Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rusk)


Subject: Chinese Offer of Ground Forces for Employment in Korea

Participants: Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo, Chinese Ambassador
Mr. Dean Rusk, FE
Mr. Fulton Freeman, CA

Ambassador Koo called this afternoon at his request and opened the conversation by expressing the complete agreement of his Government with the substance of the Department’s aide-mémoire of July 1, 1950, in reply to the offer of the Chinese Government to despatch ground forces to South Korea. He stated that his Government concurred in the desirability of discussing this question with representatives of General MacArthur’s headquarters and that the arrival of General MacArthur’s representatives in Formosa would be eagerly awaited.2

I pointed out that the grand strategy of the Communists in the Far East was still unclear and indicated that they might be planning additional moves in that area. I also stated that if there had been some question a few months ago whether the forces on Formosa were in fact able to defend the island against an all-out Communist attack, then it would perhaps be unwise to spare troops at this time. I stated, in this regard, that a proper defense of the island would, in my opinion, require the coordinated action of the Chinese army, air force and navy together with the U.S. 7th Fleet, and pointed out that General MacArthur would undoubtedly wish to weigh the Chinese offer of assistance to Korea in this light.

Ambassador Koo acknowledged that the sending of 33,000 troops to Korea might in fact weaken the island’s defense, particularly if they were given the best equipment available on Formosa.

In response to my inquiry whether the Ambassador had received any reports of Chinese Communist military movements or building-up operations on the mainland, the Ambassador replied in the positive. He stated, however, that the reports which he had received had been confined to military movements in three specific areas, namely Manchuria, Hongkong and the Indochina border area. He made no specific mention of any military movements in the so-called invasion area on the coast opposite Formosa.

The Ambassador then inquired whether any conclusion had been reached with respect to the question of the close in-shore islands [Page 286] which he had mentioned to Mr. Merchant in their conversation of June 29. I replied that this matter was being discussed with the Defense establishment and with General MacArthur’s headquarters and it was hoped that we would be in a position to give him an answer within a short time.3

Ambassador Koo then mentioned again the desirability of establishing satisfactory liaison between the U.S. 7th Fleet and the Chinese authorities on Formosa as soon as possible. I informed him that we had already communicated with General MacArthur with respect to the urgent need for such liaison, and I assured him that I would endeavor to ascertain the present status of the arrangements. I stated that I understood that, for the time being, the senior assistant naval attach was acting as principal liaison officer.

Ambassador Koo then inquired whether we had received reports of any unusual movements of Soviet forces in other parts of the world, such as the Iranian, Turkish or Yugoslav border areas, that might indicate the planning of offensive actions similar to that in Korea. I stated in response that our reports from the areas he mentioned, while indicating normal troop movements, showed nothing unusual. I added that we frequently received reports of troop activity in these peripheral areas, but that we had received nothing which would clearly indicate that an early offensive action was being planned.

  1. The time is that given in Korean Conflict
  2. On July 3, the Chinese Government formally sent to Secretary-General Lie its offer of three divisions of troops for use in Korea (U.N. document S/1502).
  3. For related documentation, see vol. vi, pp. 256 ff.