149 Shaw to Department of External Affairs

Departmental despatch 107/1948 (extract), TOKYO, 19 May 1948

Elections 4. General Hodge has claimed that well over 90% of the South Koreans voted at the elections. Perhaps a more accurate description would be to say that it is claimed that at the election 92% of those voters registered did in fact vote. Dr. Patterson[1] states that the registry was based on a fairly old census which meant that the registry included about 80% of those who might have been eligible to vote. This would mean that the vote cast represented about 70% of the eligible population.

5. Members of the Commission seemed surprised by the full turn out on election day. The Indian delegate explained this as due to two facts, first, that the Koreans regarded the vote as one for independence and secondly, that all Koreans remained closely organised in the Japanese model neighbourhood associations through which the strongest pressure was brought to bear on individuals to go to the polling booths. This campaign was so successful that quite early on the morning of polling day the elections were almost completed. The day was in the nature of a national holiday and the reported acts of violence were exceptional.

[1] Dr George Patterson, Canadian representative on UNTCOK.

[AA : A1838, 3123/4/5, II]