736. Telegram 417 from Geneva1

[Facsimile Page 1]

417. From Johnson.

I opened 60th with prepared statement:
During recent meetings, and in your govt’s current series bi-weekly press statements recurrent theme has been attempt create false impression responsibility for our failure make further progress these talks and specifically failure thus far reach agreement on fundamental question renunciation force rests with my side. Emphasis your side places on these unsupported allegations demonstrates uneasy awareness of glaring weakness its position. That is, in final analysis, it comes down to question of comparative good faith of two sides in carrying out presently existing or proposed agreements. Fortunately, people of world who being called upon form opinion on this subject have entirely concrete set facts by which they can judge this matter for selves. World well knows of commitment your side made Sept 10 1955, respect return Americans. World well knows in spite of that clear commitment ten Americans still languish in your prisons. Let us take as example the case just one these Americans, Fr. McCarthy.
On June 15 1953, Fr. McCarthy’s long devotion to Chinese people and desire promote understanding between our two peoples was rewarded by sudden arrest. Without respect for legal norms of any social or political system he was kept in prison for month after month year after year without trial, without charges being proferred, without opportunity obtain defense counsel, without opportunity defend himself, [Facsimile Page 2] without opportunity have his guilt or innocence determined by impartial tribunal. Finally on Sept 18 1955 Fr. McCarthy is shown by your authorities copy of agreed announcement which you and I issued here eight days previously. As would any reasonable man, Fr. McCarthy believed this solemn commitment applied him as well as all other imprisoned Americans. He could only have anticipated his expeditious release return to his country accordance with that announcement.
However, what happens? Instead of promised release, on October 22 1955 he finally given so-called trial and sentenced spend more years in prison.
In meanwhile Fr. McCarthy receives letter from UK Charge written and delivered within context of announcement and transmitting copy thereof to him. Again he must have dared hope. On [Typeset Page 1220] December 10 1955 he is permitted send letter to UK Charge properly pointing out he was being prevented from returning to US. UK Charge, again in absolute conformity with agreed announcement made representations to your govt on behalf Fr. McCarthy. What is result? In utter disregard of freely entered into commitment and provisions of announcement your govt curtly asserted it was entirely matter its sovereignty as to how it treated imprisoned Americans and refused act on UK Charge’s representations. Thus in this one example there is laid out extraordinarily complete record of not only failure your authorities release Americans accordance with their commitment Sept 10 but even permit operation of third party arrangement which was established by that announcement.
However, even this is not end of record in this case. On Sept 1 this year Fr. McCarthy permitted again write UK Charge requesting interview with him, again within context announcement. Your authorities agreed permit interview and time was set for it. Acting in good faith representative UK Charge makes long journey to Shanghai, presents himself at prison at appointed time. Then, prison authorities refuse [Facsimile Page 3] permit representative UK Charge even see Fr. McCarthy. He refused even meager privilege of interview. He refused very explicit authority set forth in announcement investigate facts in any such case. There cannot be any clearer evidence of deliberate refusal carry out every substantive provision of announcement.
It should not even have been necessary for Fr. McCarthy write asking for interview, for UK Charge should long ago have been enabled by your authorities see all Americans who continue be held in prison. As long ago as last December your Prime Minister told UK Charge that he was not permitted visit American prisoners on grounds that Indian Embassy in US not permitted visit Chinese prisoners my country. Although this matter had not been raised during our discussion announcement on May 31 1956 at 49th meeting, I formally informed you here, and Indian Embassy in US was informed, that its representatives could interview any Chinese prisoner in US whether in federal or state institutions. It solely because of inexplicable objections your govt that this was not done. On Aug 23 this year UK Charge again formally requested permission visit all American prisoners. Although there no longer even slightest basis for your authorities refuse this modest reasonable request, your govt has not even yet replied his letter.
My govt has been extremely patient in face this inexplicable continued refusal of your authorities carry out its clear commitment release all Americans. It is also seriously concerned at attempt of your authorities, as exemplified in case Fr. McCarthy, evade their obligations under announcement with respect third party functions. These [Typeset Page 1221] undisputable facts with regard public agreement between us and my govt is considering making public statement with regard to these facts.
It is in light of these facts as well as continued unwillingness of your govt enter into meaningful renunciation force that world will judge which side is willing carry out its [Facsimile Page 5] public commitments, which side is willing unconditionally renounce recourse to use of force in settling our disputes, and thus, which side is truly demonstrating its good faith in attempting improve relations between us.
Wang replied, in my statement I referred to issue civilians as well as renunciation force declaration. He could only say I had only repeated old arguments in this respect and in doing so reversed facts. In discussing question civilians had never made any clear accounting in cases 52 people of 55 names he had given me and also failed give accounting with regard 26 persons whose cases brought up previously and whose names I had given him. I had not referred to any improvement in ability Chinese in US return their fatherland. I had not spoken of any action taken by my authorities eliminate obstruction offered Chinese returning their country. Thus it was their side which actually dissatisfied with present situation on civilians. Despite repeated representation of their side, situation had not yet improved. I had made reference to American nationals in China but not able state any case of ordinary American resident in China hindered or prevented from leaving. This fully proved it precisely Chinese side which carrying out agreement between us. Policy his govt any aliens residing his country without respect nationality, who are friendly to people and abide by their law, will be treated with even more friendliness and protected. To treat foreign friends as criminals is not practice of China and will never occur China. Such is only practice of American authorities with respect innocent Chinese residents in America. However, any aliens residing China who dared go against Chinese law would certainly be punished according to law.
Wang continued, with regard concrete example I had given this morning regard case Fr. McCarthy, if he had not engaged in intelligence activities against China and had not [Facsimile Page 6] carried out subversive activities against China Govt, he would never been punished by law. Fr. McCarthy had himself made confession regard these criminal activities. In case any foreign nationals engaged in subversive activities against Chinese Govt, could anyone expect Chinese stand idly by without doing anything against him. Supposing such case occured in US, he presumed my govt would also take similar measures against him. This is only natural.
Wang continued from prepared statement, at today’s meeting he would like point out talks have now come to stage where no progress can be made. This could not but greatly disappoint them. At [Typeset Page 1222] last meeting my side used entirely unjustified pretext and once again rejected last proposal mutual contact and cultural relations between peoples. This could not but lead one to conclusion present talks at Ambassadorial level could not solve other practical matters at issue between China and US as stipulated in agenda. At very beginning our discussions on second point agenda my side deliberately and without any reason haggled procrastinated first point agenda. Then so-called renunciation force item introduced. However throughout full year negotiations on this, my side persisted in unjustifiable position encroaching sovereignty interfering internal affairs. My side never tried conceal this intention encroach sovereignty and interference internal affairs under renunciation force proposition. In this respect my remarks at last meeting on relations between international agreement and sovereign and internal affairs were startling. According my logic it seems any country which happens have dealing with US must accept encroachment sovereignty and interference internal affairs. Entirely contrary this attitude of my side, their side adopted spirit conciliation with view resolving Sino-American disputes and made three successive reasonable proposals this respect. It only due persistence my side in unreasonable demands, we thus far have not succeeded and talks developed into deadlock. Evidently until my side abandons attempt encroachment sovereignty and interference internal affairs no progress [Facsimile Page 8] could be expected this question. In spite all this, his side had continued make important efforts with view breaking deadlock. Their side had introduced two proposals for lifting embargo and peoples contact and cultural relations. In making these proposals their side believed agreement these matters which easily resolved would not only dispose these two outstanding questions Sino-American relations, but also definitely facilitate improvement atmosphere these talks, thus contributing to solution other controversial issues. However my side had rejected both these reasonable propositions. It should be pointed out my side even refused conduct discussion these proposals. In addition to making acceptance of our terms on renunciation force issue, precondition also introduced pretext of handful Americans who offended law in China and serving sentences in China. These pretexts all been refuted long ago—we ourselves well aware such pretexts untenable. Everybody knows pretexts my side could in no sense justify obstruction lifting embargo and development personal contacts and cultural exchange.
Wang continued, in taking such position my side only reveals self as deliberately blocking any progress in Ambassadorial talks and fearful any improvement Sino-American relations. Talks between us at Ambassadorial level had taken such long time, during which so many trials made. Despite fact their side had made such efforts, these efforts not rewarded as deserved. They consider now such futile [Typeset Page 1223] situation should not continue any longer. They consider it is time Foreign Ministers our countries meet for direct talks. Hence he now formally proposed Foreign Ministers conference between China and US be held to discuss question relaxing and eliminating tension Taiwan area as well as questions mutual renunciation force by China and America, lifting embargo, personal contact and cultural exchange, etc. In making this proposal their side was fully conscious duty to people. What is at stake is future Sino-American relations and indeed peace in Far East and world. Therefore it his earnest hope my govt would give careful consideration to this proposal.
I replied when my govt made proposal for these talks he would well recall that it put as first item in terms reference question return civilians. His govt agreed here this was first item on agenda. His govt well aware what we referring to when used term return civilians. There had been various indirect exchanges between our govts on subject and in 1954 he and I here directly discussed matter. Had been discussion of subject here between our respective Consulates and when he and I first met here August last year, I had given him list of people with whom we concerned in discussion of subject. These were people who denied exit permits from his country and people in prison. Our discussions here prior issuance announcement Sept 10 last year, so far as Americans concerned, centered entirely around these people. Sept 6 last year he informed me cases those refused exit permits had been resolved and they being given such permits. Thus when we made announcement Sept 10 only cases remaining were those in prison. He would well recall our long discussions this subject and would well recall history of each of words appearing in that announcement, particularly word “expeditiously.” Quite clear intent my govt this subject from very beginning not issuance some vague public statement which resolved nothing, but in resolution problem itself.
I continued, we given that problem to resolve and was on very clear understanding my part issuance of that statement would resolve problem that I had agreed to its issuance. I willing agree to wording therein, which not as explicit as would have liked to see, in deference to his views and on understanding it covered problem we given to resolve. I still considered that agreement did cover problem. As said at time we reached that agreement, however, agreement [Facsimile Page 10] as such did not resolve problem, only carrying out agreement could resolve problem. This was first agreement reached between us. Its prompt faithful execution could have had great potentialities for future our relations. I and my govt had most earnestly hoped it would be promptly faithfully carried out. During past months here I had over and over again pointed out if not being carried out. This morning I pointed out fact regard just one case in which not carried out, not only respect commitment release [Typeset Page 1224] person involved but also with what we might term more minor matter of third party functions. Thus this not matter of any pretext involving any few American citizens, important though each them were. It transcended even their importance. It matter good faith carrying out agreement he and I, as Ambassadors representing our two govts, had solemnly entered into. If not good faith carrying out agreements reached between us as Ambassadors, it certainly futile consider negotiations at another level. Thus, progress blocked not by refusal my side engage in discussions other agreements, progress blocked by failure his side carry out agreement already reached. Progress measured not by number paper agreements we pour out to press of world but by what we actually do in solving problems. I been trying my best urge, in every way I capable, on his govt that it make progress in resolving this first problem between us. His govt, and only his govt, had it in its power permit us make progress this regard. Entirely choice his govt as to whether or not progress would be made.
I continued, we next both agreed most urgent problem facing us was that existing Taiwan area. I thought we both accepted obvious fact situation very complex and did not lend itself to any ready and easy solution. We disagreed very strongly about origins, causes, possible solutions and other aspects that situation. However, that did not mean we had to go to war about it. We could both agree only peaceful methods be used in pursuing our policies, and resolving that problem. That had been my proposition and very simple proposition from very beginning. On other hand from very beginning it had been their position they free use force and threat force in attempt resolve that situation. Making such charges as an attempt being made interfere in internal affiars, sovereignty, other such matters did not obscure fact he had not yet accepted simple proposition I had made that force would not be used resolve that situation.
I continued, when his govt reached decision it willing say would not employ force in that area or any other areas in which we found policies in conflict, agreement on renunciation force readily possible between us. If it had not reached that decision and willing state it in simple straightforward terms, no amount discussion this or any other level could hope reach agreement that subject. I had made it clear my govt not willing enter into any statement, particularly following our experience on statement first item agenda, which means one thing to one side and other thing to other side and gives appearance to world agreement renunciaton force has been reached when such agreement does not in fact [Facsimile Page 12] exist. My govt and no self-respecting govt willing negotiate under threat force. That threat use force in Taiwan still publicly being stated by high officials his govt. When that threat removed we could discuss ways and means whereby other existing problems between us could be [Typeset Page 1225] resolved. I had continued hope he would enter into agreement with me which would renounce threat force, thus open up way settlement other problems. US was one who made this proposal—expressed willingness unconditionally renounce use threat force in settlement that dispute. I still hoped his govt could perceive that acceptance that simple and straightforward proposition as well as carrying out first agreement between us was in its own interest as well as in interest peace in Far East and world. If there was good faith this was something entirely capable resolution between us here. If not good faith certainly could not be resolved at other level discussion.
Wang replied he not going make more comments on course our talks here as record of more than year past has fully proved tremendous efforts put in these talks by their side. He recalled occasion on which I had indicated talks on this Ambassadorial level capable resolving issues between our two countries. At that time he had said disagreed with that view but added if US genuinely desirous do so, of course he glad go along. I had stated that for our talks to go ahead depends on resolution practical problems, to this he readily agreed. However record of past year demonstrated US Govt not produced authority for settling issues and had not shown willingness do so.
Wang continued, had just made statement covering question return civilians as well as what I called existence threat use force Taiwan. Both these questions demonstrated fundamentally erroneous approach my side to these questions. We must recognize principle of mutual benefit must be observed in any negotiations to resolve controversial issues. In my statement I had repeatedly said I expected his govt do thus and so. This approach to talks entirely reveals standpoint my side; that is my side only takes account of own interests. On question return civilians, if US not willing take any action or make gestures to improve situaton of [Facsimile Page 13] Chinese in US desiring return China and if US only made charges against his govt, how could such approach facilitate our resolving the question. With reference cases Chinese residents in US who long expressed desire return homeland and not able do so, can this situation indicate good faith on part US to carry out agreement? US authorities been trying coerce Chinese residents who desire return his country to apply for so-called Taiwan entry permits or even cause them proceed Taiwan itself and US authorities trying coerce Chinese obtain permanent residence US. Could all these cases be described as record American good faith. If we were to talk about good faith question involved US alone.
Wang continued, next, on question existence threat force Taiwan. Is it not situation US posing threat force against China? How can anyone say that in Taiwan it China posing threat force against US? Was it not fact precisely China which first proposed China and US [Typeset Page 1226] should enter into negotiations settle controversial issues Taiwan area. Was it not fact Chinese made untiring efforts these talks and repeatedly put forth proposals with view improving relations between two countries? Was it not fact US repeatedly refused any improvement in relations between two countries? To sum up facts very clear. Problem facing us not for China do thus and so but problem was for US to improve negotiations and contribute to solution of problems. They on their part always desired and always made efforts overcome difficulties so that problems might be resolved. They had made many efforts this direction. Now that in these talks whole series of question and even some minor ones had not been resolved, spite all their efforts, was it not time consider holding FMC rpt FMC to resolve all these questions? Could it be that US Govt determined continue present situation these talks without settling any issues and on other hand refused to raise level of negotiations? They hoped that in interest improved relations between China and US and in interest peace, US will not take that course of action. Hoped US Govt would give careful and favorable consideration to proposal he had made this morning concerning holding FMC.
I replied, he had spoken of mutual benefit in negotiations. I certainly agreed. We entered into this agreement on civilians on understanding it was to be of mutual benefit. Fortunately there was way of undisputable demonstrating to whose benefit it had operated. There were facts with regard [Facsimile Page 15] to it that did not rest on unsupported assertions. Facts were that under third party arrangement with which we agreed, my govt had not received single allegation any obstruction offered to any of tens thousands Chinese in my country. Facts were as I cited this morning that in addition to Americans covered by agreement still remaining in prison his govt had rejected representation of third party made in accordance with that agreement and had prevented third party from operating even limited way set forth that agreement. I’d hope at our next meeting he would be in position assure me this situation been corrected.
Wang replied, also wanted point out fact many Chinese imprisoned in America. They had not seen any initiative taken by US improve their situation. As he had mentioned previously Chinese in US still subject to many unreasonable restrictions. Hoped US would improve lot. He meant such restrictions as so-called Taiwan entry permit.
I replied, no Chinese in US ever forced go Taiwan against his will. No Chinese who desired return his country had in any way been obstructed doing so. Only action of his govt prevented third party from determining in impartial manner desires of Chinese who imprisoned for common crimes. Might mention that since last informed him, to our knowledge, 222 Chinese have returned his country since Aug 1 last [Typeset Page 1227] year. Chinese continue freely depart for his country at any time they desire.
Wang said would be very happy to take my word regarding Chinese in US, but even happier see facts actually so.
I said fortunately he had Indian Embassy there which could assure him of facts.
Wang said but Indian Embassy not informed them US has already rescinded so-called requirement forcing Chinese obtain Taiwan entry permit. Very much hoped such proof could be given them.
I said that not issue, issue is does any Chinese in US feel he being obstructed from returning? Established third party arrangement to take care of that. Had Indian Embassy informed him of even single case Chinese who alleged he being obstructed? I had assured him we been and continue willing take action immediately any case brought our attention by Indian Embassy. This sharply contrasted with attitude taken by his govt with respect representations already made to his govt by UK Charge. Hardly any mutual benefit or reciprocity in situation from US standpoint.
Wang said fact Indian Embassy has not made representation did not mean cases do not exist. Past experience of Chinese in US still haunting them. Unless US Govt going to take positive effect measures to improve their situation, such influence could not be easily removed.
I said certainly did not seem prevent Chinese departing US whenever desire. US had and would continue faithfully carry out agreement into which we entered, in spite fact his authorities not only not carried out agreement in broad aspects but even in details. I knew of no way in which we could better show our good faith.
Wang could only say these remarks sounded very nice but coercion such as requirement secure Taiwan entry permit still existed. He hoped I would give careful consideration to proposal he made this morning.
Neither of us having any more to say, I asked if Nov 1 agreeable. He suggested Friday, Nov 2. I agreed.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/10–1856. Confidential; Limit Distribution.