The Chargé in the Republic of China
to the Department of
1439. Substance Deptel 813, May 9 communicated to FonMin who was grateful confirmation assumed US position but made following observations.
While Chinese Govt forces will of course defend islands in question Chinese Commie capabilities were such as to enable capture islands any time willing commit sufficient forces for purpose. Since Chi Govt without active support Seventh Fleet wld find it impossible maintain successful defense in face determined, well-mounted attacks. In this connection FonMin raised again, without expecting answer, repeatedly discussed question as to what constitutes defense Formosa and at what point Chinese Commie threat would be taken seriously enough warrant involvement Seventh Fleet. Seems clear he was implying serious attack on islands as distinguished [Page 51]from hit and run tactics should be considered as preliminary to invasion Formosa.
- Howard P. Jones, Counselor of Embassy at Taipei, was in charge of the Embassy in the absence of Karl Rankin, who was away May 11–Oct. 1 for consultations in Washington and home leave. Rankin’s account of his discussions with President Truman and other officials during this trip may be found in Karl Lott Rankin, China Assignment (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1964), pp. 138–149.↩