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89. 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

Cline replied in a March 7 telegram that Bundy’s message had been “most helpful.” Cline had conveyed the substance to Chiang Ching-kuo without attribution to anyone in Washington and had conveyed Bundy’s comments in paragraph 5. Cline noted that while President Chiang and Chiang Ching-kuo were pleased about Harriman’s visit, the GRC was “somewhat apprehensive” over what the press was treating as the “strangely abrupt resignation and departure” of Drumright. (Ibid.)

We have received the reports of your conversations and those of my brother with high authorities in Taipei. The President is instructing Averell Harriman to review those matters at the highest possible level during his visit to you March 14-15. Meanwhile, we think it important that an interim response be made along following lines, and you should make this response in such a way as to indicate, without flatly saying so, that it represents the views of the highest authorities here:

The United States is most appreciative of this full information on the political assessments of the Generalissimo. Such information is obviously the more important and valuable when the matter is one of such significance as a projected mainland effort.
We continue to base our policy in this matter on the understanding embodied in the exchange of notes of December 10, 1954, between the U.S. Secretary of State and the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs. In accordance with the terms of this understanding, the United States remains wholly confident that any “use of force will be a matter of joint agreement.” The responsibilities and interests of both governments make it imperative that this agreement be the basis of all discussion. The interest of the highest authorities here in restating this matter derives simply from an earnest desire for clear understanding that all discussions of our common hopes for the future freedom of the mainland must rest upon this premise.
The intelligence available to us, and separately reported to you, creates a grave question in our minds as to the timeliness of the particular proposals discussed in the recent conversations. We believe that a first step in further consultation should be a careful joint study of the information available to our two governments.
Finally, you should emphasize that Harriman is not merely the Assistant Secretary of State with responsibilities for this area. He is also a statesman of long experience and proven friendship for the Government of China. He has the President’s full personal confidence, and will be empowered to speak in the most direct and authoritative way for the President himself.
If you think it appropriate, I should be glad if you would express my personal respects to the appropriate Chinese authorities and say that, at the President’s direction, his staff continues to take a most active and sympathetic interest in relations with the Government of China.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China, Return to Mainland, 1/62-5/62. Secret. Filed with a March 6 covering memorandum from Bundy to U. Alexis Johnson requesting Department of State clearance for the message and stating that it was to be sent through intelligence channels. A handwritten note on the source text indicates that it was approved by telephone. The source text does not indicate the time of transmission.