101. Memorandum From Richard H. Solomon and W. Richard Smyser of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Calls by ROC Ambassador Shen

We have received reports that ROC Ambassador Shen is demoralized over our turndown of a successor.2 In this context, we also need to decide about Shen’s expressed desire to pay calls on Vice President Rockefeller and General Scowcroft.

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[3½ lines not declassified] it is becoming known to embassy employees that Ambassador James Shen is demoralized about the State Department’s turndown of his recent proposal that he be replaced by a new man. the ROC[less than 1 line not declassified] officer was aware of the details of Shen’s démarche to Deputy Secretary Ingersoll and its outcome. He also seemed aware that Chow Shu-kai was the man likely to be Shen’s replacement. The [less than 1 line not declassified] officer commented [less than 1 line not declassified] that Shen now believes President Ford’s trip to Peking later this year will result in some major development unfavorable to ROC interests.

This exchange [less than 1 line not declassified] indicates that the news of the Department’s turndown of a replacement for Shen is beginning to circulate rather widely. It seems likely that before long this development will become public, or at least will come to Peking’s awareness through private contacts.

ROC reaction to the turndown also indicates that substantial demoralization is taking place within the Nationalist bureaucracy. The same ROC[less than 1 line not declassified] officer noted in late December that you had not been willing to receive Ambassador Shen after your November trip to Peking—as you had after previous trips to the PRC—and that you had not made a public reaffirmation of the U.S.–ROC defense relationship.3 The Nationalist official indicated that he thought this was an indicator of a major shift in our relations away from Taipei toward Peking.

In this context, we need to consider how we should deal with Ambassador Shen’s request to meet with Vice President Rockefeller and with a dormant but standing commitment for Brent Scowcroft to meet with Shen.

Shen’s request to see the Vice President was included in his congratulatory letter (Tab A) to Mr. Rockefeller.4 We recommend that the Vice President decline because such a meeting could create needless problems with the PRC and could give Shen a false impression of our intent on access. The Vice President could reply that he does not meet with Ambassadors.

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Our commitment to have Brent Scowcroft meet with Shen arose when we declined Shen’s request to meet with the President before the President’s trip to the Far East. Jack Froebe told Shen at that time, under instructions, that the President could not meet with him but that Brent Scowcroft would be pleased to do so after the President’s return. It was not made clear whether we were to call Shen or he was to call us, but we are on the record as suggesting a Scowcroft/Shen meeting. Such a meeting, in the present context, might represent a convenient way to boost ROC morale slightly after the several blows Shen has received recently. It would also enable Brent to reinforce the message that the President gave Premier Chiang Ching-kuo in his recent letter.5


That we inform Vice President Rockefeller’s office that we recommend against a meeting with Shen.
That General Scowcroft invite Shen in for a brief call, citing our earlier statement that we would do so after the President’s trip.6

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files, Box 4, East Asia, ROC. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for action.
  2. Shen’s request and the U.S. Government’s planned refusal of this request is described in telegram 2686 to Taipei, January 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Kissinger cancelled a meeting with Shen scheduled for December 3, 1974. Shen instead met with Ingersoll and Habib. (Telegram 266817 to CINCPAC Honolulu, December 7; ibid.) The briefing memorandum for this meeting noted that Shen had last called on Kissinger on November 29, 1973. (Memorandum from Hummel to Kissinger on November 27; ibid., Subject Files of the Office of ROC Affairs, E5412, Box 15, Lot 76 D 441, POL 17[d]-Amb. Shen’s calls on State, W.H. Officials, 1974)
  4. Dated December 20, 1974, attached but not printed.
  5. Document 100.
  6. Kissinger initialed the Approve option under both recommendations.