Liem, Popai

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Biographical Sketch

Channing Liem, born in Whangai Province, North Korea October 30, 1909, came to the United States in 1930 where he attended Lafayette College (1930-1934) later studying political science at Princeton (1940-1945). He did post-graduate work on a Ford Fellowship at Yale (1954-1955).

During World War II Liem served as Consultant on Far Eastern Affairs to the United States Office of Censorship (1942-1945) and assisted Philip Jaishon and Syngman Rhee, Korea's emigre nationalist leaders in the Korean independence movement. Following the war he returned to Korea to serve concurrently as Korean Affairs Advisor to the American Military Government in Korea (1948-1949) and secretary to Philip Jaisohn, Chief Advisor to the Commanding General of the United States Army Forces.

Liem refused to serve in his government during the Presidency of Syngman Rhee and returned to the United States to begin twelve years of self imposed exile. During this period Liem taught political science at Pennsylvania College for Women (now called Chatham College). Following Korean president Syngman Rhee's ouster in 1960 Liem served as the first ambassador to the United Nations in the reform government of J. Myun Chang. A year later he submitted his resignation in protest of Park Chung Hee's. He was one of several hundred Korean leaders to lose their citizenship rights under the Park regime.

In 1976 Liem's wife, Popai, journeyed to North Korea. Two years later Liem made his own first visit since partition. It was his conviction that Korean reunification could be achieved peacefully without foreign interference and, serving as the head of several national and international organizations in the years following, he endeavored to maintain peace in his native land.

From the guide to the Channing and Popai Liem Papers, ca. 1927-1997, (The Bancroft Library)

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