98. Memorandum to the Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency Station in Taipei (Cline)0

On your return to Taiwan you should be guided by the following statement of the U.S. position, and should make it clear to those with whom you deal.1

The United States would view with great satisfaction any developments on the Mainland of China in which freedom might be restored to the Chinese people.
We do not, however, now have the kind of hard2 evidence to support the feasibility of activities on the scale recently discussed with Governor Harriman and you.
It is necessary that we conduct jointly further investigation of conditions on the Mainland and that we increase our mutual consultations on detailed planning for the future.
In order to achieve the above objectives, the United States favors probing operations and specifically the joint training, equipping, and supervising of the formation of probing teams of the type previously authorized. In this connection, and because of the difficulties of airborne operations,3 it is suggested that greater emphasis be placed upon the possibility of using seaborne raids on the coast.
You are also authorized to maintain close liaison with GOC on4 planning and preparation for larger scale clandestine operations on a contingent basis involving up to a maximum of 200 men in a single airdrop, but it is essential that all responsibility for the preparation and [Page 207] execution of such operations rest with the GOC.5 The United States will, concurrently with such planning, prepare two C-123 aircraft in the United States and train the Chinese crews in this country. Such preparation and training will take about six months and the planes will be made available to the GOC when and if there is agreement between us that an operation is feasible and timely. It must be understood that we are preparing the capability for this operation—but have made no decision at this time to proceed with it.6
The planning in this area must be kept very quiet. Further talk along the lines of recent published articles will jeopardize any future operations. The United States will continue publicly to deny that there is any joint consultation on this subject.
The President is grateful for the message sent through Governor Harriman that the Generalissimo would continue to exercise great caution in these matters and would not act lightly.7
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China, CIA Cables, 3/62-4/62. Top Secret. A draft of this memorandum marked “Not for signature,” bearing handwritten revisions, some of which are in Kennedy’s handwriting is ibid. A March 31 memorandum from Bundy to Cline reads in part as follows: “The memorandum of instruction is as agreed and has the explicit concurrence of the Secretary and Mr. Harriman. The President specifically asked that you talk from it without handing it to any Chinese.” (Ibid.) A draft letter from Kennedy to President Chiang, a paper headed “Memorandum on GRC Mainland Operations Planning,” and a draft paper for oral delivery, all unsigned and undated, are filed with a March 30 note from Bundy to Harriman. (Ibid.) Bundy’s March 31 memorandum to Cline states that Kennedy was not signing the letter to Chiang.
  2. On the draft cited above, this sentence was added in Bundy’s handwriting.
  3. On the draft, the words “the kind of hard” were added in a handwriting that is probably Kennedy’s.
  4. On the draft, the words “and because of the difficulties of airborne operations” were added in an unidentified handwriting.
  5. On the draft, the words “engage in joint” are crossed out and the words “maintain close liaison with GOC on” appear in an unidentified handwriting.
  6. On the draft, this sentence originally ended with the words “single airdrop.” A marginal notation in Kennedy’s handwriting reads, “but this should be R.O.C.” The second clause was added in an unidentified handwriting. Message CAP 5172-62 from Bundy to Cline, April 2, asked him to confirm his understanding that this sentence referred to one single air drop involving a maximum of 200 men. In a message of April 4, Cline confirmed that this was his understanding and stated that his impression was that subsequent operations might be studied in accordance with paragraph 3, but that their detailed planning and preparation for execution would require further authorization. (Both ibid.)
  7. On the draft, this sentence was added in Kennedy’s handwriting.
  8. A copy of this memorandum in the files of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research bears McGeorge Bundy’s typed signature. (Department of State, INR Historical Files, Special Group Files, S.G. 112, February 20, 196note)