to PSYOP. Some of the titles are: Economic goals; The North Korean potato output; What local North Korean areas need; Changes in food production; The question of food; More protein sources; Raw materials; and More food variety. The 7th Group needed to understand what was always going on in North Korea.

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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 North Korea. The content of the program was initially designed to present the Republic of 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 North 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.

Then Major Dave Underhill
Notice his flight crew wings from early leaflet drops and his parachute wings.

Dave Underhill was very proud that he flew in the very first Jilli mission in a USAF C-47. He flew on all the early missions until the Army participation was stopped by Major Renick, who later became Major General Renick, got into an argument with the Air Force who refused to let him fly on a Jilli mission. As a result of what seems to be a minor feud, no more Army personnel flew Jilli missions.

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C-130 Crew Member sends off a Box of Leaflets to North Korea

The United Nations had branded North Korea 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 South Korea the people could read the newspapers and see the results of the rebuilding of their country. In North 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 Korean Propaganda: Themes and Tactics

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 Korea’s affairs.

5. Japan's Aggressive designs in Korea and East Asia.

7th PSYOP Group 20 March 1968 Report on North Korean Propaganda 

A 1968 17-page 7th PSYOP Group report entitled North Korean Propaganda adds:

North Korea uses from 10 to 12 different transmitters and is on the air at almost any hour during the day. North Korea has better equipment. The North Korean Central Broadcasting Company, Radio Pyongyang, is thought to have a main station at least 500 kilowatts. The Voice of the United Nations is 50 kilowatts. They produce many slick illustrated magazines like “Korea Today,” “Korean Youth and Students,” and a large publication called “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” In addition, they publish an English-language newspaper called the “Pyongyang Times.”

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 Republic of Korea by balloon. It also tries to infiltrate propaganda in the Republic of Korea using Japanese, American and other magazines. The propaganda is inserted into these magazines and sent into South Korea through the mails.

North Korea in its propaganda uses the direct lie. They claim to have won the Korean War. As the North Korean’s put it, “we gave the U.S. Imperialists their first taste of defeat.” They used to credit the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army for helping win that war, but now using the lie technique they claim that they alone defeated the U.S. Imperialists.

Operating Instructions: PSYOP for North Korea

On 21 November 1968, the 7th PSYOP Group published a 16-page guide on methods for propagandizing North Korea. The purpose of these instructions is to provide guidance to end prescribe responsibilities for subordinate detachments of the 7th PSYOP Group for the conduct of day-to-day PSYOP directed to North Korea in support of the PSYOP Program. It states that the 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 directed by the United Nations Command and the United States Forces – Korea. Under its concept of operation, the Group will continue to rely upon the Korea Detachment and the 15th PSYOP Detachment to develop PSYOP for North Korea. Two principal media—radio and visual media—will be employed by these operational detachments in conducting PSYOP to the North Korean audience. In developing media output in support of the campaign, to apply PSYOP actively against North Korea, exploit themes presented below at every opportunity, provided the situation warrants such exploitation.

There were 15 major and numerous minor themes to be exploited. Some of them are:

Explain to the North Korean populace the advantages they will have if they were to defect to the South. Target potential defectors.
Convince the targeted group that living in the free society in the South is worth the risk of defecting.
Target North Korean agents and exploit the psychological pressure they face when infiltrating the South.
Explain the illegal nature of North Korean activities along the DMZ.
Demonstrate the economic achievements of the Republic of Korea to the people of the North.
Convince the North that the Republic of Korea is militarily strong and armed with modern weapons.
Convince the North that “one man rule” is the reason for their problems and should be changed.
Convince the North that they will never reach production goals if they waste money on a needless military buildup.
Show how young industries in the ROK are thriving and producing domestic commodities for the people.
The US/ROK Mutual Defense Treaty is a Joint defense pact to preserve peace in Korea.
The US has exemplified herself in honoring commitments in Vietnam, Thailand, Europe, and Korea.
The ROK armed forces with allied support constitute a powerful deterrent force to renewed aggression.
Purges are a constant threat to the security and wellbeing of all Party members in the North Korean regime.
Political indoctrination is added to an already long duty day.
Sons and husbands conscripted into long military service leave wives and mothers, who in their absence, must take over all the work.
Economic progress cannot be achieved so long as it is hampered by a large military buildup.
If North Korean farming methods are so progressive, then why is rice so severely rationed?

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C130 Static Line and leaflet Box use off the Coast of North Korea

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, North Korea 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.

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, North Korea hopes to gain support from the international community. 

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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 North Korea. 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.

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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 River estuary. Because of its proximity to North Korea, it served as a base for intelligence activity by both Republic of Korea and United States forces. Numerous North Korean defectors fled to the island to escape economic and political conditions in their homeland.

Apparently, inflating balloons can be difficult and dangerous. Among the 7th Group files I found the publication Gas-Metering Handbook for Hydrogen Balloon Inflation. The 9-page booklet explains in part:

The purpose of this handbook is to provide tables which will enable an operator to determine accurately, from simple pressure and temperature readings, the amount of potential lift within various standard hydrogen containers…Because of the possibility of the formation of explosive mixtures, the precautions for handling hydrogen should be studied in detail. The basic methods of preventing a flammable gas explosion consist both of avoiding an explosive concentration and eliminating sources of ignition….

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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. He was sent to the Psychological Officers Course at Ft. Bragg for six weeks starting in April 1962. I thought the reader might be interested in what they were teaching back then so here are a few of the classes in no particular order:

Introduction to Area Research.
Propaganda in Counter-insurgency.
Intelligence Requirement and Procedures.
Intelligence Agencies and Sources.
Radio in Psychological Operations.
Radio Script Writing.
Loudspeaker Operations.
The Use of Printed Matter.

He was next assigned tothe United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activities, Pacific, in August 1962. He was assigned Chief, Psychological Operations Intelligence Research Desk, Korea.

A Leaflet Team Staff Meeting

Major Dave Underhill who led the some of the leaflet operations for Vietnam and the North Korean Jilli Operation for the 7th PSYOP Group leads a staff meeting of the leaflet team. Dave is at the right with his arms outstretched. The team included Americans, interpreters, and Vietnamese writers and artists. This picture appeared in Communicating with Vietnamese through Leaflets, a 7th PSYOP Group publication. It explains that leaflets are discussed and planned long before they are written or produced. Once an idea is approved, an artist will sketch illustrations while writers prepare texts. The product is then reviewed by the whole team before the actual artwork and writing takes place. It is the only way to ensure that the leaflet is correct and viable.

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. Some of the many comments on his recommendation for the awards are:

He was a key member of the joint U.S. Embassy – JUSPAO - USMACV Leaflet Targeting Group which selected targets and leaflets to be disseminated in each PSYWAR program.

He prepared and published reference data on PSYWAR leaflet development and dissemination that materially assisted US and Vietnamese PSYOP and POLWAR advisors.

He labored to reduce the cost of the PSYOP program. By reducing the book paper stock in one year he saved the government $148,000. That was significant because paper costs amount to 60-70% of printing leaflets. His study on the elimination of the dissemination of propaganda miniature radios resulted in a saving of over $2,000,000.

He studied and published a listing of leaflet sizes; recommended changes in paper weights and size that were implemented by PSYOP agencies. For the first time, PSYOP units were provided with a wide range of proven delivery methods and delivery vehicles capable of penetrating and disseminating PSYOP materials into otherwise denied target areas.

His classified secret study on leafleting highly defended areas of North Vietnam was presented to the 7th Air Force and eventually led to reduced risk to aircraft and crews.

Underhill was awarded the Air Medal in early 1966. His award said in part:

For meritorious achievement while engaged in aerial flights against North Korea and North Vietnam during the period April 1965 through December 1965, while serving as a member of the 7th PSYOP Group…He participated in a total of 12 PSYOP missions directed against North Korea and North Vietnam. Operating in a depressurized aircraft at altitudes up to 25,000 feet, unassisted, he planned the aerial flightpath, determined the points for dissemination, selected the altitudes to be flown and areas to be targeted, singling out special areas for particular attention and determining the dissemination rate for tons of propaganda material. He accomplished these tasks with complete disregard for his personal safety…

He wrote the “Bible” of leafleting, The Low, Medium, and High Altitude Leaflet Dissemination Guide. I think we can say without exaggeration that he was the father of U.S. psychological Operations in Vietnam.

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Early Experimental Balloon Tests

The balloon dropped like a rock and rose under a scrub tree and burst.
That was their very first step in becoming professional litter bugs.

Dave told me about training the Chinese on balloon operations:

I traveled to Taiwan and provided 120 hours of class room instruction for a selected representative from each propaganda specialty. They were so interested they wanted all the brass to hear what we were doing. I flew down to the southern tip and then by jeep, bus, etc. We hit every military installation on the way to the city. Then we took a charter bus and went the other way. I met every Admiral and General in the Nationalist Chinese military. I had as my interpreter a Major who spoke good English was a student and mostly I would give him a subject and turn him loose. It worked. The Chinese were very interested in the operations going on in Korea and Vietnam. A Chinese bird Colonel who was my escort translated my short paper on balloon operations into Chinese.

The Nationalist Chinese would launch their large plastic balloons on a northerly wind at the launch sight. They were fitted with a washing machine timer device which would slowly unwind dropping ballast to hold a constant flight altitude. The balloon would change direction rapidly, depending on winds with a north or southeast component.

Okinawa received a balloon, as did India. A balloon came down in Laos while I was there. I actually collected a small packet of fine ballast. A “BB” sized shot would kill a person from 10,000 to 20,000 feet. Their ballast was so fine you could be looking up, catch one in the eye and try and wipe the dust out of your eye. I do not know how they manufacture something so fine.

They were concerned about the accuracy of the drop data. So we tested a drop of a 2 x 4-inch leaflet on 20 pound paper from low altitude. Never try dropping leaflets at 1400 using 0600 drop data.They never told me this until we had bad data until ready to drop. With a spread factor of .05 there was supposed to be a good mass of leaflets in a small area. The leaflet contained a message to turn it in to authorities and let them know where it was found. It turned out the Chinese were happy with the final results.

To keep the citizens happy and involved. People would come down to several designated launch points where citizens would buy (I assume) and write messages to the Communists. When the winds were right they would use ground winds which would blow then to the Mainland, but also to their own islands of Quemoy and Matsu. They were propagandizing their own people.

The Chinese offered us the ultimate in balloon delivery at $2,500 each. It would rise above the stratosphere where the earth would turn under it. When it was deep in China, a message would be dispatched causing it to release its load. A 4 x 1.25-inch leaflet on 13 pound (onion skin) paper when dropped from 50,000 feet takes over nine hours for one half the leaflets to reach the ground.

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.

Before I left Taiwan, I sat with Agent Smith and assessed their Government leaflet program. No, not Agent Smith from “The Matrix;” this one was from the CIA. Every agent I met from that organization called himself “Smith.” I explained that the Chinese have periods when their wind blows from the south. We had the same in our Korean program. We figured that using the correct wind we could have launch openings beginning around mid-April and ending around mid-September. Go a few degrees north and you quickly entered the prevailing westerly flow for part of the year.

Speaking of the CIA, Dave told me a bit about his interaction with them:

Camp Chinen – Okinawa

Camp Chinen on Okinawa was a CIA facility. As far as I know, I am the only PSYOP member to ever visit that facility. The CIA wanted to occasionally use leaflets in their operations, and it was difficult to find one that exactly fit the bill. We had over 160 different leaflets on hand at any time since we offered pre-printed ones to the combat units supported by PSYOP. I had converted all our data to charts, and they were easy to read and manipulate. They could look at any leaflet and see the coefficient variation that would show where 90% of the leaflet mass would fall. We had 40 leaflet sizes, but I reduced the data to 4 of the most popular sizes. I showed them how every leaflet has a spread factor and a standard 6 x 3-inch leaflet on16-pound paper would fall at 4-feet a second, while the same leaflet on 20-pound paper would fall at 2.5-feet a second. The first had a spread factor of 1.04 and the second a factor of 1.11. It can be ascertained that using the proper altitude one will cover 104 miles and the other 111 miles.

The CIA was very impressed and said that we had already gone far beyond anything they had done. They asked that we please provide them any data that we developed.

Camp Chinen was called Okinawa Station by the CIA. Its official name was the First Composite Service Unit, later the Composite Service Group. It was a paramilitary support asset and, in critical situations could be devoted in its entirety to Unconventional Warfare activity. Located at Camp Chinen, it comprises a self-contained base under Army cover with facilities of all types necessary to the storage, testing, packaging, procurement, and delivery of supplies, ranging from weapons and explosives to medical and clothing. Because of it being a controlled area, it could be used as a prison as well as a training school for small groups. At Camp Chinen, there were three safe houses where, on occasion, foreign nationals could be housed and receive specialized training. All the gear packaged and delivered to the field via Camp Chinen was ‘sanitized’ so that that its provenance could not be traced to the American government. Camp Chinen took on the responsibility of supplying the highly secret Studies and Observation Group (SOG) with sanitized clothing and gear, undetectable wiretapping devices, and untraceable weapons such as Swedish K machine guns, CAR-15s, and High Standard HD suppressed pistols. Upon its closure as a CIA station in July 1972, Camp Chinen served as a US Army Special Forces training center and as a language school for U.S. soldiers studying Japanese and Korean, and for Japanese forces studying English. By 1974, however, the wars in Vietnam and Laos were ending, so the US Army left Camp Chinen. Camp Chinen closed in 1975.

Dave continues:

There was an expert on China that listened to all the broadcasts from China and used the radio stations on Taiwan to broadcast to China. He presented a briefing to the 7th PSYOP and prophesized that China and Russia were going to pretend to be at odds. They would later come together, and we would learn to our regret that they were always strong allies with a common goal. The presentation was ignored. There was no support in the 7th PSYOP Group for that position. We kept dropping leaflets trying to divide the two, not believing that they were one Communist monolithic political movement.

I received a similar CIA presentation in 1990 on Russia just before the wall fell. A CIA expert told us that no Russian alive had owned a private business or a piece of land. As a result, with the fall of Communism the country would destabilize and as many as 6 million starving Russians would flee to the west looking for jobs and food. Communism fell and Russia went on as if nothing happened.

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The U.S. Standard Atmospheric Pressure Table

There were several booklets on how to fill balloons and safety precautions. For the most part they are very dull and with almost no images. This small pocket card gives data and conversion tables for pressure, altitude, pounds per square inch, etc.

One of my favorite documents in Underhill’s possession is a letter from the Embassy of the United States from the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office. This was the organization that in theory was in charge of American propaganda. The writer wants to thank Dave for helping the Chinese master leafleting techniques but at the time everything was classified so he cannot bring himself to say “Taiwan.” The letter says in part:

On behalf of the U.S. Mission to *** I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the very excellent job you did developing a high altitude leaflet program for ***. The detailed, yet uncomplicated program which you developed will do much to improve the psychological operations program in ***. In both your oral and written presentations, you displayed thorough professional ability and knowledge.

Dave reminisced one day about the way he got involved in leafleting North Korea. It was a strange story:

I wanted to do something about communications to North Korea. I started running problems on stand-off delivery. Our Operations Officer stopped by my desk and said, “Your job is Intelligence. You are to spend no more time on leaflets. If we want your help, we will ask for it!” I still spent a lot of time off duty working on the problem. I converted the 160 sets of data to line drawing depicting near and far points of four paper weights in forty sizes. My people were not impressed but the Central Intelligence Agency Okinawa Station said I had gone far beyond anything they had and asked that I keep them informed of any new developments. I was with the CIA on the day the North Vietnamese instigated the Gulf of Tonkin action. Vietnam was about to heat up.

I was sent on Temporary Duty to Korea for a Command Post Exercise. I was in the basement of United Nations Command Headquarters. I was working with their Operations PSYOP Officer who was also the briefer to the UN Commander. I told him what I could do with leaflets. Low and behold, one day while briefing the UN Commander, he ran out of things to say, so he briefed him on what I said I could do with leaflets.

Nothing happened.

Later, the Commander in Chief of the United Nations Forces said he wanted to be briefed on “Operation Litter Bug.” I am not sure how that term came about. But in that Command Post Exercise I had said that I wanted to litter the North Korean countryside. He was interested. I first had to run the idea past the Far East Air Forces. FEAF approved the basic idea. Back to Korea for fourteen more briefings. I made the rounds. The United States Representative at the Korean Peace Table was very happy with the idea. As I was leaving, he said “I am tired of facing the North's daily barrage of propaganda. I welcome all the help you can give me. Good luck son.”

Thus was born “JILLI.” They asked a Korean officer to name the operation and he did so. The problem was Jilli had a lot of meanings. It could mean “truth;” it could be a measure of distance; and I think I once heard it was the distance the winged horse symbol of North Korea “Chollima” could fly in one night. The name was later changed to “Operation Focus Truth.”

Dave Underhill had a number of men on his Jilli team. One was Martin Donegan.

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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. [Author’s note: The 7th PSYOP Group had detachments in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, etc.]

While we were in Korea getting Jilli started Dave Underhill approached his commander and asked if he might put a hole in the bottom of a leaflet aircraft. The concept was that the air rushing by under the plane would cause a venturi effect and the suction would quickly disseminate the leaflets. It was a great idea and would have worked but there was no interest at the time. We found out later that other units were using a chute that was attached to a box inside the plane. The crew dumped leaflets into the box and the suction from the outside air pulled the leaflet out of the box and down the chute.

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The Kinds of test Questions Prepared when Learning about Balloons

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.”

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Donegan’s Balloon Team does a Test Run

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 (The Non-commissioned officer in charge of printing), 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.

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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.

This was not the first time that Jilli crews dropped scrap paper from aircraft. In the early days when they were still writing the formulas they routinely dropped scrap paper to see if the patterns and spread of paper on the ground matched the patterns that their algorithms predicted.

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.

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The C-119 Flying Boxcar, this one used as a Gunship
American Leaflet 4-47-70 dropped over Vietnam

Donegan told me that in Okinawa they worked with a group called the Wage Board National Citizens. The civilian WBNC prepared leaflets to be sent to the People’s Republic of China as well as wrote radio scripts to be broadcast to them. The Jilli crew never dropped leaflets on Mainland China.

On Taiwan, the Nationalist Chinese military already had a leaflet and float operation where they sent propaganda to mainland China. On one occasion, Dave Underhill did fly a mission with the Chinese in an old American C-119, an aircraft that looked big and fat and had what appeared to be tiny engines. I have flown in those cargo planes and we called them “Flying coffins.” They were kind of scary. It seemed impossible that those small engines could lift that aircraft.

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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.

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Test Questions used when Training the Nationalist Chinese on Leafleting

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.

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Martin Donegan’s Official Promotion Picture as a Sergeant First Class

Donegan told me about his later career:

After I returned to the United States and while I was at Ft. Holabird I taught interrogations for a while. Dave Underhill wanted me back in Okinawa and requested that I be sent back in 1970 for a second tour there. We now had a home in Glen Burnie, Maryland, and my wife was teaching school so I did an 18-month unaccompanied tour without her. Dave and I continued with our leaflet operations and I worked on and off in S-3 (Operations). I taught with Dave for a while and then was assigned to teach alone in Thailand and South Vietnam. During 1970 and 1971 I taught leafleting operations to the American and South Vietnamese military.

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Captain Bill Schultz

We mention Bill Schultz as a member of the Jilli crew above. Bill Schultz kept a record of his Jilli experiences and they are worth reading:

I joined the Army in April, 1945. In July 1953, I was sent to the Army Language School, Monterey, California, where I Studied the Czech language. I was transferred to USABVA/PAC (United States Army Broadcasting and Visual Activities, Pacific) – Okinawa, Japan from July 1964 to October 1966. My assignment on Okinawa in to the USABVA-PAC, with its headquarters in Hawaii – was as a Foreign Area Specialist on the USSR because of the pamphlet that I had written at Oklahoma State University. Our research division had linguists from every country in Asia, who were all American citizens and soldiers with top secret clearances. We were a part of the United Nations broadcasting program for all eight of the Asian countries in which we had an intelligence interest. During the three months that I was with the USSR team, I wrote several economic papers, but my greatest accomplishment was a presentation I prepared for the commanding general on the USSR at the time when Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on a desk while giving a speech at the United Nations in New York. The presentation was based on an opinion paper that I wrote on the fall of Khrushchev.

I was promoted to Master Sergeant and left the USSR Research Team to become senior member of the aerial propaganda leaflet team as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, working with Captain David Underhill and Specialist 6 Martin Donegan. Our mission was to develop propaganda leaflets for North Korea and North Vietnam, package them, and deliver them by aerial means using wind currents and U.S. Air Force aircraft. We were issued Air Force flying equipment, including parachutes, survival kits, flight helmets, and oxygen equipment, and received altitude chamber training, which was very helpful. The Air Force made sure we were fully trained before we could go on practice runs. Our team spent many hours on the project developing a delivery system with tear-away boxes and static lines, and testing the size and weight of the leaflet, and how fast and far it would travel before hitting the ground. This was an everyday process that included packing the boxes with leaflets.

Our team spent many hours on the project developing a delivery system with tear-away boxes and static lines, and testing the size and the weight of the leaflet, and how fast and how far it would travel before hitting the ground. The aerial propaganda leaflet team developed a method for leaflet dispersal in which the box was taped on the inside, so that when it was dropped from a C-130 with a static line attached to the tape on the inside of the box, the box would implode and release the leaflets.

We also traveled to Osan Air Base in South Korea, Thailand, South Vietnam, and Taiwan, where we taught the Nationalist Chinese soldiers how to use our system and program. The Chinese soldiers tended to be lazy and did not want to learn until we gave them a reward – a chocolate candy bar – for completing the exercises that we gave them. A Hershey bar cost more than a Chinese soldier’s monthly pay.

Because our Special Projects 3-man team was involved in aerial flight operations with the U.S. Air Force, we were awarded flight pay, combat pay, Temporary duty pay, and awarded Air Medals, Commendation Medals, and Air crewman flight wings, along with several Vietnamese Army decorations for our efforts. We were the only U.S. Army soldiers to fly over North Vietnam in an unarmed C-130 cargo aircraft at night while being shot at by North Vietnamese surface-to-air missiles.

Besides dropping propaganda leaflets, we also dropped toys and other items for the North Vietnamese children. On Christmas Eve, 24 December 1965 at 2300 we dropped Christmas presents for the North Vietnamese.

When the winds were favorable and we were able to fly propaganda leaflet missions against North Korea, we were always shadowed by North Korean aircraft. But they never violated South Korean airspace because we were protected by fighter aircraft and electronic intercept aircraft. We did not violate North Korean airspace because the winds carried the leaflets over the Demilitarized Zone at 35,000 feet elevation.

Schultz flew from Naha, Okinawa, to San Francisco, California, in September 1966. He had attended the Army Language School in Monterey years earlier to master the Czech language. From there he drove to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he started a new career as an Army Commissioned Officer.

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.

The United States 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 American University. 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 United States. 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-Sung’s doorstep from 200 miles away.

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 U.S. Army PSYOP Officer David G. Underhill 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.

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.

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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 North Korea annually.

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 Republic of Korea.
2.     Social progress in Republic of Korea.
3.     Economic and social progress in Republic of Korea.
4.     Education in the Republic of Korea.
5.     Radio frequencies
6.     News commentary
7.     Inducements for defections.
8.     Anti-Communism.
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 Vietnam and Korea, 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.

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The patch of the 35th TAS

Airman First Class Sam McGowan was a loadmaster in the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron at Naha Air Force Base from February 1966 to August 1967 and flew Jilli missions. His first Jilli mission was shortly after his arrival on Okinawa about March 1966. He says:

We were operating off the coast of North Korea 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.

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 North Korea. 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.

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 North Korea. 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.  

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 Naha 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.  

I attended “leaflet school” and received a certificate from the 7th PSYOP Group dated 5 April 66.  We flew some test missions in the Naha 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 Navigator’s predicted fallout and it was amazing. Then there was the night on a Jilli when we spilled a load of sensitive stuff into South Korea.  The paper was on the ground right where we said it would be.

Loadmaster Gary Peters says:

I kicked a lot of paper over Korea. 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.

Sid Griest was a pilot in the 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron at Naha from late 1968 to early 1971. He says:

I never flew a PSYOP mission, but later talked to the Naha guys that did. The C-130A's at Naha had several different missions dropping PSYOP leaflets in North Korea, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and Laos; 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 North Korea. 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.”

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 Vietnam or Laos. I dropped over 97 million pieces of paper.  All of my missions were under the name of “Frantic Goat.”  I was sent to Korea on a Jilli mission once or twice, but the winds were never favorable so we turned around and brought our paper back home.

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. Army’s 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 couldn’t 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 dropped—even 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.

The Vietnam Archive Oral History Project interviewed former pilot and Captain John Stubbs about his missions with the 35th Troop Carrier Squadron. I have edited the interview down to a few paragraphs that specifically mentioned the leaflet missions.

The 35th squadron, which I was in, we had what was called a “leaflet mission.” Up until that time, it was only used in Korea [Jilli]. There was that cold war, and there was a lot of propaganda, the mission dictated by the Department of Defense and State Department was a leaflet mission. And I am talking about mass leaflets, ten to twelve million, on a flight. And they would go up, depending on the winds, and this was the tricky part of it, as you take off, at various levels, you would climb out and check the winds at five thousand, ten thousand, and fifteen thousand, twenty thousand whatever necessary, depending on your route. If you were on the west side of it, which most of the time you were, because of the wind, you would find out what drift you would get from the leaflets. They were, aerodynamically cut, the shape of the leaflet was rectangular, but the aspect ratio was such that it rotated instead of falling like a leaf, a hap-hazard leaf, it would go into rotation, and you could predict approximately where it was going to land, based on the winds. And the Air Force worked with the Army 7th PSYOP Group in Kadena, they developed the information, and did the printing of the leaflets. And the physiological people in the Air Force at Kadena, modified for each mission they had put together supplementary oxygen system and installed it on the C-130 in the back. So, you could accommodate up to, I think it was up to six or eight additional people on the oxygen system. If the winds were such, and they usually were up there, that you had to drop from above ten thousand feet, everyone had to be on oxygen, because you were unpressurized.

They packed the leaflets in cartons of about forty-eight or fifty thousand per carton. And the cardboard boxes, and each box had a static line that the load master would connect to the static line cable, and the airplane was loaded with about ten million or ten, eleven or twelve, depending on the information that they wanted, and the density they wanted. There was a minimum density of eight thousand leaflets per square mile based on wind predictions. If it were less than that you did not drop; if it were more than that of course you could. The oxygen system was installed, you had feeders who would physically take the boxes, put them in position, and roll them back to the load master for the kickers. They put together a timing device with a light to blink so you could set the interval by seconds, or up to I think thirty, forty-five seconds to a minute, something like that. And depending on there again, depending on the density, how often you would have to kick one out, to get that density. That was calculated by the navigator on the C-130.

The physiological people flew on the airplane, with the 130 crew, and the kickers, and feeders, to monitor the oxygen and the physical condition of the people when they were working. Because working at twenty thousand feet or twenty-five thousand feet, unpressurized, is a lot more tiring that it would be at sea level, and if you have any problem, you will never know it until somebody passes out. So, they were there to constantly monitor the people. Army always had an observer on board. So that essentially was the mission of the 35th.

It changed a little bit in ‘68 when the Pueblo was captured. And then they restricted the mission to the “offshore, high wind only,” and kind of limited that, but that same technique was used in Vietnam. And that was the mission that we conducted, on a mission called “Frantic Goat.” [The leafleting of North Vietnam]. Why they picked that, I do not know but that was it. But that mission originated in Okinawa. We would leave Okinawa with a load of leaflets, and the physiological people, and fly to Clark and refuel, and with a load you could not make it all the way to Thailand because the 130 was limited in weight, the A model was. And then from Clark we would go on to Ubon, Thailand. It was every Tuesday night and every Wednesday night we had to be over the target at nine o’clock, and we would send to headquarters, “please vary the time over the target.” I mean they are going to be sitting there waiting for us, and then that is not a comfortable feeling. So, it took about two or three months before we finally got them to change from nine o’clock in the evening to some other time. The leaflet mission dropped over two billion leaflets in North Korea and North Vietnam.

Around Christmas time, they would drop transistor radios tuned to Voice of America. On little parachutes and they would drop those by the thousands because people did not have access to a radio like that. So that got them in connection with the verbal propaganda, and information, as best to be determined by Voice of America. So, that basically was the mission of the 35th. © Copyright the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University

Flight Engineer Staff Sergeant Walt (Cecil) Hebdon mostly remembers the cold:

I flew several leaflet drops into North Korea while in the 35th at Naha. 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. 

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 North Vietnam had our PSYOP leaflets stuffed into their pants and jackets to provide insulation and keep them warm. Another victory for PSYOP!

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.

Dave Underhill planned many of the missions and he agrees:

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 South Korea. 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 North Korea.  (Did the same on SEA maps for missions there.)  By the way, no aircraft were lost in Southeast Asia using 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 Suwon (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 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.

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The Jilli Leaflet Box Assembly Line

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Filling the Individual Jilli Leaflet Box

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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. His orders were dated 27 February 1968. They transferred Nahlik from the 7th PSYOP Group to MACV Directorate. He was given 12 weeks to study the Vietnamese language at Ft. Bliss, Texas. He was to arrive for duty no later than 29 September 1968. He told me about his earlier meetings with Dave Underhill:

I started basically as an understudy to Dave Underhill in our small Special Projects Office of the 7th PSYOP Group.  Dave was nearing the end of his tour in 1966 when I got there.  I was initially in the S-3 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.  My initial thought was this guy must really be a screwball but found out in one day how he had totally immersed himself into the "art of leaflet dropping."

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. I listened to his stories about leaflet operations and went to Vietnam with him in October 1966 for classes he was presenting.  By this time, with several months under my belt in the office, I knew enough to help, show people how to plot leaflet fall and to answer questions.  It was a fantastic orientation for me on working with people that were doing our business in a small-scale setting, not via C-130s as we did from Okinawa.

He left Okinawa before the leaflet manual was completed but I was able to put the finishing touches on it. I may have done some typing and arranging of papers, but it was his book from cover to cover. I was the Puppet paper shuffler that got it to the printing plant. That cover was prepared by a self-centered, conceited idiot who attempted to give our high altitude briefing to a bunch of senior AF Officers from the Wing that supported us. I don't think he really cared for either Dave or myself as we were always the center of attention at briefings.

Dave was so devoted to this subject that he should have been sent to Bragg as a Professor in his retirement as he really knew how to make the subject interesting and the calculation process easy. I sent him a whole bunch of slides I had from those days as I was expecting to go to Bragg after Vietnam but that did not work out. We had about 6 sets of everything, so I kept the one set.  I sent some stuff to Bragg many years back for additional lesson plans but never heard back from them. 

I ran Operation Jilli against North Korea from 1966-1968. 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.

To increase our drop ability, I worked it out with Ft. Bragg to box and ship leaflets to Osan AFB where I obtained another Quonset. Ft. Bragg packed boxes were shipped directly there. After making the first drop, we flew into OSAN, reloaded, and made another drop. I can't recall the totals, but this enabled us to drop perhaps an additional 100,000,000 leaflets each year. It was like Toilet Paper from heaven falling in the North.

Over the next year and a half that I was there, I gave classes in Korea at some sort of Special Forces Camp in sub-freezing conditions, no heat.  I also taught the following year in warmer conditions in Taiwan, Saigon, Da Nang, Pleiku and Nha Trang, as well as on Okinawa.  The subject material varied by location. I often gave the pitch on leaflet design to make them travel over a wider distance since these people were flying small aircraft, distributing them via boat or even hand-to-hand.  I discussed situational leaflet productions based on what might be upcoming operations, information about the Chieu Hoi program returnees, health, sanitation, and progress in farming.   These ideas were basically the stuff taught in bits and pieces at Ft. Bragg plus the ideas that Major Underhill told me about in the development of the leaflets for Operation Jilli (North Korea).  In talking with the local commander, US or Foreign, about the existing situation they were involved in, I would pull notes out of my briefcase and start to teach. I was winging it up until class time and then going forward.  It must have worked as I always had lots of follow-on questions with the various officers and mostly enlisted.  The job and classes were very fulfilling.

There were many memorable events on the teaching trips. The PSYOP Battalion building in Saigon that I visited to kick off the class was hit by a rocket the day after I left. The billets I was staying in at Da Nang took fire from Viet Cong that crawled in during the night and were shooting down on the base. The base at Pleiku was hit by rockets and we had to first jump out of our bunks and throw the mattress over us until we got the rhythm of the incoming rounds.  After a few, we grabbed our helmets and ran to the bunker. At Nha Trang, the Vietnamese Police building was bombed during the night by the "zapper boys" and I was in the hotel two buildings away.  The day before I had been bicycling all over the old town only to find out that night the Buddha shrine, I had visited was off limits because of Viet Cong presence in the area.

An amusing incident was teaching a plane full of Taiwanese officers. They came with their own translator/interpreter who had translated the 7th PSYOP leaflet book into Chinese. I would demonstrate something and then he would explain it. If I would talk for one minute, he would talk for three. He was a fantastic assistant and a great help in the hands-on process of plotting.

It was a fun ride working on stuff like this, even when everyone in our office had to wash our hands many times a day to test out the use of soap bars with messages imprinted under various layers. I don't know what became of that idea, but we put the nix on it because it was thought that people getting this soap and then finding one msg or map would just keep washing and rubbing away to get to the next message. [Author’s note]. This idea became very popular, and the soap was made in Japan and sometimes had seven anti-Communist messages in layers that would appear as the soap was used.

When we were loading Jilli leaflets, since it was an army load, we went along to assist the airmen, help the navigator if he had a question about leaflet drift and where to fly (they never needed help as we gave lessons during the winter and early spring to new navigators.  Most of the time we just helped to flip boxes down from the standing on end position to the flat and shoved them towards the back of the aircraft. The Air Force guys 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.

Once over Korea, one of the first boxes shipped from Bragg on one of the very first missions were flown the same day from Osan, the box did not flip open.  We had already released about 50 boxes so there were lots of static line hanging out the back.  The weight of the box dangling out behind the plane made it impossible to pull the lines back in.  They attached an additional static line around me and with oxygen mask pumping away, I crawled out under the lines, foot, legs, and hands until I could reach the line.  I took out a knife and cut the box loose to fall into the ocean below, fortunately we were not over land, so we didn't have to worry about messing up the roof of a South Korean family home.

We kept several of the boxes on board so we could check them when we got back to Okinawa and found out that the static lines were not properly wrapped around the box.  We called Bragg to have the process changed and part of our Korean Detachment went to Osan and retied or re-boxed one shipment.

We had one leaflet box that went through the roof of a home somewhere along the DMZ in Korea. It busted the hell out of their tile roof and landed in their kitchen and right on the table. The US repaired the home and replaced the table.

Another funny incident happened in Saigon when one of our planes (not C-130s from Okinawa but a local smaller plane). It was being loaded with a leaflet having Ho Chi Minh on it along with some sort of message that had been developed and approved by MACV. In the manhandling of the boxes, a worker dropped one and leaflets started flying. The workers and the brass were not aware of what was happening with this box transfer and thought that they were Viet Cong leaflets. I don't know how they ever calmed their fears.

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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!

North Korea issues a Stamp in Honor of their Capture of an Unarmed Ship

The Spy ship Pueblo captured by North Korea in 1968
The Month of the fight against the United States

The USS Pueblo was captured on 23 January 1968. The crew was released on 23 December 1968. In a propaganda stamp issue portraying the event, The DPRK clearly depicts the vessel as being an “Armed Spy” ship, the ship crew being paraded as prisoners in the upper left-hand corner. The stamp was printed with an error misidentifying the ship as GER2 rather than identifying it correctly as AGER 2.

The stamp was issued on a sheet that allegedly bore a letter from the United States in English and Korean admitting that the ship was in North Korean waters on a spy mission and asked for leniency for the crew.

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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.

Underhill continues:

There were some problems. On their very first mission, I got a call from Korea 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 South 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.

It was important to keep track of the wind. It appears that even as the mission went on the winds were being watched by people on the ground. Former 6th PSYOP Battalion member Chad Spawr told me:

I didn't know it at the time, but we were flying leaflet missions along the Cambodian border in C47's using dissemination principles LTC Underhill developed. Some of our missions were cancelled while we were in the air due to changes in wind direction. If the was going to blow back into Vietnam, it would have been useless. Some of the leaflets were targeted on specific NVA units known to be in the border region.

Bob de Hass flew Cold War missions against North Korea after Operation Jilli was terminated. Apparently, not much had changed:

During my time, the leaflet mission was known as “Frantic Goat.” Missions to Korea 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.

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 United States 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:

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. In 1966 defector stated that the best gifts would be cigarette holders (fishermen’s 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.”

Dave Underhill also mentioned the problem of policing up the Area is the North:

North Korean communist authorities were faced with a monumental task in denying the people access to the leaflets after each leaflet drop. The program conducted against North Korea used leaflets with unique aerodynamic characteristics. Every individual dissemination mission covered several thousand square miles. The greatest area coverage achieved from a single leaflet mission was in excess of 18,000 square miles. Twenty thousand pounds (ten tons) of leaflets were dissemination on every mission with the introduction of C-130 aircraft beginning with the second year of operations. The effort made by authorities to police up the leaflets is some indication that these authorities felt the leaflets would have some adverse effect on the people. As an absolute minimum the introduction of massive quantities of leaflets forced the authorities to mobilize groups of people to pick them up, taking them away from more productive endeavors or using up their own "free time" in a manner not of their own choosing.

Leaflet Development

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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. 

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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 Korea. 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.

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Specialist Kaliser

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.

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The New Leaflet Box


Charles J. Zoerb of the U.S. Army’s 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.

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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 South Korea. 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.

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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.

North Korean Reaction

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 Ulsan industrial complex, North Korea 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 Kim Il-sung University 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.

Dave Underhill told me about the North Korean reaction to the Jilli leaflets. He said:

We had a Captain in Korea on 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 North Korea. 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.

Dave and I talked about the many problems the North created in the DMZ. The first few years, things were peaceful with just an occasional violation. As the Jilli program went, on the North Koreans got more and more upset and the number of violations increased dramatically. Dave said:

The number of complaints that we filed with the Armistice Commission about North Korean violations got progressively worse as our campaign continued. You can clearly see at the increase when we began dropping leaflets in the millions. At first, we had “piggy-backed” on the South Korean balloon program. Once we started dropping leaflets from our aircraft in earnest, you can see the response of the North Koreans with almost daily incidences. In 1964 there were a grand total of 18 incidences and in 1965 there were just 10 incidences. At the height of our leafleting in 1968 there was 1 air violation, 2 naval violations, 175 armed attacks, 232 intrusions and 165 cases of weapons fired in the DMZ. That is a grand total of 575 incidences. Don’t let anyone tell you that leaflets are ineffective and don’t work.

On Effectiveness

We mention how effective the Jilli Leaflets were and I can tell the reader that is a subject that is often argued among propagandists. Some say the leaflets cannot really be judged for their effectiveness, while others say you can judge everything for effectiveness. What did Dave Underhill say, the man behind the leaflets and their dissemination?

Evaluation is essential in psychological operations, for it enables the military commander or other decision makers, as well as PSYOP personnel to ascertain, on grounds other than intuition, the effectiveness of a particular PSYOP campaign. "Effects analysis," provides this function of evaluation necessary to inform psychological operations personnel of the extent to which, and the specific ways in which the intended target audience is being reached and influenced. It provides an assessment of the relative success or failure of a PSYOP effort and the reasons why.

In addition to the study of the effectiveness of enemy propaganda efforts, effects analysis also assesses the effect of our own PSYOP effort on selected targets. In assessing our own efforts, effects analysis provides valuable feedback by post-testing concepts used in the PSYOP effort.

While I will talk mostly about feedback from interrogation reports of North Korean target audience members shortly after their departure from the target area, other indications of effectiveness have been noted in the evaluation process. For example, a systematic analysis of every article in the North Korean daily Labor Party newspaper for a period of ten months (a major undertaking) revealed a significant increase in certain types of propaganda that corresponded directly to the themes used in the South Korean leaflet program. A tremendous change was also noted in the North Korean balloon leaflet program in which North Korea copied both content and leaflet size/shape of the South Korean leaflets in its propaganda program aimed at the South Koreans.

In the program against North Korea there are recognized shortcomings brought about by certain considerations which will not be discussed here. Probably the five most important factors contributing to the successes achieved in this program are:

1) The "soft sell" approach. Normally, one might expect a harsh tone coming from the "enemy" in any exchange or one-sided dialogue with the "enemy." This is almost totally absent from this program, and accounts for much of the acceptance of the materials disseminated.

2) The large variety of leaflet messages disseminated on each mission. More than fifty different leaflet messages have been disseminated at one time. The procedure has been to prepare several thematic approaches (leaflets) for a single idea and repeat the process for several different ideas. This lessens the chance of target audience members finding duplicate copies of the same leaflet; increases the chance of target audience members finding several different leaflets; increases the problems of the Communist cadre countering the effects of a leaflet drop because of the wide range of information presented; and increases the chance of a target audience member being able to identify with a certain leaflet.

3) The concept of area targeting without regard to leaflet density. Most leaflet programs attempt to achieve a specific leaflet density and to accomplish this, the target is reduced in size, always resulting in more leaflets for less people. This program has gone on the assumption that in a strategic leaflet operation it is better to place 1,000,000 leaflets in an area where 250,000 people live than to place them in an area where 100,000 people live, regardless of leaflet density achieved on the ground.

4) The closed nature of the target audience society and its intense curiosity about “the outside world” especially about South Korea.

5) The comprehensive pretest program of all materials developed.

The scope and objectives of the program involved are not presented for security reasons. However, the actual quantity of leaflets disseminated over the five-year period involved is about equal to the quantity of leaflets disseminated throughout all of Vietnam in a two-week period at the peak of leafleting activity there. The first year's effort was less than that dropped on any two high altitude leaflet drops over North Vietnam prior to the bombing halt. The near absence of critical comments from former members of the target audience can be attributed to the comprehensive pretest procedure followed. In the early stages of the program, only a very small percentage of the leaflets prepared were used and these often underwent major revision. Rejection was always based upon obviously valid criticisms received in the pretest phase of development on matters that never occurred to production personnel because of the great difference in frames of reference of the Communist audience and non-Communist production personnel.

The following remarks are based upon reaction to the first five years of the program which started in 1964. Therefore, all items are dated in relation to the year in which it occurred, such as "in the third year," etc. Many of the comments were received from personnel who resided close to the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. This should not be interpreted to mean that leaflets only reach into North Korea for a very short distance. It reflects the fact that few people in North Korea have a chance of defecting and those close to the DMZ have the best chance and account for the greatest number. Leaflet drift of 136 miles from the nearest aircraft approach point has been confirmed and drift of 250 miles is claimed although no defectors have been received from the areas involved.


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.

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American and Western newspapers and publications
forged by the North Koreans to carry their propaganda
to South Korea and the West.

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Some envelopes bearing forged stamps and
watermarks produced by North Korea to send
their propaganda to South Korea and the West. 

North Korea made a concentrated effort to introduce Communist propaganda into the Republic of Korea concealed within counterfeited or genuine Free-World publications. The propaganda consists of denunciations of the Republic of Korea Government, speeches by North Korean leaders, articles on the unification of Korea 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 North Korea to Eastern Europe or France each month and from there to the Republic of Korea. By the mid-1960s fifty-seven such publications were known to South Korean intelligence. North Korea also counterfeited both U.S. and French stamps as part of this postal propaganda operation.

North Korea has also been accused of counterfeiting the currency of other nations, and specifically that of the United States. 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 been to help destabilize western economies.

The Leaflets

I thought it might be interesting to discuss the two major types of leaflets. I could use Military descriptions from field manuals of course but when I was asked about them, I always tried to give a very short and succinct answer. The first is the tactical leaflet. I would explain that this was usually for units directly in front of you. It was for nearby targets and was often time sensitive. You tried to make the enemy directly in front of you act in a certain way that was advantageous to your forces. It was prepared and disseminated quickly.

The strategic leaflet was just the opposite. It was long-range for the enemy government and civilians hundreds or thousands of miles away. It meant to change their mind in a more massive way, to change the way they think and act. It was for the long haul.

I mention Lieutenant Colonel Dave Underhill many times in this article. He was a bit of a mustang and the father of the mathematics of leafleting, writing the formulas for leaflets of different sizes and weight that would show where they would land and in what configuration. Dave wrote about the same two types of leaflets on several occasions. I have his handwritten notes. . His concepts will be far more insightful and complete than mine. He was a visionary:

The primary goal of tactical psychological operations is to produce an immediate reaction on the part of the target audience. It may be designed to cause the enemy to surrender, rally to the friendly side, or cause civilians to leave an area where operations are pending. The tactical leaflet may have a direct bearing on the physical condition of the target member by alluding to the fact that he is surrounded, faced with overwhelming odds, or subjected to superior firepower. In these instances, the threat of death is implied. As a safe conduct pass, the tactical leaflet offers an avenue of escape from a depressing situation and hope to the despairing who have come to believe their situation hopeless. The tactical leaflet is usually tied to a particular event or situation which makes the timing of its dissemination critical.

The strategic leaflet does not necessarily carry a theme that would produce immediate defection or bring about sudden dramatic changes in each situation. A strategic leaflet strives for the long-range effect. Its objective goes far beyond that of the tactical leaflet in that it aims at the gradual changing of attitudes and beliefs over a relatively long period of time. In some instances, the objective of a strategic leaflet can be the same as that of a tactical leaflet. For example, a defection appeal could be used in a strategic leaflet program as well as in a tactical program. However, the objectives of the strategic program, while essentially the same as those of the tactical program, would be realized over a much longer period, and by far more subtle means. By using a low-keyed approach and presenting the truth about a friendly country, it is possible to create doubt in the minds of the target audience. This initial doubt if continually reinforced by credible strategic propaganda can lead to further doubt, questioning of enemy domestic information programs, and finally the conviction that the friendly country has told the truth. The goal of a well-conducted strategic program is to have the target member convince himself over a period of time of the truth of the friendly message. Defection is by no means the only objective in strategic psychological operations. It may be the least desirable achievement. A United Nations Command representative in Korea made the comment that "we are better off with a million unhappy North Koreans in North Korea than a million unhappy North Koreans in South Korea." Creating dissatisfaction with a particular form of government or way of life can also be a primary goal and one that readily lends itself to the gradual processes of strategic psychological operations. It should be remembered that in many cases, the strategic leaflet is the only method of reaching vast numbers of people whose only other source of information is government-controlled propaganda.

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Because the leaflets were dropped over North Korea 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.  

Before we get heavy into the leaflets and their messages, I want to talk for just a moment of their size. Some of the leaflets are 8.5 x 2.75-inches. That is a good size and allows for several pictures and a long text message. Other leaflet are 6 x 3-inches, which was the standard size of a Vietnam leaflet and could still bear a picture and a more limited text. Some were 6 x 2.5-inches and it became very difficult to read the text, especially since some leaflets had long text which made the message almost unreadable. So why the different sizes?

The 7th PSYOP Group was supporting the Vietnam mission and printing millions of leaflets daily for the "shooting war." Because Vietnam had priority, it was difficult to meet the Jilli requirements. As a result, new smaller leaflets were tested. Smaller leaflets could be prepared more quickly, yielding more leaflets per pound, and thus more leaflets per aircraft. At a time when leaflet production was curtailed, the C-130 aircraft load jumped from 12.5 million to about 20 million leaflets. The smaller leaflets dropped slower, and the spread was worse which meant the aircraft might have to drop more than once to cover the same area. Still, with the smaller leaflets they could still meet the number they were expected to drop on North Korea.

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.

The "Pilots who Found Freedom" Series.

Leaflet 5-2

The American translation says that at the left of this leaflet, we see Major Lak Hyun Chung who defected to the Free South on 3 August 1960 with his MiG Aircraft. On the right we see Lieutenant Un Yong Lee and Major In Sun Lee who defected to the Free South on 21 June 1955. The Korean translation of the text is


On 3 August 1960, Jong Rak-hyon flew a MIG-15 to the ROK seeking freedom. Jong Rak-hyon, promoted to the rank of major in the Republic of Korea Air Force. 

A MIG-15 is depicted at the left. At the right the text:

On 21 June 1955, Lieutenant Colonel Ri Un-yong and Major Ri In-son flew a YAK-18 to freedom.

The text on the back is:


1. If you fly a MiG-21 and make a border crossing southward, you’ll get a 10 million won reward,
2. Not only can you go to university, but you can study overseas wherever you want,
3. You’ll get luxury housing,
4. All your wedding costs will be covered,
5. You can be promoted to a one-higher rank, transfer to the Republic of Korea Air Force and serve there as an officer!!


I posted this translation for a purpose. Immediately beneath the leaflet I show the American translation of the caption. Below that translation I show a Korean translation of the same leaflet. Notice how different the names are. I asked my Korean translator why there was a difference. He gave me a brief lesson on Korean:

The first thing you must bear in mind is that every system of Romanizing Korean is inherently imperfect, because the sound systems of the 2 languages are different. Next, Americans tend to put the surname last, rather than first, following Western naming conventions. Chung is simply another way to Romanize the characters which I have Romanized as Jong, following a different spelling convention. Rak-hyon has been spelled Lak Hyun by the Americans. I think they are both possible ways to write that Korean name in the Roman alphabet. I follow the convention of joining the two syllables of the personal name together with a hyphen, to show that they belong together. And that's how Jong Rak-hyon becomes Lak Hyun Chung.

Leaflet 5-3

This leaflet states that pilots who defect to the south with a MiG-21 will receive 10 million won as a reward, can attend college, or go abroad, will be given a modern house, have marriage expenses paid in full if they meet a woman they love, and be promoted one rank if they choose to be a South Korean fighter pilot.

Leaflet 5-4

At the end of the Korean War a defecting North Korean pilot flew his MiG-15 to South Korea. You can read more about this pilot in my “Operation Moolah” article. This was excellent propaganda for the west and the pilot was well-treated and came to America where he became a citizen and lived a fulfilling life. The Jilli operators wanted more of those pilots to fly south and prepared an entire series of leaflets that pictured them and their aircraft. Some examples are: leaflet 5-1 that depicted pilots Un Yong Lee, Lak Hyun Chong, and In Sun Lee; Leaflet 5-2 that depicted the MiG-15 of Lak Hyun Chong; Leaflet 5-3 that pictured MiG-21s and their pilots; Leaflet 5-4 that featured Second Lieutenant Lak Hyun Chong, his MiG, and his family after he found love in the South; Leaflet 5-5 pictured Captain Un Yong Lee and his Yak-18; Leaflet 5-6 that gave the special radio frequencies that defecting pilots could use to approach the South; Leaflet 5-7 told of the 10 Million Won reward that would be given to any defecting pilot; and Leaflet 5-8 depicted the three pilots and a MiG-15. The text was about the same in every case, mentioning the good life and many rewards any defecting pilot would receive. Besides the 10 Million Won, they would get a college education, a house, marriage expenses, and be promoted one rank if they wanted to fly for South Korea.

I chose to add images of  5-2, 5-3 and 5-4 because the images are the most interesting. The text on the front of 5-4 says in part:


Lak Hyun Chong, the former North Korean Senior Pilot (with rank of Second Lieutenant), 26th Air Regiment, 2nd Fighter Division, who flew a MiG -15 to the South on 3 August 1960 and for defecting was promoted to Major, Republic of Korea Air Force.

The Lieutenant is shown at the left with his MiG-15 at Daepori Air Base. He is then depicted at the right as a Major in his ROK aircraft. The back of the leaflet shows his MiG displayed in front of Seoul City Hall at the left and at right the Major with his new family. The text on the back is:

Courage + Defection = Discovery of Freedom and Happiness

Pilots who defect with their MiG-21 to South Korea will…

Receive 10 Million Won reward; Be admitted to college and allowed to go abroad; be provided with a modern house; be promoted to one higher rank and can serve in the Republic of Korea Air Force.

North Korea Replies

Leaflet 280816

I thought this would be a nice place to show the difference between leaflets with the same theme from South and North Korea. The leaflets from the South show the pilots, talk about their defection, maybe the way they live now, their freedom to move about, nothing overly political. The North Korean leaflets are usually a homage to the beloved leader of the country, whoever that is at the time. The text is quite different. In the leaflet above we see the defector covered with medals and walking with other South Korean defectors. This leaflet is from the personal collection of Hollen Song. The text is:

Monthly news from the North.
A transformation of life.
Yesterday and today.
(Former ROK Air Force Ace Pilot Warrant Officer Lee So-wi:
September 24, 1949, Monthly North Korean Flight).
Lee Myung-ho: Government Official, Hero of the Republic.

"The great Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung and dear Secretary Kim Jong-il have bestowed upon me, who had endured the humiliation and disgrace of being a colonial soldier in the lower ranks of the military, a truly autonomous human life. Truly, their embrace is like the embrace of a mother who takes charge of our destinies and future." 
- Lee Myung-ho

Lee Myung Ho enjoying a holiday with the families of South Korean defectors.

Farmers in Hwangnam Province

Another series of interesting leaflets that depicted North Koreans fighting with their Army while South Koreans were being helped by their Army were coded 5-11 to 5-15. If farmers in Hwangnam came to blows with the Army that would certainly have been kept a secret by North Korea. But every defector to the South was immediately brought to the Intelligence Section for debriefing. Clearly the Americans knew about the problems and printed a series of leaflets to take advantage of it. Each leaflet tells the farmers that the North Korean Army is not there to help but to make things more difficult, tax the farmer, steal from the farmer, and even take his water away. I depict leaflet 5-15 because it has the most violent scene of fighting. The text on the front is:

Farmers in Hwangnam Province clashed heads-on with the People’s Army troops

The people’s Army, which tried to oppress the farmers must be denounced

The text on the back says in part:

In 1968, Farmers in Hwangnam Province clashed heads-on with the People’s Army troops. This incidence occurred when the People’s Army troops tried by force to take the farmer’s irrigation water. How could the People’s Army, which is said to serve the people, rob the farmers of irrigation water instead of helping them?

The Hostile Acts of North Korea Troops Series


Soldiers in the South continue to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Armistice Agreement

In general, all the Jilli leaflets are entirely numerical. There are exceptions to this rule. In 1967 and 1968 there were a series of leaflets with the same general concept. They spoke about actions by the enemy forces. There were at least thirteen leaflets in 1967 all with the same title coded from S-1-67 to S-13-67, and there could be more. The following year another group was coded S-1-68 to S-19-68, and again, there could be more. I have found one leaflet coded SP-9-67. I assume that more exist.

The first series is all text and for the most part I will just give a general synopsis of what they say. The first five 1967 leaflet are just text, not a single image. They are dated 24 April 1967. Some of the 1968 "S" leaflets feature the image of a North Korean spy or infiltrator. The first paragraph of S-1-67 says:

During the past few months, North Korean troops have increasingly committed hostile acts in the Sothern part of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), in fragrant violation of the armistice agreement. You should be aware that all these provocations by North Korean troops occurred south of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and each of these armed intrusions into the territory of the Republic of Korea on aggressive missions was defeated by the strong defensive posture and vigilance maintained by the military forces of the South. Evidence has shown that armed North Korean personnel have been sent south of the MDL for deliberate and planned attempts to inflict casualties on the military troops of the South. Your ensuing losses are the result of purely defensive action on our part.

S-2-67 mentions more hostile acts in the DMZ and says in the third paragraph, "Already the fragrant armistice violations which your leaders have conceived and ordered executed have resulted in the death south of the MDL for several of your soldiers."

S-3-67 has six paragraphs on the same subject and ends, "The consequences of continued acts of aggression are the responsibility of your leaders and will only be detrimental to your best interests."

S-4-67 depicts the dates of 7 hostile acts. Some of them are:

3 February 1967 – North Korean troops came I kilometer south of the DMZ and became engaged in a fire fight. 1 North Korean soldier killed, 1 captured.

5 April 1967 – three North Korean troops killed 170 meters south of the DMZ.

13 April 1967 – Four North Korean troops killed 400 meters south of the MDL.

S-5-67- The same complaints about the North Korean troops coming south. This one has three long paragraphs The leaflet opens with the charge that "Your leaders have instigated 46 armed intrusions on the south side of the MDL between 1 January and 12 April this year."

The Guerrilla and Spy Series 

Leaflet S-2-68

During the Korean War from 1950-1953 as the front lines moved back and forth the North Koreans regularly left spies and agents behind. As the war neared end and the North Koreans were pushed back to their original border, there were literally thousands of spies and armed forces left behind hiding in the forests and mountains. Dozens of leaflets were addressed to them offering safe conduct. Some defected, most did not. There was one major offensive called “Rat Killer” employed against the guerrillas that was very successful. Now we look decades ahead to the Cold War period and there still were guerrillas in the mountains, and agent crossing the border through hidden tunnels to come to the south and do mischief, and even assassinations. The U.S. prepared some leaflets in a series coded “S” that addressed these enemy forces.

S-1-68 was disseminated on 29 February 1968. It discussed protection of the people of the South from Enemy agents. It is all text so I will not depict it, but the most interesting aspects of its message is asking the public to keep an eye out for anyone that looks suspicious. It states that article 11 of the Republic of Korea anti-Communist law stipulates that citizens who report or capture a North Korean agent will receive a reward of 200,000 Won and are eligible to receive as much as 500,000 Won in “recompense.”

S-2-68 was disseminated 11 March 1968 and targets the North Korean agents and guerrillas. It bears the picture of, and letter from, Hong Sa-chang who tells of being trained as an agent and sent South in December 1967 He wisely turned himself in to the police. His group leader Sung Ki-chang fought the South Korean troops and was killed and Lee Kong-sun, a member of the group was captured. He tells his ex-comrades:

Do not be deceived by the false claim of the Labor Party that you will be executed if you surrender! Turn yourself in and seek freedom and happiness! Death is the fate of those agents who do not turn themselves in. I advise you to turn yourself in and find a new life.

S-3-68 was disseminated on 11 March 1968 and bears a picture of, and a statement from Kim Shin-jo who tells the agents that all escape to the north has been cut off and they must surrender or die. He had infiltrated with 30 other North Koreans in January 1969. They had been found by the South Korean troops and 27 were killed and he was captured. He believed the remaining few men either died of their wounds in the mountains or starved to death. He concludes:

Now I realize that I was incredibly lucky to be captured and to be the only survivor of the 31-man group. I strongly advise you to turn yourselves in and find the light that others have found and enjoy a life of freedom.

There are at least fourteen more of the "S" leaflets from 1968. I think the three I have translated give the reader a good idea of the type of message on these leaflets.

Leaflet SP-9-67

While searching through folders of leaflets I found one single leaflet that had an "SP" code. It was all text and very long. Once again it mentions North Korean violations of the DMZ:

To the people of North Korea!

Your people in power are hiding all the facts about their aggressive and provocative actions against South Korea. They are afraid that you will find out the truth and that you will resent them as their husbands and children become victims of their irresponsible actions.

All these facts, as declared by the chief representative of the UN Command Military Armistice Committee to the communist representative at the recent Panmunjom meeting, are as follows. The Armistice Agreement calls for an end to all hostile acts and requires both sides to respect the entire Korean territory under military management of both sides, including the Demilitarized Zone.

North Korea's frequent violations of the Armistice Agreement, which began in October 1966, are the most dangerous situation that has occurred since the Armistice Agreement was established. Since October 15, 1966, North Korea committed numerous violations of the Armistice Agreement, such as armed attacks, sabotage, and indirect and murderous acts, and all these violations were committed south of the Demilitarized Zone. As a result of these violations, 162 North Korean personnel were arrested or killed in the southern part of the Demilitarized Zone. All these facts are true and are based on clear evidence from the South Korean axis. Your people in power are pro-South Korean criminals.

Due to the refusal to accept the bodies of many murdered North Korean personnel, their bodies have been buried in South Korea even though they should have been returned to their families.

How are those in power explaining to you the fate of these children who are missing or have not returned? Of course, our side truly regrets this fact, which inevitably resulted in loss of life. However, it is an unavoidable measure that our side has no choice but to take for the purpose of defending our soldiers in the face of provocative acts caused by those in power.

We will never allow our soldiers to be killed due to the flagrant violation of the armistice agreement that your people in power call. This is due to the right to self-defense, which is a basic law in interpersonal relationships.

Any North Korean soldier, spy, or murderer who crosses the armistice line by land or sea at any time and by any means will be caught and killed or arrested. Have your people in power ever informed you of all these facts that we said at the recent military junta pre-committee meeting?

This is not to say that you are going through a difficult time. You are still going through a difficult life. Demand those in power to stop their irresponsible behavior immediately and devote their time, energy, and effort to solving all problems that will lead to a better life for you. Please immediately stop this senseless provocative act against South Korea and resolve not to make any more victims.

[Note]: Retired Major Ed Rouse told me about the fighting in and below the DMZ:

I was the S2 for the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea in 1992. I watched a slide show that consisted of photos of killed North Korean soldiers/spies who were caught crossing the DMZ and killed by the Republic of Korea military. The purpose of the briefing was to let soldiers know that although an armistice had been signed 20 years earlier, the war was not over and that being assigned up near the DMZ was serious business.

A second anecdote tells of a young Lieutenant who decided to run a training exercise for his men in Korea. Unfortunately, he did not think it through and it went bad. We have no knowledge of the result of this affair, as it all gets sent upstairs and is handled far above your paygrade. It seems that no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone who doesn’t understand how serious and volatile the situation is between the North and South Koreans:

While I was stationed in Korea, a young Lieutenant in another unit thought it would be a good idea to get a North Korean Army soldier’s uniform and an AK-47 rifle from Training Aids, and have a South Korean soldier wear the uniform. His intention was to use this training to teach his platoon how to capture and search an enemy prisoner, a skill rather important for an infantryman. The Lieutenant drove the South Korean soldier, now dressed in a North Korean uniform and carrying fake North Korean documents as well as an AK-47 rifle, into the woods near the DMZ. He then instructed the soldier to hide in the bushes and jump out when he heard the Lieutenant’s patrol, at which time they would capture and search the “North Korean infiltrator.” The Lieutenant briefed his patrol in advance that this was just training and that the soldier wearing a North Korean uniform that they would soon come across was in fact a South Korean soldier. However, He did NOT brief the Korean infantry patrol that accidently found the “infiltrator” in the woods on one of their regular sweeps. When he jumped up, dressed in the North Korean uniform and carrying an AK-47, they did not hesitate to shoot, killing him instantly. When the lieutenant arrived with his patrol, he found the South Korean army patrol looking through the captured documents and celebrating the kill of an infiltrating spy. I am not sure what happened to the lieutenant, but it is safe to say that his military career was over, and he was facing charges and a bleak future.

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The genuine 1 won North Korean banknote

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Leaflet 41 - The Jilli Reproduction Banknote and Safe Conduct Pass

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 Republic of Korea National Flag in full color, a message indicating it was a Safe Conduct Pass, and the signature of the Chairman of the Joint Military Staff, Republic of 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 North Korea, 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 Pyongyang with closest aircraft approach of 110 miles. Drops occurred from altitudes up to 25,000 feet using C-130 aircraft.

The banknote leaflet is known in two versions. Two are almost identical with the only change being the signature of the Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republic of Korea.

The second banknote Safe Conduct Certificate was printed on 2 July 1968 and coded S-10-68. The text on the back said: 

To Soldiers of the People’s Army:

This Republic of Korea Safe Conduct Certificate provides you with an opportunity for a new life. Bear in mind that your present toil will never change until the Communist regime collapses. Why should you give up your happiness? Defect to the South without hesitation! When you defect, this certificate will guarantee your personal safety when shown to a Republic of Korea soldier or United Nations Serviceman. We will warmly welcome you. You will be rewarded with money, employment, housing, and freedom. Your safety is guaranteed with or without this leaflet.

General, Republic of Korea
Chief of Staff

Other safe conduct certificates were stored in various secret locations in the unlikely event that renewal of hostilities on the Korean peninsula occurs once again.

What was the result of these leaflets? Several 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 Museum in Kaesong. 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.

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 North Korea. 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:

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 salesclerk accepted the bogus one won note without looking at the reverse side.  He chastised her severely.

There were numerous other safe conduct passes, all similar in text and image.

A Safe Conduct Pass coded 1984

This beautiful full color safe conduct pass depicts the flag of the Republic of Korea and flower branches facing upward at the sides. The text at the top is:

Safe Conduct Pass to be honored by all Republic of Korea Forces and Allied Troops

This Safe Conduct Pass provides you SALKIL [Way to Survive]

At the left and right of the flag is the same text:

Safe Conduct Pass

The back is all text:


To the People’s Army: This Republic of Korea Safe Conduct Pass offers you a new chance for your life. provides you with an opportunity for a new life. Do not hesitate and come to the South. On your way to the South if you show this pass to members of the Republic of Korea soldiers or Allied troops your safety will be guaranteed. We will warmly welcome you. You will be offered a settlement fund, occupation, house, and freedom. Even if you do not carry this pass, your safety is guaranteed.

President Park Chong-hee

An undated and uncoded Safe Conduct Pass

Since we are mentioning Safe Conduct Passes, I thought I would show one that has no code. It is also not dated so my impression is that the pass was prepared and stored away to be used at some future time when it would be needed. In other words, a standardized pass to be used in time of war. My files show that the code for this item was SCP (Certainly for Safe Conduct Pass). The front depicts the South Korean flag but the flowering branches now face down. The text is:

Safe Conduct Pass to be honored by all Republic of Korea Forces and Allied Troops

This Safe Conduct Pass provides you SALKIL

The back is all text:


To soldiers of the People’s Army: This Republic of Korea Safe Conduct Certificate provides you with an opportunity for a new life. Defect to the South without hesitation. When you defect, this certificate will guarantee your personal safety when shown to any Republic of Korea soldier or United Nation’s soldier. We will warmly welcome you. You will be rewarded with money, employment, housing, and freedom. Your safety is guaranteed with or without this leaflet.

                                                                                                President Park Chong-hee 

Leaflet 590084 - A Very Fancy North Korean Safe Conduct Pass

During WWII the United States prepared a very fancy safe conduct pass for the Germans. It looked like a diploma with various seals and signatures. The reason was the American belief that the Germans would give more attention to an official document. My friend Hollen Song found this North Korean safe conduct pass which seems to use the same technique. It is very fancy, on good stock and colorful and contains official symbols. He says about the pass:

A very beautiful and attractive safe North Korean Safe Conduct pass form the mid to late 1980s.  This leaflet is printed on high quality cardstock and has the consistency of a postcard.  It promises safe passage to ROK soldiers who cross over into North Korea.

The text on the back of the safe conduct pass is:

To the Republic of Korea soldiers who voluntarily enter the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, ~, ensure their genuine democratic rights and freedoms as citizens of the Republic, ~, highly evaluate their positions, regardless of past circumstances, for patriotic actions ~, when they bring weapons and combat technology or provide military confidential information, grant rewards and special compensation according to their merit ~, provide free education to universities and researchers according to their aspirations and pay specified scholarships ~, arrange jobs according to their abilities and aptitudes, provide housing free of charge, and ensure stable living conditions ~, and, if they wish to serve in the military, promote them according to their merits and incorporate them into the Korean People's Army (as decided by the Military Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea). 

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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 Underhill told me about when the United States first decided to get involved with leafleting North Korea 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.”

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 North Korea 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.

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.

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A Monument to the National Animal of North Korea
A winged horse that does not exist

Underhill continues:

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.

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Leaflet 108

North Korea erected a statue honoring Chollima.  It stands on a pedestal higher than that on which the Statute of Liberty 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.

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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?”


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Leaflet 22

This cartoon leaflet depicts a North Korean soldier thinking about his family. The text is:

Are you concerned about your family?

How much grain do you think was given to your family last harvest?

Maybe it ran out already. If it did what will you do?

The back of the leaflet is all text:

It is a Korean tradition for the family members of a house to help each other.

What are you doing now for your family?

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Leaflet 31-65

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.

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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 doesn’t know the great sea.

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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?

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Welcome back…

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?

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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?


Leaflet 83

This leaflet depicts the waterfront and a handsome cargo ship on the front. The back features a city scene with buses. The text on the front is:

Korea's maritime transportation advances in the emerging shipbuilding industry.

In Korea, industrial development is balanced. An example is the development of the shipbuilding industry.

Many large Korean ships handle overseas cargo, spurring the nation's export industry.

The text on the back is:

The economic development of South Korea and the increase in people's activities develop transport, spurring automobile production.

Seoul’s busy Namdaemun Street.

Small buses called “hapsung cars” are made by private small and medium-sized enterprises scattered across the country.

[Translator’s note]: With the 5-year economic development plan in the 1960s, the Korean economy grew and the demand for ships increased. In response. Domestic shipbuilding companies built ships but due to a lack of technology and capital, they were not able to meet the demand. Korea’s shipbuilding technology advanced at a rapid rate when the Korean government focused on fostering the shipbuilding industry in the early 1970s and opened the Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan Shipyard in 1972, the world’s largest.


Leaflet 153

This leaflet tells the North Koreans about the fashion industry in the South. We see women wearing and designing the clothes, and on the back the clothes are made and bought. The text on the front is:

South Korean dress makers show off new clothes.

Even if it is made of the same fabric, if the appearance is not good, the clothes will look cheap. South Koreans like people of other free nations, place great importance in the appearance of their clothes.

The clothes made after research are judged by the public through expert costume presentations.

South Korean women learn how to make clothes at the Yangjae Academy.

The text on the back is:

Fabrics for both men and women's clothing.

In South Korea, there are various small and affordable markets scattered all over the country, which are contributing to improving the people's standard of living.

Jeil Mozik Co., Ltd., is renowned both domestically and internationally for its quality fabrics.

Leaflet 157

This leaflet talks about the lumber industry in South Korea. The front shows trees being cleaned and prepared for sale as fine lumber. The back show sheets of wood for sale and some fine wood product for sale in a store:

Korea's International Industries.

South Korea is importing timber through expanded trade activities with many free allied countries and producing various wooden products in large quantities in numerous factories. These products are supplied to meet various demands, including interior decorations for buildings. The picture is of the Dongmyeong Wood Industry Co., Ltd. in Busan.

Under a free market economy, industries are set to develop and prosper.

The text on the back is:

Household Wooden Products.

As the standard of living improves for both men and women, the quality of various products is also being significantly enhanced. This is because manufacturers are engaged in continuous competition.

Products produced in factories like this are widely used in making furniture.


Leaflet 158

This is one of the smaller 6 x 2.5-inches leaflets. The text is very crowded and the paper is such that the ink bleeds through slightly on both sides so the text is hard to read and the pictures are not clear. This is not an attractive leaflet. The theme is the affluent housing condition in the Republic of Korea. The leaflet was prepared om 16 May 1966. The front of the leaflet depicts children at the top and a housewife below at home. The back features a photograph of a new village at top and a happy family at the bottom. The text on the front of the leaflet is:

South Korean children are healthy because they are provided with good, clean, modern housing.

God housing provides added incentives to housewives in their homemaking. Some South Korean housewives embroider tablecloths, pillow covers, and other items to decorate their home furnishings.

The text on the back is:


In cities, one can select the type of housing one desires from wide selections of housing, including apartment houses, Korean-styled tiled-roof houses, combination Korean-western style houses, etc.

To satisfy demands for housing, approximately 10,000 families are provided with newly constructed modern houses each year in South Korea. This photograph shows one view of the newly constructed “Cultural Villages” at Suyuri on the outskirts of Seoul.

A family enjoys music at home.

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Leaflet 503

The cartoon shows 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.

Isn’t 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…

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Leaflet 173

Leaflet 173 depicts a North Korean farmer’s family sitting out in the field. Their clothes are patched and although a basket of freshly picked corn is on the ground by them, the wife seems hungry and dreams of cooking a heaping pot of food. The farmer looks over his shoulder and sees miles of wheat growing as far as the eye can see. He must have been evicted from some of that good land because he thinks “eviction notice.” The title is:

What are your thoughts?

The farmer thinks:

Eviction notice...When will we be able to leave the back woods and farm in nice open workable fields?

Over those bountiful fields is the text:

We are all the same farmers of the North.

The all-text message on the back is:

What do you think about the fact that there are farmers who are discriminated and put in poor fields, forced to only eat corn and potatoes despite North Korea claims that all people are equally wealthy?

It is worth noting that even today the North Korean's staple diet is corn and potatoes.

Leaflet 174

The theme of this leaflet is, “North Korea is doing poorly, South Korea is doing better, come over here, or overthrow your government. The front seems to show farmers unhappy with their rent and how much of their crops the get to keep. The first panel shows a poor North Korean farming family on a cooperative farm talking about their economic position. Some of the text is:

The peculiar situation of northern farmers during the end of the year distribution period

Mum, how much did we get in the distribution?

So, we starve again this year!

[Sign] XX Cooperative Farm
[Thought balloon] Social-cultural life fund contributions!
Agricultural machinery charges!
Fertilizer trading fees!
Free purchase procurement!
Debt from the credit union!

The back is all text:

How can a socialist society in which all people live equally have differential rents?

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Leaflet 175

This leaflet depicts two young North Koreans thinking about what an unhappy life they have in the North. They are unable to move without papers and permission. They envision a more modern North Korea, identified by the statue of Chollima, the horse that travels a thousand miles before the day is done, with freedom of movement. The title at the top is:

Why can’t you change your residence freely?

The young man at the left appears to have no job and says:

I wonder when I'll be able to escape this place!

His friend to the right makes the point is made that people have been thrown out of their homes in the past:

Wake up; do you think the party will give you permission? You know full well that Comrade Chairman Rhee has quit evicting guys like you!!

The man at left replies:

You're right. Fat chance they'll trust a fool like me

The back of the leaflet is all text and seems to be enticing farmers into the towns and making farming seem mundane and unattractive:

North Korean farmers! Wouldn't you rather prefer to work in a factory in the city than doing the same old farm work?

Leaflet 176

This leaflet depicts three young men walking away from the farm while their women stay and work. Apparently, the men are forced to attend numerous useless political meetings and as a result the women are forced to work. The text is:

North Korean women farmers, do you really think you are happy?

Only women suffer from overwork!

All-Village Party Conference<
Management Committee Meeting

Work Group Leader Meeting
Socialist Youth League Meeting
Hobby Group Organizers Training

The text on the back is:

What has the law on gender equality brought to North Korean women?

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Leaflet 177

This cartoon leaflet depicts a group of students wanting to get into a Government school at the far right. The translation is rough from old PSYOP members that spoke Korean in the past. One student says to another:

This school is very hard to get into…

At the left a flunky whispers into the ear of a surly Communist official who is selecting students for the school:

Do not hesitate to prevent the student from going to school if he is not from the right family.

The official wonders if the student is from a correct family with a Party affiliation. He asks:

What does your father do?

There is a short all-text message on the back of the leaflet that says that in North Korea, the schools are restricted based on family, social or Communist Party standing. In South Korea everyone is offered equal education regardless of their social condition.

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.

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Jilli leaflet 120

500,000 copies of the President Park Chung-hee leaflet was developed in Korea with the assistance of the Republic of Korea Army PSYOP staff. The Koreans internal code was KD-1-66. 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) Park’s 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.

The text on the front is:



The text on back as translated in a document prepared by the 7th PSYOP Group on Okinawa:


My Dear brethren in North Korea,

On this New Year, I sincerely extend my best wishes to all of you. For twenty years now our brethren have been living divided into North and South. I deeply regret that we have come to another year without having achieved our long-cherished desire for unification.

But I am confident that you will ultimately be freed from the red chains that restrict your freedom and that the day of reunification will finally come. Your brothers in the south have been preparing for the day when you come into the "bosom of freedom."

Having achieved a dramatic development at home and abroad, especially in the past few years, the Republic of Korea, your fatherland, is now a proud and happy nation. Thus, we have been strengthening the foundation for unification.

I trust that in the new year you will make further efforts for the unification of our fatherland and the freedom of our people and win out over Communist dictatorship.

January 1, 1966
President Chung Hee Park


Leaflet 202

One year later in 1967 a second leaflet depicting President Park was printed. This one was in black and white and not quite as attractive as the first Park portrait. The text on the front is:


The text on the back is:


Dear North Korean compatriots!

As we welcome a new year of hope, I offer warm blessings to all of our people and to our compatriots in North Korea.

Looking back, over the past year, your country, the Republic of Korea, has brought about economic prosperity internally by successfully concluding the first five-year economic development plan, and externally through various events, including the "Asia-Pacific Regional Ministerial Conference" held in Seoul. By hosting international conferences and improving our country's international status, we achieved a new "Pacific Era."

This is the reward achieved through the consistent sweat of your parents and brothers in the south to further advance the path of national unification, which is the people's wish.

Dear North Korean compatriots!

Your homeland, the Republic of Korea, which is becoming a proud and blessed country day by day, is fully prepared to liberate you from the shackles of communism and welcome the "second liberation."

In any case, this year too, I ask you to work harder for the unification and freedom of your country with the patience to overcome all misfortunes, and I hope that God's protection will always be with you in your future.

President Park Chung-hee

Unidentified Park Chung-hee Leaflet

I have only seen the front of this leaflet so I do not know the code number. Unfortunately, as so often happens in military units, this book covering certain Jilli code numbers was loaned out to another unit and never returned. It is just good luck that I have the other two books in that series. On the front of this Leaflet Park mentions North Korean violations:

President Park Chung-hee

A message to our compatriots in North Korea

Dear North Korean compatriots:

As we welcome the new year of 1969, on behalf of the entire nation, I offer greetings of hope and blessings to our compatriots in North Korea. Although we are of the same blood, it has been 24 years since we have been divided by the tragedy of history. Since then, cities have been industrialized and rural areas are modernized.

However, in North Korea, Kim Il-sung's group is further strengthening its dictatorship to maintain its power under him, and even more viciously, it is boasting of all kinds of atrocities to destroy our economy and purification by introducing armed guerrillas to the South. Armed communists who infiltrated the Jinsamcheok district of Ulsan in November 1968 massacred civilians, stoned a mother with a two-year-old infant to death, and even killed a seven-year-old boy for saying, "I hate the Communist Party." Killing people for words from their mouths.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea has overcome many difficulties and is now growing into a country of freedom and prosperity that is envied around the world. Our persistent pursuit to achieve our nation's long-cherished wish of a prosperous homeland and national regeneration is finally bearing fruit.

A second Unidentified Park Chung-hee Leaflet

Once again, we have the front of a leaflet featuring President Park. The code number is usually on the back of leaflets like this. The front is a short greeting.

President Park Chung-hee

A message to send to our North Korean Compatriots.

Dave Underhill mentions a comment by a North Korean defector:

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 241

President Park is also mentioned in this small 6 x 2.5-inch leaflet. It is loaded with photographs and text so the average North Korean probably had a difficult time reading it. The text is very long so I will only translate parts of it:


On 3 May the Sixth Republic of Korea Presidential election was held through the democratic process of secret balloting. The election was conducted in a calm and fair atmosphere and 84% of the voting population participated. In the Republic of Korea, the freedom of abstention from voting is also guaranteed. Seven candidates representing different parties ran for president. Each pledged to further national development and to further improve living conditions. The opposition candidates were even allowed to sharply criticize current government policies…

The back of the leaflet has four photographs of the actual election and says in part:


Are your elections carried out like this?

Contrary to the situation in North Korea in which people are forcibly mobilized for voting when gongs are clanged by government officials, the Republic of Korea people voluntarily come to the polls to exercise their precious voting right.

The voters enter a polling booth which is partitioned with cotton cloth and wooden panels. They may secretly cast their votes by marking an O on the ballot card under the name of the candidate they wish to elect. The voting process is finished when the voter puts his ballot into the ballot box. Nobody but the voter knows who he voted for.

The Diplomatic Expansion of the Republic of Korea

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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:


In 1965, 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 nation’s King.

The text on the back is:


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 South Korea 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.

The 7th PSYOP Group kept notes on the assassination attempt and they are certainly more accurate than the story written by the newspaper. They state that on 13 January 1968, 31 members of the 124th Guerrilla Unit were ordered by Lieutenant General Kim Chung Tae to go to Seoul and cut off the head of President Park. They were honored to be given that mission and to liberate the desperate South Koreans who had invaded their country in 1950, lived in poverty, were regularly raped, beaten and murdered by the South Korean Army and the Americans, and were starving, having no jobs, food, clothing or electricity in their homes. By 17 January they were in Kaesong, where they were briefed by Colonel Lee Jae Hyung. They were told their route into South Korea, local guides who had cut the wires in advance, and divided into 6-man teams. They all received uniforms of the 26th ROK division as a disguise. Each man had a machine gun, a pistol, 300 rounds of ammunition and eight grenades. The final touch was a razor-sharp nine-inch dagger with which to cut off Park’s head. Their indoctrination caused them to make a major mistake. They ran into some woodcutters, but because they had been taught that the people in the South loved them as liberators and hated their own government, they let them live. The woodcutters immediately contacted the police. The teams split up and used different routes to Park’s “Blue House,” and were to meet for the attack at 2200. They ran into Army units that had been alerted of their presence and during the running gunfight that carried on all through the night, the guerrillas killed 26 ROK soldiers, Two American soldiers, two policemen, and eight civilians. 28 guerrillas were either killed in the battle or committed suicide by grenade to avoid capture as they had been told to do. Two disappeared into the woods and their bodies were never found. One guerrilla was captured, Lieutenant Kim Shim-jo who gave himself up claiming that after seeing well-dressed and well-fed South Koreans, their clothes, homes, shops and automobiles he realized that he had been lied to by Kim Il-sung.

Leaflet 145

This 1966 leaflet depicts President Park and his wife in Thailand on the front and visiting a cooking school and meeting children on the back. The rationale for this leaflet was that international diplomatic activities of the Republic of Korea are more active and broader that those of the North Korean regime. The ROK has established diplomatic relations  with a total of 75 counties of the world, whereas the North Korean regime has diplomatic relations with only 31 Communist and non-aligned nations. The text on the front is left to right:


President Park receives Thailand’s highest medal from King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The President of the Republic of Korea, as a chief of a foreign nation, received the greatest welcome in the history of Thailand.

President and Mrs. Park greet the nobility of Thailand at their reception.

The text on the back is:

First Lady Ruk Yong Soo and Quenn Sirikit of Thailand visit a Thai cooking school.


President Park Chung Hi of the Republic of Korea is accompanied by 32 officials, including the Vice Premier, concurrently the Economic Planning Board Minister, and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Public Information, during his visit to Southeast Asian countries in February 1966.

Korean children living in Thailand greet President and Mrs. Park during their state visit to Thailand.

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Leaflet 449 front

By coincidence I noticed that Lieutenant Kim Shim-jo was depicted along with two comrades from the 124th Guerrilla Unit after the October 1968 assassination attempt on President Park mentioned below. Kim is in the center, at his left is Lieutenant Chung Tong-chunh and at the right Second Lieutenant Ko Deung-un. The text is:

These men did not choose to seek SALKIL [A new Life] and suffered the wrath of the very people they thought they had come to help.

You have been told your mission in the South is to help the people. Observe the people, their attitudes, and the economic and political situation. The people will show you the way to SAKHIL. The decision will be yours.

The back depicts the names of members of the 124th Army Unit on the front of the leaflet.

Former Lieutenant Kim Shin-jo, the leader of the 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, 1st company, the 6th Base of the 124th Army Unit (In the middle).

Former Lieutenant Chung Tong-chun, a member of the 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 10th company, the 1st Base of the 124th Army Unit (At the left).

Former Second Lieutenant Ko Deung-un, the leader of the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, 9th company, the 1st Base of the 124th Army Unit (At the right).

Born in the North to Die in the South

The title above was used in Vietnam to warn the North Vietnamese soldiers coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail that they would soon be dead. Some of the troops wrote that saying on their undershirts. One American leaflet used this saying as a headline. The text that went along with it was:


This soldier is one of the many thousand Northern soldiers who have died in the South so far.

Tens of thousands of families in the North no longer hear from their dead sons in the Army. THEIR SONS ARE DEAD. This is the fate of those who are sent south. Because of the overwhelming strength of the South Vietnamese Army and Allied forces, the Communist infiltrators in the South are faced with total defeat. Only those who leave the Communist ranks in time will survive to be reunited with their families in the North someday.

Robert W. Chandler says in The War of Ideas: The U.S. Propaganda Campaign in Vietnam, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1981, "Another attempt to reinforce the enemy's fear of death that went awry was the use of brutally macabre leaflets. Photographs and sketches of a head torn from a body, a mass grave, or a skull roasting in flames were used to scare Communist troops into giving up. Others depicted battlefield dead with flies crawling over them and grotesque corpses with twisted limbs showing advanced stages of rigor mortis. As early as 1967, however, it became evident that these appeals failed to impress the enemy and had little effect on their decision to rally (defect). In fact, a reverse or 'boomerang' effect resulted from the use of such leaflets: Many hoi chanh (Viet Cong who had already defected to the national government) felt that these grisly pictures reflected unfavorably on the Republic because the government seemed to be gloating over the deaths of fellow Vietnamese." Chandler says later, "Death themes were repeated over and over in virtually all enemy-oriented communications.

So, the United States knew that these pictures of dead troops did not work, and they had told their PSYOP troops. It did not matter. The troops loved them and believed they scared the Hell out of the enemy.

Jilli leaflets were being dropped about the same time as the Vietnam war and North Korea was sending spies and saboteurs south and the Republic of Korea soldiers were killing them. As a result, there are perhaps a dozen Jilli leaflets that depict dead North Korean spies that were caught and killed. Here are a few of them.

Leaflet 433

This leaflet depicts a dead North Korean agent on the left and a live North Korean agent at the right. The back of the leaflet shows 32 coffins of North Korean agents killed 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."

Leaflet 450

This leaflet is addressed to members of the North Korean 753rd Army Unit. One side depicts a soldier that tried to fight his way out of the battle. The other side depicts some happy soldiers that gave up and lived. The text on the side with the body is:


We know you undergo hard training every day. We know also that the Labor Party will dispatch you to the south as soon as the training is over, and we are ready to meet you. But the choice of how we meet you is yours. It is no trouble to dig a grave. We are only sorry that you might find your death here only for a lie of the Labor Party when you could just as easy find your SALKIL.

Look and think while you can still see and breathe!

PHOTO CAPTION: A member of the 753rd Unit who was killed after landing on Hosa Island on 21 August 1968. He did not turn himself in, rather he resisted and was killed.

The text on the side with the defector is:


SALKIL is provided for North Korean agents. Turn yourselves in or surrender as soon as you are dispatched to the Republic of Korea. That is your only SALKIL. The Republic of Korea government greets surrendered agents as proud citizens of the ROK, and helps them to start a new life, regardless of their past.

Will you choose death by giving up your life, or will you choose a free and happy life as many surrendered agents as Han Hong-suk, Jung Jang-ryul and Lee Duk-ryong have done? To be or not to be, it solely depends upon yourselves.

PHOTO CAPTION: From right, Han Hong-suk (Former agricultural economic professor of Shinuiju Communist College), Lee Duk-ryong (Fomer production director of the Hwanghae Ironworks, Songrim, Hwanghae Province), Jung Jang-ryul (former miner of the dukchun Coal Mine, Pyungnam Province) and Kim Suk-yong (former vice chief of Organization Division of Unjun District's Party Committee, Pyungbuk Province). They turned themselves in together on 6 August 1966 and sought their SALKIL.

Note: Salkil means a way to survive or a new life.

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Leaflet 451 back

This leaflet depicts the dead bodies of more members of the North Korean 124th Guerrilla Unit who infiltrated into South Korea on 30 October 1968. There does not seem to be much longevity for members of this unit. The text is:

To Members of the 124th Army Unit:

This is a picture of your dead bodies.

Of course, they are members of the 124th Army Unit, killed after being infiltrated into the south on 30 October 1968. It is certain that you will be sent to the South within a few days. It is also clear that you will be killed after being sent South.Your dead bodies will not be any different than theirs.

The back of the leaflet depicts three members of the 124th that defected in the south and says in part:


Why does the Communist Party train you? It is to infiltrate you into the South. The Communist Party trains many North Korean youths to dispatch them to the south to disturb the economic progress of the Republic of Korea, and to claim false propaganda that an uprising against the Republic of Korea Government is occurring in the South.

Were North Korean youths infiltrated into the South in the past? The Communist Party sent many members of the 124th Army Unit to the South on 21 January and 30 October 1968. All of them except for a few were killed…

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 Japan. 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.

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.

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Leaflet 152

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:


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 nation’s shipping industries and docks.

This large ship is contributing to the trading industry of the South Korean nation.

Leaflet 130

Sometimes due to shortages or other reasons different papers were used to print leaflets. This leaflet was printed on a greenish paper, and I thought the readers might be interested in seeing it. The front of the leaflet depicts students reading in schools and in libraries. The back of the leaflet features boys and girls reading and a national university. The text on the front is:


In South Korea, there is a wealth of material available for students, teachers, and the public to study and learn about various human ideologies.

Public and private libraries at all levels are stocked with various books on all subjects.

And there is freedom.

The text on the back is:

A glimpse of the Seoul National University library collection.

The Sookmyung Girls’ High School Teacher's Library.

A Panoramic view of Namsan Library, newly built in 1964.

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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:

Our Roads

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 people’s 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.

The filed photograph of the Han River Bridge above

The 7th PSYOP Group technical photograph of the bridge seems quite different than the leaflet image. I assume they took the picture to decide if it should be added, and then edited it in a way to fit the leaflet.

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Jilli Leaflet 140

The front of this 7 July 1966 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.

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Leaflet 146

Jilli Leaflet 146 (probably prepared in 1967) depicts apartment buildings in South Korea and compares them with living conditions in North Korea. Some of the Propaganda text is:

The interior of the apartments are designed for personal comfort. There are separate rooms for Bath 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.

South Korea '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. 

Brother and sisters in North Korea, doesn't the apartment you are currently living in have leaks, plumbing problems, no private bathroom, and no modern heating system?

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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 Pusan facilities. South Korean industrial modernization can also be seen through railroad development.

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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.

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Leaflet 134-64

Leaflet 134-64 pictures Lieutenant YI P’il-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 Republic of Korea. Another evaluator stated that after seeing this leaflet he came to realize that if he defected to South Korea he would receive a warm welcome.

Although the Jilli operation trumpeted the North Korean defection, Dave Underhill once told me that may not have been all that desirable. He said:

Defection is by no means the only objective in strategic psychological operations.  It may actually be the least desirable achievement.  A United Nations Command representative in Korea made the comment that "we are better off with a million unhappy North Koreans in North Korea than a million unhappy North Koreans in South Korea

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