86. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State0

596. For Governor Harriman. No doubt you have seen reports transmitted [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] of further approaches made [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and William Bundy on occasion of latter’s recent visit to Taiwan.1 These proposals by President Chiang and his son are regarded here as a further, more concrete approach to USG and as indicating Chiang’s desire for consultations at high level and his hopes for US assent to plan he is suggesting or some feasible modification thereof. Chiang’s latest approach also suggests quickening of his resolve to “do something about mainland” in months ahead. I have reviewed Chiang’s latest approach together with [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], Commander TDC and Chief MAAG. There was agreement that USG must soon take cognizance in one form or another of Chiang’s latest suggested plans. It was agreed that best choice of action as of now would be [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to continue discussions. In doing so he should attempt without commitment to obtain specific details of Chiang’s latest plans for consideration by US authorities. Once specific plans were obtained, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]US military authorities here would study them for feasibility and pass their views to higher US authorities for consideration. Consensus was that in discussing problem with Chiang and his son a sympathetic attitude on our part would be desirable as to keep GRC side engaged and thus permit US side to study proposals and submit observations and counter proposals. There was general agreement that cold shouldering or ignoring of Chiang’s proposals was least desirable course of action and could lead to undesirable actions and consequences. It was also consensus that in discussing problem further GRC side should be pressed to present concrete intelligence to support its estimates of mainland conditions and possibilities of sparking uprising among people. (In this respect it was concluded that Chiang is predicating [Page 187] his plans of touching off uprising on assumptions rather than realistic intelligence appraisals.)

In light of foregoing discussion it was agreed [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] continue discussions with Chiang and his son designed to elicit further concrete details. In doing so [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] make it clear continuing talks implied no new commitments. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] also discreetly keep to fore requirement on part of GRC to observe restraints set forth in Mutual Defense Treaty and related agreements.

Although Chiang is quite obviously reluctant to discuss this problem with me, I expect to touch on it when I see him before departing Taiwan.2 I shall [not] accept Chiang’s plan in its present form, [but] I would hope that it would be possible for Washington to respond in such way as not to constitute a flat negative. Otherwise, we risk possibility of Chiang’s jumping off on his own on some risky adventure.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/2-2862. Secret; Roger Channel. Received at 1:40 p.m.
  2. Bundy’s message, dated February 24, to McNamara and McGeorge Bundy reported a meeting the previous evening with Chiang Kai-shek, in which Chiang argued for a counterattack on the mainland. He declared that the GRC did not want U.S. participation but “tacit agreement” and perhaps secret or indirect logistic support; Bundy was noncommittal and stressed the importance of joint consultations. (Filed with a February 24 covering memorandum from Desmond FitzGerald of the CIA to Bundy; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China) See the Supplement. A Chinese record of Bundy’s conversation with Chiang Kai-shek and a conversation with Chiang Ching-kuo is summarized in TDCSDB-3/649, 521. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China)
  3. Telegram 429 to Taipei, January 23, reported that since Drumright was completing his 4 years of service in Taipei, the Administration had decided to replace him. It instructed him to hold this information closely and stated that he would be informed before the White House announcement so that he could give the Chinese Government 24 hours advance notice. (Department of State, Central Files, 123-Drumright, Everett F.)