62. Report of Meetings1

Report of Meeting Between Chinese Nationalist Officials and Dr. Ray S. Cline

Dr. Cline held two briefings in Taipei2—one on 23 October was attended by Foreign Minister Shen, Defense Minister Yu, and Chiang Ching-kuo. [Page 116]The second session on 24 October was with President Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Foreign Minister Shen, and Chiang Ching-kuo.3 Both briefings were extremely well received. Ambassador Wright and Mr. Nelson were present at both sessions.

At first Shen made strong point of the anxiety of the ordinary man in Taipei who feared that three small bombs could destroy Keelung, Taipei, and Kaohsiung. It would be small consolation to him to know that after he was dead, U.S. would retaliate on ChiComs. Yu warned that nuclear deterrent credible assurance only when facing rational men and ChiComs were not rational. All Chinese in first briefing concerned re U-235 content of test blast and implication that ChiComs might have much greater production capacity of fissionable material than first estimated. Gimo also said this information most important.

Gimo after briefing in fairly emotional response said U.S. assurances for defense of Taiwan inadequate to calm fears aroused by explosion. U.S. policy of isolation of ChiComs was no longer enough. ChiComs merely felt immune to this policy which would enable ChiComs perfect their nuclear capability undisturbed. He said primary ChiCom aim was to destroy him and GRC and when this happened all of Asia would be threatened. In reference to ChiCom atomic bombs which could be carried in present ChiCom air force planes, he said “we are the target”. He brushed aside stated U.S. assurances of defense support and probable ChiCom reluctance invite retaliation. U.S., he felt, would be deterred from nuclear retaliation by European allies. It would be useless come to support of GRC once it destroyed. He said explanations of how U.S. would come to GRC aid left him “unconsoled”.

He said if U.S. real friend it would [2 lines of source text not declassified]. Present U.S. assurances could have adverse reaction toward U.S. on part of people. They would believe that American friends asking that they wait for death. He said if Chinese Communists successful in destroying GRC, they might well compromise with Soviets. In past U.S. worried about GRC counter attack for fear of Soviet reaction and subsequent world conflict. No matter who in power in Russia, they know only Gimo can bury Mao Tse-tung. Russians know this. Do Americans know it? Now time for U.S. to review its policy and choose either Mao or Gimo as friend.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, Central Intelligence Agency. Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the source text. Filed with a covering note of October 24 from McCone’s Executive Assistant, Walter Elder, to McGeorge Bundy stating that McCone asked that it be brought to Bundy’s personal attention.1
  2. According to a record of a telephone conversation between McCone and Ball on October 20, McCone gave Ball the gist of Carter’s report of his conversation with Chiang and told him Cline was planning to go to Taipei, stating that because of Cline’s “background and relationship with those people, it would be useful to get his appraisal of the attitude of the people.” (Johnson Library, Ball Papers, China (Taiwan))
  3. The Embassy reported Cline’s meeting with Chiang Kai-shek in telegram 347 from Taipei, October 24, and in more detail in airgram A–358, October 27. (Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12–1 CHICOM and POL 1 CHINAT-US respectively)