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Harry S Truman, “Statement on Formosa,” January 5, 1950

President Truman spoke at the White House. He subsequently took questions on weapons programs, appointments, political races, and hydraulic power projects.

February 25, 2014

January 5, 1950

THE PRESIDENT.  I have a statement I want to read to you. It will be handed to you in mimeographed form after the press conference.

[Reading] "The United States Government has always stood for good faith in international relations. Traditional United States policy toward China, as exemplified in the open-door policy, called for international respect for the territorial integrity of China. This principle was recently reaffirmed in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of December 8, 1949, which, in part, calls on all states, and I quote:

"'To refrain from (a) seeking to acquire spheres of influence or to create foreign controlled regimes within the territory of China; (b) seeking to obtain special rights or privileges within the territory of China.'"

That is the end of the quotation from the United Nations Resolution.

[Continuing reading] "A specific application of the foregoing principles is seen in the present situation with respect to Formosa. In the Joint Declaration at Cairo on December 1, 1943, the President of the United States, the British Prime Minister, and the President of China stated that it was their purpose that territories Japan had stolen from China, such as Formosa, should be restored to the Republic of China. The United States was a signatory to the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, which declared that the terms of the Cairo Declaration should be carried out. The provisions of this declaration were accepted by Japan at the time of its surrender. In keeping with these declarations, Formosa was surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and for the past 4 years the United States and other Allied Powers have accepted the exercise of Chinese authority over the island.

"The United States has no predatory designs on Formosa, or on any other Chinese territory. The United States has no desire to obtain special rights or privileges, or to establish military bases on Formosa at this time. Nor does it have any intention of utilizing its Armed Forces to interfere in the present situation. The United States Government will not pursue a course which will lead to involvement in the civil conflict in China.

"Similarly, the United States Government will not provide military aid or advice to Chinese forces on Formosa. In the view of the United States Government, the resources on Formosa are adequate to enable them to obtain the items which they might consider necessary for the defense of the island. The United States Government proposes to continue under existing legislative authority the present ECA program of economic assistance."

At 2:30 this afternoon Dean Acheson will hold a press conference and further elaborate on the details with reference to this statement which I have just issued on the policy of the United States Government toward China and Formosa.

I do not want to answer any questions on the subject now, so save your questions for this afternoon.

Are there any other questions? [Laughter]