334. Memorandum of Discussion at the 447th Meeting of the National Security Council0

[Here follows a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting.]

1. U.S. Policy on Hong Kong (NSC 5717;1 NSC 5913/1;2 SNIE13–3–57;3 OCB Special Report on NSC 5717, dated December 23, 1959;4 NSC Action No. 2172–b;5 NSC 6007;6 Memos for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated May 17 and 26, 1960;7 Memo For All Holders of NSC 6007, dated May 31, 19608)

Mr. Gray briefed the Council on NSC 6007. (A copy of Mr. Gray’s Briefing Note is filed in the Minutes of the Meeting and another is attached to this Memorandum.)9

In the course of his briefing Mr. Gray referred to the differences of view with respect to Paragraph 7, relating to major civil disturbances in Hong Kong. The majority of the Planning Board proposed that the U.S. should be prepared to provide U.S. forces if required to prevent British loss of control of the city as a result of such disturbances; while the Bureau of the Budget proposed that the U.S. should not provide armed forces to assist the British in suppressing civil disturbances in Hong Kong.

[Page 668]

The President was inclined to favor the Budget point of view. He said that if the U.K. became so weak that it was not able to suppress civil disturbances in Hong Kong after we had, as set forth in the first part of Paragraph 7, provided assistance and supplies, he was unable to see why we should intervene with U.S. forces. If the U.K. was about to lose control of Hong Kong as a result of civil disturbances, it was on the point of losing control over all its territories. Accordingly, the President believed the Bureau of the Budget proposition was the correct one despite the distinguished gentlemen on the other side of the argument. Mr. Gray said he would like to take a few minutes to explain the majority position. The President said he supposed the majority had a right to be heard.

Mr. Gray then indicated the feeling of the majority that major civil disturbances in Hong Kong, no matter what their origin, would lead inevitably to communist control unless we land troops to help the British. In this connection he referred to Paragraph 28 of the General Considerations section of NSC 6007 which stated that “It is virtually certain that if civil disturbances were to proceed to a point where the British lost control of the situation, a Chinese Communist takeover would follow.”

The President believed that if the British were about to lose Hong Kong as a result of civil disturbances, Hong Kong would be such a completely hostile place that there would be little use in attempting to retain it. Mr. Dillon said his reaction upon reading Paragraph 7 for the first time had been similar to that of the President. However, he believed the language proposed by the Bureau of the Budget went too far because Paragraph 9 of NSC 6007 provided that under certain circumstances the U.S. would be prepared to intervene in Hong Kong with armed force. The President felt that the majority language went too far in the opposite direction. Mr. Dillon said the State Department might make some suggestions for the revision of Paragraph 9 when the Council reached that paragraph. In the meantime, he felt Paragraph 7 should be limited to civil disturbances which in the opinion of the U.S. Government are directly communist-inspired. The President could not imagine the U.K. requiring any assistance except on a temporary emergency basis until it could deploy more forces to the area. He felt the British would be near the end of their power if they were compelled to ask for U.S. troops to suppress civil disturbances in Hong Kong.

Mr. Dillon suggested that the language of Paragraph 7 be made to conform to the language of Paragraph 9. Accordingly, he proposed that “a decision as to whether or not to provide U.S. forces to prevent loss of British control of Hong Kong in the event of major civil disturbances should be made in the light of conditions prevailing at the time.” Moreover, any decision to provide U.S. forces should give consideration to actions in the U.N. The President pointed out that Paragraph 9 did not deal [Page 669] with strictly civil disturbances. Mr. Douglas10agreed that a great deal depended on the definition of civil disturbances. He thought the authors of NSC 6007 must have been referring, in Paragraph 7, not to armed invasion across the border but to major organized communist action within Hong Kong. The President was still unable to understand how we could go to the assistance of the U.K. in Hong Kong except under very unusual circumstances. Mr. Dillon pointed out that Paragraph 7, by employing the phrase “especially if communist-instigated”, implied that we would help the British in the event of civil disturbances in Hong Kong which were not communist-instigated.

Mr. McCone11 suggested that both alternative versions of the last sentence of Paragraph 7 should be deleted and that Paragraph 9 should be revised to cover both an actual Chinese Communist attack on Hong Kong and major communist civil disturbances in that city. The President felt that if the disturbances were purely civil disturbances, the U.K. would be able to deal with them. Moreover, the U.K., with its good intelligence system, would probably know whether or not such disturbances were communist-inspired.

Mr. Gray said our existing policy on Hong Kong, which NSC 6007 was designed to replace, had been prepared in the contemplation that Hong Kong would have to be written off in case of communist attack. The existing policy provided that the U.S. would not intervene with armed forces. In reviewing existing policy, however, the conclusion had been reached that it was now possible to take a more positive approach. This more positive approach was reflected in NSC 6007. Mr. Gray felt that the problem presented by the alternative versions of Paragraph 7 would be solved by adopting Mr. McCone’s suggestion that a decision as to whether or not to provide U.S. forces to assist the British should be made in the light of the circumstances existing at the time. Deputy Secretary of Defense James H. Douglas. Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission John A. McCone.

The President said that even if civil disturbances in Hong Kong were instigated by the communists, the people creating the disturbances would have to receive outside communist support or else the British would be able to suppress the disorders. The President stated that he was not ready to order the intervention of U.S. armed forces in the event of civil disturbances in Hong Kong unless there was a showing that Chinese Communist forces were involved. If it could be determined that Chinese Communist forces were intervening in Hong Kong, then he was ready to send U.S. forces to help the British. He pointed out that we were not intervening in Cuba, which was much closer to the U.S. After asking Mr. McCone to repeat his earlier suggestion, the President said that Paragraph 9 should be revised to indicate that in the event of actual Chinese [Page 670] Communist attack on Hong Kong or civil disturbances with the direct support of the Communist Chinese, a decision as to whether or not the U.S. should intervene against the aggressor should be made in the light of conditions existing at the time. Paragraph 9, as revised, would then refer to Chinese Communist forces crossing the border into Hong Kong.

Mr. Gray asked Mr. Allen whether he wished to comment on the objective in NSC 6007 which referred to the usefulness of Hong Kong as a base for information programs. Mr. Allen said that Hong Kong was a key base for information programs with respect to Communist China and the Far East in general. Hong Kong was particularly useful as a listening post and as a publishing center for anti-communist books, periodicals, pamphlets, etc. Mr. Allen then displayed a number of anti-communist books in the Chinese language published in Hong Kong.

Mr. Gray then called attention to Paragraph 13 dealing with trade problems. He said this paragraph might be somewhat suspect in the light of the discussion at the last Council meeting on U.S. policy toward Japan. He recalled that the President had felt that certain economic paragraphs of the Japanese policy paper contained too much detail but he believed Paragraph 13 of NSC 6007 was less detailed. Mr. Dillon suggested that the provisions of Paragraph 13 which referred to U.S. import restrictions were rather detailed for an NSC paper in view of the situation which existed in Hong Kong. The President suggested that the phrase “without imposing U.S. import restrictions” could be eliminated from Paragraph 13 or, alternatively, the word “unnecessary” could be inserted before “U.S.” Mr. Dillon said the State Department wished to avoid having its hands tied in view of the difficult situation in Hong Kong.

Mr. Dulles pointed out that Paragraph 13 referred to the participation by American business interests in Hong Kong in the production of goods for local consumption or for export. He assumed the paragraph was not intended to refer to export to Communist China. Actually, most of the goods produced in Hong Kong would go to Communist China. The Vice President thought this paragraph referred to ordinary trade goods and asked whether any problem of strategic materials was involved. Mr. Scribner said the problem was not one of strategic trade. However, he agreed with Mr. Dulles that we should not promote the participation of American business in the production of goods which would be exported to Communist China. Mr. Gray suggested that the offending phrase might be modified by referring to “goods for local consumption or for export to Free World markets.” The President approved this suggestion.

Mr. Dillon pointed out that Hong Kong was rapidly building up its export trade in textiles. Japan had imposed voluntary restrictions on its export of textiles to the U.S. but Hong Kong refused to take similar measures. The Vice President said a great deal of political pressure was now being exerted with respect to importation of textiles from Hong Kong, [Page 671] which had replaced Japan as the major object of concern in this regard. He asked whether Hong Kong had any plan for imposing voluntary export quotas. Mr. Dillon said the U.S. had been negotiating with Hong Kong officials for some time but as yet these negotiations had produced no tangible results. Hong Kong had imposed voluntary restrictions on its exports to the U.K. but refused to impose such restrictions on exports to the U.S. The President wondered why we did not negotiate this matter with the U.K. since Hong Kong was a British colony. Mr. Dillon replied that the British always insisted that we negotiate with the Hong Kong officials. He pointed out that Hong Kong did have its own government. Mr. Dillon added that Hong Kong officials are free in saying that they intend to expand their export trade to the U.S. until we are ready to take some action against them, at which point they will voluntarily limit their exports to us. The Vice President suggested that it would be desirable to attempt to solve the problem of the importation of Hong Kong goods into the U.S. at an early date in order to avoid creating a false issue with respect to tariffs and mandatory quotas in the coming political campaign. Mr. Dillon said another major effort would be made to solve the problem. In fact, the argument just advanced by the Vice President might even be used in talking to Hong Kong officials, who understand this kind of argument. The President believed we should tell Hong Kong officials that we can tolerate a certain amount of textile imports into the U.S., but that if the trade is expanded beyond reasonable limits, we might be forced to impose some restrictions on it.

Mr. Gray asked Mr. Dulles whether he wished to comment on the objective in NSC 6007 [3 lines of source text not declassified]. He pointed out, however, that Hong Kong was also a Communist Chinese window on the outside world and was fully utilized by the Communist Chinese. In fact, Mr. Dulles said, Hong Kong exists because it is useful both to the Free World and the Sino-Soviet Bloc. The President said he supposed that some of the goods ostensibly exported by Hong Kong actually come from Communist China.

The National Security Council:12

Discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in NSC 6007; in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thereon, transmitted by the reference memorandum of May 17, 1960.
Adopted the statement of policy in NSC 6007, subject to the following amendments:
Page 2, paragraph 7: Delete both the Majority and Budget versions of the second sentence.
Page 3, paragraph 9, 2nd line: Insert, after “Hong Kong”, the following: “or major civil disorders with the direct support of the Communist Chinese,”.
Page 4, paragraph 13, 6th line: Insert, after “export”, the words “to Free World markets”.
Page 4, paragraph 13, 9th line: Delete “—without imposing U.S. import restrictions—“.

Note: NSC 6007, as amended by the action in b above, subsequently approved by the President; circulated as NSC 6007/113 to supersede NSC 5717 for implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government; and referred to the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.

[Here follows agenda item 2.]

3. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security

[Here follows the opening portion of Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles’ briefing on the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Cuba.]

Mr. Dulles reported that the Watch Committee had recently met to discuss the build-up of jet fighters on the Communist Chinese coast opposite the Taiwan Strait. Although the build-up was not as large as the Chinese Nationalists had reported, fifty-five jets were added to Chinese Communist planes already there, bringing the total Chinese Communist jet fighter strength opposite the Strait to 325 planes. There have been no indications of bomber deployment, however, and no evidence of unusual ground force or naval activity. The Watch Committee had concluded that Communist China was redeploying jet fighters in order to improve its air defense rather than as a prelude to an attack on Taiwan or the Offshore Islands. Mr. Dulles said the Chinese Nationalists had recently resumed reconnaissance flights and troop rotation in the Chinmen’s. Recently, vessels engaged in troop rotation were the targets of 500 rounds of Chinese Communist artillery fire. The Chinese Communists had just issued their “105th serious warning” about U.S. violations of their air space and territorial waters. Peiping appeared to be giving considerable propaganda attention to President’s Eisenhower’s forthcoming visit to Taiwan. It is possible that the Chinese Communists will unloose an artillery barrage on the Offshore Islands during the President’s visit on June 18 and 19 but there is no indication that they will attempt to capture the Islands. Such an attempt, however, could be quickly prepared.

[Here follow the remainder of Dulles’ briefing and the remaining agenda items.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs on June 15. The time of the meeting is taken from the President’s appointment diary. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, President’s Daily Appointments)
  2. “U.S. Policy on Hong Kong,” July 17, 1957. (Department of State, S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5717 Series)
  3. “U.S. Policy in the Far East,” September 25, 1959, printed in vol. XVI, pp. 133144.
  4. “The Chinese Communist Threat to Hong Kong,” November 19, 1957. (Department of State, INRNIE Files)
  5. The report recommended an NSC review of NSC 5717; the Operations Coordinating Board approved the recommendation on December 23, 1959. (Preliminary Notes of OCB Meeting, December 23, 1959; ibid., OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430)
  6. In NSC Action No. 2172–by, approved by the President on January 13, the Council directed the Planning Board to review NSC 5717 in the light of NSC 5913/1. (Ibid., S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  7. “U.S. Policy on Hong Kong,” a draft statement of policy, May 9, 1960. (Ibid., S/S–NSC Files: Lot 63 D 351)
  8. The May 17 memorandum transmitted a May 16 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Gates commenting on NSC 6007. The May 26 memorandum transmitted a May 25 memorandum from Secretary of Commerce Frederick H. Mueller to Gray proposing substitute language for NSC 6007. (Ibid.)
  9. This memorandum transmitted revisions made by the Planning Board in NSC 6007. (Ibid.)
  10. Drafted by P.J. Halla and dated June 6, not printed.
  11. Deputy Secretary of Defense James H. Douglas.
  12. Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission John A. McCone
  13. Paragraphs a and b and the Note that follows constitute NSC Action No. 2246, approved by the President on June 11. (Department of State, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  14. Document 335.