277. Memorandum for President Eisenhower’s Files0

At the 25 March meeting of the 5412/2 group,1 the activities outlined in the attached memorandum dated 27 March were discussed. At that time approval of the Group was asked only for exploratory discussions with the GRC.

On the afternoon of 30 March a representative of the Director of Central Intelligence (Mr. Thomas Parrott) came to my office and indicated that the Director of Central Intelligence wished immediate approval of these activities. He informed me that Mr. Herter and Mr. Quarles had already given their approval.

After examining the document, I informed Mr. Parrott that because of the character and far-reaching possible consequences of these actions, I did not feel I could give my approval to them on behalf of the President without a discussion with the President. I thereupon at approximately 2:45 p.m. went to the President’s office and described the proposal to him. He indicated that he would not wish to have the projects approved without further information [2 lines of source text not declassified].

I then reported these points to Mr. Parrott who had remained in my office:

[heading and 4 paragraphs (8 lines of source text) not declassified]

4. He was concerned that the commitment to undertake the proposed operation would involve no commitments whatsoever to further activities in this regard which would have to be considered as they might be proposed.

[Page 556]

[heading and 2 paragraphs (5 lines of source text) not declassified]

Mr. Parrott indicated that it might take a little time to develop dependable material on all of these points.

On 1 April, Mr. Parrott returned to my office with the memorandum from the Director of Central Intelligence dated March 31 (attached)2 which addressed itself to the various points that the President made. On the basis of this memorandum and additional similar assurances given me by Mr. Parrott, I gave my approval on behalf of the President.

This memorandum with attachments is being hand-carried by me to General Goodpaster for the President’s files. There are no copies of this memorandum nor of the attachments except as may have been retained by the Director of Central Intelligence.

Gordon Gray

[Attachment]

3

MEMORANDUM FOR

  • Designated Representatives Under NSC 5412/2

SUBJECT

  • [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Resistance Program

1. Problem

President Chiang Kai-shek’s long standing request for increased support to his efforts to keep alive resistance in Mainland China has been bolstered and given urgency by the organization of communes throughout Mainland China and the recent upsurge of Tibetan resistance.

2. Facts

Events since Communist China launched the commune program in April 1958 indicate the possibility of increasing latent disaffection with the Communist government among the population of the racially Chinese provinces. In the provinces of the northwest there is considerable hard intelligence indicative of fairly large scale and continuing resistance among the non-Chinese minority peoples. In Tibet, there are believed to be a substantial number of armed Khamba tribesmen actively resisting Chinese Communist domination, and the Dalai Lama is now fleeing to India through the territory controlled to a considerable [Page 557]extent by these tribesmen. President Chiang has pointed out that, under these circumstances, he must take action in support of the resistance in the above areas if the prestige of his government is not to suffer in the eyes of the world at large and the Chinese people. Ambassador DRUM-right, in recommending to the Department of State a program of increased support, qualified his recommendation by advising against any joint activities with the GRC into Tibet, since the Tibetans are antagonistic to all Chinese regardless of their political affiliations.

3. Discussion

[3 paragraphs (23 lines of source text) not declassified]

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] it is believed that economic progress and the development of the communes can be retarded. The Communist government can be forced to take security measures which will assist in further discrediting it in the eyes both of its own population and the world at large, as well as to limit the flexibility of the Chinese Communist regime in dealing with its people. It is believed that success in the consolidation and development of the commune system in China would seriously damage U.S. strategic interests in Asia.

[2 headings and 3 paragraphs (11 lines of source text) not declassified]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Intelligence Matters (11). Secret. The source text bears the typed notation: “There were no other copies made of this memorandum.”
  2. The records of this meeting have not been found. NSC 5412/2, “National Security Council Directive on Covert Operations,” December 28, 1955, provided that designated representatives of the Secretaries of State and Defense and of the President should be advised in advance of major covert programs and should be the normal channel for giving policy approval for such programs. (Ibid., Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Records)
  3. Document 276.
  4. Secret; Eyes Only.