278. Notes of a Meeting of the Operations Coordinating Board0
[Here follows a brief summary of discussion of Yemen.]
2. Tibet (Confidential)
During the luncheon meeting the Board members had a general discussion of several aspects of the Tibet situation including the future of the Dalai Lama, exploitation of Chicom actions and the use of comments thereon by Asian and other leaders.
[Here follow brief summaries of discussion concerning a proposed information program on the NS Savannah and on Guinea.][Page 558]
1. Report and Operations Plan on Taiwan and the Government of the Republic of China (NSC 5723)1 (Secret)
Assistant Secretary Walter S. Robertson and Mr. LaRue Lutkins, of the Office of Chinese Affairs, were present for the consideration of these agenda items by the OCB.
There was considerable discussion on the general situation in Taiwan and the implications of this situation for the U.S. position in the Far East. During this discussion, Mr. Robertson stated the following views, many of them in answer to questions of the Acting Chairman (Mr. Harr):
- U.S. Far Eastern policy has been strengthened by U.S. actions in support of GRC forces in resisting ChiCom aggression, during the offshore island hostilities last summer.
- The nations of the Far East were quite comprehending about the significance of U.S. action in support of the GRC.
- The maintenance of the morale of the GRC is no “fiction” but a very real problem important to U.S. interests.
- Despite the cost of assisting GRC forces financially, these forces actually represent a comparatively economical deterrent to any further aggression in such areas as Korea and Southeast Asia.
- While the economic problems of Taiwan loom large, the small farmers and shopkeepers are relatively prosperous and realize that it is the GRC and the U.S. presence which is protecting them from ChiCom slavery, which they hear about from the mainland.
- The defense of the off-shore islands last summer was, unfortunately, misinterpreted in some circles. The ChiComs had made it clear that their objectives were not only Quemoy and Matsu, but Taiwan itself, and, in fact, had made it clear that clearance of the Taiwan area of U.S. forces was also one of their objectives. Therefore, Mr. Robertson continued, the erroneous interpretation that U.S. action was at the risk of general hostilities over small off-shore islands was analogous to reasoning that a rampaging tiger could be deterred by sacrificing a village infant in hopes of protecting the village itself.
Mr. Murphy concluded the discussion by noting that the presentation had been an “excellent” one and that there should be no doubt that the objectives and courses of action outlined in the papers were the best for the U.S. to pursue under the circumstances.
The Board approved both the Report and the Operations Plan.2
- Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, OCB Preliminary Notes. Secret.↩
- Reference is to two draft OCB documents, “Report on Taiwan and the Government of the Republic of China (NSC 5723)” and “Operations Plan for Taiwan and the Government of the Republic of China.” The final documents were dated April 15 and April 22, respectively. (Ibid., Taiwan, 1958–1959; see Supplement)↩
- Harr presented the report to the National Security Council at an NSC meeting on May 13. The memorandum of discussion by Boggs is in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records.↩