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57. Memorandum From Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. and Lindsey Grant of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Gestures to General Chiang

You requested that an action memorandum be prepared on the upgrading of the GRC air defense system as a gesture to General Chiang. Dave Packard has written you explaining that this proposal, first made by State, needs to be further studied by DOD before any commitment is made to the GRC (Tab A).2

The Proposed Gestures

On December 11, State proposed that we make two gestures to the GRC as assurances of U.S. support (Tab B).3

  • —A new PL–480 agreement in support of the GRC’s program (Vanguard) of technical assistance to other developing countries.4
  • —A promise to contribute substantially ($31–$36 million) to the upgrading of the GRC’s air defense capability through provision of a [Page 158]F–104 squadron, an additional Nike–Hercules battalion, an additional Hawk battalion, and upgrading of the GRC Aircraft Control and Warning System.

On the first gesture, PL–480 for Program Vanguard, you have signed off on the proposal.5 On the second, action has been delayed for DOD to develop a specific course of action based on State’s general proposal.

The reasons given by Dave Packard for reconsideration of State’s proposal to improve the GRC’s air defense system are:

  • —The possibility of providing the proposed air defense systems cannot be determined now. State’s judgement about the availability and cost of the air defense equipment “appears to be optimistic.”
  • —The U.S. has recently promised to provide the GRC with both an additional squadron of F–104 interceptors and 5 destroyers. Dave Packard states that these systems will augment the GRC’s air defense capability.

For these reasons, Dave Packard feels that the air defense proposal needs further study, which DOD has now undertaken and will be completed “in early January.”

In preparation for his visit to the GRC, Vice President Agnew was briefed to make no specific commitment to the GRC beyond mentioning the F–104 squadron already promised and the U.S. desire to help the GRC improve its air defense capabilities.6 If more specific guidance has not been sent to the Vice President, he will not have committed the U.S. to provision of more air defense capability than Dave Packard feels DOD can offer at this time.

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Summary

Dave Packard finds that the air defense system proposed by State as a gesture to General Chiang needs further study. Vice President Agnew’s position prepared for his meeting with Chiang was consistent with this DOD reservation.7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 519, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. III. Secret. Sent for information. Lynn initialed the memorandum but not Grant. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw and initialed it.
  2. Attached at Tab A is a December 31 memorandum from Packard to Kissinger, in which Packard wrote: “While there is general agreement that a high priority requirement exists for the proposals made by Ambassador Johnson and that they would substantially contribute to the GRC air defense system, the estimate of cost and funding provided to you appears to be optimistic.” This conclusion was taken verbatim from a December 17 memorandum from Nutter to the Secretaries of the Army, Resor, and the Air Force, Seamans. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, ISA General Files: FRC 330 72 A 6309, China, Rep. of, 1969, 333–388.3)
  3. Attached at Tab B is a December 11 memorandum from U. Alexis Johnson to Kissinger. Another copy is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Files, 1970–73, AID (US) 8 CHINAT.
  4. Public Law 480, The Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, (later commonly known as the “Food for Peace Act”) was designed to “increase the consumption of United States agricultural commodities in foreign countries, to improve the foreign relations of the United States, and for other purposes.” (PL–480, 68 Stat. 454, as amended) The Vanguard program was the ROC’s foreign agricultural assistance program, primarily for African nations.
  5. On December 22, 1969, Rogers recommended to Nixon that he ask Agnew, who was then traveling in East Asia, to inform the ROC Government of the continuation of PL–480 support for the Vanguard Program “subject to working out appropriate terms and conditions this spring.” (National Archives, Nixon President Materials, NSC Files, Box 519, Country Files, China, Vol. III) In a December 23 memorandum to Kissinger, Holdridge and Bergsten noted: “We see no need to bring this matter to the President.” They recommended informing the Vice President of the Vanguard Program’s renewal. Kissinger initialed his approval on December 27. (Ibid.) The Vice President was informed in telegram 213872 to Manila, December 31. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/AGNEW)
  6. In a December 17, 1969, memorandum to Agnew, Kissinger wrote: “Although we do not wish to take a public position against F–4s, State and Defense have long considered F–4s too expensive, and submarines irrelevant to Taiwan’s defense requirements. We are, however, discussing the continuing provision of more modern weapons (including F–104s) to the GRC.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 450, President’s Trip Files, VP Trip East Asia Jan 70)
  7. Even prior to the Packard memorandum, Agnew’s party had been informed that “DOD is currently working on plan that would hopefully enable GRC to obtain better aircraft than they now have with more manageable costs.” (Telegram from Haig to Robert Houdek aboard Air Force II, December 27; ibid.) Memoranda of conversation from the Vice President’s trip are ibid., RG 59, S/S Conference Files: Lot 70 D 387, Vice President’s Trips, December 1969–January 1970, CF–421.