711.5890/2–453: Telegram

No. 79
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China

top secret

546. Urtel 800.1 While President’s speech did not explicitly say Seventh Fleet would continue defend Formosa, such statement unnecessary in view fact that after recalling dual mission of Fleet (1) to prevent attack on Formosa and (2) to insure that Formosa not be used as base of operation against Communist-held mainland, President clearly stated latter part mission only no longer justified and therefore would be terminated.

This intention clearly reflected in following directive dated Feb 2 from Defense to CINCPAC: [Page 146]

“a. In addn to missions outlined in Unified Cmd Plan amended as necessary reflect transfer United States mil responsibility concerning Formosa and Philippines from CINCFE to CINCPAC, CINCPAC will by air and naval action defend Formosa and Pescadores against invasion or attack by Chi Commie forces.

By foregoing change that portion ur current directive2 which requires you insure that Formosa and Pescadores will not be used as bases opns against Chi Mainland by Chi Nats is rescinded.”3

Note that foregoing directive does not change policy with respect to off-shore islands which remains same as outlined Deptel 813 May 9, 1952. Dept agrees policy on off-shore islands should by no means be made public but rather should be made known only to limited number Chi officials at highest level. Defense concurs. Inform Chase.

  1. Telegram 800 from Taipei, Feb. 4, reported that Foreign Minister Yeh had asked why the President’s message had made no reference to the Seventh Fleet’s continuing mission of defending Formosa. Rankin had suggested to Yeh that the omission might help meet the point President Chiang had raised about the offshore islands, since the Chinese Communists could only guess at the U.S. attitude toward an attack on them. (711.5890/2–453)
  2. Reference is to JCS telegram 92666 to CINCPAC, Jan. 23, 1952, which informed CINCPAC of the pending transfer to him from CINCFE of responsibility for the defense of Formosa, the Pescadores, and the Philippines (see footnote 4, Document 8) and set forth his responsibilities in this regard. (793.00/1–2352)
  3. JCS telegram 930324 to CINCPAC, Feb. 2. (611.93/2–253) The substantive portion is quoted here.