711.5890/2–153: Telegram

No. 72
The Chargé in the Republic of China (Rankin) to the Department of State1


784. At luncheon today President Chiang discussed statement transmitted to him last night re Seventh Fleet mission (Deptel 522, January 30 and mytel 783, Feb 12) with Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Governor Wu, General Chou and Secretary General Wang.3 He received me immediately afterward and made following principal points:

He is gratified by President Eisenhower’s intent to take this “judicious” step of great “moral significance”.
Generalissimo hopes it will be followed by closer “organization cooperation” with US.
He notes that protection of Seventh Fleet would continue to extend only to Formosa and Pescadores and that Chinese Communists might use occasion to attack Chinese Nationalist held off shore islands, notably Kinmen, for which adequate air defense not available.
However, he will not interpret President Eisenhower’s proposed statement as inviting request for increased aid.
If and when statement is made, Chinese Government proposes issue comment expressing gratification and avoiding any reference to possible aggressive action against mainland.

I took occasion to express hope Chinese Government would undertake no significant attacks on Communist-held territory, especially if aircraft, tanks, et cetera involved, without first consulting General Chase. This has not been done to date, but President Chiang assured me would in future.

I repeated importance of continuing regard entire subject as confidential until President Eisenhower actually issued statement.

[Page 136]

Comment: In subsequent conversation with Foreign Minister I learned President Chiang’s reference to closer organizational cooperation (above) reflected hope combined military staff could be set up. His reference to “moral significance” meant mission of Seventh Fleet was now what it should have been since 1950, which would have had considerable influence on development of Korean War in Generalissimo’s opinion.

  1. Repeated by the Department to Paris for Secretary Dulles as telegram 4169, Feb. 1. (711.5890/2–153)
  2. Telegram 783 reported that the statement in telegram 522 to Taipei (Document 70) had been conveyed to Chiang Kai-shek on the evening of Jan. 31. (711.5890/2153)
  3. Wang Shih-chieh, Secretary General, Office of the President.