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78. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • SECDEF Working Luncheon for Vice Premier of Republic of China
[Page 206]

PARTICIPANTS

  • Republic of China Side
  • Vice Premier—Chiang Ching-Kuo
  • ROC Ambassador to U.S.—Chow Shu-kai
  • Secretary General of Executive Yuan—Tsiang Yen-shih
  • Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs—Shen Chien-hung
  • Special Assistant to Vice Premier—MGEN Wen Ha-hsiung Advisor to Executive Yuan—Captain Chung Hu-ping
  • United States Side
  • Secretary of Defense—Melvin R. Laird
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense—David Packard
  • Secretary of the Air Force—Robert C. Seamans
  • American Ambassador to ROCWalter P. McConaughy
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)—G. Warren Nutter
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense (SA)—Gardiner L. Tucker
  • Deputy ASD (ISA/MA&S)—LGEN
  • Deputy ASD (ISA/EAPA)—Dennis J. Doolin
  • Military Assistant—BGEN Robert E. Pursley

I–21969/70

1. Military Assistance

The Secretary opened by observing that this was a working lunch and requested that General Warren provide a general review of our aid program to the ROC. Among items mentioned by General Warren were replacement aircraft for the F–86s, the Nike–Hercules Battalion, long- supply and excess items, as well as the hope for more matériel to the ROC as our SEA involvement draws down. The Secretary then mentioned the air defense radar stating that he hoped that it had been upgraded. Secretary Seamans informed the Secretary that he had briefly discussed this matter with the Vice Premier immediately before lunch.

2. International Fighter

The Secretary then briefed the Vice Premier with regard to the proposed international fighter. The Deputy Secretary followed, elaborating on lower O&M costs for the aircraft. Mr. Packard noted that the proposal is out to contractors at the present time and hopes to have it firmed up within 4 to 6 weeks.

3. Vice Premier’s Views

The Vice Premier then thanked the Secretary for his hospitality as well as the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual concern. He continued by stating that the defense of Taiwan is in the mutual security interest of both our countries and hoped that matters related to military assistance could be studied jointly. The Vice Premier elaborated on this matter at some length. He stated that he had discussed the matter of fundamental improvement and modernization of ROC armed forces with President Nixon, noting that he meant improvement and modernization with regard to organization, structure, weapons, and equipment. He stated that this review should be joint, exhaustive, [Page 207]and lengthy, and that, if the Secretary concurs, he will bring the matter up with President Chiang. He noted on more than one occasion (although it was not translated each time) that his hope was for a ROC armed force—Army, Navy, and Air Force—with increased fire power but with less personnel. He then requested that consideration be given to providing surplus weapons from SVN apart from MAP . He referred to President Chiang Kai-shek’s mentioning to Secretary Rogers that the ROC needs air and sea supremacy, and, in a low-key renewed his request for F–4 aircraft and submarines in this context. (Note: This is the first time that the ROC has raised the submarine issue in a context other than anti-submarine warfare training.) The Vice Premier then reiterated again that his government desired overall, not piecemeal, improvement and modernization of its armed forces. The Secretary responded that this was a worthwhile suggestion that should be outlined in some detail and staffed-out with the Ambassador and our working group in Taiwan.2

4. Plan Rochester

The Vice Premier then turned to the question of Plan Rochester (the joint U.S./ROC defense plan), noting that the plan was revised last year jointly by the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command and the ROC’s Ministry of National Defense. He stated that, although agreement had been reached at that level concerning the plan, the U.S. Government has not yet signed and expressed his hope that an early date could be set for the formal signing. The Secretary replied in a noncommittal manner.

5. Secretary’s Views

Secretary Laird then stated the desire of the U.S. to promote increased close cooperation between our two governments, noting that under the Nixon Doctrine, we are well aware of the need to improve Nationalist China’s naval and air defenses. He stated that, within the limits imposed by the Congress, we would try to provide as much military assistance as we can. He stated that we will have additional surplus matériel available in the 1971–72 time frame, and expressed his hope that we will be able to retain our flexibility concerning the allocation of this surplus. He then noted the President’s reaffirmation of our Security Treaty commitments to the ROC and stated that the ROC can look forward to continued cooperation from the DOD as the Secretary is “prepared to go the extra step for the Republic of China.”

[Page 208]

6. Toast & Conclusion

The Secretary then proposed a toast to the continued deep friendship between our two peoples as well as to the continued good health of our distinguished visitor. The toast was reciprocated by the Prime Minister, who expressed appreciation for all past assistance and our continued close relations. The luncheon concluded with an amiable discussion.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, ISA Files: FRC 330 73 A 1975, China, Rep. of, 1970, 333 January. Secret. Prepared by Doolin and approved by Nutter on April 29 and Laird’s office on May 25. The meeting was held in Laird’s dining room at the Pentagon.
  2. Prior to the meeting, Nutter informed Laird that Chiang Ching-Kuo would probably raise force reorganization in tandem with the need for F–4 aircraft and submarines for the ROC. (Memorandum from Nutter to Laird, April 22; Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Secret Files: FRC 330 76 0067, China (Nats), 1970)