In your conversations with Generalissimo, I hope you will make it clear
that you come with my full authority and that you and I have discussed
together the question of ChiNat return to the mainland. You may want to
begin by indicating that you and I have repeatedly shown our own support
for GRC and therefore count on full
understanding by Generalissimo of our position, as follows:
1. We continue to assume that all discussions of return to the mainland
are governed by the understanding in the exchange of notes between U.S.
Secretary of State and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs dated
December 10, 1954. We know that understanding on this point has been
excellent so far, but we should never omit straight-forward repetition
2. We believe that most careful study is necessary of both intelligence
and operational planning for proposed new venture. You may draw, if you
wish, on the Cuban misadventure as proof of the dangers of bad intelligence, and of decisions
based more on hope than reality. You should emphasize our insistence on
continued detailed study and exchange of views.
If you concur, you should indicate that it still seems best to us to
think in terms of smaller actions which might in themselves increase our
knowledge of the possibilities. The smaller the action, and the more
completely it is handled by the GRC, the
more likely our agreement.
You should of course make it clear that we would like nothing better than
the downfall of the mainland regime, and we are fully aware of the
advantages such a change would bring in the whole world situation. But
it is one thing to desire a result and quite another to make sound
judgment on proposed measures to bring that result about.
The more you can learn from the Generalissimo about his precise estimate
of the situation, the better, but you should make it clear to him that
solid evidence is more interesting to us than eloquently expressed
*Source: Kennedy Library, National Security
Files, Countries Series, China, Return to Mainland, 1/62-5/62.
Secret. Filed with a March 9 covering memorandum from
Bundy to U.
Alexis Johnson that reads as follows: “This draft has
the President's approval, and, subject to any changes that you may
suggest, I hope it may go promptly to Governor Harriman.” The source text and the
covering memorandum bear no indication of approval or objection and
no transmission time. The message was not sent through Department of
State channels; it was presumably sent through [text not declassified].
unsigned paper, evidently a draft of a March 30 memorandum from
Hilsman to Harriman, states that a plan
developed by the GRC [text not declassified], providing for six
20-man teams to be airdropped into South China, was approved in the
third week of July 1961 by “a U.S. intragovernmental committee”
(presumably the Special Group) and by the President. (Department of
State, FE/EA Files: Lot 65 D 235, GRC Mainland Recovery, January 1962) Hilsman's March 30 memorandum omits
this point but states that the United States had suggested 20-man
probes in mid-1961 in response to GRC plans for 200-300 man airdrops; a few months later,
when preparations were complete, the GRC declined to carry out the probes on the ground that
they would be too small to be useful. (Library of Congress
Manuscript Division, Harriman
Administrations, Subject Files, China) See the Supplement.