During the First Taiwan Straits Crisis the Peoples Liberation Army launched heavy artillery attacks on the offshore island of Quemoy after the US lifted its blockade of Taiwan, making possible Nationalist attacks on mainland China. The Truman Administration had resisted calls by hard-liners to "unleash Chiang Kai-shek." But shortly after his inauguration, on 02 February 1953 President Eisenhower lifted the US Navy blockade of Taiwan which had prevented Chiang's force from attacking mainland China. During August 1954 Chiang moved 58,000 troops to Quemoy & 15,000 to Matsu. Zhou En-lai declared on 11 August 1954 that Taiwan must be liberated. On 17 August 1954 the US warned China against action against Taiwan, but on 03 September 1954 the Communists began an artillery bombardment of Quemoy, and in November, PLA planes bombed the Tachen Islands. On 12 September 1954 the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) recommended the possibility of using nuclear weapons against China. And on 23 November 1954 China sentenced 13 US airmen shot down over China in the Korean War to long jail terms, prompting further consideration of nuclear strikes against China. Despite domestic political pressure, President Eisenhower refused to bomb mainland China or use of American troops to resolve the crisis. At the urging of Senator Knowland, the United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty with the Nationalist government on Taiwan on 02 December 1954.
On 18 January 1955 mainland Chinese forces seized Yijiangshan [Ichiang] Island, 210 miles north of Formosa and, completely wiping out the ROC forces stationed there. The two sides continued fighting on Kinmen, Matsu, and along the mainland Chinese coast. The fighting even extended to mainland Chinese coastal ports. The US-Nationalist Chinese Mutual Security Pact, which did not apply to islands along the Chinese mainland, was ratified by the Senate on 09 February 1955. The Formosa Resolution passed both houses of Congress on 29 January 1955. The Resolution pledged the US to the defense of Taiwan, authorizing the president to employ American forces to defend Formosa and the Pescadores Island against armed attack, including such other territories as appropriate to defend them.
On 15 February 1955 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill advised against US atomic defence of Quemoy-Matsu. But on 10 March 1955 US Secretary of State Dulles at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting states that the American people have to be prepared for possible nuclear strikes against China. Five days later Dulles publicly stated that the US was seriously considering using atomic weapons in the Quemoy-Matsu area. And the following day President Eisenhower publicly stated that "A-bombs can be used...as you would use a bullet." These public statements sparked an international uproar, and NATO foreign ministers opposed atomic attack on China. Nonetheless, on 25 March 1955 US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Robert B. Carney stated that the president is planning "to destroy Red China's military potential," predicting war by mid-April.