7. Telegram From the Ambassador in Japan (Allison) to the Department of State1

1668. For the Secretary. At short private talk with General Hull and me just prior his departure Tokyo, Hammarskjold asked if I would tell you that he thinks it would be most useful to have discussion with you and President early next week concerning events of his trip. If you and President concur he would be willing to come to Washington any time after next Monday.2

Following information Hammarskjold said had been forwarded his staff New York and possibly has been made available to Department3 but in case it has not he suggested I repeat it. As result of trip Hammarskjold expresses himself as “moderately optimistic”. He said at no time did Chou En-lai attempt to tie up release of prisoners with any other issue. Also it became clearly evident that Chou did not wish finally close door to settlement this issue. It was made clear by Chou that if question of release of prisoners could be completely divorced from any political overtones there was possibility of favorable outcome. Hammarskjold said Chou did not give any indication as to when or how this could be achieved by [but] Hammarskjold believes that after two or three months prisoners might be released for some reason such as good behavior or other matter not tied up with political issues.

Hammarskjold expressed considerable admiration for Chou’s intellectual and general ability and said that obviously one could not have such long close association without obtaining a certain conviction about a person. He said that Chou succeeded in a most difficult role in making clear to him, Hammarskjold, what he wanted him to understand from the Foreign Policy aspect of this whole matter and yet at the same time gave perhaps a completely different impression for domestic consumption of what had been said and agreed to. One of the most significant statements Hammarskjold made was that Chou appeared in private conversations to be a very worried man. Toward end of talks Chou appeared to become more human and in his private discussions with Hammarskjold did not resort to any obvious [Page 13] propaganda of the usual Communist cliches. Although Chou had made much in his public message agreeing to Hammarskjold’s trip3 about “pertinent” questions which should be discussed and implied that these concerned recognition, admission to UN etc., Hammarskjold said these were not discussed in any way and that Chou obviously did not expect them to be.

Hammarskjold made no substantive statements to press while in Tokyo although he was importuned to do so. He was met at airport by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu and others but had no private talks with anyone other than General Hull and me.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.95A241/1–1255. Secret; Priority. According to notes by Phyllis Bernau of a telephone call from Dulles to Lodge on January 12, the Secretary indicated that he was “not keen” about Hammarskjöld’s proposal to come to Washington and that an official visit “would make trouble and would give the impression he was the intermediary between the Sec. and the Pres. and Chou”; they agreed that Lodge should see Hammarskjöld first and then confer with the Secretary. (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations)
  2. A similar message from Hammarskjöld had been given orally to Lodge by Cordier on January 11 and transmitted to the Department in telegram 348 from New York, January 11. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.95A241/1–1155)
  3. For text of Chou’s cable of December 17, 1954, to Hammarskjöld, see Public Papers of the Secretaries-General, vol. ii, p. 423.
  4. For text of Chou’s cable of December 17, 1954, to Hammarskjöld, see Public Papers of the Secretaries-General, vol. ii, p. 423.