114. Editorial Note

On February 16, Secretary of State Dulles gave an address entitled “Our Foreign Policies in Asia” before the Foreign Policy Association in New York City. The portion of the address concerning Formosa and the offshore islands reads in part as follows:

“It is important to note that the treaty [the Mutual Defense Treaty with the Republic of China], except as it relates to United States territories, covers only the islands of Formosa and the Pescadores, and an armed attack directed against those islands. The congressional authority is to secure and protect Formosa and the Pescadores against armed attack, and to make secure and to protect ‘related positions and territories’ as the President judges this would be ‘required or appropriate in assuring the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores.’

“The President did not use our Armed Forces to help the Chinese Nationalists to hold the Tachen Islands and Yushan and Pishan, lying some 200 miles north of Formosa. These islands were virtually unrelated to the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores. We helped the Chinese Nationalists to evacuate these islands and regroup their forces, so as to avoid a bloody and wasteful battle which would have [Page 279]inflamed public emotions. Thus, Nationalist China and the United States have made an important contribution to the cause of peace.

“It has been suggested that Nationalist China should go further and surrender to the Chinese Communists the coastal positions which the Communists need to stage their announced attack on Formosa. It is doubtful that this would serve either the cause of peace or the cause of freedom.

“The Chinese Communists have been the initiators of violence in this area. They have already formally declared their intention to take Formosa by force. If the Chinese Nationalists now oblige by making it easier for the Chinese Communists to conquer Formosa, will they be less apt to do so? I doubt it.

“The United States has no commitment and no purpose to defend the coastal positions as such. The basic purpose is to assure that Formosa and the Pescadores will not be forcibly taken over by the Chinese Communists. However, Foreign Minister Chou says they will use all their force to take Formosa, and they treat the coastal islands as means to that end. When the Nationalists voluntarily evacuated the Tachen Islands, the Chinese Communists’ comment was: The liberation of these islands has created favorable conditions for our People’s Liberation Army in the liberation of Formosa.’

“Thus the Chinese Communists have linked the coastal positions to the defense of Formosa. That is the fact which, as President Eisenhower said in his message to Congress about Formosa, ‘compels us to take into account closely related localities.’ Accordingly, we shall be alert to subsequent Chinese Communist actions, rejecting for ourselves any initiative of warlike deeds.

“It is hardly to be expected that the Chinese Communists will renounce their ambitions. However, might they not renounce their efforts to realize their goals by force?

“Such renunciation of force is one of the basic principles of the United Nations, and the United States had hoped, and still hopes, that the United Nations may be able to effect a cessation of the present hostilities.”

The complete address is printed in Department of State Bulletin, February 28, 1955, pages 327–331.