S/P Files: Lot 64 D 563

Memorandum for the Record of a Department of State–Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting1

top secret


General Bradley Admiral Lalor
General Collins Colonel Carns3
Admiral Sherman Mr. Jessup4
General Haislip2 Mr. Matthews
Admiral Radford Mr. Nitze
Admiral Duncan Mr. Rusk
Admiral Davis Mr. Tufts
General Bolte Mr. Ferguson5
General Landon Mr. Reinhardt6
General White Mr. Gleason
Admiral Wooldridge

[Here follows a discussion of the situation in Korea.]

8. The discussion turned to the possibility of exploiting or creating fissions in China. It was stated that the Chinese Government still lacks cohesion. There are the Chinese Nationalists on Formosa, some elements which are both anti-communist and anti-Chiang Kai-shek, and some anti-Soviet elements in the Peiping regime, all of which represent divisive forces. However, any federation of these elements is difficult, and each of the several groups is affected by a certain amount of inertia. It is a little early to judge, but there are indications that the action in Korea is causing strain in Peiping. Three or four weeks ago, it looked as if the communists might want to get out of Korea. The Korean affair is less popular in China proper than in the capital. The Communists still have the only tight political organization in China, and in spite of some dissension, they are holding together. Something new must happen before we can expect a real split in the party and if we can’t bring about the downfall of the Peiping regime within a year or two, it will probably last for a long time.

[Here follows a further discussion about the situation in Korea; [Page 1567] there was some discussion related to Japan. During this discussion, Mr. Rusk left the meeting.]

13. It was recognized that conditions have changed since the Joint Chiefs of Staff had submitted recommendations on courses of action in the Far East.7 A Department of State representative announced that a new paper on Far Eastern policy was being prepared8 and that it will cover the points recommended previously by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was thought desirable to discuss several of them at this meeting, i.e., naval blockade of China, reconnaissance over Chinese territory, and the possibility of employing Chinese Nationalist troops against Chinese Communists.


14. It was noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered a naval blockade should not be established against China unless UN troops should be forced out of Korea. It was explained that a naval blockade of China would not apply to Port Arthur but would apply to Soviet ships in Chinese waters. The conferees were reminded that the Soviets have respected the UN blockade of Korea and may well follow the same pattern if a UN blockade is established against China. Unilateral blockade of China by the United States would not be desirable since it is an act of belligerency, it would mean an acceptance of war with China and it might not be respected by the Soviets.

15. It is still possible that means can be found to establish an effective pacific blockade (i.e., an economic blockade with naval units assisting in its implementation). Because of the volume of Chinese coastal traffic, a pacific blockade could not be made entirely effective.

16. Unless the British were partners to a blockade, it would be difficult to prevent the misuse of Hong Kong. Obstacles to the effectiveness of controls at the source are the ability of the Chinese to transship cargoes delivered to ports in Southeast Asia and shipments by rail from Port Arthur. To combat the latter, we would have to consider destroying the rail line by gunfire, air bombardment, and possibly by shore raiding parties. In the event it were decided to enforce a blockade, it could be done without limiting our naval activities in support of Korea, Formosa, and Hokkaido. It was stated that we are seeking through the UN the adoption of selective restrictions on exports to Red China.

[Page 1568]


17. Views on the subject of air reconnaissance in the Far East which had been expressed previously by the Joint Chiefs of Staff were summarized. It was noted that U.S. military forces in the Far East are now respecting Chinese territorial waters and are not overflying Manchuria. It was noted that restrictions relative to reconnaissance along the China coast should be removed. The Department of State will study the matter of reconnaissance over Manchuria.

Employment of Chinese Nationalists

18. Extracts were read from a J.C.S. study [JCS 2118/15] on the subject which is being referred to General MacArthur for comment.9

(At this point General Collins entered the meeting)

It was noted that the J.C.S. paper was written at a time when it seemed we would be forced into a beachhead around Pusan. It appears now that from a military viewpoint circumstances do not warrant using Chinese Nationalist forces on the mainland of Asia. Our actions now are based on the premise that we should do nothing to spread the war outside Korea. If the present hostilities with China are extended beyond Korea, many possibilities will be opened up such as blockade, amphibious raids, and air action against the Chinese mainland. It was noted that if our forces should be attacked outside Korea, we should retaliate. It was noted that a mission should be established on Formosa if MDAP aid is granted.

[Here follows a brief discussion concerning Southeast Asia; the meeting concluded with a discussion of policy toward Yugoslavia.]

  1. The source text represents an agreed State–JCS memorandum of this meeting, which was the third in what became a regular series.
  2. Col. H. J. Carns, U.S. Army, Deputy Secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  3. Philip C. Jessup, Ambassador at Large.
  4. Gen. Wade H. Haislip, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army.
  5. John H. Ferguson, Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff.
  6. G. Frederick Reinhardt, Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs.
  7. The reference is to NSC 101, January 12; for text, see p. 70.
  8. The reference is to an early draft of what eventually became NSC 48/5, May 17, 1951. For the sections concerning Korea, see p. 439. For the complete text, see vol. vi, Part 1, p. 33.
  9. The text of the study, revised to take account of MacArthur’s comments, is printed on p. 1598; for MacArthur’s comments, see his telegram C–56199, February 23, p. 1579.