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

SUBJECT

  • Grant Military Assistance for Taiwan

Defense, State, and we had agreed that because military equipment grants to Taiwan were so small they are not important to ROC security.2 We also agreed that defense of our entire Security Assistance Program on the Hill would be greatly eased if we could eliminate the small matériel portion of the FY ’74 Taiwan program. Accordingly, we substantially increased the Foreign Military Sales credit requested for [Page 23]Taiwan and dropped $4 million for grant matériel. ($6 million of grants for training and supply operations would be retained.)

The Secretary of Defense now has urged that we continue a $10 million grant program.3 This would actually have the effect of merely reinstating the $4 million in matériel grants.

Given the major increase in military sales credits being made available to Taiwan and continuance of our grant training program, I do not believe this is essential. Moreover, I believe we will get more Congressional support for our total program request if we eliminate this very small matériel request from the list.

The Chinese will understand and have for some time been counting on the sales program to satisfy their military hardware needs.

Secretary Rogers continues to believe that it is not necessary to provide the $4 million in matériel grants. Cap Weinberger agrees.

If you approve, I will so advise Secretary Richardson.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 523, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. XI, Aug 1972–Oct 24, 1973. Secret. Sent for action. A stamped notation on the memorandum reads: “The President has seen.” At the bottom of the memorandum is a typed note: “Flanigan concurs.” With Holdridge’s concurrence, Richard Kennedy sent this memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a January 17 memorandum, recommending he transmit it to the President. (Ibid.)
  2. According to Kennedy’s January 17 covering memorandum to Kissinger, the NSC staff in cooperation with the Departments of Defense and State decided to eliminate the military assistance programs to Taiwan and Greece in anticipation of the Congressional discussion of military aid for the 1974 fiscal year. Kennedy noted that the small amount of aid, when combined with the size and growth of Taiwan’s economy, made feasible a shift from grant matériel programs to arms sales backed by more generous U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits
  3. Laird defended the continuation of the program by citing Taiwan’s assistance to the U.S. war effort in Indochina and warned about the uncertainties of the Congressional authorizations that would be used to reimburse Taiwan. (Memorandum from Laird to Nixon, January 13; Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–78–0001, China Nats, 091.3, 1973)
  4. Nixon signed the Approve option. On February 14, Scowcroft informed Laird of the decision to eliminate the Military Assistance matériel grants to Taiwan. (Memorandum from Scowcroft to Laird, February 14; ibid.)