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235. Memorandum From John A. Froebe of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Recent NIE Study of Taiwan’s Prospects and State Analysis of Recent Governmental Changes There

At Tab A is a recent NIE study on Taiwan’s prospects,2 the chief conclusions of which are:

  • —Taiwan is likely to preserve a separate existence well into the 1970s, provided that it not lose confidence in continuing U.S. support, especially as regards the defense commitment.
  • —Taiwan’s economy should remain prosperous, Mainlander- Taiwanese collaboration should increase in the face of the danger from Peking (and this collaboration in turn depends heavily on the confidence in U.S. support), and internal stability should continue during and after the succession—with President Chiang’s elder son, Chiang Ching-Kuo, being somewhat more flexible, but no less committed to preserving the Republic of China’s separate identity than his father. [The speculation in paragraphs 10–11 postulating a limited Taiwanese interest in a deal with Peking outruns any evidence we have seen. Given their deep-seated distrust of Mainlanders—on the mainland and on Taiwan—and their appreciation of the situation on the mainland— politically, economically, and socially—the Taiwanese would almost certainly want to observe a decided moderation of the political situation on the mainland (and probably be stimulated by a deterioration of their relationship with Mainlanders on Taiwan or a withdrawal of U.S. support) before they would move in the direction of a deal with Peking.]3
  • —The Government, while continuing with its present formal identity, will probably gradually mute its claims to the mainland, and concentrate more on matters directly related to Taiwan.
  • —As regards the Peking–Taipei relationship, there is no evidence that Peking will try a military solution of the Taiwan problem; Peking will undoubtedly continue to push toward the diplomatic and economic isolation of Taiwan; and Taipei is unlikely to show interest in negotiating a political solution with Peking, even after President Chiang goes.

At Tab B is a memorandum to you from State commenting on the late May reshuffle of top leadership in Taipei.4 The highlights are:

  • —The changes can be expected to mollify somewhat the Taiwanese and younger educated elements, while leaving fundamental political control firmly in the hands of the same mainlander group. The number of Taiwanese in the 18-man cabinet was doubled from three to six (including the Vice Premier), and a Taiwanese was appointed Governor of Taiwan Province—long a basic Taiwanese demand.
  • —The shifts presage no policy changes, and do support Chiang Ching-Kuo’s commitment to policies associated with Taiwan’s economic development.
  • —A surprising change among Mainlander leaders was the ousting of Chow Shu-kai as Foreign Minister (until a year ago the ROC Ambassador here, he has now apparently been put on the shelf as Minister without Portfolio). He was replaced by Shen Chang-huan, who had previously served in this post from 1960–1966, and since then has been the ROC Ambassador to the Vatican. Chow may have been penalized for some of the ROC’s serious diplomatic reverses of the past year, as well as for his advocacy earlier this year of increased ties with East European countries.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 361, National Intelligence Estimates—part 3. Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum indicating he had seen it.
  2. Attached but not printed is National Intelligence Estimate 43–72, May 11, entitled “Prospects for Taiwan and the Chinese Nationalists.” According to an April 12 memorandum from Moser to Green, the “CIA began on this NIE in late 1971 in the hopes of putting it into the hopper for the Presidential trip.” He added that earlier drafts of the paper were out of date, but that “CIA is anxious to get the paper on its way.” (Ibid., RG 59, EA Files: Lot 74 D 471, Memoranda for Mr. Green, April 1972)
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. Apparent reference to “The Republic of China’s New Cabinet—New Faces and a New Image,” a 2-page report with a list of all cabinet members, which Eliot forwarded on June 1 under a covering memorandum to Kissinger. (National Archives, RG 59, EA/ROC Files: Lot 75 D 76, POL 15–1 (a), Cabinet Members) In addition, INR produced Intelligence Note REAN–46, June 21, “Republic of China: Chiang Ching-Kuo’s Taiwanese.” (Ibid., Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 CHINAT)