Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 434
Memorandum of Discussion at the 228th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, December 9, 19541

top secret
eyes only


Present at the 228th Council meeting were the President of the United States, presiding; the Vice President of the United States; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization; the Secretary of the Treasury; the Attorney General (for Item 1); the Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, U.S. Civil Service Commission (for Item 1); the Chairman, U.S. Information Agency (for Item 2); the Deputy Secretary of Defense; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; the NSC Representative on Internal Security (for Item 1); the White House Staff Secretary; and the Acting Executive Secretary, NSC.

There follows a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the main points taken.

. . . . . . .

3. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

[Here follow the intelligence briefing, given by Allen Dulles, beginning with comments concerning Japan and discussion of the question of trade between Japan and the People’s Republic of China. For text of this portion of the memorandum of discussion, see Document 835.]

As the second point in his briefing, Mr. Dulles described the Chinese Communist reaction to the signature of the mutual security treaty between the United States and the Chinese National Government on Formosa.2 The Communist reaction had been very bitter. There were accusations that the United States was planning an indefinite occupation of Formosa. The treaty had been described as provocative and, indeed, as an act of war. “Grave consequences” [Page 1005] would almost certainly follow. All this language, said Mr. Dulles, was strikingly reminiscent of the language used by Peiping just before the Chinese Communists intervened in North Korea. On the other hand, at the present time Communist China had no potentiality for invading Formosa, and it was accordingly difficult to see what they could do to carry out their threats. They might, perhaps, make a “suicide” attempt at Formosa, with the objective of stirring up world opinion against the United States. Another possibility was a move against the offshore islands.

Mr. Dulles noted as significant the fact that the Chinese Communists were attacking the United Kingdom in language almost as strong as that used against the United States. Secretary Dulles added that the attitude of the United Kingdom with respect to the issue of the imprisoned American flyers had been very helpful indeed. Nutting had made a perfectly wonderful speech in the UN.3 The President commented that he was glad to hear that the United States had a few warm friends.

With respect to the so-called “American spy case”, Mr. Dulles said that the Chinese Communists continued to press their verbal attack. They were calling upon the United States to give back the 48,000 prisoners of the Korean war whom they alleged we had forcibly prevented from returning to their homeland, and were also making demands that we repatriate Chinese students now allegedly detained by force in the United States. Mr. Dulles and other members of the Council thought that this might actually constitute a genuine Chinese Communist bargaining position.

The President inquired whether we had ever really given thought to setting forth the three or four specific actions by the Chinese Communist Government which might cause the United States to give serious consideration to a change in its policy toward Communist China. The President said that of course he would not want to give any publicity to such Chinese actions, but if by some chance they undertook to remove these specific sources of friction, what would the United States do in return?

Secretary Dulles said that if the Chinese Communists did remove specific sources of friction this might have some effect on U.S. policy; but he insisted, as he had done at the previous Council meeting, that one could not list specifics, because it would be possible for the Chinese to comply superficially with this list without actually doing so in the genuine good faith that is really vital to an understanding. The President did not press his point.

[Page 1006]

The National Security Council:4

Noted and discussed the subject in the light of an oral briefing by the Director of Central Intelligence on the implications for the U.S. of the fall of the Yoshida Government in Japan; Chinese Communist reaction to the signature of the mutual security treaty between the United States and the National Government of China; and developments in Communist China respecting the imprisonment of U.S. military personnel.
Noted the President’s desire that a Special National Intelligence Estimate be prepared, as a matter of urgency, analyzing the net effect on Japan and on North China and Manchuria of an increased flow of consumer goods from Japan to Communist China in return for products from Communist China required by the Japanese economy.

Note: The action in b above, as approved by the President, subsequently transmitted to the Director of Central Intelligence for appropriate implementation.

. . . . . . .

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Drafted by Gleason on Dec. 10.
  2. The text of a statement on Dec. 8 by Chou En-lai, charging that the treaty was a “grave warlike provocation” and declaring that the United States must accept “all the grave consequences” if it did not withdraw its forces from Taiwan, the Pescadores, and the Taiwan Straits, is printed as a supplement to People’s China, Dec. 16, 1954; extracts are printed in Documents on International Affairs, 1954, pp. 330–333.
  3. For text of Nutting’s statement made in the General Assembly on Dec. 8, see Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 20, 1954, pp. 945–948.
  4. The lettered subparagraphs constitute NSC Action No. 1283. (S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) files, lot 66 D 95, “Record of Actions by the National Security Council, 1954”)