Learn about the beta

179. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy0


  • Your visit from Admiral Wright1

Wright is making essentially a courtesy call before proceeding to Taipei. But he needs a strong indication of your own interest in keeping a sharp eye on the Nationalist government. I had a short talk with him last week in which he two or three times indicated a feeling that we ought to be more understanding of the Nationalists desires, and I think there is a perceptible danger that he might be captured by that government if he does not have it very clearly in mind that his mission is to act in the wider U.S. interest.

Because of Kirk’s firmness in presenting unpalatable conditions, the Generalissimo did not like him. Wright has a chance to sustain this position without incurring any parallel personal resentment, so what he needs from you is a careful statement of the policy of very good manners and very clear control over U.S. decisions which you personally have established in dealing with the GRC for over two years.2

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. The source text bears no classification marking and no indication of the drafter.
  2. Wright was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of China on May 3. According to Kennedy’s Appointment Book, he met with Wright with Forrestal present from 10:20 to 10:42 a.m. on May 27. (Kennedy Library) No record of the meeting has been found.
  3. Airgram A-183 to Taipei, June 13, transmitted a message from Kennedy to Chiang, which Wright was to convey orally during his initial interview. It states that Kennedy “attaches the greatest importance” to maintaining the Republic of China’s international position and its position in the United Nations, that “we shall continue to offer all appropriate support to this end,” and that Kennedy “understands completely the great importance of the mutual defense agreements and understandings” between the two countries. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 15-1 CHINAT) See the Supplement. Wright presented his credentials to Chiang on June 29. The only record of their meeting that has been found is an unclassified account transmitted in airgram A-2 from Taipei, July 3. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 17-1 US-CHINAT)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.