108. Telegram From the Secretary of State to Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson, at Geneva1

1329. Guidance for December 1 meeting.

Implementation. If consonant with situation at time of meeting, impress on Wang there has been no progress this respect since last meeting. No additional Americans released, no more letters received by British Chargé from imprisoned Americans. US Government takes serious view of PRC’s unjustifiable delay in implementing its clear commitment under Agreed Announcement. Cite Bradshaw cases2 as evidence personal hardship individuals suffering through PRC’s delay.
Renunciation of Force. While Wang’s hard line at last meeting may presage break in talks or resort to publicity, we believe it may also be deliberate pressure tactic to determine whether we will give any on our draft. PRC would seem not to be in strong position either break off talks or go to public at this moment. Believe we should hold firm on our draft for at least one more meeting. Wang’s only [Page 190] criticism our draft has been on ground that it would preclude PRC use of force in Taiwan area, which would be true of any draft we presented.

You should follow tactics suggested your 12143 (omitting introduction revised draft),4 with strong attack on ultimatum aspects his position. Without acceding to his insistence that you negotiate on basis his draft, it might be useful probe vigorously to see whether he has any negotiating latitude with respect to it. Press hard on basic defect his draft which is failure apply renunciation force principle to Taiwan area. Argumentation you used last meeting was excellent and you should continue along this general line.

You may wish to point out that Wang has endeavored separate issue in Taiwan area into two parts (paragraphs 46 to 48 your 1215).5 The first part he claims is a domestic issue which concerns only the Communists and the Nationalists and in which he retains complete freedom to use force in that area. The second part he defines as an international question involving issues between the Communists and United States. As to this the Communists are willing to renounce the use of force. By this formulation, the Communists seek [Page 191] to deprive the United States of its right to use force in collective self defense, an inherent right recognized by the Charter, while preserving to the Communists entire freedom to use force to take Taiwan any time they wish. This Communist tactic appears designed to handcuff the United States by pious expressions of the renunciation of force to settle disputes while reserving to itself complete freedom to use force to take Taiwan whenever it wishes. This entirely defeats object of seeking declaration on renunciation of force in the Taiwan area which was designed not as a verbal exercise but to remove in fact threat of armed conflict there and thus permit progress in discussion on other practical issues.

Re your 1216, Department considering advisability introduction revised draft at later meeting if deemed essential to forestall break. In any event any changed formulation should not affect our basic position that both sides must renounce force in Taiwan area, and do this before there can be fruitful discussions other issues.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/11–2955. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted in CA and FE; cleared in draft by Dulles, Phleger, and Robertson; and approved for transmission by McConaughy.
  2. Wilda Bradshaw’s release was announced on November 17. Telegram 1297 to Geneva, November 22, stated that she was unable to travel alone because of illness and instructed Johnson to appeal for Dr. Bradshaw’s release on humanitarian grounds. (Ibid., 293.1111–Bradshaw, H.V. (Dr. and Mrs.)/11–2255)
  3. Johnson proposed in telegram 1214 from Geneva, November 23, that at the December 1 meeting he should “open with very strong attack on ultimatum aspects his present tactics, brief but strong attack on his draft and then introduce new draft which would be essentially same as our present draft but give appearance of something new” and perhaps “include implication willingness see respective positions made public but without express threat to do so.” (Ibid., 611.93/11–2355)
  4. Johnson transmitted in telegram 1216 from Geneva, November 23, a suggested counterdraft for possible introduction at the next meeting; it included identical declarations to be made by both Ambassadors, of which the proposed Chinese declaration reads as follows:

    “Ambassador Wang Ping-nan, on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China, declares that the PRC will refrain from the threat or use of force except in self-defense; and

    “In accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and generally accepted standards of international conduct, the PRC will always seek the solution by peaceful means of any dispute to which it is a party and the continuation of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security; and

    “Recognizing the particular importance of relaxing and eliminating tension in the Taiwan area, the PRC declares that the foregoing general principles are specifically applicable to that area.” (Ibid.)

  5. Document 105. Paragraphs 46–48 read as follows:

    • “46. Wang said I should be reminded there are actually two points in question that must not be confused. First, in Taiwan area there exists matter of China’s internal affairs—that is, question of China’s exercise of sovereign rights in liberty of Taiwan. This falls within scope Chinese internal affairs.
    • “47. Wang said on other hand there exists in Taiwan area conflict of policy between China and US. We are agreed position in issues between two countries should be settled in accordance purposes and principles UN Charter. We are agreed conflicting policies should not lead to war between us, that is international matter between China and US.
    • “48. Wang said clear distinction should be made between these two points. It is second point our talks should strive to settle rather than first. He would appreciate further comments on PRC draft.”