Foreign Relations of the United States, 1949, The Far East and Australasia, Volume VII, Part 2
Memorandum by the Ambassador at Large ( Jessup ) to the Secretary of State
I attach a paper entitled “Outline of Far Eastern and Asian Policy for Review with the President.” This paper was prepared by the Consultants and revised after consultation with a large Departmental group. In general, it has the approval of FE and NEA, but Mr. Butterworth still has some reservations about point one which deals with what has been called the “area approach.” In this connection, I attach [Page 1210] also a copy of a statement prepared by the Consultants explaining their views about the “area approach.”1
It is our thought that a copy of this paper would be handed to the President when we meet with him tomorrow and the various points in it could be briefly explained.
Outline of Far Eastern and Asian Policy for Review With the President
i—analysis of the situation
- The Area as a Whole—There are basic problems in the Far East and Asia which, whatever their local and global aspects, are common to the area as a whole and US policy and planning should therefore be increasingly addressed to the area as a whole.
- Revolution in Asia—South and East Asia are now being swept by a deep-seated revolutionary movement, composed on the one hand of a nationalist revolt against colonial imperialism and on the other hand discontent with existing economic and social conditions.
- Long-range Character of the Problem—This revolution, accelerated and intensified by war and its aftermath, arises from long-range indigenous problems which will continue to cause instability in Asia for many decades and which cannot be solved by quick panaceas.
- Communist Capture of Movement—This revolutionary movement has, to some extent and particularly in China and Indochina, been captured by the Communists.
- Soviet Imperialism in the Far East—The Communist drive, again particularly in China, is now the tool of traditional Russian imperialism in the Far East.
- China—For all practical purposes, the Chinese Communists very shortly will have completed the military conquest of China. Their military victory was made possible by the dissatisfaction of the Chinese people with the Kuomintang regime. There is no group now present in China capable of resisting them effectively, regardless of what military or other aid from outside it might obtain. Other powers in the Far East or interested in the Far East are already commencing to look upon the Communist regime as the sole effective government of China and are making preparations for recognizing it and trading with it.
- India—With China definitively, at least for some time to come, in the Communist orbit, India remains, in spite of serious elements of [Page 1211] internal instability, the most important existing center of non-Communist strength in Asia.
- Japan—Japan, while presently without important influence, could, because of the character of her people and the basic strength of her industry, be built up into a second important center of stability in the Far East.
- Moslems—The Moslems, particularly in Pakistan, are an important element in the area but, as their orientation is chiefly toward the other Moslem states of the Near and Middle East, they are less likely than India or Japan to play a leading role in South and East Asia. Nevertheless the potentialities of the cooperation of Moslem groups throughout the area should be fully explored.
- Southeast Asia—The nations of Southeast Asia are essentially weak and vulnerable and will require moral and, to a limited extent, material aid in meeting the problems created by the Far Eastern revolution and in preventing the revolutionary movements within their borders from being captured by the Communists.
ii—united states interests and policy objectives
- United States Position in Asia—More important than any temporary ebb or flow in the political tide is the basic attitude of the peoples of Asia towards the United States. This attitude will be governed to a large extent by United States policy and action in regard to the revolution in Asia and in particular by the treatment in areas for which the United States has assumed primary responsibility, such as Japan, the Philippines and Korea, of the problems which have produced that revolution as well as those which are a legacy of war.
- Containment of Communism—An immediate objective of the United States in Asia must be to check the spread of Soviet Communism beyond the countries where it has already seized power. Because of the nature of the revolutionary movement in Asia, this objective must be achieved principally by means other than arms. This conclusion is fortified by the state of the military weakness of the nations of the area, and by the necessary limitations on the dispersion of United States military strength.
- Relations with Communist Areas—The situation in areas already firmly controlled by Communist regimes must be met by a recognition of realities rather than by a fruitless attempt to reverse or ignore the tide of events. We are more apt to consolidate their position by attempting openly to overthrow them than by dealing with them in order to exert our influence directly on them.
- Strategic—The US military authorities are at present engaged in reviewing US strategic interests in Asia and a definitive statement on this point must await their conclusions. In the meantime, it is understood to be their view that the US strategic position in the Far East is [Page 1212] based in the first instance on the off-shore islands, i.e. Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines; accordingly our position is not directly jeopardized by the loss of China as long as the security of the islands continues to be maintained. The US strategic interest in the area between the Middle East and China does not appear to have been fully formulated.
- Direct Aggression—The United States will deal with any direct aggression against an Asian state through the machinery of the UN, except in the case of states under US occupation or to which the US has special treaty obligations.
- Indirect Aggression—In anticipation of Communist efforts to seize control of Asian states by internal subversion, the US will extend political and economic support to regimes which are both indigenous and effective and, where necessary, aid in the purchase of arms to strengthen internal security forces. Our primary weapons, however, should be neither arms nor dollars on a large scale but the dynamic application of modest but well-conceived and well-coordinated programs. In planning and implementing such programs we should seek cooperation and participation of the nations of the British Commonwealth as well as full utilization of the resources and skills existing in the area.
- Economic Aid—Economic programs, dictated in part by the need of correcting the dislocations of war, should be coordinated with each other and with economic programs for other areas. Such programs for the Far East and Asia would be based primarily on Point IV and UN activities but would also comprise all other forms of special economic aid to Asian nations now in progress or which may prove vitally necessary in the future.
- Propaganda—A considerably expanded information program both in Communist and non-Communist areas of Asia is called for, both to demonstrate our understanding and sympathy for the nationalist aspirations of the Asian peoples and to expose the menace to these aspirations created by Soviet imperialism. No opportunity should be lost to contrast—by reference to the record—the aims and attitudes of the US and the USSR.
China—In the light of the analysis
set forth under I(6) above and the policy objective set
forth under II(3) the following concrete steps are
- No further military aid to any non-Communist forces in China (unless and until at some future time forces appear which demonstrate their ability to recapture from the Communists the revolutionary movement in China and the support of the Chinese people).
- Permit trade with Communist China on a cash basis except in [Page 1213] certain materials of special strategic importance, just as trade is permitted with the USSR and the Eastern European satellites.
- In so far as possible maintain and develop our historic association with the Chinese people and our contacts with them through educational, missionary and business activities in China. If an Iron Curtain is to be rung down, let it be the Communists who ring it.
- Prepare for ultimate recognition of the Chinese Communist Government when it controls substantially all the territory of China and when it indicates willingness to meet its international obligations, subject to conditions which may be created by the action of other important powers in extending recognition.
- Make every effort to see to it that political and economic progress in Japan is such as to demonstrate the advantages of close association with the United States and our ability as a democracy to deal with the problems of Asia.
- Rapid steps towards a peace conference, with or without the Soviets, and conclusion of a Japanese peace treaty, with or without agreement of all interested powers, under which Japan would for the present remain demilitarized but with reenforced internal security forces. The Treaty should not, however, prevent the retention of United States bases in Japan under a bilateral US-Japanese agreement nor foreclose the possibility of future review of its security clauses.
- Development of Japanese economy and foreign trade in order to relieve the present burden on the US and to enable Japan to contribute effectively to the economic progress of the area as a whole.
- Korea—Continued support of UN Commission, economic aid through ECA, and aid in building up security forces. Korea, like Japan and the Philippines, will inevitably be judged as a yardstick of US ability to cope with Asian problems.
- Philippines—Maintenance of US security interests, assistance in strengthening techniques of self-government, and a US economic policy in relation to the Philippines designed to promote the long-term stability of its economy. The US will be judged in Asia by the success or failure of self-government in the Philippines, as in Korea and Japan.
- Southeast Asia—Such limited support as may be necessary, supplementary to that provided by the Western nations primarily interested in the area, to develop political, economic and military stability. Chief instruments would be the Point IV Program, expanded information and educational programs and, when necessary, arms for internal security forces. In Indochina, no solution of the problem can now be foreseen. However, pressure on France to support non-Communist Nationalists should not be relaxed. Possible UN action especially in the case of threat from China to the security of the frontier should be kept under review.
- India–Pakistan—Temperate support of India in such efforts as it may make to assume leading role in Asia, while pressing for the pacific settlement of its outstanding differences with Pakistan. Economic aid to both countries through Point IV, government and private loans and investments and, in the case of India, particular assistance in producing or procuring adequate supplies of food.
- Regional Association—Sympathetic support of Asian initiative for regional association aimed at increasing political, economic and cultural cooperation but not, at least at this stage, emphasizing its possible development as an anti-Communist security organization.
- United States Attitude toward the Area as a Whole—The United States, in formulating policies and programs for the Far East and Asia and in so far as possible in implementing them, should emphasize and develop common action in and among the non-Communist nations of the area. By so doing we would hope more effectively to dramatize to public opinion both in the Far East and the US the solution for Asia which we offer as a constructive alternative to Communism. We would also hope by so doing to encourage increasing cooperation among the nations of the area with a view to (a) developing a more solid front against Soviet imperialism than could be afforded by separate national units, (b) coordinating in the interest of efficiency efforts to deal with common political and economic problems, (c) promoting the restoration of Japan as an actively participating member of the Far Eastern Community, (d) drawing India, Australia and New Zealand into more direct responsibility for the welfare and stability of the area as a whole, (e) coordinating the political, economic and military interests in the area of the Western nations chiefly concerned, and (f) facilitating, within the necessary limits of US legislation and governmental structure, the application of a coordinated US economic, information and cultural program among the nations of the area.
- November 3, not printed.↩