MOVEMENT TOWARD NEGOTIATION
We return now to the end of January 1955, and follow from there the moves that led to the easing of tension.
With the passage by overwhelming majorities of the Formosa Resolution, which empowered the President to defend the offshore islands if he deemed that necessary to the defense of Taiwan, and with Senate aproval of the MDT on February 9, again by an overwhelming margin,1 Peking knew that its efforts to persuade Washington not to commit itself formally to the defense of Taiwan had failed. Peking's anger was great. It refused to see anything defensive in Washington's moves. PRC statements blasted Eisenhower's Formosa message as a "war message"2 and saw in the Formosa Resolution a predated declaration of war.3 Even the "understandings," which the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations included in its report on the MDT in order to reduce the risk of war, did nothing to please Peking at the time they were adopted, for they only strengthened the American commitment to defend Taiwan and keep it separate from the mainland.4 One understanding was worded so that Senate approval of the MDT could not be construed as U.S. recognition of Taiwan as part of China, and to remove the possibility of such a construction was to remove the only feature of the MDT that Peking might have found acceptable.
In spite of these setbacks, and even while it kept tension high to impress the world with the danger of war inherent in the defense of Taiwan and