Following is a summary of the standing instructions on the Chinese
representation issue, which were worked out during your two recent
visits to Washington. They have been approved by the President.
U.S. objectives in the 16th General Assembly are twofold: To keep
Communist China out and Nationalist China in the United Nations.
Your instructions are to attempt to accomplish these objectives by the
1. Induce several countries broadly representative to inscribe on the
General Assembly an item entitled “Representation of China”. Use your
own judgment as to the countries and the title of the item. If you
cannot induce other countries to take this initiative, the United States
should inscribe the item promptly.
2. Attempt to get the General Assembly to declare that any change in the
representation of China is an “important question” within the meaning of
Article 18 of the Charter. My understanding is that such a decision
requires a simple majority vote and that an important question requires
a two-thirds vote.
3. Persuade the Assembly to appoint a committee to consider criteria for
UN membership (including the question
of Chinese representation) and the composition of the Security Council
and ECOSOC; and to report to the next General Assembly a year hence. We
strongly prefer one committee rather than a special committee on Chinese
4. You are authorized to say—privately, if believed essential—that the
United States does not exclude the possibility that the study committee
would recommend to the 1962 session a successor state solution if that
5. The U.S. objective is to head off any consideration of the
representation of China as a credentials question requiring a simple
majority vote. If the foregoing proposals are rejected by the Assembly
and a defeat of U.S. objectives, stated above, appears imminent you
should then seek instructions as to whether we should adopt the
successor state approach.
* Source: Kennedy Library, National Security
Files, Countries Series, China. Secret. A September 13 covering note
from Rusk to Stevenson noted that this
memorandum contained “the revisions we discussed.” Stevenson's draft is in Princeton
University, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Stevenson Papers, Previously
Embargoed Files, Box 3, Kennedy.
1 In a
September 13 telephone conversation between Ball and Stevenson, Ball expressed concern that
Nationalist supporters in Congress were not prepared for the
possibility of a U.S. defeat on the Chinese representation issue and
that Stevenson could “get
badly hurt in this.” Stevenson said he “had tried to protect himself by a
memo.” (Notes of telephone conversation; Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, China (Taiwan))