120. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Secretary of State1


  • Guidance for Geneva Talks with Chinese Communists
It is proposed to instruct Johnson at the next meeting to limit his presentation again to insistence on Chinese Communist implementation of the Agreed Announcement and to request a recess in the talks until January 5 or 12. Our reasons are given in paragraphs of the draft telegram to Johnson. (Tab A)2
Johnson has suggested a revision of Wang’s renunciation of force draft so that it will make specific reference to the Taiwan area and allow for individual and collective self defense. (Tab B) This draft appears acceptable to us, but it contains the commitment first introduced by Wang, that both sides will settle disputes between them by peaceful negotiation. If agreement should be reached on this draft, the Communists would immediately seek to push us into negotiations on the Taiwan issue, particularly the presence of our forces [Page 221] in the Taiwan area. Refusal by us to negotiate at all would give them plausible ground to claim they had been tricked.


(1) That we avoid final agreement on an announcement on renunciation of force until the Communists have released the fourteen Americans they hold or we are confident they will be released; (2) that if agreement is reached on an announcement and the Communists then propose discussing withdrawal of U.S. forces that we take the position that we cannot make agreements on this, but that the disposition of our forces would naturally depend on the military situation there and when the threat of use of force is removed, we would take this into consideration in our deployment of forces. If the Communists press further for discussion of the status of Taiwan and related matters we must insist on the position that these affect the interests of the Government of the Republic of China and we cannot discuss them without the presence of this Government. (Attached as Tab C is a compilation of statements made publicly and to the GRC to this effect.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/12–1255. Secret.
  2. The attachments are not filed with the source text, but see telegram 1377, infra.