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

3031. Subj: Secretary Rogers’ August 3 Meeting With President Chiang.

(Note: Conversation has been reconstructed in slightly condensed form but very close paraphrase in exact actual sequence in order to convey its full flavor. Language is verbatim only where quotation marks are used. Ambassador McConaughy drafted record, and it was sent telegraphically to Secretary’s party for review, since Ambassador Pedersen and Assistant Secretary Green also took extended notes of conversation. Secretary’s cabled clearance of August 7 received today.)

1. Summary: During meeting with Secretary Rogers on August 3, President Chiang first asked if Asian visits of President Nixon and Secretary signified a particular US interest in some sort of new collective security arrangement among free Asian countries. Secretary responded that there was no such interest at this time although US was of course very much interested in regional cooperation. President Chiang said US position corresponded closely to that of his government. In response to President Chiang’s query, Secretary gave extensive rundown Vietnam situation and US approach to problem. President Chiang generally agreed with this approach but cautioned against any expectation that USSR or ChiComs will help in any way and said that great care should be exercised regarding number and timetable of US troop withdrawal. President then launched into discussion of US policy on China, saying that policy under Secretary Dulles was correct but policy has been not so well defined since then. In particular, he questioned any attempt at “compromise” or “rapprochement” as being foredoomed to failure and as tending to embolden the ChiComs and consolidate their position. He attributed virtually all the woes of the free world in Asia since 1949 to the US permitting takeover of China Mainland by ChiComs. President Chiang asked if President Nixon is disposed to encourage ROC to go back and free the Chinese people, or “freeze” it on Taiwan. The Secretary, after stating we cannot turn clock back to either [Page 56] Nixon’s position is one of continued support of the Republic of China. US would be happy if ROC could return to the Mainland by peaceful political means, but any sort of military venture would not be realistic to consider. President asked if it is US policy to encourage ROC to “surrender Quemoy and Matsu,” and Secretary said it was not. President then asked if it was US policy that ROC have the capability to defend itself, and Secretary said it was. In response to Secretary’s question, President said GRC is not desirous of attempting invasion of Mainland because it does not have the capability. Secretary noted that there is therefore agreement on question of posture towards the Mainland. Remainder of conversation largely devoted to President’s complaints of inadequacy of US military aid in view of ChiCom threat. He expressed doubt whether GRC in present circumstances could hold out more than 3 days against full ChiCom attack on Taiwan. He voiced specifically desire for more Nike–Hawk missiles and for Phantom F–4 aircraft2 and observed that if there is a military crisis in this area and ROC is unable fulfill its defensive role, US inevitably would become deeply involved. End summary.

[Omitted here is a detailed account of the discussion between Rogers and Chiang.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–1972, Entry 3051B: Lot 70 D 387, Box 74, Secretary’s Trip to the Far East, July–August 1969, CF 384. Secret; Priority; Exdis. From July 26 to 28, Rogers accompanied President Nixon on his trip to the Philippines and Indonesia. From July 28 through August 10, Rogers visited Japan, South Korea, the ROC, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. He was in Taiwan from August 1 to 3. An English-language record of this conversation, provided by the ROC Government to McConaughy, is attached to an August 27 memorandum from Shoesmith to Green, and is ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POL CHINATUS.
  2. See Documents 1 and 8.