Memorandum by Ward P. Allen of the Bureau of European Affairs to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Bonbright )


Subject: US Position on Economic Sanctions against China

Attached is the recommended US position on this subject as it has been developed by a working group with BNA and EUR participation, modified slightly to counter Treasury and Commerce insistence on having the US propose what would amount to a total embargo. The Treasury Department also desires to have the whole matter thoroughly explored by the NSC. Informal efforts are being made to obtain Treasury and Commerce acquiescence to the more limited approach of the attached, and to avoid the necessity of NSC consideration. It may, however, be necessary to have high level talks with at least Treasury representatives, since their general approach seems to be, by urging virtually complete embargo, either to put the State Department on the spot for refusing to have the US propose this in the UN or to have the US propose it and place the onus of rejecting it on the UK and our other Allies.

We have agreed to these recommendations ad referendum with the understanding (agreed to by the others) that we will not press, even privately with the UK, for any more than the minimum stated in Recommendation #1.1

I would appreciate any comments or guidance on this.


Draft Position Paper Prepared in the Department of State


Adoption by United Nations General Assembly of a Resolution Calling for Economic Sanctions Against Communist China 2


On February 1, 1951 the General Assembly adopted a resolution with respect to the intervention of the Central People’s Government of [Page 1915] the People’s Republic of China in Korea. Numbered paragraph 6 reads as follows:

Requests a Committee composed of the members of the Collective Measures Committee as a matter of urgency to consider additional measures to be employed to meet this aggression and to report thereon to the General Assembly …

It is necessary to determine the position which the United States Representative on this committee should take with respect to “additional measures” in the economic field.


The United States Representative on the special committee should propose and support the adoption of a resolution calling for the immediate imposition by all United Nations members of an embargo on certain shipments to China. The United States should regard as the irreducible minimum an embargo on petroleum, munitions and items useful in the production of implements of war.
The United States Representative should initiate and support inclusion in the resolution of provisions recommending that:
each Member of the United Nations shall determine what commodities qualify for inclusion in the embargo under the general formula and shall apply its own export controls to such commodities; and
each Member of the United Nations shall undertake not to negate the effectiveness of the embargo applied by other complying States.
With respect to machinery for reviewing the application and enforcement of the embargo, the United States Representative should propose the establishment of a committee to which all Members applying the embargo would report periodically on the commodities whose export is embargoed by such countries and the types of controls being applied. This committee would review such reports and report thereon, with appropriate recommendations, to the General Assembly. The United States Representative, in discussing this proposal with other Delegations, should in his discretion suggest that it might be appropriate to confer these reviewing and reporting functions upon the special committee established pursuant to the February 1 resolution, quoted above.
  1. Marginal notation: “OK. JCHB[onbright]”
  2. For the text of a subsequent position paper on this subject, see the attachment to the memorandum of April 12 by Mr. Popper, p. 1953.