Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Chinese Affairs (Clubb)


Subject: Concern of Chinese Government in Situation Centering on Cease-Fire Proposals1

Participants: Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo, Chinese Ambassador
Mr. Rusk, FE
Mr. Clubb, CA

Ambassador Koo called by appointment on Mr. Rusk and began the conversation by saying that his Government was “greatly concerned” by the cease-fire proposals and the United States’ support of those proposals. He noted immediately that the situation had perhaps become somewhat academic by reason of the Peiping regime’s counter-proposals, and asked for confirmation that the Secretary of State had in fact indicated that the counter-proposals constituted effectively a rejection of the cease-fire proposition. Mr. Rusk confirmed that this was the case and said that in addition Mr. Austin2 in the UN a few minutes ago had indicated essentially the same thing. Ambassador Koo desired to know what the next move would be, whether it would be particularly the introduction of a resolution finding the Chinese Communists guilty of aggression. Mr. Rusk confirmed that it was proposed by our delegation to introduce a resolution, probably tomorrow, to that general effect, that the matter would presumably be taken up in Committee One, and that the question of sanctions would then possibly be handed over to the Collective Measures Committee.

Ambassador Koo indicated that he felt that the UN had sustained damage by reason of the very adoption of the proposals for these particular peace measures in the first instance. Mr. Rusk explained that it had been found desirable to exhaust all reasonable procedures for effecting a pacific settlement of the dispute, and in response to a pertinent question from Ambassador Koo, said that he considered that the UN position would now be firmer after the offer of the indicated proposals and their rejection by the Communists than if the cease-fire proposal had not been put up at all.

Ambassador Koo indicated that the National Government was quite prepared to fulfill its own obligations with respect to UN measures, and with reference to the question of Formosa, said that it was supposed [Page 1519] that there had never been any intention on the part of the United States Government to make fundamental concessions? He said that the National Government viewed the situation in that area as one where the questions of Korea and Formosa were allied.

Mr. Rusk asked whether the National Government considered that the defenses of Formosa were adequate to meet an attack from the mainland. Ambassador Koo, after a brief hesitation, said that they were—but went on immediately to indicate that his answer was predicated upon the assumption that the 7th Fleet would remain in the Formosa Strait and the Nationalist defense would get air and naval support from the 7th Fleet. Mr. Rusk had indicated the difficulties that might be experienced even by modern war vessels in sinking large numbers of wooden junks in what might be in large part a night action. Mr. Clubb asked whether Mr. Rusk was aware of the news item from Taipei to the general effect that certain members of the Legislative Yuan proposed to send a message to the United States Congress through the Chinese Embassy requesting the release of Formosa from the restrictions which had been placed upon it to permit them to attack the mainland. Mr. Rusk said that he had not yet seen such message, and Ambassador Koo said that to date he was in non-receipt of any such communication. Mr. Rusk here said that it was desirable in making any proposal for the release of restrictions on Formosa to be clear just what was being proposed: Did it in fact mean that the proposal envisaged the withdrawal of the 7th Fleet? It was to be noted, he said, that in the period since June 27 Formosa benefited more from the President’s directive of that date to the 7th Fleet than did the mainland which possessed the superior military forces. Dr. Koo indicated that the proposals generally should not be taken to mean that the withdrawal of the 7th Fleet was being requested.

  1. For text of the U.N. cease-fire proposals, approved and forwarded to Peking on January 13 by the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, see editorial note, p. 76; for text of the reply sent by Chou En-lai on January 17, see editorial note, p. 91.
  2. Warren R. Austin, U.S. Representative at the United Nations.