Cline replied in a March 7
telegram that Bundy's message had been “most
helpful.” Cline had conveyed the
substance to Chiang Ching-kuo
without attribution to anyone in Washington and had conveyed
Bundy's comments in paragraph 5. Cline noted that while President
Chiang and Chiang Ching-kuo were pleased about
Harriman's visit, the GRC was “somewhat apprehensive” over what
the press was treating as the “strangely abrupt resignation and
departure” of Drumright.
We have received the reports of your conversations and those of my
brother with high authorities in Taipei. The President is instructing
Averell Harriman to review
those matters at the highest possible level during his visit to you
March 14-15. Meanwhile, we think it important that an interim response
be made along following lines, and you should make this response in such
a way as to indicate, without flatly saying so, that it represents the
views of the highest authorities here:
1. The United States is most appreciative of this full information on the
political assessments of the Generalissimo. Such information is
obviously the more important and valuable when the matter is one of such
significance as a projected mainland effort.
2. We continue to base our policy in this matter on the understanding
embodied in the exchange of notes of December 10, 1954, between the U.S.
Secretary of State and the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs. In
accordance with the terms of this understanding, the United States
remains wholly confident that any “use of force will be a matter of
joint agreement.” The responsibilities and interests of both governments
make it imperative that this agreement be the basis of all discussion.
The interest of the highest authorities here in restating this matter
derives simply from an earnest desire for clear understanding that all
discussions of our common hopes for the future freedom of the mainland
must rest upon this premise.
3. The intelligence available to us, and separately reported to you,
creates a grave question in our minds as to the timeliness of the
particular proposals discussed in the recent conversations. We believe
that a first step in further consultation should be a careful joint
study of the information available to our two governments.
4. Finally, you should emphasize that Harriman is not merely the Assistant Secretary of State
with responsibilities for this area. He is also a statesman of long
experience and proven friendship for the Government of China. He has the
President's full personal confidence, and will be empowered to speak in
the most direct and authoritative way for the President himself.
5. If you think it appropriate, I should be glad if you would express my
personal respects to the appropriate Chinese authorities and say that,
at the President's direction, his staff continues to take a most active
and sympathetic interest in relations with the Government of China.
*Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries
Series, China, Return to Mainland, 1/62-5/62. Secret. Filed with a
March 6 covering memorandum from Bundy to
U. Alexis Johnson
requesting Department of State clearance for the message and stating
that it was to be sent through intelligence channels. A handwritten
note on the source text indicates that it was approved by telephone.
The source text does not indicate the time of transmission.