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

2129. 1. Two hours 35 minutes meeting this morning, two hours of which on renunciation. Wang made brief opening statement to effect May 11 draft was major effort meet our point view and if US sincere will give up attempts obtain PRC agreement freezing status quo Taiwan area.

2. I made long extemporaneous reply2 point out real problem was lack willingness PRC take first fundamental step renouncing [Page 385] force including Taiwan area, contrasting this with US position. Characterized their position as asking my government agree to negotiations under very clear and continued threat their part resort force if necessary. This anachronistic position would never be accepted by my government or any other self-respecting government. Their equating renunciation force with agreeing to maintenance status quo Taiwan area was doctrine of despair and pessimism in effect saying some disputes could not be settled peacefully. From this led back to urging acceptance April 19 draft.

3. In reply Wang renewed familiar charges US occupation Taiwan, distinction between international and domestic matters, and particularly urging “five principles” first paragraph May 11 draft.3 PRC will not agree to anything that will perpetuate situation Taiwan area. Our task is to push forward peaceful resolution Taiwan area dispute.

4. Renunciation ended on this inconclusive note with no slightest indication any shift position by Wang and I also avoided any indication possible change.

5. He obviously not desiring any implementation discussion I made prepared statement along lines paragraph 2 Deptel 2217.4 I introduced subject referring my remark last meeting further action was awaiting reply Indian Embassy and reply now received to effect PRC has not agreed to Indian Embassy interviewing prisoners. Made no other statement regard Indian Embassy letter and avoided any statement that Indian Embassy had refused act. Wang denied they had reversed their position and avoided any direct reply retreating to previous complaints our not furnishing list Chinese US, accounting for names he had given me, Taiwan entry permits etc. Also repeated list those in prison “not complete”. In rebuttal I stuck to prisoners asking him direct question whether it their position that if prisoner desired return he should not be able promptly do so but rather await completion sentence or normal parole procedures, and whether they willing accept our word on whether desires return. Noting his statement on full confidence in Indian Embassy I expressed gratification and [Page 386] said my government could take much satisfaction that considering number Chinese in US and long period since issuance agreed announcement Indians have made no complaint lack full cooperation my government nor had alleged single case any obstruction. Wang avoided any reply referring to his previous statement as “fully setting forth their position”.

6. I proposed next meeting July 6 and Wang countered with proposal for Tuesday, July 10 “because of previous engagement” to which I agreed. Departing Prague Friday morning.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/6–2856. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution.
  2. In letter No. 39 to McConaughy, June 28, Johnson explained the rational behind his “extemporaneous reply” on the question of renunciation of force:

    “I had not intended to say much on renunciation but listening to his opening statement the mood seized me and I let myself go. It is the type of act that loses its usefulness if put on too often, but after arriving there this morning it seemed to me a good idea. It is also, I feel, much more effective when I do it obviously extemporaneously rather than reading a prepared statement. I tried again to go as far as I felt I could in holding out the ‘pot of gold’ if they would behave themselves. It seems to me this is now and again necessary if I am to do everything possible to assume that we keep going along the present lines. However, it is hard to find new ways to say the same old thing. My present feeling is that with careful handling we can expect to be able to plow this same furrow until November but, depending on what happens then not much beyond that. It is not too early to consider how we will handle the various contingencies that might be expected at about that time, but I leave that in your good hands.” (Ibid., Geneva Talks Files: Lot 72 D 415, Geneva—Correspondence Re US–PRC, 1955–1956)

  3. See footnote 2, Document 174.
  4. Supra.