325. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Komer) to Secretary of Defense Brown1

I would add a “political” reason to the strategic case for modest Western defensive arms supply to China. Our hope for a more pragmatic and pro-Western Beijing regime lies in Deng and his reforms. Yet military is the last among Deng’s “Four Modernizations,” and we keep hearing about military unhappiness with both this and Deng’s reforms.

To the extent that the US assists military modernization it would tend to ease these problems in my view, while China’s own limited investment resources would pose an automatic ceiling on how much China could buy. Thus I see expanding our defense relationship with Beijing as serving a US political as well as military purpose.

R. W. Komer2
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–82–0217, China (Reds) Oct. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the JCS, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and Platt. A handwritten note at the top of the page indicates that Brown saw the memorandum on November 22.
  2. Komer initialed “RWK” above this typed signature.