81. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State 1

869. On March 20 President Chiang held special meeting for discussion MAP and requested Ambassador to attend. Present were Admiral Gentner, COMUSTDC; General Sanborn, CHMAAG; General Peng, Chief of General Staff; Minister of National Defense Chiang Ching-kuo and Major General Hu, liaison.

This message in three parts. First deals with possible second nuclear explosion and GRC concern of shortage of ADC equipment. Second part (MAP programs, priorities and deliveries). Third part—conclusions.

  • Part 1. President stated all intelligence indications are that second atomic blast by ChiComs is about to take place. It is possible that this will be delivered from the air. This possibility brings our attention to area of air defense. President indicated ChiComs have 15 TU4 aircraft. Our air defense system just cannot afford even one of them to come through and deliver the weapon. After looking into present status of missiles, President not satisfied with number of missiles (Nike-Hercules and Hawk) on hand. President noted that at present we have only a few missiles per launcher. This certainly will not be adequate. Fortunately this fact is not known to general public. If it were it would cause feeling of panic among general public to know that we only have a small number of missiles on hand. Therefore, President requests that ground-to-air missiles (Nike-Hercules and Hawk) which are already programmed be delivered expeditiously. If possible we would like to have some extra missiles stored here in reserve. President also mentioned need for more air-to-air Sidewinder missiles.

    In addition to missiles the President also mentioned the importance of maintaining aircraft support. He referred particularly to spare parts program. Some of them, he stated are at very low stock level.

  • Part 2. President referred to FY65 Military Aid Program. He mentioned some of the items, funds for which have already been approved and their delivery has been programmed, such as Bull Pup missiles and F 100 modification kits, M113 (APD), and M 41 tanks. President feels that these items, since they are already programmed should be delivered with the highest priority.

    President hopes thorough review be held with regard to equipment and weapons status of 15 forward look divisions in the five-year program.

  • Part 3. In conclusion, President mentioned during the past he has asked the Ministers and Agencies to discuss problems of economic aid and military aid with American counterparts and he has not previously discussed these with Ambassador himself. He is not satisfied with attention given Military Aid Program in Washington. He does not understand why items already appropriated for and programmed have not been delivered. ROC should receive highest priority in military aid next after South Vietnam. President feels Military Aid Program is critical and US Govt has not, so far, given ROC enough priority in delivery of military priority items. He urged Ambassador to convey his view to US Govt.

First meeting with Defense Minister Chiang took place Monday, March 22, to discuss shortages mentioned by President and get into priorities for 15 forward look divisions. Will be reported through military channels.

Comment: Following should be noted: First, that these are view of President not subscribed to by US Embassy or military commanders. Second, this is first time detailed military requirements have been placed on echelon of President to Ambassador. Third, we believe that President is concerned with what he considers deteriorating situation in South Vietnam. His greatest concern, however, is with propaganda effect of prospective second ccne, particularly if it is an air drop.

Specific comment on part 1: We have on several previous occasions emphasized to President and his principal supporters that GRC’s best air defense is US nuclear deterrent. However, President has consistently downplayed its effectiveness against ChiCom probable intentions, particularly toward GRC. He states need for a military air defense system as only defense his people will understand. We believe US deterrent is better understood and appreciated by his principal subordinates, political and military.

President states desire for more ground-to-air missiles although he has a full battalion allowance. They do not have trained personnel to handle more at present.

Parts 2 and 3: It is obvious President has not been kept up to date by his subordinates on details of programs and deliveries, although MAAG has made all pertinent information available to them. The five-year program is under constant review and discussion by MAAG and MND representatives.

Recommendations: It is obvious that we must continue our efforts to sell President on US nuclear deterrent as his best air defense, emphasizing our defensive commitment to GRC which is as strong as that to any other free nation. We cannot provide complete air defense for all nations liable to nuclear attack.

With respect to remaining points on shortages and delays in delivery, I have directed MAAG to prepare detailed presentation of present [Page 157] status all items, which will be delivered direct to President. MAAG will contact Dept of Defense for up-to-minute information.

A special ROC-US committee will be established in MND to study Communist nuclear threat and how best to meet it. COMUSTDC will coordinate US participation. Any recommendations which committee may produce as to accelerated deliveries will be forwarded through military channels.

Unless Dept desires action different from above or has amplifying information not available here, I do not see any instructions needed in addition to current MAP programs. Would appreciate any views Department may wish to convey to President in addition to above, particularly with respect to his comments on Washington policy.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12–1 CHICOM. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC For POLAD.
  2. Telegram 927 to Taipei, March 25, replied that the Department concurred in the measures Wright had taken in response to Chiang’s comments and that he could assure Chiang that his comments on priority for GRC military assistance deliveries were being given careful consideration. (Ibid.)