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12. Memorandum From Michel Oksenberg of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • U.S. Nuclear Team’s Findings re ROC

I supply you (Tab A) an advance draft copy of a State memorandum on Taiwan’s effort to go nuclear.2

The key finding is that the ROC, in the absence of U.S. steps, will have the capacity to detonate a nuclear device in the next two to four years. The full report will elaborate and recommend these steps.

Obviously the issue is of intense interest to the President, and you may wish to keep him abreast of developments.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 11, China (Republic of China): 1/77–5/78. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. A copy was sent to Jessica Tuchman.
  2. Tab A, an undated draft memorandum from Gleysteen to Habib, is attached but not printed. It has the subject heading, “US Nuclear Team’s Findings re the ROC,” and it states, “The situation requires far-reaching action. The team believes we should seek termination of all ROC nuclear research involving weapons useable materials, the repurchase of US-origin plutonium and an end to ROC efforts to develop a domestic heavy water production capability. The Taiwan Research Reactor presents serious problems as an indigenous source of recoverable weapons grade plutonium.”