No. 68
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Allison)



  • United Kingdom Views on Possible Abandonment of Formosa Neutralization Policy
[Page 129]


  • F.S. Tomlinson—Counselor, British Embassy
  • John M. Allison—Assistant Secretary of State

Mr. Tomlinson of the British Embassy has just been in to see me under instructions from his Government to discuss the possible abandonment of the neutralization policy with respect to Formosa. The question was raised as a result of a report on January 1 in a paper on Formosa that a commando raid had been made on the island at the mouth of the Yangtze and that some 400 Chinese Communist prisoners had been taken.

The United Kingdom Government makes three points: First, they feel that the neutralization policy announced on June 27, 1950 cannot be stretched to mean approval of such guerrilla raids on islands just off the mainland of China; secondly, they express the view that it would be regrettable if the neutralization policy were to be nibbled away by a series of incidents such as this raid and it were thereby to become a dead letter. The clear implication was that if the policy is to be changed it should be a complete change in policy rather than a seeming inadvertent ignoring of the policy. In the third place, Mr. Tomlinson was instructed to state that if the United States is considering abandoning or modifying the Formosa neutralization policy, the UK Government is of the view that this would have great international political repercussions and that prior to making any such decision there should be consultation among the interested powers.

I told Mr. Tomlinson that I was not in a position to say at this time what action the United States Government was going to take but that I did believe it safe to say that if the policy were modified or changed it would be done as a direct conscious act and not by the nibbling away process. I referred to what Mr. Tomlinson had told me previously about Mr. Selwyn Lloyd’s conversation with Mr. Dulles on this subject1 and said that while I was not in a position [Page 130]to give any answer about consultation, I did express the personal opinion that at least insofar as the UK was concerned Mr. Dulles might consider that his talk with Mr. Selwyn Lloyd and his subsequent discussion with Mr. Churchill on general matters would constitute “consultation”. However, I told Mr. Tomlinson that I would report the matter at once to the Secretary and be in touch with him later.

Note: The Secretary was informed of this talk orally immediately after the conversation.

  1. A memorandum by Dulles of a conversation with British Minister of State John Selwyn Lloyd, held in Washington on Dec. 26, 1952, reads in part:

    “Mr. Dulles said he agreed [with Lloyd’s expression of concern with the situation in Indochina] and felt that the Asian situation might have to be considered as a whole with some deterrent power created at the center to avoid increasing pressure on the two flanks of Korea and Indochina. He said in this connection that President Eisenhower might modify the present instructions to the 7th Fleet so that our Fleet would not, in effect, serve as an adjunct to Chinese Communist forces protecting their center. This situation was anomalous in view of the Chinese Communist attacks in Korea and the rejection by the Chinese Communists of the Indian Armistice proposal in the U.N. Mr. Lloyd made no comment and Mr. Dulles did not ask for U.N. [U.K.] concurrence.”

    The memorandum is filed with a brief memorandum of Dec. 27 from Eisenhower to Dulles. (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file, Dulles–Herter Series)