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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963
Volume XXII, Northeast Asia, Document 94


94. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rice) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Harriman)SourceSource: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/3-2862. Top Secret. Drafted by Holdridge.

As you may know, the CIA Station Chief in Taipei, Ray Cline, was called back to Washington for consultation shortly after your visit to Taipei. At my request, Mr. Cline called on me March 27 to brief me on his recent discussions with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek concerning Chiang's plans for mainland operations, and to give me his own impressions of the alternatives for United States policy which these plans entail. In essence, Cline expressed the view that the situation leaves us with but two courses of action, as follows:

1) To give Chiang a flat “no” in his request for United States support of several clandestine operations against the China mainland involving airdrops of 200 to 300-man teams. According to Cline, this alternative would unquestionably evoke a bitter reaction from Chiang which might lead to anti-American demonstrations, disruption of American [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and other programs on Taiwan, and, conceivably, “desperation” attacks by the GRC against the mainland in hopes of involving the United States. Cline also reported that in such circumstances the Generalissimo might ultimately resign as President of the GRC, thus causing political chaos on Taiwan and in US-GRC relations.

2) To temporize by agreeing to furnish suitable aircraft and other support for one GRC operation of approximately 50-100 men against the mainland. Cline anticipated that it might require from six to twelve months before the operation could actually take place, thanks to the delay needed to add proper electronic counter-measure equipment to the aircraft (either C-130's or C-123's) and to complete adequate planning and training for the operation. During this time we would, of course, be in constant touch with the GRC on the feasibility of the project. We would also be able [1 line of source text not declassified] and, if deemed necessary, to make plans for dealing with successors to Chiang Kai-shek if we subsequently were to decide that we should discontinue our support of his plans and the consequences noted in 1, above, should develop. On the other hand, if we should wish to avoid a showdown with Chiang at the end of the period of grace, we could possibly find ways to bring about further delays in GRC moves against the mainland.

Cline indicated that he greatly wishes to discuss these considerations in person with you prior to his return to Taipei, both to have the opportunity for a fuller exploration of the implications and to be able to assure Chiang Kai-shek that the detailed information he brought about their plans and views have been passed to high officials of the United States Government, including yourself. His departure for Taipei is presently set for the evening of March 29, but he is prepared to put off his return until the evening of March 31 if he could meet you briefly in the interval. I strongly recommend that you see him at your earliest convenience.

Meanwhile, CIA is preparing a paper for you setting forth the alternatives outlined above in greater detail.22.  TDCS DB-3/649, 714, March 23, reported conversations with Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo. On March 21 Chiang Kai-shek requested Kennedy's private assurance of continued U.S. support for the GRC, secret U.S. support for GRC clandestine operations to contact and assist resistance forces, and secret U.S. support for GRC military action to support such forces when and if both sides agreed that the proposed action was feasible and timely. He renewed an earlier request for planes capable of transporting large armed teams to selected target areas. On March 22 Chiang Ching-kuo elaborated on these requests and stated that President Chiang thought the U.S.-GRC Mutual Defense Treaty infringed GRC sovereignty and freedom of action and should be re-examined. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, China Cables) See the Supplement.

* Source: Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/3-2862. Top Secret. Drafted by Holdridge.

1 A note on the source text in Harriman's handwriting instructed his secretary to arrange a meeting with Cline. A note in another handwriting states that a meeting was arranged for Saturday, March 31, at 11 a.m.

2  TDCS DB-3/649, 714, March 23, reported conversations with Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo. On March 21 Chiang Kai-shek requested Kennedy's private assurance of continued U.S. support for the GRC, secret U.S. support for GRC clandestine operations to contact and assist resistance forces, and secret U.S. support for GRC military action to support such forces when and if both sides agreed that the proposed action was feasible and timely. He renewed an earlier request for planes capable of transporting large armed teams to selected target areas. On March 22 Chiang Ching-kuo elaborated on these requests and stated that President Chiang thought the U.S.-GRC Mutual Defense Treaty infringed GRC sovereignty and freedom of action and should be re-examined. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, China Cables) See the Supplement.