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Richard Nixon and Yen Chia-kan "Memorandum of Conversation," January 5, 1973, 4:00-4:15pm

US President Richard Nixon spoke with Taiwan Vice President Yen Chia-kan.
January 5, 1973

I. Purpose
To receive Vice President Yen as the ROCls representative to the Truman memorial service, and thereby to indicate continued warm U. S. -ROC relations.

II. Background, Participants, Press Plan

A. Background., The ROC, now largely resigned to 'the prospect of slow improvement in U.S. -PRC relations, continues to watch carefully the pace of this improvement. Taipei is acutely concerned with any signs of diminishing U. S. diplomatic support, or of change in our defense c;ommitrnent, military assistance, or economic relationship. Taipei was badly jolted by Japan's recognition of Peking last September, and while it is successfully realigning its relations with Japan in order to preserve trade and other ties on an unofficial basis, it is all the more sensitive to the state of its formal ties with the U. S. But as realists, the leaders on Taiwan are working hard to replace their shrinking diplomatic ties elsewhere with unofficial relations that will support Taiwan' s vital expanding foreign trade, which accounts for about a quarter of Taiwan' s GNP. (Yen himself is an economist, and in part responsible for the ROC's determinination to press for a vigorous economy.)"

The short-term prospects for Taiwan's internal stability are good. The Mainlander Chinese leadership is expanding somewhat the previously extremely limited role of Taiwanese in politics at the national level. The principal ilmnediate question is President Chiang's health: his long, slow recovery from his serious bout of pneumonia last July has seemingly left him terribly weak, mentally clear for only limited periods, and thus unable to function even minimally as President.

Vice President Yen from 1966 until last spring was concurrently Vice President and Premier, but has now been replaced as PremIer by Chiang Ching-kuo, President Chiang's oldest son. Because of President Chiang's incapacitation, Yen now functions as the effective acting chief of state, although his functions are limited to a ceremonial role.

B. Participants. Vice President Yen, Richard Kennedy

C. Press Plan. The White House photographer will take photos at the beginning of the meeting. Mr. Ziegler will brief the press after the meeting.

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