180. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China1

323822. Exdis for Ambassador, Mil. Handle as Specat Exclusive. Subject: Notice of Termination of MDT.

1. Pursuant to an instruction from the President dated December 22, 1978,2 the Acting Secretary of State on December 23, 1978 provided formal notice to the Embassy of the Republic of China of the invocation of Article X of the Mutual Defense Treaty.3 Following is text of the notice:

“On behalf of the United States of America, and pursuant to Article X of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China signed at Washington December 2, 1954, I hereby give notice of the termination of that treaty. This notice shall be effective on and as of January 1, 1979 and under the terms of [Page 674] Article X of the Treaty, the Treaty will terminate one year after that date.

Signed, Warren Christopher, Acting Secretary of State”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780532–0075. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Feldman (EA/ROC) and approved by Sullivan. Repeated to CINCPAC Honolulu for POLAD and to SecDef.
  2. The President’s December 22 instruction was not found. In a December 15 memorandum to the Secretary of State, Herbert J. Hansell, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, confirmed “my advice to you that the President has the authority under the Constitution to decide whether the United States shall give the notice of termination provided for in Article X of the US–ROC Mutual Defense Treaty and to give that notice, without Congressional or Senate action.” Hansell’s memorandum listed the views of constitutional and international law authorities on this point, and, in an appendix, provided a history of treaty terminations by the United States. The Bureau of Legislative Affairs distributed Hansell’s paper under a cover sheet dated January 1979. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Sullivan Subject File, Box 72, Taiwan Relations Act: Briefing Book [I]: 2/79) The White House also issued a fact sheet on January 5 entitled “Taiwan—The Mutual Defense Treaty.” It is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, February 1979, pp. 25–26.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 166.