No. 83
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Allison)1



  • U.S.-Chinese Relations and General Situation in the Far East


  • Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo—Chinese Ambassador
  • John Foster Dulles—Secretary of State
  • John M. Allison—Assistant Secretary of State

The Chinese Ambassador called at his request to bring up under instructions from his Government several points with respect to U.S.-Chinese relations and the general situation in the Far East.

Ambassador Koo referred to the press reports of the Secretary’s forthcoming visit to South Asia and stated he was instructed by his Foreign Minister to invite the Secretary most cordially to visit Formosa. The Secretary thanked the Ambassador but said that on his presently contemplated trip he would visit only the countries of the Middle East and possibly Pakistan and India.2 The Secretary had no intention of visiting any of the Far Eastern countries at this time, although he hoped it would be possible to do so later on.

Ambassador Koo then stated he had been instructed to raise the problem created by the lack of any sort of joint military planning for the defense of Formosa between the appropriate U.S. and Chinese authorities. He said that his Government hoped that some form of joint or combined planning organization could be set up to look into the problem of the defense of Formosa and consider the various alternatives open. The Secretary expressed his agreement with the general proposition that there should be coordination in some form of plans for the defense of Formosa and referred to conversations he had previously had with Admiral Radford, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific, who had expressed concern at his lack of authority to initiate some form of discussions along these lines. Mr. Allison stated that this was a problem which was recognized both in the State and Defense Departments and that officers of the two Departments were in consultation at present over what might be done in this regard. It was hoped that agreement would shortly be reached and that discussions might soon be held with appropriate officers of the Chinese Government.

[Page 158]

Ambassador Koo then raised the question of a possible mutual security pact with the National Government of China and asked specifically whether the present would be an opportune time for the Chinese Government formally to propose negotiation of such a pact. The Ambassador referred to U.S. security pacts with Australia, New Zealand3 and the Philippines4 as well as with Japan5 and expressed the opinion that these should be rounded out by the conclusion of a pact with the Government on Formosa. The Secretary said that obviously we were sympathetic to the general proposition of creating security arrangements in the Pacific but that the problems, created by countries in which there was still an element of civil war and in which the final and ultimate boundaries of the particular country were not definitely determined, were such that it made it necessary to consider most carefully how this should be done. The Secretary said that the United States would not want to make a treaty which would result in a commitment for the United States to go to war on the mainland of Asia and that it would be extremely difficult, and might in fact be embarassing to the Chinese Government, to limit the effect of any treaty to just Formosa and the Pescadores. The Secretary also pointed out that if such a treaty were negotiated with the Chinese we would have a very similar problem with the Koreans who had long been urging the conclusion of some form of mutual security pact with the United States. Even further afield were the problems of Indo-China and Malaya where there would undoubtedly be demand for some such pact once the pact was concluded with China. Ambassador Koo said that the moral effect of the conclusion of a mutual security pact with the United States would be very great and that it would have particular influence with the overseas Chinese and encourage them in their present trend in favor of the Government on Formosa. The Secretary said he recognized this and in principle we certainly wanted to help in every possible way. He suggested that we continue to think about this problem for a time and see how the situation developed and whether or not there were steps which could be taken looking toward the further development of some form of Pacific security machinery.

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Ambassador Koo then referred to press reports of the talks with Foreign Minister Eden of the United Kingdom6 and to rumors which he and his Government had heard that during these talks the British continued violently to oppose the National Government of China and had in fact suggested support for the promotion of some sort of third force movement. The Secretary stated that there had been many rumors going around, most of them incorrect. He specifically denied that the British had raised in any way the question of the promotion of a third force movement and said that on the contrary it appeared that the British were slowly attempting to come around more closely to the American point of view toward the Far East. The Secretary referred to the domestic political problems of the British Government and said that, having these in mind, he was encouraged rather than otherwise at the attitude that had been shown by Mr. Eden.

When the Ambassador rose to depart, the Secretary asked him, “When are you going to get your troops out of Burma?”, and went on to express briefly to the Ambassador the seriousness with which the United States Government viewed the situation in Burma.7 The Ambassador said that he had had nothing in the past few days from his Government but that he hoped steps that it had already taken were helpful. Mr. Allison stated that we appreciated what the Chinese Government had done but that we still believed it necessary for the Chinese to agree in principle to the removal of the KMT troops from Burma and that if this agreement could be given we would then be in a position to go to the Burmese and request them not to bring this problem to the United Nations. It would also then be possible to work out some form of investigatory body or commission which could look into the practical problems involved.

After the Ambassador had left the Secretary’s office he told Mr. Allison that he thought his Government had received the wrong impression and that it believed that the United States was demanding that at this time it issue an unequivocal order to the Chinese troops in Burma to leave the country. He said that his impression was that all we were asking was for agreement in principle to issue such an order if after investigation it proves practical to remove at least some of the troops from Burma. Mr. Allison stated that while the United States believed the best possible thing would be for the Chinese Government at this time to issue an unequivocal order for the return of the KMT troops, nevertheless we recognized the difficulties for the Chinese in taking this step, but that we very strongly believe the Chinese Government should authorize us to [Page 160]inform the Burmese Government of its agreement in principle to the removal of the troops. Ambassador Koo said he understood our position and that he would telegraph again immediately to his Government.

  1. Secretary Dulles’ approval is indicated on an attached note.
  2. Dulles and Stassen visited countries of the Middle East and South Asia May 9–29; for documentation concerning their trip, see volume ix.
  3. For the text of the security treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (the ANZUS Pact), signed at San Francisco on Sept. 1, 1951, see TIAS 2493 or 3 UST (pt. 3) 3420.
  4. For the text of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States, signed at Washington on Aug. 30, 1951, see TIAS 2529 or 3 UST (pt. 3) 3947.
  5. For the text of the security treaty between Japan and the United States, signed at San Francisco on Sept. 8, 1951, see TIAS 2491 or 3 UST (pt. 3) 3329.
  6. See Document 81.
  7. For documentation on this subject, see volume xii, Part 2.