Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. John Foster Dulles, Consultant to the Secretary of State

Participants: Mr. Hollington Tong1
S—Mr. John Foster Dulles

Mr. Tong said that he had left Formosa on April 26 and had come here via Hong Kong, Paris and London. He expected to be going on to Tokyo and back to Formosa the latter part of June. He asked what could be done to improve relations between the Nationalist Government and the United States and to insure more help in relation to the defense of Formosa. I said to Mr. Tong that I did not think that this was a matter where there was any possibility of any sort of a bargaining arrangement; that I had in all frankness to say to him that there had been both in official quarters and in American public opinion a very complete loss of confidence in the will of the Nationalist forces to fight. The impression prevailed that they had ample material strength to defend Formosa if they would, but that there was grave doubt that they would. Rumors were current that many of the leaders, including the Generalissimo, were already making plans to get away from Formosa to safety and past performance gave credibility to these rumors. I recalled that when Mme. Chiang Kai-Shek was here during the war she had, in a speech to Congress used the expression “God helps those who help themselves”. I thought this was a very good time for the Nationalist forces to take that to heart.

Mr. Tong asked whether I thought that if they should defend [Page 344] Formosa for a certain period of time that that would lead to a change of official and public opinion. I said that I could not answer that question, but that I thought that the spirit which prompted it was incorrect. The idea that by fighting for a certain number of months they could then get a certain amount of help was totally false. If they fought they would have to fight because they had something that they really believed in and were willing to sacrifice and die for. That was not something to be bargained about. I referred to Churchill’s leadership in England in 1940 and to the struggle of the revolutionists in Cuba. American public opinion had become sympathetic because there was evidence of a cause of liberty in which people believed and for which they were willing to die. If there were evidence of that sort in relation to Formosa, it might or might not affect the United States attitude. Certainly, however, the United States’ attitude would not be altered if the only fighting that was done was being done on a time basis for the purpose of winning U.S. support and not because there was a cause of their own which attracted their loyalty.

I said that it might very well be that there was no such cause; that China had not developed the type of National and spiritual loyalties such as prevailed in the Western countries. If that were the case, there was nothing to be done about it.

Mr. Tong thanked me very much for the frankness with which I had expressed myself.

  1. Member of the Central Advisory Committee of the Kuomintang and General Manager of the China Broadcasting Corporation.