Learn about the beta

142. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 0

16. 1. In call on Secretary today1 Amb. Tsiang first asked if Secretary had discussed Chinese Communist military buildup in his recent talks with Lord Home.2 Secretary said this subject discussed only briefly in response to Home’s question concerning significance of reported buildup. Secretary had told Home this difficult to judge but from nature of movements and content of Chinese Communist propaganda, immediate all out Chinese Communist attack did not appear likely.

2. Tsiang said Chinese opinion in Taiwan and elsewhere has been alarmed by reports that “Rostow paper”3 calls for “two-Chinas” policy, [Page 292]cessation of US opposition to UN membership for Chinese Communists, US recognition of Chinese Communists, and US effort to neutralize Taiwan. Tsiang asked if some effort might be made to clear air. Secretary replied that he understands Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to publicize Rostow testimony4 which will clarify situation. Tsiang asked whether Secretary could also make clarifying statement in press conference. Secretary replied that if question arises in press conference he will of course be responsive.

3. Tsiang next referred to question of GRC military action against China mainland. He assured Secretary that GRC will not engage in any adventurist policy and that GRC will live up to its obligation to consult US before any military move. At same time, Tsiang stated, GRC cannot sit idly by if worsening mainland economic situation leads to large scale uprisings. Tsiang asked whether US could not adopt “more or less flexible attitude” on this problem or at least not make public statements which Chinese Communists can exploit to deprive mainland people of hope.

4. Secretary responded that whether fundamental change in mainland situation will occur cannot now be predicted. We have no information indicating change in disparity between GRC and Chinese Communist forces or weakening in control of Chinese Communist regime. Under present circumstances we cannot adopt flexible position. We do not want to build up expectations in absence of evidence that they can be fulfilled. Also USG must be very careful not to mislead own people.

5. Secretary said great weakness is lack of firm accurate information on mainland situation. Tsiang said if US has such information President Chiang would certainly consider it carefully. GRC realizes its own intelligence is spotty. Secretary said we would be glad to share such information but collection difficulties are well known.

6. At conclusion of call Tsiang repeated hope that US could adopt more flexible attitude or at minimum not make unfavorable public statements. Secretary replied problem is always not to be misleading or confusing. Our first obligation is to our own people. Secretary added we will continue to watch situation and will consider statements made by Tsiang. He did not want to give impression, however, that there would be any major change in our publicly stated position. For years we have declared that issues in Taiwan Strait must be resolved without resort to force.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/7-762. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted and approved for transmission by Yager and cleared by U. Alexis Johnson. Repeated to Geneva for Harriman.
  2. A memorandum of the conversation, dated July 10, is ibid., 793.00/7-1062.
  3. See Documents 132 and 133.
  4. Reference is to the draft Basic National Security Policy paper; see Document 129. Articles in the Chicago Tribune of June 17 and 18 about the “Rostow document” are reprinted in Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Together With Joint Sessions With the Senate Armed Services Committee (Historical Series), Volume XIV, Eighty-seventh Congress, Second Session, 1962 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1986), pp. 553-558.
  5. Ball and Rostow testified on June 26 at an executive session of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. For a transcript of the testimony, see ibid., pp. 558-611. The committee considered releasing Rostow’s testimony (ibid., pp. 612-613) but did not do so at that time.