The President is prepared to give private reassurance to the
Generalissimo that if at any time a U.S. veto is what will be effective
in preventing Chinese Communist entry into the UN, the United States will use that veto. This assurance,
however, must be kept wholly private for the powerful reason that public
disclosure of such a U.S. pledge at this time would be deeply damaging
to the common cause at the UN. There we
are debating on the important question issue and we will lose many
votes—and also indicate fear of defeat—if there is any public discussion
of a veto.
The President wants this assurance conveyed to
Chiang in the most effective way and by the
best possible person. On the evidence of recent days I am inclined to
yourself or to George Yeh who
has been extraordinarily helpful and is now returning for consultation. Suggest urgently you
consult with him and then decide how to communicate the President's
We recognize that what President Chiang now faces is a domestic political problem, in
which private assurances may not be useful. But we are completely
persuaded that any public statement mentioning the veto would be
intolerably destructive of his purposes and ours alike.
We leave it to you to decide after discussion with Yeh whether the President's assurance
could be conveyed in such a way as to allow President Chiang to use it privately with reliable
key figures. But there should be no leak, and this Government would have
to deny any rumors about reassurance on the veto, in order to protect
its position at the UN.
You will note that the President does not promise a veto in all
circumstances. This is because our best experts report that in some
circumstances, such as a straight credentials vote; a veto would not be
possible. Thus, in fact, the veto is not the cure-all that
Chiang appears to think it is. The point of our
assurance is that the President will use whatever weapons seem likely to
work, including the veto, and you may put the matter in this way if it
seems more persuasive.
The President has great trust in you and wishes to leave you free to
convey these assurances.
The State Department is informed, but Ambassador Drumright is not, and at this stage we
prefer that he not be included unless you find it urgent for reasons not
Yours by candlelight for scholarship and skullduggery.
*Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries
Series, China General, CIA Cables
7/61-10/16/61. Top Secret; Eyes Only. The message, headed “To Mr.
Ray Cline From McGeorge Bundy at the President's
Direction,” is the first of a series of messages between
Bundy and Cline sent through CIA channels. The source text does not indicate the
time of transmission. An October 13 message from
Bundy to Cline (Out Smilax 3) instructed Cline to use the slug Smilax for
future messages in the series. (Filed with a covering memorandum of
October 14 from Dulles to
Bundy; ibid.) Copies of all the messages in
the series through October 17 were sent from the White House to the
Department of State on that date. (Filed with a memorandum of
October 18 from Stevenson to
Rusk; Department of State,
Central Files, 303/10-1861)