55. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State0
Taipei, August 31, 1958, 11 a.m.
267. Eyes Only Acting Secretary and Ambassador MacArthur. Department telegram 165.1 My views are as follows:
- GRC would welcome cessation of Communist attacks and would not, in my opinion, continue retaliatory firing if Communists ceased attacks. However, it would be difficult to ask GRC to be first to announce it would stop firing. Communists are held here to be aggressors and it would therefore be up to Communists to make first move. GRC would look askance at any such suggestion on our part and might look with suspicion on our motivations. Doubts might be engendered as to whether we would remain firm in our resistance to Communist aggression.
- Term “cease fire” is anathema both to GRC and Chinese Communists. Some other terminology would have to be invented to cover situation. It is my personal belief neither side would accept formal “cease fire.” I likewise fail to see any possibility whatever of reaching any agreed settlement of this civil war situation in foreseeable future. Best we could hope for would be return to status quo ante. GRC would of course strongly oppose attempted solution through US-Chinese Communist talks, through UN, or through summit conference.
- I fear that proposed Kishi announcement would be taken by Communists as weakening of our determination to resist further Communist aggression. It would perhaps also be so regarded by our free world allies. There may be some validity in speculation that ChiComs may be trying to shoot their way into some international gathering where they could gain their ends without further warfare. Therefore your idea would have to be handled most carefully lest it play into Communist hands.
- Some inkling of Chinese attitude toward your idea can be gathered from my telegram 266.2
- To sum up, while a cessation of attacks would be desirable and Communist cessation of attacks would be welcomed here, I fear that your idea would be unwelcome here and I fear it would be misconstrued by Communists as seeking an accommodation by concessions that would in end lead to further disasters.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/8–3158. Top Secret; Niact; No Distribution Outside Department. Repeated to Tokyo.↩
- Telegram 165 to Taipei, August 30, also sent to Tokyo, requested Drumright’s and MacArthur’s views on the idea of suggesting to Japanese Prime Minister Kishi that he call for a cease-fire in the Taiwan Strait for a stated period of time to provide an opportunity for discussions through the Wang-Beam channel or a mutually acceptable intermediary. (Ibid., 793.00/8–3058) MacArthur commented favorably in telegram 496 from Tokyo, August 31. (Ibid., 793.00/8–3158; see Supplement)↩
- Telegram 266 from Taipei, August 31, reported that Foreign Minister Huang had urged the Japanese Ambassador that Japan should refrain from taking the Taiwan Strait problem to the United Nations, as a Japanese newspaper editorial had suggested. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/8-3158)↩