17. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China1
820. Please deliver following letter to President Chiang from President Johnson:
“March 2, 1964. Dear Mr. President: I greatly appreciate your letter of 1 February, which I have most carefully studied. I should also like to [Page 28]thank you for the cordial reception given Mr. Ray Cline. He has reported fully on your strategic concerns and recommendations with respect to the situation in Asia.
Your views on world problems are always much valued here. We too are actively concerned over possible trends in the Far East, though I can assure you that we intend to meet our responsibilities squarely and are confident that the forces of freedom will not be found wanting.
I am also confident that through continual close consultation and coordination our two governments will find mutually acceptable solutions to the problems which particularly concern us. As to steps which might be taken to offset the adverse effects of France’s deplorable recognition of the Chinese Communist regime, some of the suggestions which you and your officials have made are already being carried out and others are under intensive study. I am asking Ambassador Wright to discuss them with you in detail, and to keep in closest touch with your represent-atives so as to ensure full coordination.
As a matter of primary urgency, I believe it essential to mount an intensified diplomatic effort to strengthen your country’s international position, especially within the United Nations. We want to cooperate fully with you in this effort, but you must take the laboring oar.
We further intend to take steps to cope more effectively with Communist aggression in Southeast Asia, which, as you emphasize, poses grave risks to all free world countries whether or not they acknowledge it. In this connection we have again reviewed our bilateral and multilateral defense arrangements in Asia, along the lines you have suggested. Our tentative conclusion is that these arrangements are basically sound and can effectively deter Communist encroachment in the area. We do intend, however, to take steps to improve their practical effectiveness.
We recognize that your Government is already making a significant contribution to assist the valiant people of South Vietnam, and we believe that there may be additional areas for cooperation between your Government and the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.
Finally, Mr. President, I should like to reiterate the view endorsed by President Kennedy in March, 1962, that the United States would regard with great satisfaction developments on mainland China in which freedom might be restored to the Chinese people. I hope that through further close consultation and planning our Governments can agree on actions which will demonstrate to people everywhere the inevitable defeat of Communist aggression. Secretary Rusk will discuss these matters with you when he visits Taipei in April.[Page 29]
I recall my visit to Taiwan with great pleasure. I hope that your health continues to be excellent and that Madame Chiang has recovered safely from her recent illness.
Warmest personal regards,
Lyndon B. Johnson“
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 US/JOHNSON. Secret; Limdis. The telegram indicates that it was drafted by Popple on March 3, cleared by Harriman and McGeorge Bundy, and approved by Green, but an attached note of March 6 from Bundy to Read states that it was approved by the President. See also footnote 6, Document 16. The original draft, attached to the source text, indicates that it was cleared by Cline, Green, and Harriman, and approved by Rusk.↩