Taipei's natural fears about the new Administration have been fed by a
series of minor developments (outlined by FonMin Shen in above cable, e.g. Outer
Mongolia) which, though not intended to spook them prematurely, have, in
their highly uncertain frame of mind, apparently had this effect. While
such fears may be partly put on, Taipei seems half-convinced we're going
to sell it out.
This situation creates both an imperative need to reassure
Chiang and an opportunity (in the process of
doing so) to bring some pressure to bear. We cannot afford to let GRC morale drop too far because of our
silence; at the same time Chiang's uncertainty
should put him in a more receptive mood.
Our main thrust must be to convince Chiang that we
have in no whit altered our determination to support Free China. If
possible we should provide tangible evidence by announcing our
willingness to underwrite a long-term GRC development plan (in line with new foreign aid
But we must also stress the necessity, in terms of our long-term
interests and theirs, of rethinking those aspects of our policy which
have reached the point of diminishing returns, i.e. UN membership and the Offshore Islands. We
must both face the fact that (unless the ChiComs get so belligerent,
e.g. in Laos, as to fix themselves) most Free World countries will no
longer support us on these issues.
On UN membership, if we don't come up with
a way to shift the onus to Peiping, a UN
majority is liable to vote it in and Taipei out. As to the Offshores,
they offer a standing invitation to ChiCom pressure on terms so adverse
that we are being compelled to rethink our policy.
These harsh realities do not mean that we are playing the UK's game; we ourselves think that Free
China's own interests require that it liquidate those issues on which it
will inevitably lose sooner or later, and which divert world attention
from Peiping's own aggressive policies. We do not intend to desert
Chiang, but we feel entitled, as his chief
supporter, to insist that he rationalize his position for the long
Kennedy Library, National
Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda,
Robert W. Komer. Secret.
Also sent to Rostow.
1Telegram 639 reported that
Foreign Minister Shen had
indicated in a meeting with Drumright that he believed the United States was
moving toward a “two Chinas” policy. Drumright commented that this feeling would fester
until the United States convinced the GRC that it had no such intention. He predicted that if
such a policy was adopted, the GRC
would “try to go it alone” rather than sacrifice its “sacred basic
objective” of liberating the mainland; without U.S. support,
however, Taiwan would fall into Communist hands in a few years. He
urged “utmost circumspection” in making any changes in China policy,
for “a single misstep could lead to irreparable loss to US as well
as GRC.” (Department of State,
Central Files, 611.93/4-2161)
2Reference is to a projected trip
by Vice President Johnson to
attached note of the same date from Komer to Bundy and Rostow recommended that they raise
the subject at lunch with Deputy Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs U. Alexis
Johnson and ask him what steps the Department was
contemplating to reassure Chiang since the
timing of the Vice President's projected trip was uncertain. No
record of such a discussion has been found.