No. 23
Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense (Lovett)1

top secret


  • U.S. Position with Respect to Chinese Nationalist Government’s Defense of Kinmen, Matsu, and Tachen Islands.
This memorandum is in response to your memorandum of 29 April 19522 in which you request the views and recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a matter of priority, on a proposed Department of State reply3 to a cable from the American Embassy, Taipei,4 concerning the United States position with respect to the Chinese Nationalist Government’s defense of the Kinmen, Matsu, and Tachen Islands.
The message from the United States Ambassador to Taipei requests answers to two specific questions: (1) to what extent should the United States encourage the Chinese Nationalists to defend the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, and Tachen; and (2) whether the United States should in any way provide aid for those defenses.
In order to make the proposed draft message more fully responsive to the request of the Ambassador to Taipei; to clarify the extent to which encouragement and logistic support to the Chinese Nationalists may be given; and to furnish guidance to the Chief, Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Formosa, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the Chief, MAAG, Formosa should be instructed through the Ambassador that:
In the event a request is made by the Chinese Nationalist Government on Formosa, he may, consistent with his other missions, consent to the commitment by the Chinese Nationalist forces of limited quantities of military aid matériel as appropriate to assist in the defense of the threatened islands provided the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores is not jeopardized;
He should provide such military advice as may be appropriate for the same purpose;
He should clearly understand that no additional unprogrammed military aid matériel can be expected for the specific purpose of supporting the Chinese Nationalist defense of those islands; [Page 49]and that no commitment is to be made regarding replenishment of equipment transferred from Formosa; and
He should interpose no objection, consistent with his mission relative to the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores, to such reasonable redeployment of military forces among Chinese Nationalist possessions as the Chinese Nationalist Government may desire to accomplish.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur in the dispatch of the proposed Department of State message to the Ambassador, Taipei, subject to the amendments indicated in Appendix “A” hereto.
Attached as Appendix “B”5 hereto for your convenience are pertinent extracts from various directives relative to the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Sent to Secretary Acheson with a covering letter from Secretary Lovett stating his concurrence in the Joint Chiefs’ views. (793.00/5–952)
  2. Not printed.
  3. The proposed reply, with the Joint Chiefs’ amendments, was attached as Appendix A; the amended message was sent as telegram 813 to Taipei, infra.
  4. Telegram 1307 from Taipei, Document 18.
  5. Not printed.