Formosa Policy

August 29, 1950

Report Outline
Formosa Policy and the Korean War
Formosa Since Restoration to China in 1945
Policy Conflicts and Trusteeship Proposal

Formosa Policy and the Korean War

Decision of United States to Neutralize Formosa

The Korean war has had the indirect effect of restoring Formosa, island refuge of the Chinese Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, to a prominent place in the complex of Far East problems. Eight months ago, after the Nationalists had been driven from the mainland, the Truman administration virtually wrote off Formosa as foredoomed to fall to the Chinese Communists. The President announced, Jan. 5, 1950, that the United States would not “provide military aid or advice to Chinese forces on Formosa” or “pursue a course which will lead to involvement in the civil conflict in China.”

Invasion of South Korea at the end of June brought a sharp reversal of American policy toward Formosa. Recognizing that the decision to resist the aggressor in Korea might lead to war on a broader scale, the United States determined to take the precautionary step of neutralizing Formosa. Accordingly, when President Truman announced on June 27 that he had ordered American forces to Korea, he announced also that he had ordered the Seventh Fleet to “prevent any attack on Formosa” and had called on the Chinese Nationalist government on Formosa to “cease all air and sea operations against the mainland.”

Chinese Communist Protest to Security Council

After an interval of two months, the Communist government at Peiping protested this action as “a direct armed aggression on the territory of China and a total violation of the United Nations Charter.” On Aug. 24, in a cablegram to Jakob Malik as president of the Security Council, Foreign Minister Chou En-lai made this accusation and proposed that the Council “condemn the United States government for its criminal act in the armed invasion of the territory of China and … take immediate measures to bring about the complete withdrawal of all the United States armed invading forces from Taiwan [Formosa].”

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