As of 15 December 1978, the MAAG monitored over 400 open foreign military sales cases with a value of more than $300 million dollars. The announced termination of diplomatic relations with Taiwan that was to be effective on 1 January 1979, with MAAG closing its doors by 30 April 1979, raised some questions: How would MAAG function between 1 January and 30 April? How would the security assistance program be administered after MAAG closed? It's easy to make sweeping policy decisions in Washington, but it's always those in the field who have to figure out how to try and make it all work.
Admiral Soong, who was Chief of the General Staff, Ministry of National Defense (MND), very much wanted to retain some U.S. military presence on Taiwan past April 1979. One reason cited was the necessity to carry out Carter's pledge to provide selected military equipment to Taiwan. Admiral Soong strongly opposed replacing MAAG active duty personnel with retired military personnel, as had been proposed. He also told the Chief of MAAG that he felt MAAG personnel could remain on Taiwan, even in a low key status.
CINCPAC presented three options to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to resolve the status of the MAAG. The recommended option was to retain the function -- minus the MAAG designation -- by replacing military incumbents with six civilians familiar with security assistance. That number would be reduced to four as Taiwan personnel gained expertise in that area.
In early January 1979, CINCPAC expressed concern over the orderly transition of security assistance functions to the unofficial instrumentality. Specifically, if MAAG personnel departed on 1 March 1979, there would be a lack of qualified personnel familiar with security assistance during the transition. To remedy the situation, CINCPAC directed that MAAG personnel be attached to the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command effective 28 February 1979, the disestablishment date for MAAG China, and those personnel would remain in-country through 30 April 1979.
Reemphasizing the original recomendation for six authorizations (billets) to be MAAG-related, CINCPAC included this function in the 15 DOD-related spaces proposed for the newly named American Institute in Taiwan.
The JCS agreed with CINCPAC's plan to attach the MAAG personnel to USTDC for two months. They emphasized that the official MAAG function would terminate with the closure of the Embassy on 28 February 1979 and no variation of MAAG should be utilized in identifying the USTDC MAAG personnel. The Commander of USTDC informed CINCPAC that the MAAG Chief would become the USTDC J44.
I believe that J4 was the designation for the Logistics branch at USTDC, but I don't know what J44 would have been. If anyone has that info, I'll be happy to include it here.