No. 182
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Secretary of State 1

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  • Bilateral Security Pact with China
[Page 400]


Subsequent to FE’s memorandum to you of February 25, a detailed memorandum on the proposed treaty2 was circulated to concerned Bureaus. (Tab C)3 Only two substantive objections to the pact have been raised: 1) NEA fears that the Indians might be driven closer to Communist China;4 2) S/P has reservations as to the language of Article IV of the draft treaty.5 FE does not consider the possible reaction of India to be an overriding consideration, and it believes that the language of Article IV can be reworked to meet S/P’s reservations.

EUR,6 UNA,7 and to a lesser extent S/P, perceive objections to commencing negotiations with the Chinese before or during the Geneva Conference. They assert this would seem to our Allies a gratuitous demonstration of inflexibility and would be exploited by the Soviets for divisive purposes. FE believes, however, that commencing negotiations with the Chinese before the Geneva Conference would strengthen our negotiating posture at the Conference by making clear at the outset our completely firm position on the Formosa issue.


That you approve the negotiation with the Government of the Republic of China of a Mutual Security Treaty and that the Department endeavor to obtain NSC approval in time to permit negotiations [Page 401] with the Chinese Government to commence before the Geneva Conference.8

  1. Filed with a memorandum of Sept. 1, Document 269.
  2. Reference is to Robertson’s Mar. 15 memorandum, cited in footnote 7, Document 174. A draft treaty prepared in the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs was circulated with the Mar. 15 memorandum and is filed with it. A copy was attached to this memorandum but is not filed with the source text.
  3. None of the attachments is printed.
  4. Memorandum of Mar. 22 from Henry A. Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs, to Robertson, attached to the source text.
  5. Article IV of the draft treaty cited in footnote 2 above reads as follows:

    “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties in territories now under their respective administrative control, or hereafter recognized by one of the Parties as lawfully and actually under the administrative control of the other, would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes and in accordance with its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.”

    Bowie’s memorandum of Mar. 22 to Robertson, attached to the source text, expressed concern that this language might be applied to the Nationalist-held offshore islands and stated that a formula should be sought which would free the United States from any obligation to defend the islands without entailing a public announcement to that effect.

  6. Memorandum of Mar. 20 from Merchant to Robertson, attached to the source text.
  7. Memorandum of Mar. 23 from Wainhouse to Robertson, attached to the source text.
  8. Secretary Dulles indicated his disapproval of the recommendations in the space provided at the conclusion of the memorandum and added the following handwritten note: “because not enough time befr Geneva—delicate Senate problem—JFD.”