Learn about the beta

71. Message From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency Station in Taipei (Cline)0

The President is prepared to give private reassurance to the Generalissimo that if at any time a U.S. veto is what will be effective in preventing Chinese Communist entry into the UN, the United States will use that veto. This assurance, however, must be kept wholly private for the powerful reason that public disclosure of such a U.S. pledge at this time would be deeply damaging to the common cause at the UN. There we are debating on the important question issue and we will lose many votes—and also indicate fear of defeat—if there is any public discussion of a veto.

The President wants this assurance conveyed to Chiang in the most effective way and by the best possible person. On the evidence of recent days I am inclined to yourself or to George Yeh who has been extraordinarily [Page 155]helpful and is now returning for consultation. Suggest urgently you consult with him and then decide how to communicate the President’s assurance.

We recognize that what President Chiang now faces is a domestic political problem, in which private assurances may not be useful. But we are completely persuaded that any public statement mentioning the veto would be intolerably destructive of his purposes and ours alike.

We leave it to you to decide after discussion with Yeh whether the President’s assurance could be conveyed in such a way as to allow President Chiang to use it privately with reliable key figures. But there should be no leak, and this Government would have to deny any rumors about reassurance on the veto, in order to protect its position at the UN.

You will note that the President does not promise a veto in all circumstances. This is because our best experts report that in some circumstances, such as a straight credentials vote; a veto would not be possible. Thus, in fact, the veto is not the cure-all that Chiang appears to think it is. The point of our assurance is that the President will use whatever weapons seem likely to work, including the veto, and you may put the matter in this way if it seems more persuasive.

The President has great trust in you and wishes to leave you free to convey these assurances.

The State Department is informed, but Ambassador Drumright is not, and at this stage we prefer that he not be included unless you find it urgent for reasons not apparent here.

Yours by candlelight for scholarship and skullduggery.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China General, CIA Cables 7/61-10/16/61. Top Secret; Eyes Only. The message, headed “To Mr. Ray Cline From McGeorge Bundy at the President’s Direction,” is the first of a series of messages between Bundy and Cline sent through CIA channels. The source text does not indicate the time of transmission. An October 13 message from Bundy to Cline (Out Smilax 3) instructed Cline to use the slug Smilax for future messages in the series. (Filed with a covering memorandum of October 14 from Dulles to Bundy; ibid.) Copies of all the messages in the series through October 17 were sent from the White House to the Department of State on that date. (Filed with a memorandum of October 18 from Stevenson to Rusk; Department of State, Central Files, 303/10-1861)