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58. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

INFORMATION ITEMS

[Omitted here are two paragraphs on the situation in Laos.]

  • Vice President on F–4s: During his meeting in Taipei, the Vice President was twice approached obliquely concerning the GRC’s desire for F–4s. Without mentioning F–4s specifically, he responded by:
  • —recognizing the high priority of GRC air defense requirements,
  • —indicating the US disposition to assist in up-grading GRC air defense, and
  • —stressing the difficult political problems surrounding the pending Foreign Aid Appropriation Bill.

He urged the GRC to take account of our problems, and reminded them that “the recipient country was not in a position to make a decision as to precisely what type of matériel the US would provide.”

Subsequently, Ambassador McConaughy has discussed the F–4 question with Chiang Ching-Kuo. He mentioned our current planning [Page 160]on improved GRC air defense capabilities, and he elaborated on the technical reasons which make us doubt that the F–4 is suitable. He made a strong case of our desire for GRC consultation and cooperation in coping with a trying issue which was undoubtedly having consequences harmful to the GRC.

Chiang Ching-Kuo said flatly that the request still stands. At the Ambassador’s insistence, he agreed that his response would not be considered definitive until he had checked it with President Chiang, but neither he nor Ambassador McConaughy believe that President Chiang is likely to change his mind. (Tab B)2

Continuing Trend Away From Militancy in Communist China: A recent article in the theoretical journal Red Flag underscores the determination of the Chinese leadership to rebuild the Communist Party through the rehabilitation of members who were under suspicion during the Cultural Revolution. The Party’s primacy over other political organizations was strongly asserted, and Cultural Revolutionaries were bluntly warned that having won “merit” or office in the Cultural Revolution did not in itself entitle them to Party membership.

Whatever this may mean as to the power relationships at the top— and this is thoroughly unclear—the new article is a strengthening of the pragmatic and cautious line of the past nine months. It is another sign that the radicals who came forward in the Cultural Revolution are being further frozen out of the reconstituted power elite. Almost certainly, this both reflects and will further reduce the radicals’ waning influence in Peking.

[Omitted here are items on the Soviet Union and other topics.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 16, President’s Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Contains Codeword. There is no indication that the President saw it.
  2. Attached at Tab B but not printed is telegram 127 from Taipei, January 8, reporting on a January 3 meeting between Vice Premier Chiang Ching-Kuo and Agnew; and telegram 149 from Taipei, January 9, reporting on a meeting between McConaughy and Chiang Ching-Kuo.