CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 152: File—SFM Meeting Minutes

United States Delegation Minutes, Fourth Meeting of the Foreign Ministers, New York, Waldorf Astoria, September 14, 1950, 3 p. m.


SFM Min–4


Mr. Acheson (US)

Mr. Schuman (FR)

Mr. Bevin (UK)


United States France United Kingdom
Philip C. Jessup Henri Bonnet M. E. Dening
George W. Perkins Jean Chauvel Sir Pierson Dixon
Dean Rusk M. de la Tournelle Sir Oliver Franks
Roland de Margerie Sir Gladwyn Jebb


Chinese Representation





Chinese Representation

Mr. Bevin opened the discussion by stating that the United Kingdom believes that continued support of Chiang Kai-shek in the UN is doing the western powers untold harm in Asia. There is perhaps a stronger natural affinity between India and China than between China and the USSR, but continued support of Chiang Kai-shek may drive a wedge between India and China. It is also possible that the West is driving China into the arms of USSR by supporting Chiang Kai-shek, creating a most undesirable position with regard to the great surge of nationalism in Asia. The United Kingdom Cabinet believes that the Peiping Government should be seated in the UN. This tactic would be a step toward obtaining the support of 800,000,000 Asiatics rather than pushing them toward the Soviets.

Mr. Schuman drew a distinction between the question of recognizing the Chinese Communist Government and the problem of Chinese representation in the UN. France did not contemplate any change in its policy of non-recognition at least during the Korean hostilities and until some assurances were received on Indochina, but Chinese representation was a real problem which had to be faced very soon. While France does not like the Peiping Government, that Government does in fact control virtually the entire country; [Page 1225] thus the Chinese representatives in the UN no longer truly represented China. Furthermore, there seemed no prospect that the Nationalist Government will regain control of China. On the question of representation in the UN, therefore, he agreed generally with the views expressed by Mr. Bevin but he would feel better qualified to advise his government as to the position it should adopt after hearing what Mr. Acheson might say.

Mr. Bevin emphasized that the United Kingdom had considered and weighed the United States’ views on this subject with great care and was extremely reluctant to adopt a position that was not in accord with that of the United States. He hoped it would be possible to reach an agreement. He also wanted to inform the Ministers that since the outbreak of Korean hostilities the United Kingdom had refrained from taking any action with the Peiping Government which might embarrass the UN or United States.

Mr. Acheson agreed that the considerations put forward by Mr. Bevin and Mr. Schuman were impressive and important. However, the United States’ position remained the same as the Secretary had outlined in his Press Club speech of January 12, 1950.1 The strong support which the Chinese Communists had afforded the aggressors in Korea would make it even more difficult for the United States to alter its position regarding the admission of the Peiping Government to the UN. In the absence of complete agreement among the three powers on this question, it was desirable to minimize the differences as far as possible. To this end the United States hoped the problem could be held in abeyance in the Security Council for the time being and given full consideration in the General Assembly. In the Assembly it was likely that Vishinsky would raise a point of order at the outset on the seating of the Chinese Communists. The United States believed this question should be put to a vote at the earliest possible time after a minimum of discussion. Since only 16 members of the UN have recognized the Chinese Communists and 43 have not, the Soviet proposal would probably be defeated. The argument for voting against the resolution might be that the Chinese representatives in the General Assembly have been there for five years and they should not be unseated without a thorough analysis of the issues under dispute. In order that the General Assembly could get on with its business a committee could be appointed to make an examination of the criteria to be applied in determining which delegation should represent China. This might be done under the draft Cuban resolution.2 Such an examination [Page 1226] should be undertaken toward the end of the Assembly, not at the beginning, and it should be a long, orderly consideration of the issues. This would serve the double purpose of keeping the Chinese Communists out of the UN and possibly inducing good behavior on their part, especially with regard to activity in Korea and Formosa.

Mr. Schuman believed that the Vishinsky motion would not be troublesome since there is no provision whereby one member can unseat another. It was likely that the question about Chinese representation would arise first in the credentials committee. It seemed logical that a decision be reached before either delegation were seated. It was also important to keep in mind that if the Chinese Delegation was not allowed to take its seat in the General Assembly, it would also lose its place in the Security Council.

After further discussion of certain technical aspects of UN procedure, Mr. Bevin said that the United Kingdom vote on the question of seating the Chinese Communists would depend to some extent on which country introduced the resolution: for example, whether it were India or the USSR. In case such a resolution was defeated, the United Kingdom then agreed to support the United States’ suggestion regarding an inquiry into the representation question if the matter arose. Mr. Schuman also agreed to this procedure.


Mr. Acheson opened the discussion on Formosa by stating that the objective was to find a procedure which would minimize the different views and would avoid bringing the Formosa problem to a crisis. Perhaps in this way the crisis would never develop. One possibility would be for a friendly country to raise the question of the future of Formosa under Article 11 (2) or Article 14 of the Charter.3 A UN committee could then be appointed to investigate the problem and make a report to the next meeting of the General Assembly. In response to questions from the other Ministers, Mr. Acheson pointed out that the United States planned to handle questions about Formosa and Korea in two ways: cases of alleged United States aggression against Formosa and Korea would be dealt with in the Security Council, while questions about the future of the two countries should be discussed in the General Assembly. If, as expected, a charge of United States aggression against Formosa is discussed in the Security Council on September 18, the United States plans to suggest that a commission [Page 1227] be appointed to investigate the situation in the same way as on September 7, the United States handled the charge of the Yalu River bombing.4

Mr. Bevin explained that his reservations about supporting the United States’ proposal on this question were due to a misunderstanding that the United States would attempt to postpone discussion of the subject in the Security Council. Mr. Bevin had thought that such a tactic would create an extremely difficult situation for Sir Gladwyn Jebb, President of the Security Council. Mr. Acheson’s explanation had removed any reservations he had.

As Mr. Schuman had no objections, the United States’ proposal was agreed upon by the Ministers. Mr. Bevin and Mr. Acheson also agreed on the necessity for close consultation with regard to the procedure for placing this agreed course of action into effect, since the governments had often agreed to a course of action and then found themselves in different positions as a result of different procedures for implementation.


Mr. Acheson noted that the UN delegations of the three countries had been in constant consultation on the Korean question and were agreed upon the course to be followed in the UN.5 Unless there were questions to be raised, it seems unnecessary to discuss the issue further.

Mr. Bevin said that at a later time the United Kingdom wished to discuss the attitude to be taken toward the Syngman Rhee government, but there was no need to raise the issue now.


In taking up the question of Indochina, Mr. Schuman said that the situation there was adequately covered in the document prepared for the Ministers (Int. Doc. 86), which he endorsed. To this he only wanted to add a few comments. France faced considerable difficulties in this part of the world. In the face of these difficulties they were pursuing their objectives of strengthening the military as earnestly and as rapidly as possible. They had 44,000 nationals of Indochina serving in the French Army and another 77,000 organized in the armies of the Associated States. There were also 150,000 French troops in Indochina. This was still not enough for the task at hand, and they were continuing the task of integrating, training and equipping the local troops. In this task the French were particularly worried about the [Page 1228] economic and financial problems involved, since the requirements for an adequate military defense were far beyond the economic capabilities of either France or the Associated States. They were also worried about the threat from China. This would become particularly serious if the Communists were equipped with modern aircraft. So far the French had been able to hold their position, but if the Communists were equipped with air support, the situation in Indochina would be reversed. To meet this threat the French had asked the United States for tactical air support but had received only aircraft. Finally, the French would be happy to see military talks take place on this question, as recommended in Int. Doc. 8.

Mr. Acheson said that the United States attaches great importance to the development of military forces in Indochina, including both French and particularly a national Indochinese army. The United States had given substantial support to this undertaking. The amount of aid had now been doubled and would continue to advance. However, despite the valuable information already received from the French on their requirements, there was still need for the submission of a coordinated plan. The United States was willing to supply equipment from the United States for Indochina, but it was not willing to supply money for local military financing. On the question of tactical air support, the answer had to be “no”. The United States was not in a position to make this commitment. He would, however, be glad to have operational military talks take place in the field with the French, and the United States was ready to designate representatives for this purpose.

Mr. Schuman thanked Mr. Acheson for his statement, which would strengthen the French position and determination. It was one more significant indication of our solidarity.

Mr. Bevin said that he had nothing to add on the discussion of Indochina or on other problems in Southeast Asia. Present undertakings were moving forward and there did not appear to be anything requiring ministerial discussion.


Mr. Acheson said that brought the Ministers to consideration of the draft interim communiqué. After a brief pause during which the delegations worked out various drafting changes, the ministers agreed to the interim communiqué7 and the meeting adjourned at 6:10 p. m.

  1. For text of Secretary Acheson’s remarks before the National Press Club on January 12, 1950, see Department of State Bulletin, January 23, 1950, pp. 111 ff.
  2. Regarding the Cuban resolution on China, see vol. ii, pp. 280 ff.
  3. Article 11(2) allowed the General Assembly to consider any matter relating to peace and security not already under consideration by the Security Council; Article 14 allowed the General Assembly to make recommendations for the peaceful adjustment of any situation not already under consideration by the Security Council.
  4. Regarding United States handling of charges that it had bombed areas north of the Yalu River in Korea, see volume vii.
  5. See Document 12 [D–6/1a], p. 1176.
  6. Dated September 1, p. 1172.
  7. For text of the Foreign Ministers Interim Communiqué, see the New York Times, September 15, 1950, p. 14. A copy is also in CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 152: Communiqué.