UNA Files: Lot 71 D 440

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs ( Hickerson ) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs ( Miller )


Subject: Korea; Formosa; Implementation of Uniting for Peace Resolution; Currie Plan

Participants: Dr. Roberto Urdaneta,1 Minister of War of Colombia
Dr. Don Eduardo Zuleta-Angel, Ambassador of Colombia
The Secretary of State
Mr. Edward G. Miller, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State
Mr. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Secretary of State

The Colombian Ambassador brought Dr. Urdaneta in to call on the Secretary by appointment at 11 o’clock this morning. The Secretary opened the conversation by congratulating Dr. Urdaneta for the outstanding job which he has done as Chairman of the Political Committee of the General Assembly, and the patience and skill with which he has handled a difficult situation.

Dr. Urdaneta expressed appreciation for the Secretary’s comments. He said that it had been a long hard session and that he hoped very much that the work of the committee could be completed by Wednesday or Thursday. Dr. Urdaneta said that he felt that the General Assembly should not formally adjourn but that it should recess to meet again on the call of the chairman. The Secretary and Mr. Hickerson expressed full agreement with this and added that Senator Austin had been instructed to strongly support this course of action.

Dr. Urdaneta said that last Friday2 on the suggestion of the Soviet representative on the Political Committee and after consultation with Ambassador Gross,3 he had sent a telegram to Chou En Lai informing him that the Committee was that day holding its first meeting to discuss the Soviet charges of U.S. aggression against China and that the second meeting of the Committee would be held on Tuesday, February [Page 1563] 6.4 He said that he did not anticipate that the Chinese Communists would send a representative back to Lake Success to take part in these discussions. He added that the Committee had given the Chinese Communists every consideration and every opportunity to be represented and that they had chosen to send General Wu back to China when they knew the items would shortly be coming up.

Dr. Urdaneta inquired what attitude the United States would take in regard to the Formosa item on the agenda. Mr. Hickerson stated that when the item is reached, the U.S. Representative will propose that the Committee postpone indefinitely any further discussion of this matter but leave it on the agenda. Under this procedure the Interim Committee could, if it considered it desirable, study the matter and make recommendations to the next regular session of the General Assembly or indeed to a special session if one should be held. Dr. Urdaneta said that in his opinion this was a wise course. He added that he hoped that Senator Austin would in his statement refer to the desirability of a plebiscite. He said that last autumn he mentioned the desirability of a plebiscite to Vyshinsky who said that this was completely out of the question since Formosa had been settled by the Cairo Declaration and that, moreover, 90% of the people of Formosa strongly supported the Chinese Communist Government. He said that he then inquired why if that were true Mr. Vyshinsky could have any objection to a plebiscite but he did not receive a good answer to his question. Mr. Hickerson said that Senator Austin’s statement would refer to the Secretary’s opening address to the General Assembly on September 205 when the Secretary suggested that in connection with the consideration of the Formosan problem the General Assembly might wish to endeavor to ascertain the wishes of the Formosan people themselves. He added that specific mention of the plebiscite might well touch off a discussion that would unduly prolong the work of the Committee.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

  1. Dr. Roberto Urdaneta Arbelaez was Chairman of the First, or Political, Committee of the U.N. General Assembly.
  2. February 2.
  3. Ernest A. Gross, U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations.
  4. On February 4, Chou cabled Urdaneta requesting that the text of the speech which Wu had been prepared to deliver at the First Committee in November 1950, in support of the Soviet complaint, be read at the February 6 meeting and printed and distributed as an official document by the U.N. Secretariat; the text of the cable was sent to the Department in telegram 1117 from New York, February 5 (795.00/2–551). Telegram 688 to New York, February 6, instructed the U.S. Delegation that, since the Soviet charges were directed against the United States, the delegation should not participate in any debate on this issue and should abstain on any decision (320/2–651). At the First Committee’s meeting on February 6, Urdaneta ruled that the text of Wu’s speech should be circulated; the Committee upheld his ruling and rejected a Polish motion that the speech should also be read to the Committee. For the record of the meeting, see A/C.1/SR.440; the text of the speech was circulated as A/C.1/661.
  5. The text may be found in the Department of State Bulletin, October 2, 1950, pp. 523–529.