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91. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • U.S. Visa for Taiwan Independence Movement Leader Peng

Attached at Tab A is a recent FBI report on the ChiNat Independence Leader Peng, whose group is allegedly responsible for the attempt on the life of Vice Premier Chiang last April.2 You will recall the Vice President spoke to you about the need to have State not issue a visa to Peng who plans to come to the U.S. for the purpose of accepting a research position at the University of Michigan.3

Attached at Tab B is a copy of our staff work on the Peng visa. U. Alexis Johnson informed you of State’s decision on September 3 to approve issuance of a non-immigrant visa, valid for one year.4 Although realizing that the decision would be painful for the Nationalists, State reasoned that it had no other choice since Peng satisfied all the criteria normally required for a non-immigrant visa application. State also felt that discrimination against Peng would generate congressional and public criticism which would prove harmful to U.S. policy toward the GRC. The visa was issued on September 17, and Peng gave his [Page 232]personal assurances that he would not engage in organized Taiwan independence activities while in the United States.

Recommendation

That you call the Vice President and explain to him that:

  • —the problems associated with granting Peng a non-immigrant visa were well recognized at the time.
  • —there were considered to be no valid legal grounds to bar his entry.
  • —Peng has given assurances that he will not engage in organized Taiwan independence activities.
  • —on balance, you believe that under the circumstances the best choice was made among unhappy alternatives.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 520, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. V. Secret. Kissinger wrote “OK, HK” and “Peng is former student of mine” on the memorandum.
  2. In an October 2 memorandum to Kissinger, Hoover declared that Peng was a leader of the independence movement, whose members had attempted to assassinate. Chiang Ching-Kuo in New York on April 24, 1970. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 520, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. V)
  3. No record of this conversation has been found. However, an October 6 memorandum from Haig to Kent Crane of the Vice President’s staff mentioned that Agnew found it “undesirable” for Peng come to the United States. Haig’s memorandum explained the reasoning behind the visa decision and promised that Kissinger would contact the Vice President personally to discuss this matter. (Ibid.) A September 21 letter from Ambassador Chow to Agnew included a personal plea from Chiang to prevent Peng from entering the United States (Ibid.) Documentation on the debate concerning Peng’s admission to the United States is also ibid., RG 59, EA/ROC Files: Lot 74 D 25, POL 29 Peng Ming-min.
  4. On September 3 Acting Secretary of State Richardson approved an August 28 memorandum from Green, which granted a non-immigrant visa to Peng. Johnson forwarded the memorandum to the NSC on September 3. The memoranda from Green and Johnson are ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 30 CHINAT. In a September 5 summary memorandum by Holdridge, Kissinger indicated his approval by writing: “OK, HK.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 283, Department of State—Sept 70–Nov 70, Vol. IX)
  5. No record of a conversation between. Kissinger and Agnew has been found.