The Congress in joint session stood up and cheered when Syngman Rhee, 79, made his way through the crowded House last week. For Rhee, a longtime back-street resident of Washington, it was a triumphal return. But the flinty, wrinkled President of Korea took no time to savor his personal triumphs; he had a somber message for the Congress and for the free world.

Rhee began his speech on a note of gratitude. "You saved a helpless country from destruction," he said, "and in that moment the torch of true collective security burned brightly as it never had before. The aid...

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