Department of Defense Files: Telegram

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Far East (MacArthur)1

top secret

JCS 84458. 1. Reur C 56246,2 in event of clearly identified Chinese Communist air or sea attack against Formosa or the Pescadores, no objection will be interposed to Chinese Nat Govt retaliating immediately against targets on the Chinese mainland. This position will be conveyed to Chinese Nat Govt through dipl channels.

2. In event of Chinese Communist air or sea attacks against United States forces outside Korea, the principle of immediate retaliation against targets on Chinese mainland is approved. However, subject to right of immediate self-defense, you will inform us of facts concerning the Chinese Communist attack and receive approval of your proposed retaliatory action prior to attacking targets on Chinese mainland.

3. It is not contemplated that retaliation would follow in case of Chinese Communist attacks upon United States or Chinese Nationalist reconnaissance aircraft flying over or in immediate vicinity of Chinese territorial waters.

4. With respect to action by United States forces in event of Chinese Communist air or sea attacks against Formosa the instructions contained in para 2C of JCS 84681 June [29,] 503 still apply.

  1. Repeated for information to the Commander in Chief, Pacific.
  2. Dated February 24, p. 1582.
  3. Paragraph 2C of telegram JCS 84681, dated June 29, 1950, from Joint Chiefs of Staff to CINCFE, read:

    “By naval and air action you will defend Formosa against invasion or attack by Chinese Communists and will insure that Formosa will not be used as a base of operations against the Chinese mainland by Chinese Nationalists.” For text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vii, p. 240.