CA files, lot 58 D 395, “Chinese Representation at UN, 1953”

Memorandum by the United Nations Adviser, Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs (Bacon), to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Johnson)

  • Subject:
  • Chinese Representation at the ECAFE meetings.

On January 9 Djakarta reported that according to the Indonesian Foreign Office the Chinese Communists were expected to send observers to the forthcoming ECAFE conference at Bandung. It was not clear from the message whether the Chinese Communists would seek official status as observers or merely be present in the audience. A further message from Djakarta (1235 January 10) now confirms that the Chinese Communists are definitely sending a group from Peiping. Djakarta adds, however, that Lokanathan, the Executive Secretary of ECAFE, has said that only UN Members may send official observers to the ECAFE conference, that all meetings are open to the public and that the Chinese Communists can only listen and lobby.


I. Official Observer Status

An official observer delegation would have the right to speak but not to vote. If the Chinese Communists should seek this status, it is believed that, despite Lokanathan’s reassuring position, many ECAFE members might be disposed to support the request. It appears improbable, however, that the Chinese Communists would seek or accept any status inferior to, or even co-equal with, that of the Chinese National representatives and, accordingly, it is more likely that they would try to have the Chinese National delegation unseated than to obtain observer status for themselves.

II. Probable Effort to Unseat the Chinese National Representatives.

It is to be expected that a vociferous effort will be made by the Soviet delegation, with all the assistance that the Chinese Communists can give, to unseat the Chinese National representatives and to seat the Chinese Communists. Failing in this maneuver, the Chinese Communists might remain on the scene for lobbying and other activities.

In the committee meetings preliminary to the main ECAFE meetings, Associate Members which include the three Indochinese States [Page 635] and three British colonial units have votes. Our voting position in these bodies on Chinese representation has accordingly always been favorable.

Membership in ECAFE itself—where only members have a vote—is evenly divided between states recognizing the Chinese National Government (Australia, China, France, New Zealand, Philippines, U.S., Thailand) and those recognizing the Chinese Communists (Burma, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Pakistan, USSR, UK). Since working out the moratorium arrangement with the UK, however, we have been able to handle the Chinese representation question on a procedural basis with comfortable voting margins. At the last session of ECAFE, for example, a Soviet motion to unseat the Chinese Nationalists and seat the Chinese Communists was checked by a Thai motion that no action be taken on the question at the session. The Thai motion carried 10 to 4 (USSR, India, Indonesia, Burma).

The problems presented by the Chinese representation question at the ECAFE conference have already been discussed by the Department with the Chinese and British Embassies here. The Chinese Government is sending a delegation of five members. The British Embassy is checking with London to make sure that the positions of the two governments coincide. If all our friends attend and the moratorium agreement holds we should be able to handle the problem on a procedural basis as in past years, but with a more determined propaganda effort.