273. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • Implementation of DoanWang Agreement1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Dr. George K.C. Yeh, Ambassador, Chinese Embassy
  • Mr. Walter S. Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs
  • Mr. LaRue R. Lutkins, Acting Director for Chinese Affairs

Mr. Robertson recalled that in a recent conversation with FE officers Ambassador Yeh had stated he had information to the effect that the Kinmen [Page 551]garrison had been reduced by 10,000 men.2 Since this did not square with the information available to us, we asked our Embassy in Taipei for a report on the situation. The Embassy reported3 that according to GRC sources the Kinmen garrison had only been reduced by 500-odd men since last November. The Embassy’s report also indicated that full implementation of the DoanWang Memorandum of Understanding of November 17 was being impeded by a failure on the Chinese side to carry out the prescribed reduction of the Kinmen garrison.

Mr. Robertson said that he wished to avoid creating any misunderstanding with respect to his remarks on the subject. We, of course, had no desire to weaken the over-all posture of the GRC on the offshore islands. However, during the Secretary’s visit to Taiwan last October, he was given to understand from discussions with senior Chinese and United States military officers that a course of action providing for an appreciable reduction in the Kinmen garrison and concurrent introduction of heavier artillery would not impair the defensive strength of the island complex and might in fact increase it. Subsequently on November 17 Generals Wang and Doan concluded an agreement whereby the Kinmen garrison would be reduced by not less than 15,000 men including one division and the United States would supply certain new heavy artillery pieces for emplacement on Kinmen. It was planned that this agreement would be implemented by June 30 of this year. The new guns had already arrived in Taiwan, but their deployment to Kinmen was being held up because no reduction in the Kinmen garrison had yet taken place. Since the agreed date of implementation was approaching, we were concerned at the lack of progress on the Chinese side. The President inquired about this matter the other day and the Department had to inform him that nothing had been done. Mr. Robertson asked if Ambassador Yeh could possibly do anything to help break this unfortunate log jam.

Ambassador Yeh stated that President Chiang himself had told him a reduction in the Kinmen garrison would be carried out under the cover of the deployment of replacements. Some six weeks ago he received word from Taipei from an army source that things were beginning to move ahead. He expressed surprise regarding the June 30 implementation date, stating that he had never heard any specific time period mentioned. He indicated that he would advise his government to move ahead with implementation of the DoanWang agreement. As for action by the United States in Taipei, he suggested that we not pursue the matter further with General Wang but that the Ambassador should discuss the [Page 552]matter with the Foreign Minister, with perhaps a concurrent approach by Admiral Smoot to Defense Minister Yu Ta-wei.4

In the course of discussing this subject Ambassador Yeh also mentioned the GRC’s plans to reduce over-all military forces from 670,000 to roughly 600,000 by the end of FY 1960. He mentioned having received a personal letter from Vice President Chen in which he referred to the difficulty he had encountered in gaining the President’s approval of this plan. According to Ambassador Yeh, the Vice President’s letter also indicated that one purpose in seeking the additional $20 million aid in FY 19595 that the GRC requested at the end of December was to cover the expenses of disbanding these 70,000 troops. The Ambassador commented in this connection that the GRC expected to lose about $30 million in revenue this year because of lower world sugar and rice prices.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/3–1959. Secret. Drafted by Lutkins.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 236.
  3. Telegram 603 to Taipei, March 5, informed the Embassy that Yeh had so stated in a conversation on March 3 and requested the Embassy’s comments. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/3–559)
  4. In telegram 994 from Taipei, March 10. (Ibid., 793.5/3–1059; see Supplement)
  5. Telegram 1031 from Taipei, March 23, reported that on March 21, General Wang had given General Doan a schedule for the redeployment of 16,645 personnel from Kinmen by June 30, that CINCPAC had accepted this schedule, and that Doan had thereupon released the artillery for delivery to Kinmen. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/3–2359; see Supplement) Ambassador Yeh informed Robertson along similar lines on March 26. (Memorandum of conversation, March 26; Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/3–2659)
  6. Telegram 487 to Taipei, December 20, 1958, informed the Embassy that Yeh had called on Robertson on December 19 to request an additional $20 million economic aid or loan. He stated that the GRC estimated its additional expenditures as a result of the offshore islands crisis at $30 million, of which $10 million could be covered within the $70 million aid level. (Ibid., 793.5–MSP/12–2058; see Supplement)