25. Memorandum From Richard H. Solomon of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger1
- Peking’s Current Campaign to Recover Taiwan, and Options for the U.S.
In view of the now heightened pace of U.S.–PRC normalization, I have undertaken an analysis of recent developments which indicate Peking’s desire to rapidly open negotiations with Taipei. The analysis, at Tab A,2 reaches the following conclusions:
- —the PRC is increasing its
pressures on the Nationalist government to come to a negotiated
solution regarding the future status of the island. Peking is
proceeding at four levels of activity;
- —Sustaining efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally.
- —Heightening the visibility of its media appeals for reunification.
- —Actively cultivating overseas Chinese, who will stimulate opinion trends on the island for reunification.
- —Moving rapidly toward normalization with the U.S. in order to “elbow aside” Washington’s relationship with Taipei.
- —On Taiwan, the Nationalist leadership appears to have made a smooth transition from Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership to that of his son Chiang Ching-kuo. However, there is increasing uncertainty about what policy the ROC should adopt toward Peking and the U.S. Individuals in the leadership have begun making informal appeals for greater candor on the part of the White House about its intentions regarding the PRC and ROC. There appears to be a growing public mood of fatalism on Taiwan about the likely prospect of some form of reconciliation between Taipei and Peking.
- —In these circumstances, the U.S. has essentially three options regarding the uncertain prospect of negotiations between the two Chinese capitals: do nothing; attempt to stimulate talks; or play a more subtle catalyzing role without directly intermediating in negotiations. The virtues of the latter posture are explored in the analysis.
- —The study concludes by noting that in the period ahead it would be useful to have more systematic periodic assessments of public opinion [Page 239] and leadership trends on Taiwan regarding the future status of the island. Because of the sensitivity of this issue, however, you may wish to do nothing out of the ordinary in this regard.
That you authorize more systematic and periodic assessments of public opinion and leadership trends on Taiwan regarding the island’s future status.
- —Do nothing at this time.
- —Request CIA to undertake such an effort.3
- —Request that we prepare for you other “outside the system” alternatives to such an effort