Sec. Of State Joked About ’76 DMZ Murder of US Officers

In August 1976, North Korean soldiers attacked a US/RoK group trying to trim a tree in the JSA area, killing two Americans, Captain Arthur Bonifas and First Lieutenant Mark Barrett.  US and RoK forces later moved in and chopped down the tree in “Operation Paul Bunyan.”
In the declassified phone call detailed below, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger regrets the US did not take stronger action, such as attacking a North Korean military barracks. He then jokes to National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft that the two slain Americans would be sent home in coffins made from the tree and then notes “We are also doing a systems analysis study of how many Americans they (the North Koreans) have to kill before we have deforested them and changed their climate.”

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