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


  • Your Meeting with GRC Ambassador Chow Shu-kai

You have a meeting with GRC Ambassador Chow Shu-kai at 5:30 p.m. November 14, in response to a request from Ambassador Chow. As you recall from previous contacts with Ambassador Chow, he is a good, professional diplomat who likes to work through channels and who would not have sought a meeting with you except under instructions from Taipei and for purposes regarded by his government as extraordinary.

Ambassador Chow’s Position

There are two issues of major importance to the GRC which we believe lie behind his meeting with you. These are:

  • —Our decision to modify the Taiwan Strait Patrol.2 The GRC has now been informed of this decision, and has resisted it. President Chiang Kai-shek was about to intervene personally with our Chargé to ask reconsideration, but thought better of it and instead made such a request through the GRC Foreign Minister. It seems likely that President Chiang wants to end-run the State Department and get his strong feelings against our decision directly to the President. The GRC opposition to our move is based on: (1) the belief it might cause the Chinese Communists to calculate that our degree of support for the GRC had declined, thus encouraging stepped-up pressure on Taiwan or the Offshore Islands; and, (2) fear of an adverse effect on public morale in the Republic of China.
  • —The Okinawa reversion issue. The GRC has long maintained that it should have some say on the basis of the Japanese Peace Treaty regarding the disposition of Okinawa. Realizing that it cannot prevent Okinawan reversion, it wants to stall by calling for a plebiscite to be held to confirm the wishes of the Okinawan people.
  • —In addition, the GRC may through Ambassador Chow express some concern about the general trend in Sino-US relations, fearing that our support for the GRC is eroding. Ambassador Chow may allude to comments by US officials (e.g. Secretary Rogers) on improving relations with Communist China.3

Your Position

I recommend that:

  • —You reiterate that the modification of the Taiwan Strait Patrol was made for budgetary considerations only.
  • —You point out that the totality of the US relationship with the GRC depends on far more than the mothballing of two aged destroyers, and that many important evidences of US support for the GRC will remain in effect. For example, the Seventh Fleet will continue to operate in and around the Taiwan Strait area. You may wish to remind Ambassador Chow that we have agreed to strengthen the GRC Navy by five destroyer and destroyer-escort type vessels, which would leave the power balance in the Taiwan Strait unimpaired.
  • —Regarding Okinawa, the US has had numerous expressions of opinion on the part of the Okinawans as to their desire to be reunited with Japan. A case in point was the election of the present Okinawan Chief Executive, Yara, on a platform favoring reversion. Resisting this trend might impair the utility of our bases, and adversely affect the security of both Japan and Taiwan. Our purpose is to see these security interests safeguarded.
  • US support for the GRC has been exemplified by the US stance on the Chinese representation issue in the UNGA. The vote rejecting Communist Chinese seating, while some less than last year (48–56–21 to 44–58–23), still showed substantial agreement on this issue.4
  • —We will be looking forward to the visit of Vice Premier Chiang Ching-Kuo in February of next year, at which time the President will have the opportunity to reinforce what you have just said about Sino- US congruity of interests.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 751, Presidential Correspondence File, Republic of China, President Chiang Kai-shek. Secret. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it. The document was date- stamped “Nov 17 1969.” No record of this conversation has been found.
  2. See Document 34.
  3. Apparent reference to Rogers’ August 8 address before the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia. The Secretary commented that the United States had been “seeking to open channels of communication” and pointed to liberalization of passport and tourist regulations regarding the PRC. (Department of State Bulletin, September 1, 1969, p. 180) He reiterated these comments in his August 20 news conference in Washington. (Ibid., September 8, 1969, pp. 201–208) Haig brought Rogers’ comments to the attention of Kissinger on August 18 in his memorandum entitled “Items to discuss with the President,” stating that “Rogers free wheeled on China without any prior White House clearance.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 334, Subject Files, Items to Discuss with the President 8/13/69 to 12/30/69)
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. V, Document 283.