22. Following presentation credentials President Chiang had me come to his office for
conversation at which Foreign Minister, Secretary General Chang Chun and
DCM were present. He said that since
he was going into hospital this afternoon and would not be available for
a few days he wanted to make some additional comments related to our
conversation of July 4.
Chiang said he first wished President Kennedy to understand he would not
undertake any unilateral action but would cooperate sincerely with the
US and fully coordinate his policy with us. He recognized that President Kennedy had many problems to deal with
and he certainly would not do anything which would add to these
problems. He hoped US Government would on its part also keep in mind
importance of maintaining morale of Chinese people and armed forces and
their confidence in GRC. Cabot-Wang conversation and Khrushchev declaration had caused much uneasiness in
mind of people and Armed Forces. Press in Hong Kong and Taipei reflected
this apprehension. I replied Khrushchev could hardly be expected to say anything
other than what he said. On basis our own sources of information we feel
Khrushchev does not want war
in Taiwan Straits and therefore are not too much concerned.
Chiang said top GRC
officials shared our view but propaganda effect on people was bad. I
suggested GRC make use of its press to
reassure its people. Chiang responded that they
lost no opportunity to assure people of US support but clarification
from Washington would carry greater weight. He expressed hope Ambassador
would strengthen work of [1 line of source text not
declassified] and that plans for strengthening GRC Air Force and Navy being discussed by
this committee could be carried out. GRC
would then be in position counter doubts in Armed Forces as to US
support by pointing to what US is doing.
I pointed out relations between our two governments are governed by 1954
treaty which guarantees defense of Taiwan and Pescadores and such
related territories as US President may find necessary to defense of
Taiwan and Pescadores. US maintains forces in this area and is fully
prepared to use them in support of its treaty obligations. Treaty does
not say we will support GRC
counterattack against mainland and it would be mistake to create
impression in minds of people that US has any such obligations. If time
comes when two governments mutually decided conditions are suitable for
invasion that will create a new situation, but at present US commitment
is limited to support of defensive nature.
Chiang replied both he and Chinese people fully
understand defensive nature of treaty relationship. However, he hoped
Ambassador Kirk could not only
help maintain but also strengthen morale of GRC Armed Forces. If morale dampened, this would be loss
both to US and GRC.
I remarked that I did not think either Khrushchev's statement or Cabot-Wang talk
should be taken so seriously as President Chiang appeared to regard them.
Chiang replied that news from US often produced
far greater effect than people in Washington imagine. At time when
ChiComs showing force he did not expect US publicly announce its support
for GRC counter-attack—that would
obviously be impossible—but neither did he see necessity of declaring to
enemy US would not help GRC. Foreign
Minister interjected that President was not so much complaining about
past actions as expressing hope care would be taken in future.
* Source: Department of State, Central Files,
611.93/7-562. Top Secret; Roger Channel. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
1 Enclosed with airgram A-18; see footnote 3, Document 139. In telegram 3
from Geneva to Taipei (repeated to Washington as telegram 29), July
9, Harriman commended
Kirk's handling of his
July 4 and 5 conversations with Chiang and
added, “In second talk it would appear that he is using morale in
Taiwan as excuse to get US step by step publicly involved in support
of possible invasion. President's June press conference clearly
states position we must maintain.” (Department of State, Central