74. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Reduction in DOD Civilian and Military Personnel on Taiwan

We have reviewed the proposals in DOD’s January 5 memorandum concerning further reductions on Taiwan.2 With certain important qualifications, listed below, we agree with your preliminary conclusion that a ceiling of 660 DOD civilian and military personnel on Taiwan as of August 1, 1978 would be acceptable.

One: The DOD proposal envisages maintaining a considerable number of personnel on Taiwan to perform War Reserve Materiel (WRM) and related airbase caretaker functions. The question of removal of War Reserve Materiel, or its other disposal, is presently under study by DOD and a memorandum on the subject is due at the NSC by March 1, 1978. Should the results of that study permit further personnel reductions between March 1 and August 1, 1978, the 660 figure should be reduced by the amount of those reductions.

Two: We are most reluctant to agree to DOD’s proposal to transfer to civilian contractors certain military functions now being performed by DOD personnel. It is our view that as DOD personnel depart as foreseen under the Shanghai Communique, the functions they perform should be eliminated rather than continue in a new guise. [1½ lines not [Page 284] declassified] be prepared to reconsider the use of contractors if DOD could present compelling reasons for doing so. Since most of the proposed contractors appear to be related to WRM functions, the issue could be considered in the context of the forthcoming WRM study.

[1 paragraph (13 lines) not declassified]

With the above qualifications, we believe that a ceiling of 660 as of August 1, 1978 should be acceptable.

Finally, we note that the DOD report indicates the study of relocation of the Aircraft Programmed Depot Maintenance facility at Tainan, which is due at the NSC by March 1, 1978, probably will state that a lead time of at least 18 months will be required in order to relocate the facility elsewhere in the Far East. We believe DOD should be instructed now to take steps which will significantly shorten that lead time.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 11, China (Republic of China): 1/77–5/78. Secret.
  2. See Document 72.