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.Joint Security Area (JSA)

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The JSA brassard worn by soldiers of the JSA.



The Korean War (conflict?) began June 25, 1950 and continued until armistice on July 27, 1953.  That much is recorded.  Also recorded is the fact the war ground to a stalemate (neither side wanting to escalate the scale of fighting) in 1951 and the USSR offered to set-up negotiations for a peace.  May and June of 1951 saw secret and unofficial negotiations between representatives of the US and USSR which resulted in an announcement on June 23, 1951 by the Soviet Union that it was in favor of opening peace discussions between the north Koreans, communist China, and representatives of the United Nations.


Those talks began on July 10. 1951 at a small town called Kaesong.



Using Munsan-ni as a base camp, newsmen, various military representatives and UN negotiators set out to a small Kaesong teahouse in vehicles marked with white flags.  Negotiations quickly stalled over the subject of reporter access to the area only to pick up again several days later, however, on August 23, 1951, negotiations at Kaesong broke down for the final time.

















Two photos of the Kaesong teahouse where peace negotiations were held 10 Jul 51 -- 23 Aug 51.  Notice the white flags on the right front bumpers of each vehicle.











Members of the communist delegation at Kaesong.


Members of the UN delegation, Kaesong.




The early peace efforts at Kaesong had failed. The North Korean and Communist officials broke off negotiations. Then, on October 25, 1951, all parties agreed to begin new talks at a new site: Panmunjom, six miles east of Kaesong. (This new site was not surrounded by enemy territory.)


A Munsan-ni detachment of MPs  from the 558th MPs and another from the 728th MPs (appx 15 men from each unit) assigned security at Kaesong was assigned security duties at Panmunjom as well.  Throughout the remainder of the conflict, the camp at Munsan-ni continued to be active and staffed and in 1953 the site would be used as a processing point for the POW exchange known as “Operation Little Switch.”


According to Robert Gunnarsson in a copyrighted history of the 558th MP (his former unit) members of the 558th were "spit and polish" and all stood 6 feet or taller.  Only infantrymen with CIBs (It was believed this combat experience would elicit a feeling of unit cohesiveness and allow the MP’s to relate better to the front-line soldiers on leave in Seoul) were taken as entry level MPs and given a 2-week training course.  (The 558th in Korea, text only)  These men were the beginnings of the Joint Security Force.


The Panmunjom phase of the Korean truce talks began on October 25, 1951, after the site of the talks had been relocated from Kaesong under the terms of the October 22, 1951 Panmunjom Security Agreement. The talks then continued with one long recess (the sticking point was prisoner repatriation) until the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.


But this is not a history of the war or the peace talks.  It is the beginnings of the history of the Joint Security Force and the Joint Security Area.  A beginning with roots in a special detachment of the 558th and 728th MPs.  15 men from each ... a total of 30-men, 6 feet or taller, spit and polished .  Sound familiar?









The early days of Panmunjom.  Is that the Bridge of No Return on the road in the distance?































Panumunjom 1951




















































Michael Treglazoff provided the following photograph which he had labeled some time ago for another purpose.


The first 6 MAC meeting transcripts are found below. 

Prior to the first MAC meeting, read the transcripts of the staff officers for the arrangement of the MAC ... MAC000 27JUL53

  MAC001 28JUL53 MAC002 29JUL53 MAC003 30JUL53 MAC004 31JUL53 MAC005  2AUG53 MAC006 4AUG53