61. Telegram From the Commander, U.S. Taiwan Defense Command (Smoot) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Felt)0

020151Z. Following developments could have significant bearing JCS action my 311306Z.1 In private conference with President which reference break down of barriers I have been trying to hurdle since arrival he asked me to give him frank and honest appraisal of situation as I saw it. Response limited to military matters only and I let him have both barrels. Details will follow and not immediately required JCS consideration in reply to my 311306Z. Fact remains I left behind an enthused and spirited man and on way down the hill passed parade of GRC service chiefs and cabinet members enroute President’s house. Simple fact is I am convinced highly centralized control, peculiarity Chinese top level relationships and awe in which they hold their President conspired to keep him ill informed of the military situation and stifles initiative and daring of his subordinates all the way down. My theme revolved around fact that GRC authorities so involved in what US is not doing for them they have overlooked their own ineffective planning and have not exploited the things they can do with what they have. To enlarge my point of departure was current major problem simply that of demonstration to themselves that they can get bullets on the beach so that General Hu Lien who is definitely restricting counter battery until logistic log jam broken can fight like he is capable of fighting so that we can stabilize this situation and thumb our noses at the Communists. That to get bullets on the beach US will help but the Chinese Navy has got to do it. That to date the Chinese Navy has made no effort to even try. All have gotten from Chinese Navy were reasons why it could not be done which I do not go along with at all. I asked him to give me one Chinese admiral with a can-do spirit then let US use a little imagination and a little guts and same tenacity of purpose shown by his Air and Army and we could lick the current problem. Intend pursue present conferences on daily basis now that door is open. Meanwhile am convinced grave implications my 311306Z somewhat ameliorated and drastic action not required from JCS nor expected from GRC. Recommend (a) reply my 311306Z give some promise of a little more advance authority vested in CTDC. (b) That I be given a little more latitude to discuss broad US plans and positions with him alone to bolster his position as a trusted ally and (c) concur with Ambassador a warm [Page 115] reply from President to President would have most salutory effect.2 This dispatch sent to adees in my belief my enthusiasm in this venture might need filtering influence of detached judgment of adees before presentation to JCS. Situation still critical but believe action as above will remove immediate internal explosive attitudes.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, 381 Formosa (11–8–48) Section 38. Top Secret; Operational Immediate. Repeated to CNO and COMSEVENTHFLT. Received at the Department of the Navy at 12:53 a.m. A copy is in Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/9–258.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 56.
  3. A message dated September 1 from Eisenhower to Chiang, sent in telegram 170 to Taipei, September 1, assured Chiang of U.S. support for his government’s security and international prestige. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/9–158; see Supplement)