556. Telegram 1709 from Geneva1

[Facsimile Page 1]

1709. From Johnson.

I opened 42nd meeting with prepared statement saying I was very disturbed at course of last few meetings, as well as at apparent [Typeset Page 885] absence of intent Wang’s government take those simple and fundamental steps that could lead to improvement our relations.
I said I had come here last year with high hopes that two of us could, notwithstanding obvious difficulties, find solutions to more pressing practical problems existing between our two countries and thus open road to mutually satisfactory resolution other matters. Success in this could mean much to our two peoples as well as to all other peoples. My hopes had not yet been realized but I felt that issues were too important to permit discouragement or impatience.
I said my government proposed and his government agreed first item to be resolved was return of civilians. It was well known when we came here this fundamentally involved from US standpoint question Americans imprisoned in his country or denied exit permits.
I said his government had professed concern over question restrictions imposed during Korean war by my government on departure of some few Chinese students with militarily useful technical training. It was well known that all other Chinese have at all times been free to depart if they desired to do so. As I had told him at outset of these talks removal these restrictions had been completed by that time. No amount vague and unfounded charges concerning Chinese in US or introduction extraneous issues could obscure fact. Third party arrangement he had suggested to confirm Chinese in US desiring return his country were free to do so had in fact confirmed it.
I said at very outset these talks I had spoken of importance satisfactory resolution problem of Americans in his country. I [Facsimile Page 2] had pointed out then, and have continued to point out in every way which I am capable, that early and satisfactory settlement this problem would have provided solid basis for further progress. At time we issued agreed announcement I had pointed out very favorable effects its prompt and faithful execution by his government could have on our relations. I had often pointed out to him here optimism over future our relations that was engendered in my country by issuance announcement and release some Americans effected by his government at that time. These releases were understandably taken as grounds for hoping that there would in fact be full implementation agreement and that this unnecessary irritant our relations thereby removed. However, as long months had passed since then, this optimism had, I greatly regretted to say, naturally been replaced by a sense of disillusionment. It simply impossible for my government and people understand why his authorities chose continue flout their pledged word in our agreed announcement of last September 10, if there is serious desire really to improve relations with my country. They could only interpret attempt obscure this failure by resort to vague charges concerning treatment Chinese in my country, charges which every American and every person familiar [Typeset Page 886] with my country immediately recognized as unfounded, as attempt to place pressure my country for political concessions. I said I had consistently pointed out that such policy could only be counterproductive. I could not stress too often or too strongly that if his authorities seriously intended to reach understanding with my government on issues outstanding between us there must be fulfillment of first agreement reached between us, our agreed announcement of September 10 last year, that is, Americans still detained in his country must be released. I did not know how I could make words any plainer, or how I could better persuade him of overriding importance this matter. And if I had again spoken at some length on it, it was because of my desire to stress its importance and implications for future of our relations.
I said we both agreed that next important practical problem confronting us was situation existing in Taiwan area. In this regard first and most urgent task was to assure that our differences with regard to this problem would not lead to war. I said my proposition was and is very simple—it is just that [Facsimile Page 3] while we disagree about issues there, we agree we will not plunge our peoples or world into war about them but will discuss them as rational human beings. In putting forward a method of stating this proposition I had tried to respect his views and even offered specifically to agree to his saying that it would be clearly understood that whatever was said was without prejudice to peaceful pursuit of his policies.
I said yet he was unwilling to accept this simple proposition. He saw tricks where there were no tricks. He split hairs about what he termed international and domestic matters in an apparent attempt to obtain declaration which would sanction use of force by his country whenever it felt its desires with regard to Taiwan area were not being met. He said he would not agree peacefully to discuss matter unless I first agreed with him that meeting between our two Foreign Ministers was only way it could be discussed. He said his ears were closed to further negotiations on text of any declaration and only choice open to us was between two drafts which he had submitted embodying his points of view. In short his position seemed to be one of renewing his threat to resort to force unless I surrendered to his demand that there be prior agreement to immediate holding of meeting our Foreign Ministers.
I said I continued to hope this not his real position and that if he continued to object to form in which I incorporated my amendments to his December 1 draft in my January 12 draft, he would this morning offer alternative language that would enable us proceed to negotiation of meaningful declaration that would honestly assure world that we do not intend to go to war about our differences but would strive to seek their settlement in spirit of peace and goodwill.
Wang replied (speaking only from notes) he must say he disappointed [Facsimile Page 4] after listening my statement and surprised I had again indulged in unfounded charges concerning Americans in China. He noted I had failed give concrete opinion on question of making declaration between us. I did not seem to have put forward any fresh or constructive opinion which would enable further progress our talks. When we now meeting 42nd time between us he did not see how I thought it would help talks to renew old contentions they had repeatedly refuted in course talks.
Wang said when he came these talks last year he also had goodwill and desire resolve differences between us and thus open road to practical settlement differences and improvement relations between us. They also well aware present talks between us not only concerned our two peoples but also have important bearing on peace in whole Far East. If we genuinely desirous settling outstanding issues between us and thus improving relations between us we should accordingly make effort resolve disputes between two countries Taiwan area by peaceful negotiations instead of going to war to resolve them.
Wang said if we have these desires it not matter words but of deeds. Even on question of issuance of declaration between us which we now discussing he could hardly find such a desire on part of US. Proposal for making such declaration between us was initiated by my side. They went along with this idea. Two drafts presented by their side and which we had often discussed lately had actually been put forward after due consideration been given my opinions as well as their opinions. These two drafts should therefore be acceptable both us.
Wang said in regard these two drafts there no element of coercion in least. As he repeatedly been making clear amendments submitted by me were not acceptable his side. After so much discussion situation confronting us, seemed to him, if I could not find drafts his side acceptable to US (repeat US) then I should put forward constructive new proposals and submit new drafts which I deemed reasonable. Only in this way could spirit of negotiation be demonstrated.
Wang said if I refuse accept their proposals and their drafts on one hand while refusing produce new drafts of my own he did not see how could proceed any farther. Therefore if I had genuine desire make progress in talks and eventually reach agreement on question of declaration in talks, he would hope I would be able submit new and concrete proposal and draft on behalf US.
Wang said next he wanted discuss question return civilians. I had in my statement made many unfounded charges against his side. All these charges he must reject. I had not [Facsimile Page 5] fair attitude when I discussed this problem. It must be clear that agreement last September 10 between us was agreement on question civilians both sides. If I only [Typeset Page 888] had in mind 13 Americans in China while neglecting fact there innumberable Chinese in US who have not been able return—in view this situation how could relations between us be improved on this question of civilians? In dealing with this problem if one only has in mind one side, without due consideration other side he would say this problem could never be resolved.
Wang said he might bluntly inform me that Chinese Government and people have every day been asking this question: Why US so far been refusing implement agreement and still obstructing return and still refusing give accounting Chinese imprisoned US? He had here in these meetings requested we look into situation 42 Chinese and he not yet received any information from me.
Wang said today he would like bring up question four more Chinese in US who not able return his country. Information about them contained this paper which he handing me (names in following telegram). He again requested I make investigation these four individuals.
Wang said about case Mr. Pao, which he raised last meeting—mysterious death Mr. Pao cannot be explained Chinese people and Chinese Government. They request account by me as to cause his death and actually how he died in US. He would say this question humanitarianism.
I said first regarding question our declaration I must say I not entirely able follow his logic. He would recall history our negotiations on this. As he mentioned I made proposal for declaration first on October 8. He presented draft on October 27. [Facsimile Page 6] I explained reasons why US did not consider draft satisfactory and presented new draft November 10. He did not find that acceptable and on December 1 he presented draft. I carefully explained why, although I thought December 1 draft represented some advance over his previous position, I felt it defective some respects and, withdrawing my November 10 draft, I presented draft on January 12 in which I incorporated amendments which I considered essential to make his December 1 draft meaningful declaration.
I said if his statements regarding his desire issue such declaration and to find point at which our views could be reconciled have any meaning, it certainly by all laws logic and normal negotiating procedures up to him at this time to submit alternative suggestions if he still did not agree my January 12 draft.
I said I tried my best in January 12 draft to produce something which I felt met both our points of view and which I felt he would find acceptable. That draft fully incorporated our views regarding his December 1 draft. If we going get ahead on this and if he really desired get ahead on this it clearly up to his side produce alternative that meets essential points contained my January 12 draft.
I said I had not taken any arbitrary positions on this and I had in past and continued to express willingness give consideration any thoughts he might have on how thoughts expressed my January 12 draft might be better stated. I had hoped that this morning he would have such suggestions which would enable us get on it. I, of course, disappointed that he had not. I hoped he would have at our next meeting so we could again resume progress on this.
I said with regard to civilians I had little to add to what I already said. What I said was very carefully considered and as I pointed out, very important. I only wanted add that statements here, statements on radio, press, vaguely charging that Chinese in US desiring return his country were not able do so, did not constitute facts or evidence that such is case.
I said very clear objective test was set up to determine whether or not our agreement regarding civilians was being carried out both sides. This test was third-power arrangement. That test had provided very clear and irrefutable evidence as to who was and who was not carrying out our September 10 agreed announcement.
I said in list he gave me this morning I noticed in case Mr. Chen and Dr. Wang he referred to their having made application for permission return. His information this regard, I could only say, simply could not be correct. I had said over and over again here, and I categorically repeating, that any alien in US including any Chinese alien who desired depart US [Facsimile Page 8] makes no application to US Government or any authorities for permission leave.
I said we had no exit visa, exit permit, or any other such requirement regarding departure from US by alien. He simply goes down, buys ticket on boat or airplane and goes. I did not ask him accept my word on this. Anyone familiar with US, including Indian Embassy, knows this to be fact and can confirm this to him.
Wang said again on question of declaration in statement I had just made I had spoken about this question in such way as to say that “if Chinese side desires make such declaration Chinese side should do thus and so”. Now he must ask me whether this indicated US not willing make such declaration.
I said I did not quite follow his point.
Wang said he might quote actual words. I had said if his statements regarding desire issue declaration and find point on which our views can be reconciled—“et cetera”. It appeared from my statement that I said if his side desired make such statement his side should undertake produce what I had termed alternative suggestions. In view this statement he might ask me if this indicated there no such desire make such declaration on my part. I referred to declaration as desire on their part.
I said I did not follow his point. I had submitted draft which I had hoped met his point view as well as our point view and upon which we could find agreement. He had not so far found that acceptable and had said that only choice we had was to choose between his two previous drafts. Last draft before us was one incorporating my amendments his December 1 draft.
I said my point simply was that by all laws logic and normal negotiating procedures, if his desire was to find draft on which agreement could be reached, it clearly up to his side to submit alternatives that they would find acceptable and would incorporate thoughts it contained, I had expressed willingness consider any [Facsimile Page 9] thoughts he might have this regard. I did not know how I could be any more reasonable or show any greater desire to push ahead with essential task of issuing such declaration. My assumption had been that there had been an equal desire to reach such declaration.
Wang said if as I said both sides desire to reach agreement then, of course, I could not ask one of two sides arbitrarily to do what I had said.
I asked what was there arbitrary about normal, natural and logical procedure of doing such things?
Wang said problem was way I had put things in my statement which created impression that it only Chinese side which had been so desirous make such declaration. That why he felt necessary to clarify this matter. If we put things as if one side had desire and other side was without such desire, then pattern our discussions would be quite different.
Wang said if matter confronting us was, as I put it, that both us had desire reach agreement then his position regarding making declaration has been quite clear and he had repeatedly indicated January 12 draft presented by me unacceptable his side. And again I had not been able state definitely whether I could accept two drafts submitted by him. I had failed accept two drafts his side despite fact these drafts incorporated points view both us.
Wang said so that we could get ahead on this matter it was hoped I would produce new reasonable and constructive formula. And so he looked forward to any new proposals and opinions which I would put forward our next meeting. He desired know if I was going make such new and reasonable proposal next meeting.
I said I had already said if there were equal desire get ahead on this certainly all logic and normal negotiating procedures would require him to present some constructive suggestion our next meeting that would meet points view I had expressed here regarding his December 1 draft and I would hope at next meeting he would have such suggestions.
Wang said if issuance this declaration was equal desire both us the effort to make progress should be forthcoming from both sides. If I on one hand would not accept their drafts but on other hand would not put forward new proposals it hard him call this attitude of reasonable negotiating.
Wang said on matter return civilians if return Chinese in US so simple and straightforward that they need only go to buy ticket on boat or plane for passage home and there been no requirements whatever to do with US authorities, then it would seem be entirely to no purpose his bringing up cases 46 Chinese in US these meetings. It would be highly desirable on their part if rosy picture I painted were actually true in case Chinese.
I said I had nothing more this morning.
Wang said he looked forward to new proposals forthcoming from me next meeting.
I said it up to him. I presented last draft.
Wang quipped these meetings are negotiations—we not playing football.
I suggested next meeting Thursday April 5. Wang suggested Monday, April 9.
I said that was all right. What was his thought regarding meeting after that so I could make plans.

I would suggest meeting Thursday following week, 19th. Wang said we might discuss that matter next meeting. I said I would probably so propose at next meeting.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/3–2956. Confidential; Limit Distribution.