The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary of State
15. 1. Tsiang1 discussed with us today very frankly his position with regard to seating of Communist Chinese representatives in the UN. He believes that his expulsion from the SC or the seating of a Chinese Communist representative is a substantive matter which relates not to credentials, but to question of which of two governments is to be recognized. He has recommended to his government that when seven members of the SC, including the US, have recognized Communist China,2 he should abstain on any motion to seat a Communist Chinese representative. He is taking this position on the basis that his government would have nothing further to gain from sitting in a council in which seven members, including the US, had recognized the Communists. If, however, a vote is taken at a time when there are seven votes in favor of seating a Chinese Communist representative, but the US is not included in these seven, Tsiang will insist on his right to veto such a motion.[Page 188]
2. We informed Tsiang frankly of our position. It is his view that it is unlikely that there will be seven votes in the SC in favor of the Communists prior to the date of US recognition.
3. Tsiang urged that it would be unfortunate for the UN if Nationalist representatives were seated in certain organs and Communists in others. He suggested that a procedure should be worked out whereby all organs of the UN should abstain from seating Communist representatives until the GA had considered the question and itself seated a Communist. He indicated that if this procedure were adopted he would abide by the decision of the Assembly and not attempt to use his veto thereafter in the SC. He had not talked to other delegates about this, but felt it reasonable to suppose that the British and Norwegians might be favorably inclined. We agreed to discuss it with these two delegations to obtain their views.
4. As regards seating the Yugoslav representative,3 Tsiang’s plan is that if the Russians object to the seating of Yugoslavia, he will rule such motion out of order on the ground that it is not within the competence of the SC to question a decision of the Assembly. If the Russians raise a question which he considers properly a credentials question, he will declare it procedural and will be prepared to overrule an attempted Russian double veto. Tsiang distinguishes Yugoslav situation on theory latter involves only the question who represents the only existing government in Yugoslavia, whereas China situation is one involving important substantive question which is legal government of China.
5. Tsiang has decided that if a motion is made involving his right to SC seat, he will invoke rule 20 and turn the presidency over to the Cuban representative for the duration of the discussion and voting on such motion.
6. UK delegation agrees that the seating of Yugoslavs is a procedural question and are prepared if necessary to join in defeating any attempted double veto. They apparently feel same way about seating Chinese Communists, but this is not yet certain. The British have in mind that if Chinese question is raised tomorrow, it might be postponed on ground that matter is not on agenda, and French have said they will move to that effect if necessary.
7. We reported to British Tsiang’s suggested procedure contained in paragraph 3 above, indicating that we had no instructions on the matter at all. British advised they are in process of discussing an approach along these lines with Foreign Office but are at the moment [Page 189] without any instructions. They are authorized to abstain in the SC on a motion to unseat Tsiang or to seat a Communist representative until seven members of the SC have recognized Communists. They would make a general statement in this connection referring to the desirability of UN organs acting together. The FO apparently has been disinclined to go any further for the present. UK delegation has in mind desirability of passage by SC of a motion to the effect that when a majority of the members of the UN recognize Communists, all organs of the UN would seat Communist representatives (and not before). They argue this is procedural motion. UK delegation sees this procedure as a device by which those members who recognize the Communists could refuse to vote for seating them in the UN until a majority of the members had recognized, in return for which those nations who did not expect to recognize until much later would agree that when a majority had recognized they would either abstain or vote in favor of seating Communists in all organs. UK delegation has in mind setting a precedent by this technique so as to make it more likely that when the Assembly meets, the seating of the Communist delegation can be accomplished by a simple majority vote instead of a two-thirds vote. They made it clear that they could not accept the idea inherent in Tsiang’s suggestion of postponing action until the Assembly had met and seated the Communist representative. UK delegation asked US to advise Tsiang that they would seek instructions on his suggestion but not to indicate to him their instructions or their preliminary thinking.
8. British sought our attitude toward Tsiang’s suggestion and indicated that our attitude would have considerable weight with them.
9. We shall submit our views tomorrow.
- Tingfu F. Tsiang, Permanent Representative of China at the United Nations.↩
- For documentation regarding the question of recognition of the Chinese Communist regime established at Peiping, see vol. vi, pp. 256 ff.↩
- Ales Bebler, Permanent Representative of Yugoslavia at the United Nations. For documentation regarding the election of Yugoslavia to the Security Council at the fourth regular session of the General Assembly, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. ii, pp. 245 ff.↩