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

1410. Guidance for December 22 meeting.

You should point out undesirability public exchanges like last week’s2 as they impede real progress in talks. Remind Wang you urged Communists not make statement, but since they insisted US compelled reply. Suggest place for discussions is in meeting not in public and express hope this will be followed in future.
Express satisfaction at Bradshaw release,3 adding hope this portends early release thirteen remaining Americans. Inform Wang US position on implementation Agreed Announcement has been stated in Department’s press release December 16 and no further statement required at this time. Add betterment in relations can only be expected as prisoners are released.
Propose recess until January 12 on basis Christmas and New Year holidays. If Wang resists point out he said at last meeting he willing consider on this basis and remind him of importance these holidays in US. Issue should not be pressed to point of refusing meet regardless his insistence although you could go so far as to state that in absence any major development you will be in Prague and unavailable to meet on December 29.
Department considers that odds against Communists breaking off talks at this time in light developments at UN which they probably would think make it unwise from their viewpoint to break. Therefore, we can press further on implementation without serious risk and with hope of some results. Release of Dr. Bradshaw would seem bear this out. Bradshaw release justifies temporary relaxation [Page 225] pressure on implementation, but it is desirable avoid discussion other topics at next meeting, particularly in view hard tone Wang’s note refusing recess proposal. However if you believe introduction revised US draft essential to forestall break you authorized to do so.
You may inform Wang in any case that on January 12 you will have comments to make on his draft and will have some changes to propose.
If Wang should accuse US of misrepresentation in stating you had protested “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Americans, you should tell him we referring to Bradshaw case.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central files, 611.93/12–2055. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Clough and Phleger, cleared in draft by Secretary Dulles and McConaughy, and approved by Robertson.
  2. A statement by a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Peking on December 15 charged that the United States had failed to comply with the agreed announcement because it had not provided a list of Chinese in the United States, had stated that the Indian Embassy could contact Chinese residents only if they requested it, and had required Chinese students continuing to reside in the United States to obtain an entrance permit for Taiwan. It declared that the imprisoned Americans had committed offenses against Chinese law, that their cases were being reviewed individually, and that no time limit could be set for their release, which was a matter of Chinese sovereignty. The text is in Survey of the China Mainland Press, No. 1192, December 20, 1955. A press release issued by the Department of State on December 16 declared that the Chinese Communist charges were without foundation and that the continued holding of U.S. citizens was a violation of the agreed announcement; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, December 26, 1955, pp. 1049–1050.
  3. Dr. Bradshaw’s release was announced on December 19.