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96/08/09 Press Release
Office of the Spokesman


The Department of State is releasing today Foreign Relations of the 
United States, 1958-1960, volume  XIX, China, a volume in the 
Departmentās long-standing historical documentary series, and an 
accompanying microfiche supplement.  Volume XIX is 18th of 19 print 
volumes and the supplement one of 7 microfiche supplements documenting 
the foreign policies of the last three years of the administration 
of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The volume includes documentation on U.S. policy toward the Peopleās 
Republic of China (PRC) and U.S. relations with the Nationalist 
government on Taiwan.  It covers the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, which 
alarmed many Americans and international leaders who feared it would 
escalate into war between the United States and China.

The PRCās massive artillery bombardment of the Nationalist-held offshore 
islands which began in August 1958 posed a dilemma for Eisenhower and 
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who did not want war but 
were committed to Taiwanās defense.  Eisenhower approved U.S. support of 
the Nationalists by augmenting the Seventh Fleet and providing U.S. 
naval escort of Nationalist resupply ships up to the 3-mile limit.  He 
refused, however, to agree to Chiang Kai-shekās requests for a U.S. 
commitment to defense of the offshore islands, and Dulles persuaded 
Chiang to issue a statement that the Nationalists would rely 
on peaceful means to achieve their desired return to the mainland.  The 
renewal at Warsaw of the U.S.-China ambassadorial talks provided a 
channel of communication between the United States and the PRC, 
although they remained far from agreement.  After some weeks, the crisis 
wound down, ending with a de facto ceasefire.

Other aspects of U.S. policy documented in the volume include U.S. 
encouragement of Taiwanās economic development and the reactions of U.S. 
policymakers to indications of strains in the Sino-Soviet alliance.  
The volume includes material on the U.S. response to the Tibetan 
rebellion of March 1959.  U.S. sympathy for the Tibetans was expressed 
in support for the Tibetan resistance and in Secretary of State 
Christian A. Herterās statement that the principle of self determination 
should apply to the Tibetans, but the United States did not call for 
Tibetan independence.  

An announcement and summary of the contents of volume XIX are available 
in the Press Office.  Ordering information is included in the 
announcement.  A copy is available for reading and consultation in the 
Press Office, and other copies are available for consultation in the 
Office of the Historian.
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