Learn about the beta

35. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy 0


  • The Secretary of State on Liao and the Generalissimo

As I was talking with Dean Rusk on other matters,1 I raised directly with him your question as to the level at which the Liao case had been decided in the Department. He at once told me that he had decided it himself, after long and careful consideration. He weighed the following considerations:

That to deny a visa to a political refugee is contrary to our traditions, and to do this because of pressure, even from a friendly government, is still worse.
This matter has been pressed urgently with the Department over a long period of time by Senator Fulbright and others.
Liao will not in fact make anything like the amount of noise in the United States that the Chinese claim.
The case is not in itself as important to the Chinese as they are now saying, and the fuss on this particular issue will die down.

More broadly, the Secretary agrees strongly with you that Drumright is not representing our point of view effectively. While it has to be borne in mind that his recall at this time will probably confirm the Generalissimo’s worst suspicions, the Secretary still agrees with you and is proceeding with plans for his recall for consultation. On the result of this consultation, as I understand it, would hang a decision on his return.

The Secretary is planning himself to have a prompt and serious talk with the Chinese Ambassador here, and will let you know what comes of that. He also thinks that we ought to arrange to get either Chiang’s son, Ching-kuo, or the Foreign Minister over here promptly, and on that visit he would hope to have your direct and forceful participation.

Meanwhile, the Chinese attitude makes it harder than ever for us to put our weight behind a “successor states” proposal for the UN, and as [Page 84]time passes, the prospect of an effective operation on this line gets weaker. In other words, the Chinese are hard at work creating exactly the situation they should wish to avoid, and that is what the Secretary will tell the Ambassador.

McG. B. 2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. Secret.
  2. The conversation took place at 1 p.m. on June 24. According to notes prepared in Rusk’s office, Bundy told Rusk the President “had taken him to task” about the Chinese representation problem, thought Drumright “should be recalled,” and was wondering if the decision on the Liao visa was made with Rusk’s knowledge. Rusk stated that the visa decision was his own judgment. Bundy said the President “was startled to see all that flap over one man.” Rusk said there had been nothing in the press, and Bundy replied that Kennedy’s information came from a cable. Bundy asked if the President should see Yeh; Rusk said he should see the Foreign Minister if he came, but not the Ambassador. (Department of State, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.