122. Telegram From Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson to the Department of State1

1286. 1. Four hour meeting this morning devoted entirely to implementation.2

2. Wang stated PRC is going to issue statement, presumably from Peiping, on implementation in rebuttal of alleged official U.S. Government as well as press statements charging PRC violation agreed announcement. Specific reference made to Secretary’s December 6 press statement.3 In spite my pointing out deliberate effort made in Secretary’s statements reduce and allay rising public concern in U.S. over failure PRC implement agreed announcement and our continued efforts keep PRC failures from propaganda forum, it was evident Wang was under instructions and had no discretion on whether statement would be issued. As additional effort discourage statement, I tied request for recess until January 12 to this serious and disappointing action on their part which would reduce hope progress our talks. This obviously gave Wang considerable pause but he remained firm on issuance of statement while rejecting any linking request for recess to such grounds. However willing consider recess based on holiday period. I did not press question of linkage and finally made straight proposal for recess until January 12. Wang agreed consider and inform me later. I urged decision before tomorrow evening. In meanwhile we agreed inform press simply next meeting would be held December 22.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/12–1555. Confidential; Niact; Limited Distribution. Repeated for information to Paris for the Secretary. Dulles was in Paris for a ministerial-level meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
  2. Johnson commented in letter No. 19 to McConaughy, December 16, that he had had “serious doubts about the efficacy of the course I have been asked to pursue the past two meetings” and was “not at all clear as to where we go from here.” He continued: “Yesterday’s session was a very trying one, and towards the end of the meeting I tried to balance myself on the knife’s edge in testing their reaction to the continuation of these talks. It was quite clear to me that they certainly did not want a break, at least at this time, but, as I have said in a telegram last week, I do not think that we can safely assume that this is going to continue indefinitely.” (Ibid., Geneva Talks Files: Lot 72 D 415, Geneva—Correspondence Re US–PRC, 1955–1956)
  3. Secretary Dulles stated at a press conference on December 6 that there had been “a measure of compliance” with the agreed announcement “but not yet a full measure, and, as to that, we are naturally disappointed. But we still remain hopeful that that agreement will be carried out. Otherwise the talks are proceeding in a normal way, having regard to the character of the people we are talking with.” For a partial text of the transcript of the press conference, see Department of State Bulletin, December 19, 1955, pp. 1007–1011.
  4. Telegram 1300 from Geneva, December 19, reported that a message had just been received from Wang stating that the next meeting should be held on December 22 so that discussion of the Chinese draft of December 1 should not be further delayed. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/12–1955)