At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 1962 the President conferred in the
Cabinet Room with the following persons: Deputy Under Secretary
U. Alexis Johnson; Assistant
Secretary Harriman; General Carter; Desmond FitzGerald; Assistant Secretary
of Defense Paul Nitze; Mr.
Bundy, and Mr. Forrestal.
Admiral Kirk, in response to a
question from the President, said the 70,000 tons of LST's would be the equivalent of
approximately 35 ships, each capable of carrying a platoon of tanks or
an enlarged infantry company.
Both Mr. Johnson and Admiral Kirk suggested that we had no information that a
drop of a 20-man team or a 200-man team on the mainland of China could
survive. It was more likely, according to Admiral Kirk, that this request was being made simple as
a means of dragging us into GRC plans
for an invasion of the mainland.
The President stated that he did not want the GRC to be able to say that just as they were prepared to go
to the mainland, the United States flunked out. The President would
rather be in the position of saying that hard intelligence indicated
that a landing on the mainland was doomed to failure, or that the GRC had refused to cooperate in getting the
essential intelligence on internal conditions on the mainland.
Mr. Johnson and Admiral
Kirk both suggested, and the President agreed, that the
CIA should prepare a list of
specific actions to be taken in order to secure more intelligence on the
mainland. This would have the purpose of stimulating the GRC either to collect the necessary
intelligence, or, if they refused, of building a record of
The President agreed with Admiral
Kirk that we should not contemplate taking any public
action, such as sending ships or bombers, without hard intelligence.
Mr. Johnson observed in connection with joint
planning with the GRC we should remember
that their security might not be too effective. We must assume, he said,
that some of the planning could leak to the Russians.
In response to a question from the President, General Carter and Mr. FitzGerald both said that the five
C-123's which would be prepared would also be of use to their agency in
other areas. The ECM equipment will have
to be engineered, which will take some time.
No decision was taken on the proposal to send two C-123's without the
ECM equipment to Taiwan for training
Kennedy Library, National
Security Files, Countries Series, China. Top Secret. Drafted on May
31. The meeting was held at Kennedy's request, as conveyed in a May 18
memorandum from Bundy to Rusk. (Department of State, Central
Files, 793.00/5-1862) Another record of the meeting is in a
memorandum for the record by Desmond
FitzGerald, Chief of the Far East Division in the
CIA Operations Directorate.
(Central Intelligence Agency, DCI
(McCone) Files, Job
80-B01285A, DCI Meetings With the
1The attached May 28 memorandum from Brubeck to
Bundy reported on a May 22 meeting of
State, Defense, CIA, and White House
representatives. The draft telegram stated that the substance of
Chiang's May 15 meeting with Cline had been passed to Kennedy, that Kirk would be prepared to discuss
Chiang's request for additional airlift
when he arrived in Taipei, and that Kirk would have full responsibility as the
President's representative for handling all major policy problems.
It also stated that the initial reaction to
Chiang's request for landing ships and
bombers was not favorable but further GRC intelligence effort on the mainland and further
U.S.-GRC consultation would be
memorandum stated that it had been agreed that Kirk should tell
Chiang that five C-123's would be prepared
but would remain in the United States until it was decided to use
2The requests were summarized in an unsigned and
undated memorandum enclosed with an April 20 memorandum from the
CIA Deputy Director for Plans to
Bundy. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries
Series, China, CIA Cables,
3The copy attached to the source text bears no
handwritten revisions and is apparently the final revised version.
An earlier draft is attached to another copy of the Brubeck to
Bundy memorandum cited in footnote 1 above. (Ibid.,
4Printed from a copy that bears this