A rather mesmerizing article
US wanted to nuke China for India
WASHINGTON: The United States considered using nuclear weapons against China in order to defend India in the 1960s but option was questioned in
internal debates on two counts: there were fears it may be viewed as racism against oriental people after the nuking of Japan, and there were doubts about why Washington U.S should defend India when its colonial patron United Kingdom did not.
Declassified tapes from National Security Council meetings during the Kennedy administration show the US President and his key advisors grappling with the Chinese threat in a meeting to discuss how to defend India. The tape recording is dated May 9, 1963, suggesting the debate was an afterthought because the India-China border war had ended in November 1962.
During this debate, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor urge President Kennedy to look beyond India and undertake a broader view of how to deal with any substantial Chinese aggression...
... over the next decade. They caution the President that before any substantial commitment is given to India the US should recognize that nuclear weapons would have to be used in a defense of the region.
In one exchange, General Taylor begins by stating: ''Mr. President, I had hoped before we get too deeply in the Indian question, we take a broader look at where we are coming, the attitude we're going to maintain versus Red China.. This is just one spectacular aspect of the overall problem of how to cope with Red China politically and militarily in the next decade.. I would hate to think we would fight this on the ground in a non nuclear war.''
When Kennedy begins discussing the Indian security guarantee, McNamara returns to the Chinese issue stating: ''Mr. President, I think General Taylor is implying that before any substantial commitment to defend India against China is given, we should recognize that in order to carry out that commitment against any substantial Chinese attack we would have to use...
... nuclear weapons... Any large Chinese Communist attack on any part of that area would require the use of nuclear weapons by the US, and this is to be preferred over the introduction of large numbers of US soldiers.''
Many parts of the recordings are indistinct, but Kennedy seems to be keen on offering India security guarantees, and at one point suggests China taking the war into India should be seen in the same light as Chinese vassal North Korea going into South Korea, which was protected by American security guarantees.
While some of his advisors say security guarantees to India will necessarily have to be under a nuclear cover since American forces would be insufficient in the populous region, they also ask Kennedy to weigh the consequence of the nuclear option.
Undersecretary of State George Ball warns that any nuclear attack on...
... China would smack of racism, saying ''we are going to inject into this whole world opinion the old bugaboo of being willing to use nuclear weapons against Asians when we are talking about a different kind of strategy in Europe. This is going to create great problems with the Japanese - with all the yellow people.''
At the time of this discussion China had not yet gone nuclear. Kennedy is also cautioned by Secretary of State Dean Rusk who says the U.S ''would be hard pressed to tell our own people why we are doing this with India when even the British won't do it or the Australians won't do it and the Canadians won't do it. We need to have those other flags flying on these joint enterprises.''
Texts of this NSC discussion has been available since 1996 but the release of the tape by the The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston comes at a critical time in U.S policy for the region. There is a growing debate in Washington about the resurgence of China and the need for U.S to forge closer ties with India to ''manage'' this rise. Chinese President Hu Jintao is arriving in the U.S on September 6 for a visit that is expect to further determine the contours of U.S policy for the region.
.US wanted to nuke China for India - Full Story - US - World - The Times of India