794A.00/5–2352: Telegram

No. 27
The Chargé in the Republic of China (Jones) to the Department of State

secret
priority

1473. Re Embtel 1450, May 16.1 FonMin yesterday requested closer liaison between 7th Fleet and Min Natl Def with respect to flights of US mil aircraft. Presumption now exists here that aircraft [Page 53]reported reftel were US Naval Patrol planes. FonMin offered further presumptive evidence in Chi Govt intel report that Fukien mainland coast had simultaneous alert. Since desp reftel several other alerts have been sounded in central and southern parts of island. In each case later info pointed to probability aircraft 7th Fleet patrol.

FonMin strongly urged immed steps be taken for fol reasons among others:

(1)
Econ effect on cities of Formosa of unannounced alerts had been serious. In some areas farmers had failed bring in rice and other foodstuffs after alert responding only after convinced Chi Commie invasion not imminent.
(2)
In view sensitivity population, Chi Govt anxious avoid further unscheduled alerts unless real thing, in effort avoid unnecessary econ dislocation and also development of “wolf” psychology.
(3)
Unnecessary take-off of intercepter aircraft results waste aviation gas in time shortage.

I concur strongly with FonMin that something must be done to clarify sitn as does Gen Chase and Atts. After thorough discussion here with MAAG experts and Atts only practicable solution seemed to be estab combined US–Chi operations friendly plane control organ for Formosa Straits.

Recognizing that proposed solution not within framework present directives suggest consideration Joint Chiefs might well be given to alteration current directive permitting closer coordination between Chi Air Def Command and 7th Fleet.

We are working here on interim solution of developing more expeditious circuit for routing flight info to Chi Air Def Command. Present channel is from 7th Flt thru NavAtt to Chi G–2 to Chi Air Def Command. Installation direct tel-communication between NavAtt offices and Chi Air Def Command wld speed flow of info but not solve problem.

Further factor in picture is inefficiency present Chi radar net. Further training and prompt shipment radar now on MAAG order wld result elimination much inaccurate observation.

Finally, FonMin request points up sharply confusion which wld certainly result in event invasion and/or air raid Formosa. At present no adequate machinery exists for coordination US–Chi Forces in def island. While FonMin did not raise this aspect question, it has been subj frequent queries by Chi Chief Staff to Gen Chase.

Summarizing, all US elements here agreed:

(1)
FonMin’s request most pertinent and timely;
(2)
Immed problem probably cld best be solved by actual combined US–Chi operation friendly plan control organization for Formosan Straits;
(3)
Problem points up larger issue necessity close US–Chi Milit Staff coordination for all purposes connection defense Formosa.

Jones
  1. Telegram 1450 reported an air raid alert on that date in Taipei. (794A.00/51652)