August 3, 2001
The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Mr. Secretary,
I write concerning the recently concluded second revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and the Republic of Korea. Last year, the Catholic Bishops of Korea had urged a more just and fair revision of the Agreement and were hopeful that the negotiations that continued through the Fall would finally address their concerns.
Unfortunately, the second SOFA revision, concluded late December, has proved to be a disappointment not only to the Korean Bishops but to many in that society. The Committee for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops" Conference of Korea has forwarded two extensive documents detailing their concerns about the issue, one calling for a comprehensive revision of the SOFA, the other, an assessment of the amended SOFA of December 28, 2000.
I am enclosing this second document to you, "Assessment of the Amendment of the Status of Forces Agreement." I would be grateful, Mr. Secretary, for any comments that the Department might offer on the concerns expressed by the Korean Bishops. Although re-opening SOFA negotiations anytime in the near future may be unrealistic, it does seem that some, if not most, of the concerns expressed by the Bishops merit efforts to find a positive resolution.
With best wishes and asking God to bless you, I am
Archbishop of Boston
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops