752. Telegram 581 to Geneva1

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581. Verbatim text. For Johnson. Re Deptel 532

Your comments desired on following draft statement for issuance by Department should Communists break off talks. QUOTE Chinese Communist Ambassador Wang Ping-nan informed US Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson on (blank) he would not meet with him again until US agreed meeting at Foreign Minister level. Ambassador Johnson told Ambassador Wang although US willing continue discussion of fundamental matters at issue, meeting at Foreign Minister level neither appropriate nor acceptable under present circumstances.

US in July 1955 agreed participate in Geneva talks in hope might bring about release American citizens imprisoned Communist China and open way to solution other matters at issue. At first appeared progress could be made.

September 10, 1955 Communists issued following agreed statement: INNERQUOTE The People’s Republic of China recognizes Americans in People’s Republic of China who desire return to US entitled to do so and declares it adopted and will further adopt appropriate measures so they can expeditiously exercise their right to return. END INNERQUOTE At time statement issued still nineteen Americans in prison or under house arrest in Communist China. Soon clear Communists not intend carry out [Facsimile Page 2] unqualified commitment and today more than fourteen months later still ten Americans in Communist jails.

To justify failure fulfill their pledge Peiping resorted accusations that US preventing Chinese from leaving. Such accusations completely unfounded. Since beginning Geneva talks no Chinese prevented leaving US. Indian Embassy which was designated assist any Chinese who wished to leave has not brought to attention of Government single case of Chinese who claims he is being prevented from leaving.

In addition seeking release imprisoned American citizens US proposed both US and Communist China agree to renounce use of force particularly Taiwan area, except in self defense. Ambassador Johnson pointed out progress in discussions could not be expected in face of continuing Communist threats to take Taiwan by military force. Once threat of force been removed other matters might be discussed. This proposal failed when Chinese Communists insisted Taiwan problem [Typeset Page 1250] was domestic matter they entitled settle by any means they chose, including force.

In recent months Chinese Communists introduced proposals aimed promoting trade and INNERQUOTE cultural contacts END INNERQUOTE between US and mainland China. Ambassador Johnson pointed out US restrictions in these fields resulted from Chinese Communists’ acts and threats of military aggression and mistreatment Americans. US sought assurance through Geneva talks such behavior would not continue. Until meaningful assurances in these respects been received US could not consider modifying these safeguards.

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US dedicated to peaceful solution of differences. It is prepared resume discussions at ambassadorial level directed toward issuance by both sides meaningful declaration on renunciation of force and thereafter other practical matters at issue. UNQUOTE

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/11–2656. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Clough; cleared by McConaughy, Henderson, and Phleger in substance.