40. Memorandum of Meeting0



  • The Secretary
  • The Under Secretary
  • C—Mr. Reinhardt
  • FE—Mr. Robertson, Mr. Parsons, Mr. Green, Mr. Lutkins (late)
  • L—Mr. Becker
  • H—Mr. Macomber
  • S/S—Mr. Howe
  • CIA
  • Mr. Allen Dulles
  • Gen. Cabell
  • Defense
    • ISA—General Byers
  • JCS
    • General Twining
    • Admiral Burke


That the following steps would be taken to improve the GRC situation:
Seventh Fleet increased to three carriers (already done).
Possible fleet exercise in the neighborhood but not in the Straits.
Admiral Smoot make a trip to the Islands.
Increase U.S. fighters in rotation on Formosa.
Increase the flow of supplies by the U.S. with possible daylight supplying.
Possible increase of LST’s or shipping for GRC supplying.
Possible increase of quality of equipment for GRC forces including recoilless weapons, with attempted assurance of deployment to the Offshore Islands.

A draft reply to a Presidential press conference inquiry was to be prepared for Governor Herter’s review along the following lines:

Over the past four years the ties between the Offshore Islands and Formosa have grown closer and the integration increased to a point where the Islands could not be detached. Doubtful that any effort by the ChiComs to detach the Islands could be made as a limited operation [Page 68] without broader consequences; such an effort could constitute a real threat to the peace.1

The GRC should probably be assured again that a “major” attack from the Mainland airfields which looks like a real attack on Taiwan would constitute an “emergency” in the terms of the DullesYeh exchange of notes of December 1954 and warrant retaliation by GRC.


The general situation on the Offshore Islands was reviewed by JCS representatives and Allen Dulles.

With respect to possible steps to be taken there was general agreement that what we did would be more important than what we said. The Secretary indicated that any attempt to inform the ChiComs of our readiness to fight to resist an attack on the Islands did not appeal to him as it implied that we do not want to fight; instead we should continue to look as if we would welcome a fight as this was the stance best calculated to deter.

There was considerable discussion of the level of equipment in the hands of the GRC on the Islands and the utility of trying to improve it. In this connection, both the JCS and Allen Dulles indicated that a new study of this was needed together with an evaluation of the actual ability to resist attack. Some of the discussion centered on the ability to hold the fringe islands close to the Offshore Islands.

The Secretary at the outset had noted that the ChiComs might seek to starve the Islands or attack directly. He also indicated that he did not believe that the ChiComs would start anything except by miscalculation; that they had lived with the Offshore Islands situation for nine years.

With respect to the press conference, the inevitability of some question occurring soon was generally agreed. In the discussion of what might be said at the press conference, Mr. Macomber said that it would be important not to have a statement which would have the effect of broadening the Formosa resolution.

With respect to the GRC it was noted that the possible GRC retaliation in the event Quemoy was bombed had already arisen in Taipei and the Military and Drumright had drawn upon the interpretation of the exchange of notes. Admiral Burke said that the matter hinged on whether it was a heavy and repeated attack or a light attack. Mr. Becker noted that our position was based on a determination based on the circumstances at any one time.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/8–2258. Secret. Drafted by Howe.
  2. A statement to this effect was made in a letter of August 23 from Dulles to Acting Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thomas E. Morgan. (Ibid.) For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1958, p. 1144. The form and substance of the letter was discussed at meetings on August 22 and 23 between Dulles and Eisenhower. (Memorandum of conversation by Herter, August 22; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President)