749. Telegram 515 from Geneva1

[Facsimile Page 1]

515. From Johnson.

I opened 61st meeting with prepared statement:
“At last meeting I again pointed out as clearly as know how progress in resolving our disputes continues be thwarted by unwillingness your government agree to fundamental proposition disputes will be settled by peaceful means only, as well as by failure your government carry out simple terms of first agreement between us.
Particularly reiterated my hope situation with regard implementation of that first agreement would be corrected so basis of confidence could be established. Am enormously disappointed during period since last meeting not even single step been taken in that direction.
At last meeting I particularly spoke of case Fr. McCarthy which exemplified not only failure your authorities carry out their basic commitment expeditiously release Americans but their failure honor even supplementary provisions of agreement September 10 last year which extended very specific rights to third parties designated therein.
In spite of renewed representations of UK Charge with respect Fr. McCarthy, he has not only not yet been released but UK Charge has not even been permitted carry out his clearly specified function of investigating facts in case. Neither has UK Charge been given even reply to his letter of almost three months ago renewing request interview [Facsimile Page 2] other Americans still imprisoned, nor have any those persons been released return US.
If your government is sincerely desirous contribute to peace in Far East and world, it would remove its threat resort to force settle disputes. If your government sincerely desirous have improved relations, it would take prompt steps correct its record of performance with respect this first agreement.”
Wang said I had just made reference to failure talks achieve progress so far; to this he agreed. However he could not agree to what I said was cause of lack progress our talks. Present state of affairs our talks very unsatisfactory so far as his side concerned; they disappointed with attitude adopted by my side which does not contribute progress. It could not but create doubts in their minds as to whether US still has sincere desire arrive any agreement on this second item agenda. In course of previous [Typeset Page 1241] discussion although their side on three occasions put forward reasonable proposals for making renunciation force declaration, yet as result my side’s insistence unreasonable demands, no progress made and talks come to deadlock. I would clearly recall that to break deadlock, his side then turned to matters which they supposed would yield more easily to solution and made two proposals for raising embargo and promoting peoples contacts and cultural exchanges. Again my side didn’t enter genuine discussion these subjects. In these circumstances how could anyone feel there were still hopes for progress in talks. That why they said at 60th meeting it high time respective Foreign Ministers met in direct conversations. It their firm conviction only by holding FMC can any progress be made on subjects relaxation elimination tensions in Taiwan area, mutual renunciation force between China and US, lifting embargo, promoting peoples contacts and cultural exchanges and so forth. Unless my side promptly abandoned unreasonable demands and changed its attitude in discussions which lack sense earnestness, he saw no prospects for progress at present level discussions and it futile continue our discussions at this level. In complexity present international situation both Chinese [Facsimile Page 3] and American people earnestly wish improvement relations between two countries. They again asked that my government seriously and carefully consider proposal his side put forward for holding FMC. In this connection he regretted note I not yet given reply in statement this morning. I had spoken about peaceful desire; such peaceful desire should only be demonstrated in concrete reply from US Govt on this proposal of his side.
Wang continued with respect improvement relations he could only point out this also depends on efforts both sides. On question civilians they also not satisfied with attitude adopted by US Government this regard. In previous meetings he had repeatedly pointed to obstructive measures taken by US Govt. with regard return Chinese nationals. He had pointed out such measures taken by US were in violation our agreement. So far he not seen any moves taken by US Govt. to correct this unsatisfactory situation. Moreover, their information indicated US FBI been making investigation into Chinese student correspondence with families. Obvious attempt obstruct freedom communications, prevent them returning and fresh threat against those wishing return.
This is instance further violation agreement. He asked that US Govt. promptly stop this threatening action which violates our agreement.
Wang continued, regarding case McCarthy which I made repeated reference, he wished make following statement: McCarthy lawfully sentenced 4 years imprisonment October 22, 1955 for offenses against Chinese law. Sentence takes effect from day taken into custody and will expire June 1957. Prior expiration sentence or before Chinese authorities decide grant him expeditious release, there does not arise [Typeset Page 1242] question his return. Any demand his immediate release goes beyond scope of agreement and unacceptable any self-respecting country.
Wang continued as regards question third party interviewing prisoners, my side asked representative British Charge be permitted interview Americans in China on own initiative while US would prevent representative Indian Embassy [Facsimile Page 5] do same respect Chinese imprisoned in US. In asking representative Indian Embassy interview imprisoned Chinese it aim my side merely carry out screening in disguise. Their side long ago made clear would not agree to this. Besides, list given Indian Embassy by my side only lists part of Chinese imprisoned and did not cover all Chinese in prison in US, not to speak of all Chinese in US. If US wanted British Charge on his own initiative be able contact American prisoners in China then US should in first place furnish Indian Embassy a list Chinese in US, including all those in prison. My side should also agree Indian Embassy on own initiative may contact Chinese in US in unrestricted manner. Nevertheless if British Charge received personal request from American prisoner to this effect, and Charge requested interview, China had always granted such interview provided took place in accordance relevant prison regulations.
Wang continued, in this connection allegation I made last meeting their prison authorities refused permit representative British Charge visit Fr. McCarthy in accordance with previous arrangements was not in accordance with facts. Fact was McCarthy not willing comply with prison regulations governing such interviews and had voluntarily withdrawn request interview. Fact was McCarthy on that day refused interview. In proof this there is his signed statement. Yet I had alleged prison authorities refused McCarthy permission have interview. This obviously deliberate distortion fact. He considered it necessary clarify this point this morning.
I replied I thought statements he just made about prisoners, particularly regard Fr. McCarthy exemplify and illustrate better than anything I know apparent continued unwillingness his authorities even carry out agreements we already reached. It well illustrated what I had said in past about fact, if there no desire on part his government resolve issues and [illegible in the original] out agreements which we might reach at this level it certainly futile consider negotiations [Facsimile Page 6] any other level. As pointed out last meeting and many times previously he perfectly well realized and his government perfectly well realized what Americans we talking about when we were suggested these talks take up as their first matter of business, the return of civilians, he and his govt perfectly well knew that at time we entered into agreement regard civilians these were only Americans that were subject of discussion. What he now appeared saying was all our discussion and plain words our agreement with regard these Americans utterly without any meaning or substance. It utterly beyond my comprehension how he could seriously make this assertion at this [Typeset Page 1243] time. Certainly no misunderstanding between us at time we were discussing this as to what we meant by words “obstruction” and “expeditious” and to whom they applied with regard Americans in China. If relations between us to be improved and international agreements have meaning, must be carried out in good faith by parties thereto. Attitude his govt taken regarding these prisoners after we entered into our agreement and attitude of his govt, as exemplified by his statement this morning, were at grossest variance with not only our understanding but the plain words of agreement. Not only does agreement specifically and clearly cover all Americans desiring return but he would well recall when we discussing this, question differentiating in some way between those in prison and those not was discussed and specifically eliminated from agreement. Not question of placing demands which as he termed it “unacceptable any self-respecting country,” it question whether self-respecting country would carry out solemn commitments into which it entered. Agreement said any American who felt being obstructed—did not say any Americans not in prison—any American who felt being obstructed from returning might communicate with UK Charge.
I continued, agreement said his govt would receive representations from UK Charge in any such case. Agreement said if desired by US Govt UK Charge might also investigate facts in any such case. Fr. McCarthy rightly and properly felt he was being obstructed and he invoked, strictly in accordance with agreement, the assistance of UK Charge. No action taken by his govt in response to representation made by UK Charge. UK Charge, still strictly in accordance with agreement, attempted to investigate facts in Fr. McCarthy’s case. Fr. McCarthy expected he would do so and Charge expected be able do so. Both certainly had every reason expect this could be carried out because it clearly embodied in our agreement. As Fr. McCarthy said in letter to UK Charge he certainly didnt ask to see him to carry on any social chat. He desired talk about his case in order that UK Charge could investigate facts. Fr. McCarthy was informed he would not be permitted in any way to discuss his case with UK Charge. Fr. McCarthy properly felt under those circumstances interview was pointless. This action by Wang’s authorities clearly in violation of our agreement, and entirely frustrated whole purpose of our agreement. As I said I and my govt consider this whole act with regard to Fr. McCarthy not only in violation basic principles our agreement that all—and I repeat all—Americans who desire to do so be permitted return but also in grossest violation subsidiary provision of agreement concerning function of third party. As he had properly said improvement relations between us required efforts of both sides. Attitude which his govt adopting with regard prisoners did not indicate any effort—in fact quite contrary—to resolve this problem. It indicated willingness entirely to disregard and ignore solemn commitments.
Wang replied with regard first agenda item performance his govt always conformed with agreement that item. Regarding case McCarthy already clearly stated if his request in conformity with prescribed regulations, all his requests would have been granted. As result lenient policy his govt handling cases Americans great majority those imprisoned for offenses against Chinese law been deported. By contrast, with regard Chinese imprisoned US prisons, his side so far had not seen any move by US Govt with regard them. Up to now not single person of those imprisoned US had returned China, when I was referring Americans in China it seemed never aware still many Chinese in prison in US. Statements my side with regard imprisoned persons full of self-contradiction. For instance, in statement issued Dec 17 1955 Dept of State alleged in our agreement no distinction made between those in prison and those out of prison. But Asst Sec State Walter Robertson in aide memoire to Indian Embassy stated Chinese prisoners in US not covered by agreement. This self-contradictory statement. Can we be allowed give such unequal interpretation to agreement reached between us? He therefore advised me take note fact many Chinese in US obstructed and prevented from returning. US claims self be free country. What kind of free country is it if Chinese students correspondence with families being interfered with. If freedom of Chinese students to communicate with families being interfered with what else could one expect of freedom for Chinese to return from US.
Wang continued, question improving relations between two countries closely connected with how we proceed in these present talks. Since present state affairs these talks not satisfactory, question confronting us was how make these talks move forward and make progress. In order move these talks forward his side taken initiative in making whole series efforts this direction. Then at very end they put forward proposal for holding FMC our two countries. If US also shares desire improve relations and also shares desire solve issues by peaceful means, should take effective steps move talks forward. It their hope US would proceed this direction.
I replied he had raised question how we move talks forward. We move these talks forward if we resolve problems called upon to deal with. After more than fifteen months we have not resolved very first problem called upon to deal with. Why had we not resolved it? Because his govt had not taken action necessary to resolve it, even though it had committed self do so. He referred to efforts our respective govts resolve problems. Aide memoire June 1 of Dept of State to Indian Embassy he referred to was most excellent example of efforts my govt resolve problems. Memo correctly pointed out Chinese alien common criminals in US prisons not subject our discussion leading up to our agreed announcement and we did not consider them included therein. Nevertheless, in [Typeset Page 1245] view his representations here on that subject, we proposed take action on this question and that aide memoire very specifically set forth that “all Chinese alien criminals now serving sentences in federal or state penitentiaries in US are free to apply at once for parole or commutation sentence for purpose immediate voluntary return to” Wang’s country. In spite his govt’s inexplicable attitude toward proposal made in that aide memoire I was in position inform him that there not now in any of US prisons any alien Chinese who desire return to his country.
I continued, with respect Fr. McCarthy Wang had said if request were in accordance with prescribed regulations they would be granted. I utterly rejected concept that request must be in accordance with whatever regulations prison authorities might set forth when those regulations in conflict with clear provisions international commitment entered into by Wang’s govt. Only test is whether they in accordance provisions our agreed announcement. Requests of McCarthy and [Facsimile Page 10] UK Charge have been in strict accordance with that agreement. Rejection those requests by Wang’s authorities in violation that announcement. I rejected concept release what he called “great majority” those Americans in his prisons was fulfillment terms agreed announcement. Detention any American who desired return was violation that announcement.
Wang replied, statement he made this morning had given very clear explanation this regard. He could not accept my allegation that his side violated agreement and considered it distortion of fact. During period in which serving prison term, American prisoners cannot claim right to return. This exactly in conformity with our agreement and not in violation of our agreement. It precisely Chinese side which taken effective measures in accordance with policy leniency. I repeatedly made arbitrary allegations Chinese Govt not carrying out agreement but it precisely as result Chinese Govt carrying out policy leniency that greater part American prisoners been able to exercise their right return. On US side so far not single Chinese imprisoned in US prison has returned. Under circumstances in which Chinese imprisoned in US not regained freedom, he rejected statement not single one among them desires return.
I replied I didnt see how on one hand he made statement that, fact that what he called “great majority” of prisoners in his country had returned showed his authorities had carried out the agreement, and on other hand he said they had no rights under agreement. Agreement did not speak of “great majority” of prisoners. Agreement spoke of all Americans who desired return.
Wang replied fact great majority American prisoners returned to US means Chinese Govt taken measures on own initiative in accordance with lenient policy and enabled them return. Chinese Govt not suspended such a policy with [Facsimile Page 11] regard American prisoners. However, before [Typeset Page 1246] Chinese Govt adopted these measures, any demand for immediate release any prisoners whose sentences not yet expired went beyond our agreement. Nor had my govt agreed to any immediate release Chinese prisoners my country. He therefore advised me that in speaking about question of civilians, I should pay more attention to improving situation Chinese prisoners my country. Moreover, he hoped I’d give constructive consideration to proposal he made at last meeting and again this morning with regard holding FMC to break present deadlock.
I asked was it on his assertion that all our discussions leading up to our agreed announcement, and agreed anouncement itself have no meaning with regard to Americans we were discussing.
Wang did not think this proper way posing such question. Chinese Govt either would not agree enter agreement at all or once it entered agreement it always carried it out faithfully. In the same spirit his side always carried out agreement we reached previously. It exactly Chinese side which extremely dissatisfied with violation and breach of our agreement. He had nothing more say today.
I had nothing either.
Wang repeated had nothing except hoped I be able at next meeting express opinion with regard proposal he had made.
I thought I had expressed it very clearly this morning.
Wang did not think it was satisfactory.
I did not think responses of his govt were satisfactory.
Wang said his side had made repeated efforts this regard. Of course if I had something better offer, should put it forward.
I said would like see some efforts carry out agreement we made. As I had said before, we seem to have gone backward in that regard. It would be better if we had never made that agreement.
Wang said had nothing more.
I proposed next meeting Nov 29. Wang preferred Friday, Nov 30, and I agreed.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/11–1556. Confidential; Limit Distribution.