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185. Draft Minutes0


  • Meeting Between Mr. McGeorge Bundy and General Chiang Ching-kuo, 10 September 19631


On 10 September 1963, General Chiang Ching-kuo met with Mr. McGeorge Bundy. Also present at the meeting were Mr. Ray Cline, Mr. [Page 384]William Nelson, Mr. James Shen, Mr. Cal Mehlert, and Mr. Donald Duffey.2 After an exchange of amenities, General Chiang Ching-kuo said that, although the Government of the Republic of China (GRC) understood the reasons why the United States had signed the nuclear test ban treaty and the GRC shared the U.S. desire to ease world tensions and preserve world peace, the treaty alone would not solve all the problems. The GRC is encouraged by President Kennedy’s public acknowledgement of the potential threat of continued Chinese Communist growth; but, Chiang emphasized, the Chinese Communist regime at the present time is weaker than it has ever been since its 1949 takeover of the China mainland. On the assumption that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. will maintain the status quo in their mutual relations, the GRC feels that now is the time for the U.S. and the GRC to establish a formula aimed at solving the problem of the China mainland without triggering a major war. The GRC is prepared to assume full political responsibility for such action with U.S. support. President Chiang Kai-shek is positive that if the GRC acts now, the Soviet Union will not go to the aid of the Chinese Communists. Time is the key element, however, since new factors could change the situation in the future. According to Chiang Ching-kuo, it is important that the U.S. and the GRC take joint action immediately to enhance the difficulties now facing the Chinese Communists and make it impossible for them to consolidate their position. Chiang Ching-kuo re-emphasized that the GRC recognizes the leading role of the United States and accepts the assumption that no action will be taken which would risk war. The GRC is willing to discuss ways and means to weaken the Chinese Communist regime and eventually overthrow it and feels that the solution to the problem must be more political than military. Chiang’s definition of political devices included political warfare, psychological warfare, diplomatic action and paramilitary operations such as maritime raids on the coast and airdrops of paramilitary teams. The GRC plans for the maritime raids and airdrops were to escalate from small and medium teams to large teams in three stages, six months apart. Chiang Ching-kuo claimed that the GRC has located missile sites and atomic installations on the China mainland and desires to work with the United States on ways and means to remove these and restrain their expansion. Chiang promised to discuss details of the ways and means to achieve this goal on other levels and reiterated that the GRC would assume full political responsibility for this action, expecting only transportation and technical assistance from the United States. In conclusion, Chiang repeated the contention that the GRC is not planning a large scale attack on the China [Page 385]mainland and that the Chinese Communists must not be permitted to solve their present difficulties to become an even greater menace in the future.

In reply, Mr. Bundy told Chiang that the United States places a high priority on measures to weaken the Chinese Communist regime, particularly its nuclear growth, and assured him that the U.S. Government would examine most carefully any possibilities advanced. Mr. Bundy stressed the United States Government’s aversion to triggering a major conflict and expressed the view that the split between the Soviet Union and Communist China would probably widen unless extreme forces of great magnitude drove them back together again. He said that one example of such a force would be any major attack against the China mainland in which the United States would be a dominant factor. Mr. Bundy emphasized that the moment when major action against the mainland can be taken without danger of Soviet intervention is not yet here and may never arrive.3 In view of the lack of success of the small GRC operations of the past two and three years, Mr. Bundy felt there was a question of whether larger operations would be productive and said the U.S. and the GRC must work together on the problem. In Mr. Bundy’s opinion, any action against the China mainland should depend on three factors: (1) a sound intelligence estimate of Chinese Communist strength and capabilities; (2) the degree of political usefulness of such operations; and (3) the hazards and repercussions of failure to the U.S. and GRC. In passing, Mr. Bundy mentioned the U.S. admiration of the GRC’s accomplishments in its social and economic growth and assured Chiang that the success and effectiveness of such growth is of great interest to the United States Government. (End of summary)

[Here follows a more detailed record of the conversation; see the Supplement.]

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. Secret. Filed with a September 19 covering memorandum from William E. Colby of the Central Intelligence Agency to Bundy, with the notation in Bundy’s handwriting: “OK as amended. MB.” See the Supplement.
  2. Chiang Ching-kuo visited Washington September 6-13. He met with Cline on September 8 and with Harriman, Hilsman, and Hughes the next day. According to Cline’s September 9 memorandum for the record Chiang told him that President Chiang had authorized him to state that no military invasion would be made during the next 18 months unless there was a rebellion on the mainland; in return, he wanted U.S. cooperation and support for Nationalist clandestine operations and an effort to increase considerably the scale of paramilitary team infiltration. (Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, China Security, 1962-63, Memoranda for Meeting with Chiang Ching-kuo) Memoranda of Chiang’s meetings with Harriman, Hilsman, and Hughes are in Department of State, Central Files, POL 2 CHINA, POLCHICOM-USSR, and POL 1 CHICOM, respectively.
  3. Shen was Chiang’s interpreter; Mehlert was Bundy’s interpreter. A memorandum of Chiang’s meeting with Harriman on September 9 identifies James D. Duffey as the Deputy Chief of the CIA Taiwan Desk. (Ibid., Central Files, POL 2 CHINA)
  4. The words “when major” and “danger of” appear in Bundy’s handwriting on the source text.