264. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • U.S. Air Deployments to Taiwan in Connection with Operation ENHANCE

As you know, as part of our efforts to provide South Vietnam with F–5A aircraft under Operation ENHANCE, we have requested the Republic of China (ROC) to provide 48 F–5A’s by November 10. In return, and in order to assure that the air defense of Taiwan is not weakened, we are sending in two U.S. squadrons of F–4’s and loaning the ROC 28 T–38 training aircraft to maintain the flying proficiency of the ROC pilots. The agreement is as follows:2

  • GRC to provide 48 F–5A’s.
  • —As temporary replacements to fill air defense gap, U.S. to provide:
  • —Two U.S. F–4 squadrons to be based on Taiwan.
  • —Up to 28 T–38 aircraft on loan, in good condition, as soon as possible.
  • —U.S. F–4’s can be withdrawn to meet U.S. worldwide defense commitments.
  • —First 20 GRC F–5A’s will be subject to replacement by returning like number of similar aircraft from Vietnam as soon as available.
  • —Next up to 28 GRC F–5A’s to be “eventually” replaced by F–5E’s subject to appropriations of funds by U.S. Congress.
  • —U.S. to give sympathetic consideration to co-production/co-assembly of F–5E’s in Taiwan, from which source F–5E replacements in preceding paragraph may be manufactured.3
  • —The two U.S. F–4 squadrons will under normal circumstances remain in Taiwan, with first to withdraw when first 20 F–5A’s returned, second to withdraw when next up to 28 F–5A’s replaced as agreed. Similarly, loan of T–38’s will terminate when second F–4 squadron is withdrawn.

This augmentation of U.S. air strength on Taiwan is against a back [Page 1113] ground of an earlier increase of two C–130 transport squadrons and 22–24 KC–135’s which were relocated from Clark Field due to the floods in the Philippines. However, the KC–135’s will be withdrawn very shortly once a movement of A–7 aircraft from the U.S. to Thailand in connection with our buildup there is completed. This should be in a matter of only a few days, following which the KC–135’s will return to Clark Field. The two C–130 squadrons of course can be removed once a Vietnam settlement is achieved.

The authorized figure for U.S. military personnel on Taiwan at the end of June 1972 was 7900 in round numbers. This is down from 8950 as of June 1971. There may be some variations in the actual number of military personnel present under the authorized strength. The 7900 figure does not include the temporary stationing of the two C–130 squadrons and the KC–135’s. Personnel included in these units amount to 650 and 540 respectively.

The personnel augmentation in connection with the movement of the F–4 squadrons to Taiwan is 850,4 including a wing headquarters, 36 aircraft will be involved.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Entirely Out of System. Sent for information.
  2. The agreement is in telegram 5424 from Taipei, November 4. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 19–8 USCHINAT) Telegrams between Taipei and Washington detailing the course of the negotiations with ROC officials are ibid.
  3. See Document 268.
  4. A handwritten correction in the source text changed 600 to 850.
  5. A handwritten comment written below this paragraph reads “+ two submarines in press.”