U.S. Department of State
96/08/12 Press Release
Office of the Spokesman

Foreign Relations of the United States
1958-1960, Volume XIX, China

(This is not an official statement of policy by the Department of State; it is intended only as a guide to the contents of the volume.)

Since 1861, the Department of State's documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States has constituted the official record of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the United States. Historians in the Office of the Historian collect, arrange, and annotate the principal documents comprising the record of American foreign policy. The standards for the preparation of the series and the general deadlines for its publication are established by the Foreign Relations of the United States statute of October 28, 1991. (22 USC 4351, et seq.) U.S. policies in the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower are the subject of 75 printed volumes and 7 microfiche supplements. Volumes in the Foreign Relations series are published when all the necessary editing, declassification, and printing steps have been completed.

The documents in this volume are drawn from the centralized indexed files of the Department of State, the decentralized lot files of the Department's Executive Secretariat, and Bureau, Office, and Division lot files. In addition, the editors made extensive use of the Presidential and other papers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas.

Most of the documents were originally classified. The Historical Documents Review Division of the Department of State, in concert with the appropriate offices of other agencies and foreign governments, carried out their declassification.

The following is a summary of the negotiations and policy discussions documented in the volume. Parenthetical citations are to numbered documents in the text.


The following is a summary of the most important issues covered in the volume. Parenthetical citations are to numbered documents in the text. The spelling of Chinese names follows the Wade-Giles system of transliteration commonly used at the time.

During the last 3 years of Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency, the United States followed the basic policies established during the preceding 5 years toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China government (GRC) on Taiwan, but developments in China brought some significant policy departures and one major crisis. The 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, in which the mainland government shelled Nationalist-held offshore islands of Quemoy or Kinmen while the United States supported the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan, alarmed many Americans and international leaders by raising the threat of direct conflict between the United States and China and the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles sought to avoid a U.S.-China confrontation and to end the crisis peacefully while preventing a Nationalist defeat. U.S. policy in the crisis engendered much opposition at home and abroad and raised significant questions about U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons. The Tibetan rebellion of 1959 led to U.S. support of the Tibetans, although not to the point of supporting Tibetan independence. The Sino-Soviet rift which broke into the open in 1960 did not bring about a change of U.S. policy but led to an internal debate as to the public stance U.S. leaders should assume concerning Sino-Soviet relations.

Prelude to Crisis

In the early months of 1958, Republic of China President Chiang Kai-shek was restive at U.S. restrictions blocking his declared intention to return to the mainland. Notes exchanged in conjunction with the Mutual Defense Treaty, signed by the United States and the Republic of China in December 1954, committed the Nationalists to consult before taking any significant action against the Chinese mainland. When Secretary Dulles visited Taiwan in March 1958, Chiang urged efforts to exploit the instability he perceived on the mainland; in particular, he thought Taiwan should be free to use special guerrilla units for commando raids. Dulles temporized, telling Chiang that the exchange of notes was not designed to keep the Nationalists in a permanent state of paralysis, but that any action should be on the basis of a real opportunity and not an illusory one. (6)

Ambassador Everett Drumright was generally supportive of Chiang's proposals, but officials in Washington took a dim view of the prospects for such Nationalist activities. Assistant Secretary of State Walter S. Robertson wrote Drumright that the failure of efforts to organize guerrilla resistance on the mainland in the early 1950s indicated that Chiang's proposals should be approached with caution and that care should be taken not to give Chiang the impression the United States could accept any proposal for large-scale operations against the mainland. (7, 10)

The ambassadorial talks between the United States and the People's Republic of China, held in Geneva beginning in August 1955 by U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia U. Alexis Johnson and Chinese Ambassador to Poland Wang Ping-nan (Wang Bingnan), had been in suspension since December 1957, when the Chinese rejected a U.S. proposal to substitute a representative of non-ambassadorial rank for Johnson, who was being shifted to Bangkok. In February 1958, Dulles approved naming a new ambassadorial-level representative but delayed making an appointment. (4) In June, the Department of State instructed the interpreter for the talks in Geneva to inform his Chinese counterpart of a U.S. proposal to shift the talks to Warsaw and name U.S. Ambassador to Poland Jacob D. Beam as U.S. representative. (14)

Before the instructions reached Geneva, however, the Chinese government issued a statement demanding renewal of the talks within 15 days. Dulles declared the next day that the United States wanted to explore the possibility of shifting the talks to Warsaw but did not intend to be bound by the "15-day ultimatum." Delivery of the U.S. proposal was delayed until after the 15 days had passed. In late July, a letter proposing resumption of the talks in Warsaw was sent to Wang, but Wang sent word that he had referred the matter to his government. (15, 18, 21, 76)

Rising Tensions

Tension mounted rapidly in the Taiwan Strait in late July, with the announcement in Peking (Beijing) of a campaign to "liberate" Taiwan, the shooting down of two Nationalist planes, and reports that the PRC government was moving MIG fighters to airfields in Southeast China near Taiwan where they had not been stationed previously. Vice Admiral Roland N. Smoot, the new Commander, U.S. Taiwan Defense Command, reported on August 4 that Chiang Kai-shek had warned of a pending Communist attack on Taiwan and had asked for the provision of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, speedup of delivery of F-86 fighter aircraft, stationing a group of U.S. F-100 fighters on Taiwan, and a show of force by the Seventh Fleet. U.S. policymakers were dubious about the threat of an attack on Taiwan, but concerned at the possibility that Communist control of the air over the Taiwan Strait would enable PRC forces to cut off supplies to the Nationalist-held offshore islands. The Defense Department promptly responded by taking action to provide some Sidewinders, send 20 F-86's, send a carrier group to the area, and deploy some F- 100's on Taiwan on a rotational basis. (24, 27)

U.S. policymakers debated what to do in case of an attack on the offshore islands. Eisenhower reminded officials that the "Formosa Resolution" of January 1955 authorized the defense of the offshore islands only insofar as necessary to protect Taiwan against attack. (26) Secretary Dulles pointed out, however, that since the passage of the resolution during the 1954-1955 Taiwan Strait crisis, the islands had been closely integrated into the defense of Taiwan, with many more Nationalist troops stationed on the islands. Eisenhower thought the islands would not be important in an attack on Taiwan, but Dulles argued that their loss would be devastating to Nationalist morale. (31)

At an August 14 White House meeting, JCS Chairman General Nathan F. Twining, USAF, stated the JCS view that U.S. forces should be used, if necessary, to help the Chinese Nationalists resist a Communist blockade of the offshore islands Quemoy and Matsu or to defend the islands against assault. Eisenhower complained that the Nationalist decision to station 100,000 men on the islands had left him with a very difficult decision. Noting that a hasty response to Communist action against the islands might spread the hostilities, he groped for other possibilities, such as providing better equipment to the Nationalists or taking the issue to the United Nations. (33) The difficulty of the situation was all the greater because the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered that the defense of the offshore islands would require the use of nuclear weapons. (34-36)

Outbreak of the Taiwan Strait Crisis

On August 23, PRC forces on the mainland began a massive artillery bombardment of Quemoy. At a White House meeting on August 25, President Eisenhower approved steps to augment the Seventh Fleet, to expedite aid to the Nationalists, and to prepare for possible U.S. escort of Nationalist ships carrying supplies to the offshore islands. He insisted, however, that any decision on use of nuclear weapons would require referral to him. (43) On August 29, as the shelling of Quemoy continued, Eisenhower reluctantly approved U.S. escort of Nationalist re-supply ships outside the 3-mile limit. He did not agree, however, to Chiang Kai-shek's requests for a public statement promising U.S. support for the defense of the offshore islands and for U.S. concurrence in Nationalist retaliatory attacks on mainland bases and gun positions. (48, 52, 53) He was becoming annoyed at what he considered pressure from Chiang to involve the United States in the conflict. (60)

Secretary Dulles discussed the situation with the President on September 4 at Newport, Rhode Island. At the close of their meeting, Dulles held a press conference and made a statement approved by the President, designed to deter a Communist attack on the offshore islands and prevent direct U.S. involvement in the hostilities, while laying the groundwork for public support in case of such U.S. involvement. The Newport statement hinted that Eisenhower would authorize U.S. action to protect the offshore islands under the "Formosa Resolution" and declared that the "naked use of force" against the islands would "forecast a widespread use of force in the Far East which would endanger vital free world positions and the security of the United States." It concluded by expressing U.S. interest in a peaceful end to the crisis and noting that the United States had sought during the ambassadorial talks at Geneva to obtain agreement on a declaration of mutual renunciation of force. (68)

Despite the tone of the Newport statement, both Eisenhower and Dulles hoped to bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion, a hope that was reinforced by the concern of U.S. allies at the possibility of U.S. involvement. When Chinese Premier Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai) issued a statement on September 6 declaring the PRC government's willingness to resume the ambassadorial talks, Eisenhower responded promptly. (71) Dulles had been toying with the idea of a modus vivendi, with the Nationalists retaining control of the offshore islands in exchange for their demilitarization or a Nationalist commitment not to use them for raids against the mainland. (41, 76, 79) In a television address on September 11, Eisenhower took a strong stance, drawing a parallel between the crisis and Hitler's aggression, but he also declared that measures could be taken to assure that the offshore islands would not be "a thorn in the side of peace."

Talks at Warsaw

Ambassadors Beam and Wang renewed the ambassadorial talks on September 15. Following Dulles' instructions, Beam urged a cease-fire and stated that once that had been accomplished, they would turn to questions of "terminating provocative activities" and easing tensions, noting that there were undoubtedly "specific measures" that could be agreed upon. Wang pressed him for more details, but Beam insisted that a cease-fire was a prerequisite to other discussions. Wang presented a proposal for an agreed announcement with separate U.S. and PRC statements. The PRC government would declare that Taiwan and the coastal islands were China's territories and their liberation was China's internal affair, that it would not pursue Nationalist forces if they withdrew from the coastal islands, that after recovering those islands, it would strive to liberate Taiwan by peaceful means, and that it would for "a certain period of time," avoid using force to liberate Taiwan. The U.S. government would undertake to withdraw its armed forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait; no time period was specified. (89, 91-93)

U.S. policymakers considered the Chinese proposal thoroughly unacceptable and countered with a U.S. draft agreed announcement which Beam presented on September 18. The PRC government would renounce the use of force against the Quemoy and Matsu islands, except in individual and collective self defense, and on a basis of reciprocity would prevent attacks or other provocative actions directed against them. The United States would renounce the use of force in the area of the Quemoy and Matsu islands, except in individual and collective self defense, and would seek to prevent those islands from being used for attacks or other provocative actions against the mainland or other coastal islands. The two ambassadors should continue their talks to seek practical means for a "phased reduction of forces and armament" in those islands and adjacent areas. Wang immediately rejected this proposal. (97, 102) The U.S. and Chinese positions could not be reconciled, Dulles concluded; nevertheless he thought the talks served the purpose of providing a "cover" under which there might be some de facto easing of tension as well as providing a basis for appeal to domestic and international opinion. (113) The talks continued, but both sides remained far apart.

Eisenhower-Khrushchev Letters

On September 7, on the day after Chou offered to resume the ambassadorial talks, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev sent a long public letter to Eisenhower supporting the Chinese position on Taiwan, charging the United States with aggression, and warning that an attack on the PRC would be an attack on the Soviet Union. (74) Eisenhower replied with a statement of U.S. views and the comment that if Khrushchev was interested in a peaceful solution, he should address an appeal for moderation to Chinese leaders. (81) On September 19, Khrushchev fired off a still more bombastic letter, charging that the United States was trying to detach Taiwan from China, reiterating that an attack on the PRC was an attack on the Soviet Union, and declaring that an atomic attack on the PRC would be repulsed by the same means. (110) U.S. intelligence analysts noted, however, that the Soviets did not seem to be making preparations for war and predicted that they would not become directly involved as long as the conflict was confined to the Taiwan Strait area. (99, 113) Eisenhower and Dulles rejected the second Khrushchev letter with a public statement that it was unacceptable because it contained false accusations, abusive and intemperate language, and inadmissible threats. (114)

In the Taiwan Strait, Nationalist efforts to resupply Quemoy, supported by U.S. convoys, were becoming more effective. (95, 105-107, 132) Nevertheless, Dulles adviser Marshall Green pointed out, Nationalist pressure for new military initiatives was increasing. He urged redoubled efforts to obtain a cessation of hostilities, warning that otherwise military factors might force an escalation of the conflict with unpredictable consequences. (106) U.S. policymakers, anxious to prevent such an escalation, took steps to avoid unnecessary provocations by U.S. forces and rejected Nationalist arguments for attacks on mainland bases. (111-112, 118, 128) By the end of September, the Joint Chiefs of Staff thought they had the supply problem in hand. (140)

Efforts To End the Crisis

The continuing hostilities filled U.S. allies and other international observers with increasing alarm. The British, concerned that direct U.S. involvement in the Taiwan Strait would place an impossible strain on the alliance, counseled restraint and offered a channel of communication between the two sides. (70, 80, 84, 130, 147, 151) The Norwegian government enlisted U.N. Secretary-General Hammarskjšld's assistance. (129, 134, 141, 163) The international community's interest in finding a solution to what both Communist and Nationalist Chinese viewed as a domestic matter seems to have displeased Peking as much as Taipei. The PRC government rejected any U.N. involvement and any other attempt at mediation, and at Warsaw, Wang stressed the distinction between the Chinese civil war and the international dispute between the PRC and the United States. (163, 175, 184) Both sides sent signals through various intermediaries; the PRC indicating that its primary concern was Nationalist use of the offshore islands for raids against the mainland and blockade of mainland shipping and that its goal was the evacuation of the islands, while Dulles signaled that the United States would respond to a de facto truce. (98, 130, 134, 147, 167)

Eisenhower found himself faced with a military position he regarded as impossible and opposition to U.S. policy at home and abroad. During the 1955 Taiwan Strait crisis, he had sought to persuade Chiang to reduce his forces on the offshore islands. He expressed regret to Dulles that there seemed to be no way to persuade Chiang, but he continued to think about the possibility. (122) An attempt to send John J. McCloy, Chase Manhattan Bank Board Chairman, as an emissary to Taiwan to try to persuade Chiang to withdraw from the islands failed when McCloy declined. (136) In discussions with Dulles and Twining, Eisenhower suggested offering Chiang amphibious equipment in exchange for evacuation of the islands. (94, 140) He made the suggestion again in an October 7 memorandum to Dulles. (166)

At a press conference on September 30, Dulles broached the subject of reduction of Nationalist forces on the islands, stating that if there was a cease-fire, whether formal or de facto, it would be "foolish" to keep such large forces on the islands. (143) When Drumright reported that the press conference had caused great uneasiness in Taiwan, Dulles replied that it represented no conscious change in his position but pointed out that the administration was up against the charge that Chiang was dragging it into a world war, and it could not continue its policy of support for the Nationalists unless it had some flexibility to dissipate that impression, which was shared by many in Congress and most U.S. allies. (146)

De Facto Cease-fire

On October 6, PRC Defense Minister P'eng Te-huai (Peng Dehuai) broadcast a message to Taiwan that he had suspended the bombardment for 7 days during which the Nationalists would be free to ship in supplies on condition that there was no U.S. escort. Chiang Kai-shek, arguing that the offer was designed to drive a wedge between the Nationalists and the United States, unsuccessfully urged the continuation of U.S. convoys. Policymakers in Washington promptly issued a statement, approved by Eisenhower, that if P'eng's offer was carried out, there seemed to be no further need for convoys. (156-159) A PRC statement a week later announced the continuation of the cease-fire for 2 more weeks.

During the first week of the cease-fire, Dulles held extensive discussions with his advisers, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chinese Nationalist Ambassador, searching for a way to resolve the crisis. He concluded that he should make a visit to Taiwan for discussions with Chiang Kai-shek. He hoped to persuade Chiang to consider the evacuation of a large part of the Nationalist troops from the offshore islands, although he did not expect to reach a formal agreement on the subject, and to take steps to encourage the development of a de facto armistice comparable to that separating the two Koreas and two Vietnams. (169, 172-173, 180, 185, 188)

Conclusion of the Crisis

During his October 21-23 visit to Taipei, Dulles told Chiang bluntly that the greatest danger to his government was not military but political and stemmed from the sense of the international community that the intermittent conflict between the Communists and the Nationalists threatened the peace. He urged Chiang to make it clear that his government would not attempt to use force to return to the mainland, to avoid commando raids and overflights, to demonstrate that it would not use the offshore islands for prosecution of the civil war, and to reduce the garrison on Quemoy. (196-200, 204, 207, 210) Dulles did not try to obtain an immediate announcement of troop reductions, but military discussions on this subject were already underway. (201)

The Joint CommuniquŽ issued at the conclusion of Dulles' visit included a key paragraph declaring that the Nationalists would rely primarily on Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles rather than the use of force to achieve their mission of restoring freedom to the mainland. Concerning the offshore islands, it noted that the Communists had renewed their shelling of Quemoy on the eve of Dulles' visit and stated that "under the present conditions," the defense of the Quemoys was closely related to the defense of Taiwan. (209) The "non-force declaration" had been obtained with considerable difficulty, Dulles told Eisenhower when he returned, but he thought his talks with Chiang about non-use of force and the unsoundness of identifying his cause with islands as exposed as Quemoy and Matsu had had some impact. (211)

On October 24, P'eng Te-huai announced that PRC forces would thereafter refrain from shelling the offshore islands on even-numbered days, provided that there would continue to be no U.S. escort. Dulles was somewhat bemused by this announcement, but he and Eisenhower agreed there should be no U.S. convoy unless Communist attacks on even-numbered days prevented the Nationalists from carrying out their resupply operations. (215, 227) The crisis was at an end. On November 17, a memorandum of understanding was signed providing for the reduction of at least 15,000 troops on Quemoy and U.S. provision of artillery and tanks to augment the defenses on Quemoy and Matsu. Six months later, however, only 2,000 troops had been withdrawn. (236, 273, 279)

Perhaps the greatest long-term strategic consequence of the Taiwan Strait crisis was that it stimulated policymakers and analysts to give new thought to the extent to which the United States should rely on nuclear weapons. The possibility of being confronted with a choice between permitting Nationalist defeat and the use of nuclear weapons troubled Eisenhower and Dulles throughout the crisis. A subsequent analysis prepared in the Department of State noted that conventional weapons and capabilities had made a peaceful resolution possible, but that nonetheless, the United States had come "perilously close to having to use nuclear weapons." (267)

Relations With the Nationalists

In the 2 remaining years of the Eisenhower administration, U.S. relations with the Chinese Nationalists were largely smooth, but the question of Nationalist operations against the mainland remained a nagging issue. In March 1959, the outbreak of rebellion in Tibet stirred interest in Washington as well as Taipei in encouraging resistance on the mainland. (277) A Department of State working group a few months later concluded, however, that uprisings on a large scale were most unlikely. (295) In October, when Chiang Kai-shek requested a revision of U.S. policy to permit Nationalist paramilitary operations against the mainland and requested parachutes and training for 30,000 paratroops, the reply was negative. Chiang was told that any use of the 3,000 special forces which the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) on Taiwan was training for paramilitary activities would be subject to the 1954 exchange of notes and therefore would require consultation with the United States. (310, 322, 327)

Nevertheless, in early 1960, the Nationalists were working on plans to airdrop 200-300 man teams into selected areas on the mainland. U.S. representatives endeavored to persuade Chiang and other Nationalist leaders that this plan and an alternative plan for 20-man teams were impractical and inadvisable but at the same time to keep lines of communication open in order to monitor Nationalist planning. By mid-April, Chiang's son, Lieutenant General Chiang Ching-kuo, had agreed to postpone any large-scale operations and to seek approval of any small-scale operations. (330)

Chiang Kai-shek, not easily dissuaded, raised the subject again when Eisenhower visited Taiwan in June 1960, presenting Eisenhower with a proposal which Chiang assured him could bring down the Chinese Communist regime without the use of military force. His plan was to establish guerrilla forces in sparsely populated areas in China's border regions, from which resistance would spread and lead to the downfall of the Communist regime. The program would be operated and carried out by Chinese personnel; he told Eisenhower all they would need from the United States would be airplanes and telecommunications equipment. Eisenhower replied that Chiang's objective was wonderful but it would be necessary to have a close look at the methods of the operation. A message was sent a month later rejecting the plan and proposing continuing consultations between the two governments on the subject. (337)

A very different kind of proposal for U.S.-Nationalist cooperation was a U.S. proposal in late 1959 for an accelerated development program for Taiwan. The U.S. objective was to hasten economic growth on Taiwan for several years to the point at which growth would be self-generating and the need for U.S. assistance would be greatly reduced. The Nationalist government was invited to submit proposals for an action program maximizing self-help. A 19-point program was developed and approved in January 1960 by the Nationalist cabinet and President Chiang. It included measures designed to encourage savings, establish a capital market, improve the climate for private investment, and reform the tax structure, the budget system, and banking system. It also provided for holding defense spending at the current level, with allowance for inflation. (323, 325) Drumright reported a few months later that although the legislature had not yet enacted a large part of the program, the GRC was moving toward the desired economic reforms. (343)

U.S. Views of Sino-Soviet Relations

Khrushchev raised the subject of China when he met Eisenhower at Camp David, in September 1959, noting that he would soon be visiting China, and inquiring as to the future course of U.S. policy. Eisenhower replied that the Chinese Communists had engaged in aggression and defied the United Nations; there was nothing to be done until they changed their policies. Secretary of State Christian A. Herter (Dulles had resigned in April 1959) added that the Chinese Communists were still threatening to use force against Taiwan and the offshore islands. Khrushchev replied that the Soviets considered the U.S. position unfortunate and thought it did not contribute to a good international atmosphere. He supported the Chinese position that Taiwan was part of China and its disposition was a domestic matter. (301)

Herter was so disturbed by this discussion that he drafted a letter that Eisenhower sent to Khrushchev 2 days later arguing that the Taiwan question was an international question that should be resolved peacefully. (303) Khrushchev replied with assurances that he agreed on the importance of settling international disputes by peaceful means, but he reiterated his support for the Chinese position on Taiwan. (307) Unlike the Eisenhower-Khrushchev correspondence at the time of the Taiwan Strait crisis, these letters were not made public.

Reports of strains in the Sino-Soviet alliance, in part related to Chinese criticism of Soviet moves toward dŽtente, were beginning to surface, but U.S. policymakers were not certain how much importance to attach to them and even less certain how to respond. Shortly after Khrushchev's visit, Herter declared at a press conference that Soviet demand for recognition as leader of the Communist bloc gave the Soviet government a degree of responsibility for the actions of other members of the bloc, including China. His advisers disagreed as to whether this argument would lead the Soviets to try to restrain China or would force them to take more belligerent positions to show solidarity within the bloc. They agreed, however, that public discussion of Communist differences would be inadvisable, since it would lead the disputants to try to paper over their differences. (308, 309, 312, 316, 319)

Although analysts initially thought reports of strains in the alliance might be fabricated, the intelligence community was in agreement by December 1959 that they were genuine. (300, 321) Not all policymakers were convinced. Secretary of Defense Thomas S. Gates, Jr., told the National Security Council in June 1960 that he did not believe there were any real differences between the two countries, and in a conversation with the British Foreign Secretary 3 months later, President Eisenhower seemed unaware of the rift. (338, 353) A National Intelligence Estimate in August 1960 predicted continuing discord but did not rule out either an open break or a reconciliation. (344) At an NSC meeting a week later, Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles reported the withdrawal of Soviet experts from China but told the Council he could not predict the dispute's outcome. (346) As the rift intensified and its public manifestations increased in the last months of 1960, Dulles briefed the National Security Council regularly on the subject. (351, 356, 357, 363)

The Problem of Tibet

Allen Dulles reported to the National Security Council in March 1959 that disorders in Lhasa had culminated in the flight of the Dalai Lama. Dulles was optimistic that the Dalai Lama would soon be out of Tibet and thought the Chinese would soon face guerrilla operations in Tibet. (367) U.S. policymakers sympathized with the Tibetans, but the rebellion was short-lived. In late April, Dulles reported that the dissidents had suffered severe defeats and were seeking U.S. intercession with the Indian government to permit their passage into India. It was a difficult situation, Dulles told the National Security Council, but everything possible would be done to help them. (371)

On April 30, Dulles reported that organized Tibetan resistance had disintegrated. The rebels had initially made the mistake of fighting in large groups; thereafter, he thought they would discover that the essence of guerrilla warfare was fighting in small bands. (375) A few days later, Dulles reported to Eisenhower that preparations were underway to respond to the Dalai Lama's request for supplies for the Tibetan resistance. Efforts were being made to identify and establish communication with the Tibetan forces. Eisenhower initialed the memorandum, indicating his approval. (378)

In February 1960, Dulles briefed President Eisenhower on CIA operations in support of the Tibetan resistance and requested his approval for the continuation of the program. Eisenhower wondered whether the operations would lead to greater Chinese reprisals against the Tibetans, but Secretary of State Herter thought that continued Tibetan resistance would be a serious harassment to the Chinese Communists and "keep the spark alive" in the entire area. Dulles assured Eisenhower that the program was under close review by the interdepartmental committee that reviewed all major covert programs, and Eisenhower approved its continuation. (400)

The United States responded cautiously to requests from the Dalai Lama for recognition of Tibet and support of Tibetan independence in the United Nations. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had accepted the influx of thousands of Tibetan refugees and was willing to have the Dalai Lama in residence provided that he refrained from political activities which might threaten Nehru's efforts to maintain good relations with the PRC. Eisenhower encouraged the Dalai Lama to stay on good terms with Nehru. (376, 381) The United States advised the Dalai Lama to take his case to the United Nations on human rights grounds and to avoid raising the question of Tibetan independence. (383, 384, 387, 392) A resolution calling for respect for Tibetan human rights was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly with U.S. support. (395)

Department of State policymakers gave long consideration to the question of recognition of Tibetan independence but concluded that even if the United States recognized Tibet, few other countries would do so. They felt, however, that the United States should be responsive to the Dalai Lama's request and take a position in keeping with the historic U.S. support for the principle of self-determination. (394) In October 1959, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Murphy told the Dalai Lama's representative Gyalo Thondup that the United States had traditionally stood for the self-determination of peoples and believed the principle should apply also to the Tibetans. (396) Herter repeated this in a November letter to the Dalai Lama and in a February 1960 letter that was made public. (399, 401)


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