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

1051. 1. I opened this morning’s meeting which lasted 2 hours and 50 minutes with statement on implementation in which I made points contained paragraph 1 Deptel 1053.2 Wang gave his usual reply, they are faithfully implementing and details should not be discussed here.

2. I then made long extemporaneous statement on renunciation of force during which I picked up points from our original presentation this subject and asked whether and how their draft met. I strongly pointed out importance full meeting of minds this vital subject rather than vague formula of words which had one meaning to one side and another meaning to other side. I particularly focused on practical situation in Taiwan area and question was whether PRC would resort to use of force in Taiwan area, except defensively, and whether PRC accepted principle that use of force to achieve national objectives does not accord with accepted standards of conduct under international law. I pointed out that if principle non-recourse to force a sound one it was sound for its own sake and it was not proper to link it with any particular form for negotiation. Foreign Ministers were not normal and usual channel for discussions between governments. Was PRC position peaceful discussion disputes could be had only between Foreign Ministers? I then turned back to and reviewed our original proposal.

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3. Wang replied with prepared statement, upon which he subsequently expanded, reiterating previous position on Taiwan but drawing somewhat harder line between domestic and international affairs and “rejecting my metaphors” comparing other divided countries with China. During extemporaneous remarks he said their draft “met the spirit” of my proposal. He said US has said it could not speak for Chiang and they could not accept that we should do so. He reiterated “conditions permitting” formula on “liberation”. He said “cannot agree to touching on any Chinese internal affair in any public announcement”. Foreign Ministers meeting not necessary if I “am fully authorized and could assume responsibility settle question withdrawal US forces from Taiwan area”. I closed long discussion this subject on note that whatever differing views on Taiwan situation, did PRC recognize fact that initiation use of force in Taiwan area would endanger international peace? He dodged question.

4. I then made statement on missing military personnel giving details case Corporal Russel F. Morris US Army and again asking him accept lists. When he again rejected list as well as discussion of subject, I said immaterial whether information given us here or in MAC. Asked whether PRC would instruct MAC rep to discuss subject and accept list, whose refusal thus far to do so had necessitated my raising question here. He refused commit himself.

5. I then made statement on trade3 for which he obviously entirely unprepared and at end of meeting asked me for copy of statement as they had at beginning failed to take full notes. We observed this was in fact case and are sending him copy of statement this afternoon.

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6. At end of meeting he asked reasons personal convenience next meeting be Tuesday November 8. I explained I had already made other plans which difficult to change but would meet Friday November 11 if he preferred. He quickly and courteously agreed to meeting Thursday November 10.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/11–355. Confidential; Niact; Limited Distribution.
  2. Document 86.
  3. Johnson transmitted the text of the statement in his detailed report of the meeting in telegram 1056 from Geneva, November 3. He stated that “my response to the questions which you may raise under your item of trade embargo must greatly depend upon the degree of agreement which we are able to reach with respect to renunciation of force” but that, while the question of renunciation of force was being considered, he would, in the interest of expediting their discussions, be glad to hear Wang’s views with respect to trade. He contrasted this with Wang’s unwillingness to discuss the question of missing military personnel. He continued as follows:

    “In discussing the matter of trade at our meeting of September 14 you referred to what you termed ‘economic blockade and embargo imposed by U.S.’. I am not clear as to what you have in mind in this regard. I know of no blockade and I know of nothing imposed by the U.S. on anyone else.

    “I do know of various sovereign measures taken by my government with respect to economic intercourse between my country and your country. I also know of common measures taken by several other countries in consultation with each other as well as with the United States concerning the export to your country of strategic materials. I also know of the resolution of May 18, 1951, by the General Assembly of the United Nations recommending an embargo on the shipment to your country of arms, ammunition, implements of war and other strategic materials.

    “Therefore, when you present the views of your government, I hope that you will clarify exactly what aspects of this matter you have in mind.” (Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/11–355)