75. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State0

340.1. Further to Deptel 197,1 President Chiang and I had a brief discussion at luncheon he gave today for General LeMay.2 President’s position was largely parallel to statement issued by Foreign Minister last night (Embtel 336).3 He said he understood our position and would not protest it, but he was convinced further talks with Reds would get nowhere. He said Reds are very cunning and would use talks to seek other opportunities to launch attack on GRC. Echoing Foreign Minister he said public would find it extremely difficult to understand US position. He said he is planning to go to off-shore islands in near future in attempt to explain our position to his troops. President was pleasant and courteous in giving his views, but is plainly unhappy about our decision to resume talks. Press reaction thus far is critical of that part of White House statement.

2. I set forth briefly argument I had voiced to Foreign Minister yesterday, adding that we too can use respite to build up off-shore defenses and that it is essential that we adopt peaceful posture lest Reds make their preposterous charges of US and GRC provocation and aggression ring true. I then took opportunity to urge President to continue his admirable policy of restraint and non-provocation now when Reds are showing some signs of disengagement.

3. Prior to lunch reports came in that 12 CAF fighter planes escorting 2 reconnaissance planes to take photos of Chenghai airfield near Swatow had clashed with more 10 MIGs. Result was said to be that in short air battle, 5 MIGs had been shot down and 2 damaged against loss of one CAF fighter. Admiral Smoot was not informed of this reconnaissance mission in advance and is therefore lodging vigorous verbal protest with Chief of Staff General Wang.

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4. While having lunch we were given report that at 1:33 p.m. local time today Commies had opened intense bombardment of Big Kinmen, directing their fire mainly against airfield, dock and headquarters areas. Two GRC LSMs had arrived about two hours earlier and were unloading supplies. It is not clear what precipitated Commie fire. GRC promptly started counter battery fire. In any case, lull at Kinmen lasting more than 3 days has been broken and possibility exists Commies are resuming their artillery interdiction.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/9–858. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 6:33 a.m. Passed to CINCPAC.
  2. Dated September 6, telegram 197 to Taipei instructed Drumright to discuss with Chiang the necessity for the statement issued that day and assure him that the United States would not agree to any arrangements which would prejudice GRC rights. (Ibid., 611.93/9–558) Drumright reported in telegram 331, September 7, that he had passed the substance of telegram 197 to Huang, telling him that “we understood sensitivity of Chinese, but we preferred diplomacy to bullets.” (Ibid., 611.93/9–758) These documents are in the Supplement.
  3. General Curtis E. LeMay, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
  4. Dated September 8, telegram 336 from Taiwan transmitted the text of the statement, which declared that Nationalist resistance had prevented the Communists from achieving their objectives, prompting them to “revive their old trick of ‘fight and talk; talk and fight’.” (Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/9–858)