S/PNSC files, lot 62 D 1, NSC 128

No. 31
Report Submitted by the Senior Defense Member of the NSC Staff (Nash) to the Steering Committee on NSC 1281

top secret

Military Advisory and Assistance Program for Formosa

1. The objective of the FY 1951, 1952 and 1953 MDAP programs with respect to the forces of the NGRC is to provide military assistance and training designed to improve their potential for the defense of the island of Formosa. Provision of military assistance was initiated in August 1950. The goal of the current programs is to build up the NGRC forces to the following strengths:

A. Army:

  • Ten armies of approximately 25,000, each including two infantry divisions with supporting elements.
  • One Separate Infantry Division (strength of 10,837).
  • One Armored Force Command (strength of 30,040).
  • One Paratroop Regimental Combat Team (strength of 3,660).

B. Navy:

  • Complete rehabilitation of the following Naval forces and Marine units:
    • 6 Destroyers
    • 7 Destroyer Escorts
    • 10 Landing Ships Tanks 7 Landing Ships Medium
    • 6 Landing Craft Infantry
    • 7 Landing Craft Tank
    • 3 Landing Craft Vehicle 13 Mine Sweepers
    • 1 Mine Layer
    • 2 Auxiliary Motor Mine Sweepers
    • 1 River Gunboat
    • 11 Gunboats
    • 5 Motor Gunboats
    • 2 Subchasers (P.C.)
    • 1 Patrol Escort
    • 3 Subchasers (S.C.)
    • 1 Marine Brigade
    • 1 Marine Guard Regiment
    • 2 Marine Guard Battalions
    • 2 Marine LVT Battalions

C. Air Force:

  • Augmentation of the CAF to include the following:
    • 1 All-Weather Fighter Squadron
    • 12 Fighter-Bomber Squadrons
    • 6 Light-Bomber Squadrons
    • 6 Transport Squadrons
    • 1 Reconnaissance Squadron
    • 6 AAA Regiments
    • 1 Searchlight Regiment

For details as to breakdown of dollar value and end-items, see Tab A.2

2. The 31 infantry divisions of the NGRC are being reorganized into 21 divisions, without decreasing men under arms. This reorganization is along U.S. lines and should ultimately produce 21 half-sized U.S. divisions as indicated in paragraph 1. The Navy is being rejuvenated to bring it up to a state of effectiveness. Although adequate from a strictly numerical standpoint, it had declined to a point wherein most of the units could not put to sea. Ships are now in the process of being rehabilitated and training is steadily improving. Although aircraft have not yet been delivered to Formosa, a large number of the planes already in the possession of the CAF have been made operational and pilots are undergoing training with the primary purpose of supporting the Ground Forces.

3. The terms of reference under which MAAG, Formosa has been operating include the following:

The Chief of the MAAG is responsible for leading and coordinating U.S. military program efforts within the country and for making appropriate recommendations. He is primarily responsible for furnishing military judgment on all aspects of the program and for:
Advising the military staff of the Chinese National Government on the initiation and development of requests for aid;
Determining, in accordance with policy and instructions, matériel requirements, and submitting necessary itemized lists of equipment to be included in the country grant aid program;
Initiating recommendations for the standardization of equipment, training methods and doctrines, and advising in the implementation thereof;
Advising and assisting in the development of approved training programs, and establishing such U.S. training detachments requested by the Chinese National Government as are approved by the U.S. Government. This will include direction of temporary training personnel assigned in accordance with approved policies and programs;
Reporting on program progress, status of training, the capacity of the Chinese armed forces to utilize the equipment scheduled for shipment and similar matters.
CINCPAC is charged with responsibilities with reference to Formosa, assigned him in connection with the President’s statement of 27 June 1950.

4. The FY 1951 and FY 1952 MDA programs total approximately $260 million. Depending on the availability of funds, the FY 1953 program will be approximately $218 million, for an overall total of $478 million.

5. The latest status and forecast of deliveries for FY 1951 and FY 1952 programs, Tab B, indicates that the greater part of the major items in these programs will be shipped to the NGRC by June 1953. If the equipment is delivered as indicated, the Ground Forces described in paragraph 1 will be 33 per cent equipped except for radios, radar sets and artillery ammunition. Shipments of the latter will not be complete until the last half of calendar year 1953.

6. Upon completion of the FY 1953 program and assuming that there will be no losses due to combat and if the U.S. is to furnish all the assistance required to maintain the NGRC forces at the level of the presently programmed objectives, the annual cost would be approximately $102 million. This figure is broken down by Service as follows:

Army $71 million
Navy 9 million
Air Force 22 million

While programmed objectives will have been reached, it must be noted that unprogrammed equipment deficiencies will remain. The details of this support and equipment deficiencies are given in Tab C. There is a fertile field for defense support programs in Formosa. Studies have indicated requirements for substantial quantities of shop equipment and supplies. Such material has not been provided through military assistance because the existing criteria prohibit this type aid. However, early consideration must be given to the greatest possible degree of self sufficiency for the NGRC forces if the U.S. is to avoid a continuing commitment of the magnitude indicated [Page 69] above. It should be noted that present statutory authority for assistance to the NGRC terminates as of 1 July 1954 except for phasing out activities.

7. The existing armed forces of the NGRC total approximately 600,000 and are composed of units which were removed from the mainland of China to Formosa, the Pescadores and other offshore islands. In view of their high attrition rate and a present average age of 27, these units need youthful replacements. The most logical source of such replacements is the native population of Formosa. It is currently estimated that approximately 480,000 Formosans between the ages of 15–24 would meet the physical standards for induction into the Nationalist military service. Any plan to draw substantial replacements from this source must take into consideration the Formosan antipathy to service abroad, the Nationalists’ aversion to arming substantial numbers of the indigenous population, and the manpower requirements of the already unbalanced local economy. On the other hand, there is nothing in existing directives to the MAAG which would prohibit the training of the native Formosans. If recruiting amongst the Formosans, or any training that is to be given to this source of manpower requires changes in current programs, however, these changes must be approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

8. The current U.S. military assistance program is designed to create a well-trained but austerely equipped army of 21 Divisions, a small modern air force and a navy capable of little more than coastal patrol. The goal has been primarily defensive. The amount of equipment that will be furnished under this program, however, would permit the offensive employment of at least limited numbers of these forces. Additional training would be required, and, if any amphibious operations were contemplated, special equipment would have to be furnished. Even then, however, any large-scale amphibious operations against the mainland of China or against Hainan Island would require U.S. logistic support and probably U.S. air and naval support.

9. If the U.S. military assistance program can be increased to a point which would provide offensive equipment and training for ten of the above 21 army divisions, and adequate defensive equipment for the remainder, a strategic reserve would have been created in the Asian area. This would require revision of existing training programs and an increase in current end-item programs to provide more equipment such as artillery, signal equipment of all types, ammunition, minimum engineer equipment, tanks, etc. for the ten offensive divisions. This might require approximately 350 million dollars in addition to the present programs. This is based on the assumption that no amphibious equipment would be furnished, [Page 70] and that U.S. air and naval support would include transportation of the troops involved. An increase in program as indicated above would include approximately 90 days war reserve of equipment and ammunition.

10. Furthermore, the question of using NGRC forces for offensive operations is closely related to the time factor. These forces will not be equipped under existing programs until some time after calendar year 1953. The question, therefore, resolves itself into a problem of continuing the present program and recognizing that this effort can be converted to an offensive type of operation by the change indicated above to include a shortening of the time phasing of the present program. If a decision is reached as to the scale of offensive operations desired and as to the date for their execution, then suitable revisions could be made to implement the change in mission.

  1. Circulated to the Steering Committee on NSC 128 with a covering memorandum of June 13 by Lay, stating that the report had been submitted pursuant to the Steering Committee’s agreement on May 6 (see footnote 1, Document 28). The report was labeled “Draft. For NSC Staff Consideration Only.”
  2. Tabs A, B, and C are not printed.