Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 280
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Acting Secretary of State1

Telephone Call to General Smith, 9/6/54.


Smith asked the President whether or not Dulles should go on to Formosa as result of invitation from Chinese Nationals. Pros and cons were discussed. President agreed if no change as situation now exists, would be all right for Dulles to go.2

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

Discussion of Quemoy. Smith sending long report sent in by Allison3 with regard to a confidential discussion some pro-American Japanese had with Chou En-lai. His estimate of situation serious.

Radford thinks Quemoy could be held, Ridgway differs. Smith and Eisenhower agree that if we go in, our prestige is at stake. We should not go in unless we can defend it. Discussion of Little Quemoy.

Smith asked about undertaking evacuation in case full-scale invasion is made. President: My hunch is that once we get tied up in any one of these things our prestige is so completely involved.

[Page 574]

Quemoy—about 40 thousand regular troops there, cannot afford to have them lost. Within easy artillery range of shore. Impossible for our vessels to maneuver between island and mainland.

Smith said on his own authority he had told Nationalists that we would concur in any defensive action they undertook. President agreed we must not stand in their way in any defensive action. They have lost two planes.

President would like to have chiefs of staff submit ground estimate, etc.

  1. The source text does not indicate the drafting officer.
  2. Tedul 16 to Manila, Sept. 6, informed Dulles of the President’s view. (110.11 DU/9–554)
  3. Reference is to telegram 560 from Tokyo, Sept. 6, which reported a conversation with Sam Watson, a member of the British Labor Party Delegation which had visited Moscow and Peking. Watson stated that the Chinese had placed great stress on the importance of the Formosa problem and that he thought they would soon launch an attack on Formosa in order to provoke U.S. countermeasures and thereby split the Western powers. The text of this telegram was sent to Eisenhower in Denver in an unnumbered telegram on Sept. 6. (793.00/9–654)