Ronald Reagan, Arms Sales to Taiwan, August 17, 1982

President Reagan sent this memo to Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. The document was classified as secret. It was made public in August 2019 by then National Security Advisor John Bolton.

October 22, 2019

The White House

August 17, 1982

Memoradum for the Honorable George P. Shultz

The Secretary of State

The Honorable Caster Weinberger

The Secretary of Defense

Subject: Arms Sales to Taiwan

As you·know, I have agreed to the issuance of a joint communique with the People's Republic of China in which we express United States policy toward the matter of continuing arms sales to Taiwan.          

The talks leading up to the signing of the communique were premised on the clear understanding that any reduction of such arms sales depends upon peace in the Taiwan Straits and the continuity of China’s declared “fundamental policy” of seeking a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue.

In short, the U.S. willingness to reduce its arms sales to Taiwan is conditioned absolutely upon the continued commitment of China to the peaceful solution of the Taiwan-PRC differences. It should be clearly understood that the linkage between these two matters is a permanent imperative of U.S. foreign policy.

In addition, it is essential that the quantity and quality of the arms provided Taiwan be conditioned entirely on the threat posed by the PRC. Both in quantitative and qualitative terms, Taiwan’s defense capability relative to that the PRC will be maintained.

Ronald Reagan