The Secretary of State to the Embassy in China
378. Embtel 544 Oct 20.1 For clarity re matter in point note record shows US Govt policy stands as fols: No objection Nationalist reconnaissance (Deptel 64 July 24) or visit and search Chi vessels on high seas (Deptel 119 Aug 4) that is US Govt does not oppose mil activities directly related to defense. Shld such Chi vessels on high seas be discovered to have hostile intent of carrying mil action to Formosa or Pescadores, mil action against such vessels wld be warranted as measure self-defense. Other interference with Chi shipping, such as seizure of or armed attack against unarmed merchant vessels, wld be incompatible with June 27 aide-mémoire as accepted by Natl Govt.
Governing factor in situation is that of hostile intent. Function 7th Fleet be it noted is to prevent hostile action between two contending Chi parties. Natl Govt warranted in themselves taking armed action only in self-defense where there is clear evidence of Commie hostile [Page 542] intent as shown by armament, mil complement and evident destination of vessel.
- Not printed. It related to a particular incident concerning the exercise by the Nationalist Government of the right of visit and search on the high seas. (794A.00/10–2050)↩