338. Memorandum of Discussion at the 448th Meeting of the National Security Council0
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda items 1–3. Vice President Nixon presided at the meeting.]
4. U.S. Policy Toward Taiwan and the Government of the Republic of China (NSC 5723; OCB Report on NSC 5723, dated May 18, 19601)
Mr. Harr said the Operations Coordinating Board had reviewed operations in Taiwan and had come to the conclusion that only one policy question need be reviewed at the present time; that is, the question of the support of the overseas Chinese for the GRC. The Board believed that there should be a review of the relation between developing overseas Chinese support for the GRC and promoting assimilation of the overseas Chinese in their host countries.
Mr. Harr then reported that the past year had in general been a satisfactory one for our policy in Taiwan. The stability and effectiveness of the GRC had been maintained. The morale of the government and the population was good although the low pay in government service produced tendencies toward corruption. Although Chiang’s government is still enamoured of a return to the Mainland, it is devoting itself with realism to the problems of Taiwan. The international status of Taiwan has been maintained. The GRC has recently established relations with Libya and The Camerouns and is taking aggressive steps to win good will in Africa. Nationalist Chinese are making more appearances in international non-governmental activities. Attitudes to Taiwan are favorable to the U.S., although many of the Nationalist Chinese cannot eliminate the suspicion that Taiwan may eventually be a part of an overall political settlement between the U.S. and the USSR. The difference of interpretation persists between the U.S. and the GRC as to what is meant by “political activity on the Mainland.” The GRC maintains that this phrase encompasses para-military activity. However, the GRC will consult with us before under-taking para-military activity.
Mr. Harr said there had been little military activity in the Taiwan Strait prior to the President’s visit to Taiwan. The Chinese Communists, however, were building up artillery and jet fighters on the coast opposite [Page 689] the Offshore Islands. To offset this jet build-up, we planned to provide the GRC with F–104s.
Mr. Harr believed the economy of Taiwan had withstood floods and a slump in the sugar market. The GNP of Taiwan had continued to grow although the rate of growth had declined. There was a tendency away from the predominance of agriculture toward industrialization on the Island. The GRC had pursued a relatively conservative monetary and fiscal policy and had cooperated with the U.S. in the economic development of Taiwan. In conclusion, Mr. Harr noted that the OCB report had been prepared prior to the President’s visit to Taiwan and also prior to Congressional action on mutual security funds.
The Vice President asked who was being groomed as a successor to Chiang. Secretary Herter said there had been some agitation in favor of Chiang’s son but a great many people appeared to be opposed to this development. General Cabell thought that inasmuch as Chiang had just been elected for a new term, there was some hesitation about grooming a successor. In reply to a question from Secretary Gates, Secretary Herter said that Chiang was 73 or 74 years old.
Mr. Gray said the NSC Planning Board would review U.S. policy toward Taiwan and the GRC (NSC 5723) as recommended by the OCB.
Mr. Allen said he did not wish to register any objection to the OCB report on this subject but he was concerned about references in the report to a “comprehensive program” to implement the GRC’s “proclaimed role as custodian of China’s traditional culture and leader of Chinese intellectual life.” He did not think there was much “pay dirt” in making Taiwan the custodian of traditional Chinese culture. To obtain the regard of the Far East, Taiwan must picture itself, not as the guardian of the past, but as the dynamic leader of the future, especially as a dynamic leader in economic development. The Vice President was inclined to agree with Mr. Allen. He felt that Taiwan had already achieved a great deal in looking toward the future. Mr. Allen felt Taiwan would be well advised to adopt a policy such as the one pursued by Ataturk,2 who proclaimed the idea that his Turkey would be a new country, looking forward not back.
The National Security Council:3
- Noted and discussed the reference Report on the subject by the Operations Coordinating Board, as summarized orally by the Special Assistant to the President for Security Operations Coordination.
- Noted that the NSC Planning Board would undertake the limited review of NSC 5723 as recommended by the OCB.
5. Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security
[Here follows the opening portion of a briefing by Acting Director of Central Intelligence Cabell, concerning other topics.]
General Cabell, resuming his briefing, reported that a debate was currently in progress between Moscow and Peiping on Communist ideology. The Chinese Communists are criticizing “peaceful co-existence” as espoused by the Russians, while the USSR is criticizing some of the extreme measures of Chinese Communism such as the “leap forward.” So far, neither side has specifically identified the other side as its opponent. As long as neither side makes a public identification of its opponent, no irrevocable step has been taken. General Cabell noted that after the break-up of the Summit Meeting, the Chinese Communists marked time for a period in order to determine whether or not Khrushchev would abandon the policy of peaceful co-existence. When it became apparent that Khrushchev had no intention of completely discarding peaceful co-existence, the Chinese Communists returned to the ideological attack. Recently, the Chinese Communists used a meeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions as a forum for expounding their point of view. The result has been a challenge to USSR leadership of such a magnitude that Khrushchev has been compelled to meet it head-on. A recent article in Pravda made it clear that in Khrushchev’s view, the Chinese Communists’ line was dangerous. The Eastern European satellites have been supporting Khrushchev in this ideological struggle. Khrushchev may take advantage of the meeting now going on in Roumania to try to compose his differences with the Chinese Communists. An open break between the USSR and Communist China is possible although unlikely. Even though Khrushchev may attempt to compromise, he will probably find it difficult because of the extreme positions which both sides have already taken. Apparently, the rift has widened since Khrushchev’s speech in Bucharest yesterday in which Khrushchev claimed that only mad men and maniacs regard war as inevitable. In this speech Khrushchev, of course, repeated his indictment of the U.S. because of its position regarding the U–2 flights and the Summit Meeting.
The Vice President asked whether General Cabell was completely sure that there was a real difference of view between the USSR and Communist China. Secretary Gates wished to make the same inquiry; he wondered whether the Communists were not deliberately developing both the Soviet and the Chinese Communist points of view.
Secretary Herter said he understood that Khrushchev, in his Bucharest speech, had made a rather unusual reference to the works of Lenin. General Cabell said that Khrushchev had asserted that if one took the words of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin literally today, without relating them to conditions existing today, one would be in the position of a child putting words together by picking letters out of the alphabet at random.[Page 691]
Secretary Gates said the question of ideological differences between the USSR and Communist China was very important. He personally did not believe there were any real differences between the two countries. However, the hope that the ideological debate may lead to a break between the USSR and Communist China leads sometimes to erroneous operational concepts in this government. The possibility of such erroneous concepts worried Secretary Gates. General Cabell said there would probably be no open break between the USSR and Communist China, but in his opinion there were real ideological and policy differences between the two countries.
Secretary Herter said he had recently noticed a report from a British newspaper which predicted that Communist China would soon acquire a nuclear capability. He asked whether General Cabell had any report on this question. Asked to comment on this matter by General Cabell, Mr. McMahan said that the timing of the Chinese Communist acquisition of nuclear power would have a great effect on the Chinese Communist-USSR dispute. The Vice President asked whether CIA could make any estimate as to when the Chinese Communists might acquire a nuclear capability. Mr. McMahan said specialists were now reviewing this question. It had been suggested that 1963 or 1964 would be the dates of Chinese Communist’s acquisition of a nuclear capability. General Cabell said that all these dates were guesses. Actually, CIA had no firm evidence on which to base a date. Secretary Anderson asked whether the USSR was likely to assist Communist China to attain a nuclear capability. General Cabell replied that thus far the USSR had appeared reluctant to give such help to Communist China but, doubtless, the USSR was also under pressure to give such help.
The National Security Council:4
Noted and discussed an oral briefing by the Acting Director of Central Intelligence on the subject, with specific reference to the situation in Japan; possible Soviet missile tests in the Pacific; and evidences of Sino-Soviet differences.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs on June 23. The time of the meeting is taken from the President’s appointment diary. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, President’s Daily Appointments)↩
- Not printed. (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, China (GRC and Formosa))↩
- Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkey, 1923–1938.↩
- Paragraphs a and b constitute NSC Action No. 2252, approved by the President on June 29. (Department of State, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)↩
- The paragraph that follows constitutes NSC Action No. 2253, approved by the President on June 29. (Ibid.)↩