The Secretary of Defense (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to our conversation of this afternoon regarding the China White Paper. As you will recall, I left with you advance copies of the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with respect to that Paper. These had been prepared in response to your telephone request to me on July 15, 1949.

I am very glad to have your assurance that nothing will be said or written by the Department of State which indicates that the National Military Establishment, or its officials, have participated in the preparation or publication of the Paper. We clearly understand it has been prepared from your files and will be published on your initiative and responsibility. We have acceded to your request to comment on the Paper and hope that our comments will be helpful.

We have two major questions about the China White Paper: Does its publication serve the national interests? Have adequate security precautions been taken to provide for security of documents and codes?

On the first point I concur with the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that you and the President should carefully consider whether the usefulness of this Paper in clarifying recent history is greater than the risks inherent in the disclosures which are made. The responsibility for publication is yours, and I am certainly not recommending that the document be withheld from the public. I am, however, expressing to you concern as to how this publication will affect future developments in China.

On the question of security, I do not believe that the Secretary of State nor the Secretary of Defense can afford to take any risks with our codes or with classified documents, and I am certain that you will agree with me that you and the President should have the assurances of the United States Communications Intelligence Board, the top level agency concerned with these matters, that these risks have been avoided or reduced to an absolute minimum. I have instructed the military representatives on USCIB, as well as the Department of the Army, to expedite clearances of the documents involved.

Sincerely yours,

Louis Johnson