Learn about the beta

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

595. For Governor Harriman from Kirk. During visit Foreign Minister Shen at his home (he suffering from a severe cold) I brought up informally the current Peiping propaganda onslaught about the 9 teams recently obliterated by ChiComs.1 Broadcasts from Peiping were being pretty factual to identities of prisoners and of sources of their equipment [Page 338]and I pointed out United States was being pilloried as villain of this act with scanty attention to ChiNats. Furthermore it appeared these broadcasts were being directed to many parts of the world and again US accused of aggressive action. Shen said he also had become aware of this heavy propaganda attack from Peiping and deplored its virulence with some regret ChiNats captives had fallen into trap.

Then I pointed out that President Kennedy held strongly view that United States must do nothing now to be accused of aggressive action in Taiwan Straits area, that as I had stressed to Generalissimo in my earliest talks (July 4 and 5) furnishing by US of B57’s plus large numbers landing craft was not consistent with above basic attitude, and that our position must continue to remain steadfastly of such nature.

Also I remarked that repeated claims by “highest sources” here that ChiNats were penetrating mainland with guerrillas, agents, etc. in preparation for “counter offensive”2 was having result (press sources) of Peiping expecting ChiCom populace increase vigilance against such efforts, especially along coastlines. Added that my personal view was concentration ChiCom armies abreast Taiwan last summer was direct response to ChiNats bellicose assertions that return to mainland was imminent. I also noted that this ChiNat publicity created pressure on Department spokesman to comment on guerrilla question and that such pressure could scarcely produce results pleasing to either my government or his. I left with Minister copy of Department spokesman’s statement January 9.3

Foreign Minister had little to say except that results small probes were disappointing and Peiping making most of opportunity, and that he appreciated friendly manner in which topic had been broached. Added that statement by Ministry National Defense spokesman January 84 had been surprise to him.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/1-1063. Top Secret.
  2. A PRC Public Security Ministry communique of December 29 declared that nine groups of “U.S.-Chiang Kai-shek agents” had been “wiped out” in the past 3 months. A January 11 memorandum from Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Thomas L. Hughes to Harriman summarizes the report as follows: Communist press commentary attacking the United States as the moving force behind the infiltration, and Nationalist press reports “confirming” that 172 guerrillas had been “killed” but claiming that others were active on the mainland. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China) Information concerning the nine Nationalist teams is summarized in a memorandum of January 14 from Desmond FitzGerald to Thomas Parrott, attached to a memorandum of January 15 from Parrott to Bromley Smith. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegrams 593 and 596 from Taipei, both January 10, reported extensive reports to this effect in the press. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/1-1063)
  4. Telegram 473 to Taipei, January 10, transmitted an excerpt from the transcript of the Department of State January 9 press briefing in which spokesman Lincoln White, in response to a question about U.S. policy concerning Chiang Kai-shek’s desire to return to the mainland, referred to the joint communique of October 23, 1958 (cited in footnote 3, Document 19), and Kennedy’s comments at his June 27 press conference (see Document 137). (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/1-1063)
  5. Telegram 593 from Taipei, cited in footnote 2 above, reported that a Defense Ministry spokesman had stated on January 8 that the GRC “had many times sent large groups of guerrillas to mainland” and that “feverish activity was proof that GRC underground forces have dealt them serious blows.”