795.00/1–1354: Telegram

No. 164
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 1

top secret

650. Eyes only for Rankin. Personal from the Secretary to the Generalissimo. Reference Department’s 1077.2 Assistant Secretary Robertson has told me of his conversation with you3 with reference to message from me delivered by Ambassador Rankin on June 26 last concerning President Rhee. As Robertson has explained, the tenor of my message was entirely misunderstood by you. At this critical time I thought you were entitled to know our position because it had an inevitable bearing on your own. I hoped that President [Page 350] Rhee’s well-known admirers and supporters could help him to see importance of cooperating with the United Nations Command in the armistice negotiations. In response to communication similar to that to you, messages to this end were sent to President Rhee by Senators Knowland and Smith,4 Congressman Judd, former Ambassador Bullitt5 and General Van Fleet 6 among others.7 Robertson has told me of the personal message you had sent to Rhee urging his cooperation with U.S. prior to receipt of my cable. I had not known of this and greatly appreciate what you did. We highly value your friendship and I am personally grateful for the cooperation you have shown in meeting our common problems.8

  1. Drafted by Robertson.
  2. Document 114.
  3. Robertson visited Taipei Dec. 26–28, 1953, during a brief trip to the Far East, in the course of which he also visited Seoul and Manila. No record of his conversations in Taipei has been found in Department of State files. In a letter of Jan. 18 to Robertson, Rankin wrote that, during Robertson’s visit, “President Chiang revived the matter and indicated that he still felt injured that the United States Government should have assumed him to be guilty of encouraging President Rhee in his intransigence. The threat which Chiang considered to have been implied in the Department’s telegram of June 24 also continued to rankle. So far from having backed Rhee in his opposition to the United States, Chiang told you that he had sent a personal message to Rhee, prior to the receipt of the Department’s communication of June 24 (telegram No. 1077) urging his cooperation with the United States.” (795.00/1–1854)
  4. Senator H. Alexander Smith (R–New Jersey).
  5. Former Ambassador William C. Bullitt.
  6. Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet, retired, Commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea.
  7. Regarding these messages, see the editorial note, vol. xv, Part 2, p. 1292.
  8. Telegram 432 from Taipei, Jan. 22, reported that Chiang thanked Dulles for his message and for clarifying his earlier message regarding the Korean truce and asked that Dulles think nothing more of it. (795.00/1–2254)