245. Memorandum From the Representative to the United Nations (Goldberg) to President Johnson1


  • Report on First Leg of Asian Trip

Because of my responsibilities in connection with the Outer Space Treaty, I was able to visit only five countries on the first leg of the trip to Asia and to spend a shorter time in each one than I would have desired: one day each in Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, two and a half days in Japan, and three days in South Vietnam.

[Here follows discussion of South Vietnam and Japan.]

III. Republic of China (Taiwan)

I found it interesting that the Generalissimo, with whom I spent half a day,2 expressed fears similar to those of Sato, namely: that the Soviets would choose to take advantage of the disorder on the mainland to fulfill long harbored expansionist designs. In this very limited sense, he seemed to have something in common with the mainland regime.

At the same time he has clearly not renounced hopes of overthrowing that regime. Indeed, the major portion of his discussion with me consisted of the following analysis and request, which he asked specifically be conveyed to you. Given the serious split between Moscow and Peking, the drain of Vietnam on Peking’s resources, and the serious turmoil on the mainland itself, now is the golden opportunity to rid the mainland of the Communist regime and destroy the Chinese nuclear threat. Unless this is done, the war in Vietnam cannot be ended and will in fact be extended to a wider area. The people on the mainland, while not able to overthrow the Communist regime from within, have now become anti-Mao (in addition to being anti-Communist) and would rally to his cause if he were to return to the mainland with force. All that is needed to set this process in motion is the approval and logistic support—but not manpower—of the US.

I, of course, undertook to convey this analysis and request to you and avoided any substantive reply. Nevertheless, feeling it advisable to [Page 532] prepare the way for a rejection of the Generalissimo’s request, I did note that US commitments elsewhere were onerous, that the American people were in no mood to increase their involvement in potentially dangerous situations, and that the general American mood was one wanting to reduce rather than create new tension in Asia. I need scarcely add that my own conviction is that the Generalissimo’s request should be politely but categorically rejected.

As requested by the Secretary of State, I raised the question of our recognition of Outer Mongolia leaving further discussion to our Ambassador.

[Here follows discussion of Korea and the Philippines.]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations. Secret. Goldberg sent the memorandum with a covering note to the President stating that it supplemented his oral report the previous day. It is filed with a covering note of March 10 from Rostow. A handwritten “L” on Rostow’s covering note indicates that it was seen by the President.
  2. On March 1. Telegram 2623 from Taipei, March 2, reported the conversation; a detailed memorandum of conversation was transmitted with airgram A–595, March 4. (Both ibid., and in Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/GOLDBERG)