S/S–NSC files, lot 63 D 351
Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of
Defense (Foster) to the Executive Secretary of the
National Security Council (Lay)1
I am transmitting herewith for the consideration of the National Security Council and the President the following statement of the military views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding Formosa:
“The denial of Formosa to communism is of major importance to United States security interests, and is of vital importance to the long-term United States position in the Far East.
“Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that, for the foreseeable future and until conditions in the Far East have become peaceful and stable, the United States should:
- Take such measures as may be necessary to deny Formosa to any Chinese regime aligned with or dominated by the USSR;
- In its own interests, take unilateral action if necessary, to insure the continued availability of Formosa as a base for possible United States military operations;
- Continue that part of the mission presently assigned to the 7th Fleet relative to the protection of Formosa until such time as conditions in the Far East permit the Chinese Nationalists on Formosa to assume the burden of the defense of that island;
- Support a friendly Chinese regime on Formosa to the end that it will be firmly aligned with the United States; and
- Develop and maintain the military potential of that Chinese regime on Formosa.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that these military views should be overriding and should govern United States policy for the foreseeable future and in the course of any United States negotiations which may follow an armistice in Korea.
In addition, a review of the objectives of current programs of military assistance and covert activities has indicated the need for early resolution of certain fundamental questions of concern to the National Security Council. Accordingly, I recommend that the Council undertake, at an early date, a review of NSC 48/52 insofar as it pertains to United States policy toward Formosa, the Chinese Nationalist Government, and other anti-Communist Chinese forces.
- This memorandum, together with a covering memorandum of Mar. 24 by Lay, was circulated to the National Security Council as NSC 128, “Report to the National Security Council by the Acting Secretary of Defense on Formosa,” Mar. 24.↩
- For text of NSC 48/5, “United States Objectives, Policies and Courses of Action in Asia,” May 17, 1951, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vi, Part 1, p. 33.↩