330/1–2450: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary of State 1


72. 1. Reurtel 32, Department’s preliminary observations are most useful. We agree with substance of points 1, 3, 4 and 5 and that the various questions raised within these numbered paragraphs involve difficulties which would need to be overcome if any action were taken.

2. USUN seriously questions basic premise in first paragraph that it would be to our overall advantage to find procedure which would result in deferring unseating of Tsiang (or presumable seating of Communist representative) for time being. This is in our view crucial policy decision which will largely determine course of action we follow in CE (Committee of Experts), in SC and other organs at every [Page 208] stage. This question involves the whole issue of Soviet walkout from the UN and the proper interpretation by Department of that policy in its widest implications. We are preparing study on this question which will be forwarded shortly for Department’s consideration. From standpoint effective functioning of UN and relations member states in dealings in UN organs, we believe it is in interest of the US to accept the change-over in the UN from recognition of Nationalist China to recognition of Communist China as gracefully as possible and without unnecessary delay. We feel we should follow this policy regardless of the timing of the US recognition of Communist China. We can see no advantage to the US which would result from attempting by procedural devices to delay the seating in the UN of Communist representatives. We feel we should deal with procedural suggestions on their merits and let nature take its course on the seating question.

3. We agree with first two sentences in paragraph 2 urtel but because of above considerations have doubts about last sentence. From our point of view a spring session of the Assembly might prove a seriously complicating factor because of the possibility that a majority of members would invoke the two-thirds rule and thus have a tendency to extend period of Russian walkout until fall.

4. With regard to your paragraph 6, our view is that it would be an error to press for a study of this difficult question in any UN organ and in particular the IC. We doubt that this is an issue which is sufficiently likely to recur in the UN so as to justify preparation of a procedure to handle future cases. In any event, the difficulties of discussing the question publicly are so great and the probable fruits so small that we doubt the wisdom of sponsoring or agreeing to such course of action.

5. From the tactical point of view, our main concern is that discussion of this matter in the CE and SC might bring forth various suggested procedures from other delegations and that we should have to take public positions for or against these procedures. A minor tactical consideration is our feeling that the CE will not wish to reject the Indian proposal too bluntly.

6. We were informed again today that the British will oppose Rau’s proposed rule of procedure, as well as all variations reported in mytel 24; that British will favor allowing each organ to decide recognition question for itself and will not agree to abstain or accept procedure involving agreement to abstain after seven members have recognized Communists. We doubt that Rau’s rule of procedure will receive serious support from other members of the SC, and remain of the opinion that it is unlikely that any procedural device for handling this problem will obtain seven votes.

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7. Our recommendations are that we should take the following position in consultations with other delegations and in the CE;

It is bad practice for any organ of the UN to write a rule of procedure to meet a specific issue which has already arisen, and we feel there is no good reason in this case to make an exception to that rule.
There is considerable doubt that this issue of recognition will be a recurring problem in the UN which would justify major and controversial effort to pass identical rules of procedure in all organizations of the UN.
While unanimity of action by different organs of the UN may be desirable on an issue of this kind, it is probable that in the ordinary course of events considerable uniformity would come about through natural causes. Moreover, the proposed Indian rule does not seem likely to help much and has certain drawbacks:
Each delegation in the SC knows through its diplomatic sources and through the press which members of the UN currently recognize Nationalist China and which recognize Communist China and can draw any conclusions from those facts which it sees fit. There is, therefore, no need to send telegrams to all governments. This procedure would simply cause delay awaiting replies; it might embarrass some governments. Some mischievous SC member could file a new motion every meeting and force replies from all members merely for propaganda.
The proposed Indian rule would emphasize officially that one of the important considerations which is involved in the decision of each member of the SC as to how to cast its vote in a case of this kind is the attitude of all the other member states. To this extent we feel the Indian suggestion contains an element of value.
The CE should draw up a report containing conclusions along the above lines, recommending that no new rules of procedure are necessary or advisable.

8. We discussed suggestion in paragraph 7 above with UKDel today who seemed to feel this was good approach.

9. The CE meeting now scheduled for Monday morning, January 30.

  1. Repeated to London on January 27.