39. Editorial Note

At the 377th meeting of the National Security Council on August 21, 1958, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles discussed the Taiwan Strait situation during his briefing on significant world developments as follows:

“The Director of Central Intelligence said that the situation in the Taiwan Straits was being most carefully watched by the intelligence community. In this regard he pointed out that at a meeting of the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC) last Tuesday, the military members of the IAC had presented a view of the situation in the Taiwan Straits which he believed should be reported to the National Security Council. This view was that the Chinese Communist build-up in the area of the Taiwan Straits was of such character and magnitude that a Chinese Communist attack on the offshore islands could occur with virtually no advance warning. Mr. Dulles cautioned that this did not mean that we estimated that the Chinese Communists were likely to mount a direct frontal assault on the offshore islands, but simply that they were in a position to do so at any time.

“Thereafter, Mr. Dulles described developments on Chinese Communist airfields adjacent to the Taiwan Straits and the numbers of additional MIG aircraft which had recently been placed on the five or six airfields in the area. He also pointed out that the Chinese Communists had in recent days exercised considerable caution and were attempting to avoid clashes with Nationalist patrols. There had likewise been no build-up in the ‘Liberate Taiwan’ propaganda emanating from Communist China. The Chinese Nationalist Minister of Defense has requested U.S. advance concurrence to Chinese Nationalist retaliation in case of Chinese Communist attack on the offshore islands.” (Memorandum of discussion by S. Everett Gleason, August 22; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)