131. Telegram From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State0
2136. Deptels 1827,1 1828.2 Had a two hour talk with Ambassador Wang this afternoon.3 He started by referring to situation in Southeast [Page 274]Asia. He expressed concern about our military build-up in South Vietnam and forces in Thailand. He mentioned that the three Princes agreement in Laos offered favorable conditions for peaceful settlement in Laos and easing Southeast Asia situation.
Wang then said his government wished to call attention to situation in Taiwan area. Chiang Kai-shek clique was preparing invasion Chinese Mainland and this preparation had support US Government. He then discussed at some length military preparations on Taiwan including increase US military and economic aid. He said US playing with fire, such attack would not benefit US and US would bear responsibility for it.
Replying I expressed pleasure at Laos settlement and consequent reduction of tension. With reference to troops in Thailand, we had always made clear this a temporary measure. With reference to Vietnam, we were giving military help to legitimate government in view of outside intervention in South Vietnam. I then referred to situation in Taiwan area. I said that I was authorized to state that US Government had no intention of supporting any GRC attack on Mainland under existing circumstances. I pointed out GRC committed not to attack without our consent. I then noted ChiCom military build-up opposite Taiwan and said if this defensive, it was unobjectionable. However, I invited his side's attention to our formal treaty with GRC and to 1955 resolution re defense of Taiwan and Pescadores. I said that any effort to take off-shore islands would require major military operation which could not be easily limited and in such event there was serious danger US forces would become involved. Wang requested me to repeat my last statement which made in close paraphrase of Department's telegram. I then referred to our repeated proposals for agreement renouncing use of force by other side to which we continued to adhere. I summarized by saying we had no intention of committing or supporting aggression against his side anywhere.
Wang then repeated charge that Chiang Kai-shek planning attack. He referred to Chiang's repeated boasts that he would return to Mainland and to military aid we had furnished Chinese Nationalists over the years. He said that without US support, Chiang would not dare to attack. Wang emphasized ChiCom military strength and denied ChiComs were interfering in South Vietnam.
Replying I said I could not speak for GRC but reiterated we had no intentions of supporting attack on Mainland under existing circumstances. If GRC forces invaded Mainland it would be contrary to their commitments to us and I said I did not believe they would do it. I said with regard to South Vietnam that I had merely stated that there had been foreign intervention there, which had been certified by ICC. If Wang side would discourage such intervention we would not have to send military aid to legitimate government of South Vietnam.[Page 275]
Wang referred to ChiCom proposals for renunciation of force. He reiterated that without US support, Chiang would not dare to attack. Replying I pointed out that tension we were discussing existed precisely in Taiwan Straits area and that our proposals for renunciation of force specifically included that area whereas theirs did not. Wang stated ChiCom opposed to Two China concept. Reverting to an earlier remark by Wang that our talks could not continue if an attack were made, I said that such attack if made by GRC would be without support of US. It would seem to me most important under those circumstances for our talks to continue in order to restore peace. We would clearly disassociate ourselves from any such attack.4
Wang said that a simple statement of disassociation would not suffice. I pointed out that I was sure we would disassociate ourselves in word and deed from any attack and would seek to restore peace. I then asked for assurances from him that ChiComs would not attack Taiwan. There was a long pause and Wang then replied question of ChiCom attack does not arise. The question is of Taiwan organizing an attack on Mainland. I regretted that it was not possible to have reciprocal assurances. He replied “we have not faced the problem on our side by seeking a settlement by force, but should an invasion take place, the character of whole situation would change.” I then reminded Wang again of our commitments to GRC.
Comment: Although discussion throughout was serious, atmosphere not particularly tense. I think this summary of conversation, which comes from almost word for word transcript made by Embassy officer, gives flavor better than anything I can add. Wang was relaxed and friendly when offering us tea after formal exchange. Wang's first statement was made from prepared text but later ones were extemporaneous. I was unable to reach any conviction as to whether his demarche was made because of genuine anxiety on ChiCom part that GRC might invade Chinese Mainland with US support or whether statement was attempt to pin responsibility on us in planned ChiCom aggression against GRC.
Transcript of conversation by next pouch.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/6-2362. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Rome for the Secretary. A copy of this telegram, along with Document 127, was sent to Kennedy with a June 24 note from Bromley Smith which reads: “Ball and Harriman believe the Chinese Communist demarche was made because of anxiety that the Nationalists might invade. They believe the Communists are also concerned about local unrest in the area into which Communist troops have been moved.” (Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, China Security, 1962-1963)↩
- Document 128 was repeated to Warsaw as telegram 1827.↩
- Telegram 1828, June 22, replied to telegram 2127 from Warsaw of the same date, in which Cabot reported that Wang had invited him to tea at 4 p.m. the next day, and he had accepted. Telegram 1828 stated that Wang's invitation provided an opportunity to pass through him the message being sent through London; it instructed Cabot to “first exhaust everything Wang has on his mind” and then repeat that message. (Both in Department of State, Central Files, 793.5/6-2262) Wang had invited Cabot to a private conversation at tea on June 15, but the Chinese Embassy had telephoned that day to say that Wang had to postpone the meeting because of illness. (Telegrams 2057 and 2064 from Warsaw, June 14 and 15; ibid., 611.93/6-1462 and 793.5/6-1562, respectively)↩
- Cabot sent a detailed report of the meeting in airgram A-718 from Warsaw, June 29. He added that the meeting had been held in a reception room in the Chinese Embassy. Wang's interpreter Ch'iu Ying-chueh, served as interpreter for both sides; U.S. Embassy officer William A. Buell took notes. (Ibid., 611.93/6-2962) See the Supplement.↩
- According to Cabot's report of the meeting in airgram A-718, Wang said that if an attack occurred, the United States “would certainly be held responsible for it” and the issue would be one involving China and the United States.↩