Learn about the beta

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

299. Called on President Chiang this afternoon and handed him message conveyed via Deptel 225.1 Also conveyed text double tenth message transmitted via Deptel 227.2

Chiang expressed deep appreciation not only for President Kennedy’s written message but also for oral message conveyed through Bundy to Ambassador Yeh. He said both touched and moved him deeply.

Chiang then shifted from foregoing into long, involved eloquent statement of troubles he faces here if he commits volte-face on Mongolian question. For one thing, Prime Minister, in face of unanimous Legislative Yuan resolution enjoining government to use all means to bar Mongolia, will be obliged by constitution to submit resignation as Prime Minister. But worse still, Chiang says he faces even more formidable job explaining reversal to officialdom, armed forces and public. If not handled adequately and properly, he said government will be endangered, morale sapped and will and purpose of government and people dissipated. He said it is particularly important to preserve idea government is not retreating from fundamental policy (mainland recovery) or weakening in its determination to oppose communism to end.

He added that his task is painful and onerous. Only two men can put it across—President Kennedy and himself. It was this conviction which was behind instruction he transmitted yesterday to Ambassador Yeh to [Page 149]seek public statement from President Kennedy reaffirming US strong support of GRC and pledging US use of all means, including SC action if necessary to bar ChiComs from UN (Embtel 293).3 Armed with such a statement, Chiang said he believed he could carry it with Legislative Yuan and public opinion; without it, he would face serious trouble. Chiang indicated that if President Kennedy would issue such a supporting statement he would be prepared to forego veto. Left unsaid but plainly implied was impression he could not go ahead without supporting statement.

At this point, I conveyed to Chiang substance of Deptel 2264 which I had earlier passed to Acting Foreign Minister Hsu. However, President insisted that only a fresh statement from President Kennedy would suffice for his purposes. I then said perhaps Ambassador Stevenson could make some such statement in SC when Mongolian issue considered, but he said this would not be sufficient.

In face of Chiang’s adamant position, I then told him I would report to Washington. He asked that his views be passed President Kennedy.

Comment: There is no doubt that Chiang is faced with a troublesome predicament even if he does embroider on it to a certain extent. He desperately wants statement from President Kennedy on which he can pin his defense of volte-face. He also wants JFK’s assurances as reassurance to Chinese people that admission of OM this year will not be followed by that of Red China next year. I concede that this argument has substance and I agree that a carefully worded statement from JFK could be helpful in solving his dilemma.

If requested statement is not forthcoming, possibility exists that Chiang will refuse to go ahead on Mongolia. Consequently, it is my judgment that we should in this case stretch a point and try to meet his request.

At its discretion Department repeat to USUN.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 303/10-661. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 12:55 p.m.
  2. Document 66.
  3. Dated October 5. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/9-1661)
  4. Telegram 293, October 5, informed the Department that Acting Foreign Minister Hsu had informed the Embassy of Chiang’s message to Yeh. (Ibid., 303/10-561)
  5. Telegram 226, October 5, instructed Drumright to inform Hsu that a public statement on the Chinese representation issue did not appear necessary or desirable at that time; statements of U.S. support had been made as recently as the joint statement issued by Kennedy and Ch’en on August 2. (Ibid.) For text of the joint statement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 545-546.