794A.5 MSP/9–1754: Telegram

No. 297
The Ambassador in the Republic of China (Rankin) to the Department of State 1

confidential

192. Department pass FOA and Defense. In conversation with Moyer (FOA) and myself yesterday President Chiang asked Stassen be informed of his opinion that top priority should be given to earliest possible implementation of “Kai-Plan” (Taipei despatch 501 of March 8, 1954) for expanding Chinese military establishment. He referred particularly to urgency of enlarging reserve training program [Page 649] from present level (20–30,000 men for four months) to 80,000 men (240,000 annually). President said “economic cost” (excluding hardware) of this program estimated $130 million for eighteen months but he believed it could be accomplished in twelve months for 100 million. (Latter figure suggests President aware of Senator Bridges’ recent letter to Stassen re increased aid.)2

President justified above by stressing danger of Communist attrition against off-shore islands staged in manner to use up large part of trained Nationalist manpower for which no adequate replacement system exists. He also regarded program as essential to be ready for eventual offensive operations against mainland.

Chiang asked that his final remark to Secretary Dulles on September 9 be repeated to effect that threat of Communist aggression at present is most serious in Asia where he expected first explosions leading to world conflict.

Moyer who understands Chinese was impressed by vigor and urgency of Chiang’s presentation.

Rankin
  1. Also sent to Manila for Raymond T. Moyer, Regional Director for the Far East, Foreign Operations Administration.
  2. Reference is to a letter of Aug. 6, from Senator Styles Bridges (R–New Hampshire), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, to Stassen, enclosing an undated memorandum which summarized a discussion in the committee with respect to the situation in the Pacific area. The memorandum stated that members of the committee generally favored additional aid to the Chinese Nationalist Government but wished to avoid including language in legislation which might hint at military plans; they suggested committing an additional $100 million of general FOA funds for military assistance, direct forces support, and mutual defense support for Formosa. (U/MSA files, lot 57 D 567, “Far East and Southeast Asia—1954”)