NSCS/S Files: Lot 63 D 351: NSC 101 Series

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

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Subject: NSC 101/1.1

There is attached an alternative draft of NSC 101/1 which it is recommended that you propose be considered by the NSC.2

In a paper which sets forth our courses of action with respect to Korea and Communist China, it seems important that our objectives be clearly stated. We therefore propose that a listing of objectives, included in the original JCS paper3 and eliminated at the Senior Staff meeting, be reintroduced into the paper. The new draft includes the substance of the objectives listed in the JCS paper and adds a [Page 1515] statement of our purpose to support the UN and maintain the solidarity of our allies.

The courses of action remain substantially the same as those in NSC 101/1, except for those paragraphs on which there was disagreement in the Senior Staff, references to our obligations to the UN in proposed actions and a rearrangement for purposes of clarity.

The three items in NSC 101/1 on which there was major disagreement relate to:

A naval blockade of China;
Our removal of present restrictions on air reconnaissance over China; and,
Our removal of restrictions on operations against the mainland by the Chinese Nationalists on Formosa.

1. The main points to be made on (1) are:

A naval blockade of China imposed unilaterally by the U.S. would customarily involve the assumption by the U.S. of belligerent rights against Communist China if not a declaration of war.
To be effective, it would require blockading the British in Hong Kong, the Portuguese in Macao and the Russians in Dairen and Port Arthur.
Presumably, we must accept the JCS recommendation as certifying technically the feasibility of imposing a naval blockade, taking into account the length of China’s coastline and the traditionally heavy junk traffic, but the point might be raised as a layman for some supporting details by the JCS on this point.
In the absence of authority from the UN or at a minimum the consent and participation of our principal allies, a unilateral U.S. naval blockade of China would place a terrific strain on our relationship with our allies, particularly the British, and the effort which we are making to obtain the support of other free nations, e.g. India.
It is submitted that in view of the limited commercial seagoing traffic to Chinese ports and of economic control measures already taken, the actual effects of a blockade might not be of serious consequence to China.

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Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State

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U.S. Action To Counter Chinese Communist Aggression


1. The objectives of the United States, relative to the situation in the Far East created by Chinese Communist aggression, are as follows:

To prevent the extension of hostilities beyond Korea and the [Page 1516] development of general war, particularly during the period in which the United States and its allies are in the process of achieving the requisite degree of military and industrial mobilization.
To maintain the security of the off-shore defense line of Japan-Ryukyus-Philippines.
To support the United Nations, preserve solidarity with our principal allies, and maintain the continued cooperation of other friendly states.
To support the Republic of Korea as much as, and as long as, practicable, keeping alive resistance if the United Nations is forced to evacuate Korean territory.
To break the Kremlin control over China or to support the replacement of any government in China which is under the control of and in alliance with Moscow.
To deny Formosa to any hostile Chinese government.
To prevent, by all means within our capability and the limits of our global commitments, the further spread by force of Communism on the mainland of Asia, and particularly into Indochina, Thailand and Malaya.

courses of action

2. The United States should take the following courses of action:

a. With regard to Korea:

(1) Limit major U.S. ground forces in the Far East to those now committed, unless the outcome of the present Chinese offensive should indicate that we can profitably remain in Korea with the number of U.S. divisions now committed. In that event, not to exceed two partly trained divisions might be deployed to Japan to increase its security if the Army could provide them and at the same time meet our commitments in Europe.

(2) With the preservation of the combat effectiveness of our forces as an overriding consideration, stabilize holding positions in Korea or evacuate our forces to Japan, if forced out of Korea.

(3) In the event of massive air attacks on UN forces in Korea or in transit to or from Korea, authorize air and naval action against the sources of such attacks, and prepare plans now for obtaining approval of allied governments associated in the Korean action and taking necessary steps in the UN.

(4) Perfect plans for the evacuation of ROK and other UN forces, and for certain categories and numbers of Korean civilians.

(5) If forced out of Korea, continue air and naval action against appropriate military targets in Korea, and extend aid by all practical means to resistance forces in Korea, unless decisions to the contrary are taken in the UN.

[Page 1517]

b. With regard to Japan:

(6) Expedite the build-up of internal security and police forces in Japan pending the early conclusion of a Japanese peace settlement.

(7) Move troops to Japan from Korea as necessary to defend Japan.

c. With regard to China:

(8) If China rejects the cease-fire, press for immediate UN action to recognize the aggression committed by Communist China.

(9) If China rejects the cease-fire, continue political and economic sanctions against Communist China and press other members of the UN to adopt similar sanctions.

(10) Prepare plans for a naval blockade of China for possible use only in cooperation with other friendly nations, and in accordance with appropriate UN action.

(11) Prepare plans, for further consideration by the NSC, for the possible use of Chinese forces on Formosa against the mainland of China and the provision of the necessary material support of such operations, including plans for dealing with the UN aspects of the problem.

(12) In order to increase the defenses of Formosa, provide for military training and consider a new program of military aid to the Chinese Government on Formosa.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(14) Prepare plans, including proposals for necessary action in the UN or Congress, for initiating damaging naval and air attacks on objectives in Communist China at such time as the Chinese Communists attack any of our forces outside of Korea.

d. With regard to other areas:

(15) Increase existing MDAP to Indochina and assist training of the forces of the Associated States if requested by French and local authorities.

(16) Consult with Thai authorities and consider steps to be taken to increase MDAP aid to Thailand.4

(17) Expedite the program relating to the Philippines5 set forth in NSC 84/26 giving special attention to the strengthening of the Philippine military establishment and the United States military installations.

  1. For text of NSC 101/1, January 15, see p. 79.
  2. Secretary Acheson gave a copy of the attached draft to James S. Lay, Jr., Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, on January 17; for a report of related discussion at the NSC meeting that day, see p. 93. A copy of the draft, dated January 18, was circulated to the NSC Senior Staff.
  3. The reference is NSC 101, January 12; for text, see p. 70.
  4. For documentation on U.S. policy with regard to Thailand, see vol. vi, Part 2, pp. 1594 ff.
  5. For documentation on U.S. policy with regard to the Philippines, see ibid., pp. 1491 ff.
  6. For text of NSC 84/2, November 9, 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vi, p. 1514.