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

1870. 1. Wang opened this morning’s meeting by presentation draft2 previously transmitted Dept together with relatively brief statement which did nothing to clarify its obvious ambiguities.

2. I avoided any specific comment and asked series of questions designed to clarify its ambiguities. I specifically asked in what way draft avoided prejudicing U.S. position; whether second para, intentionally excluded disputes other than those Taiwan area; whether “two months” in last para, was intended limit validity declaration to that period; whether last para, as whole meant that FonMin conference was “only practical and feasible means”; and whether “to make specific arrangements” referred to “practical and feasible means” or to FonMin conference.

3. He avoided any direct response my first question, saying that mutual respect clause was not only “common sense” but “also” to be found in UN Charter. In reply to second question he indicated that limiting to Taiwan area dispute was deliberate because my emphasis on Taiwan area and since if settlement that most critical dispute could be effected without war other disputes would present no problem. [Page 358] His replies to my questions on last para, were completely evasive. However, “very willing hear any ideas or suggestions” I may have.

4. At close of this phase referring to his statements on “procrastination” and our seeking “freeze” situation in Taiwan area, I pointed out talks had not made further progress because of their ambiguous position thus far on renouncing force.

5. I made statement on implementation along lines para. 3 Deptel 19433 to which I [he?] replied along usual lines stressing that last December they had asked for accounting Chinese in U.S. prisons, who, I could not deny, desired return China, and we had no right inquire concerning Americans in Chinese prisons until we made such accounting.

6. Next meeting Thursday May 17.

7. Proceeding Prague Saturday returning Geneva Tuesday.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/5–1156. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution.
  2. The Chinese draft, as transmitted to the Department in telegram 1866, May 11, reads as follows:

    “Ambassador Wang Ping-nan, on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, and Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson, on behalf of the Government of the United States of America, agree, without prejudice to the principles of mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, to announce:

    “The People’s Republic of China and the United States of America are determined that they should settle disputes between their two countries in the Taiwan area through peaceful negotiations without resorting to the threat or use of force against each other;

    “The two Ambassadors should continue their talks to seek and to ascertain within two months practical and feasible means for the realization of this common desire, including the holding of a Sino-American conference of the Foreign Ministers, and to make specific arrangements.” (Ibid.)

  3. Telegram 1943 to Geneva, May 2, provided guidance for the meeting scheduled for May 5 which was postponed until May 11 at Chinese request. Telegram 1967 to Geneva, May 9, confirmed the guidance provided in telegram 1943 as the guidance for the May 11 meeting. In paragraph 3 of telegram 1943, Johnson was instructed to note that 18 additional Chinese from the United States had crossed the border into the People’s Republic of China on April 30, making a total of 148 since August 1, 1955. Johnson was instructed to contrast that record with the Chinese failure to implement the Agreed Announcement of September 10. (Telegrams 1943 and 1967 are ibid., 611.93/5–2556 and 611.93/5–956, respectively.)