753. Letter 60 from McConaughy to Johnson1

Letter No. 60
Dear Alex:
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We are considering whether to release a public statement on the McCarthy case. We are also weighing the pros and cons of a public statement on the results of our offer of parole and deportation to Chinese convicts in U.S. prisons. The press attention to the Middle East and Hungary has abated sufficiently for us to be able to command a reasonable amount of press space for these matters if we decide that from other standpoints the time is ripe. The GRC has agreed to take the two prisoners who elected to go to Taiwan so there is no longer a problem on that score. If we decide to make a statement this week, it would probably come out on Thursday. We would, of course, give you the text in advance.

Your letter No. 49 of November 15 arrived on November 23. In the prevailing circumstances we consider that Wang is unlikely to suspend the talks at the next meeting. However, we have a contingency [Typeset Page 1251] statement ready for use if a suspension does occur. With Chou’s goodwill trip through parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East in full swing, with Nehru’s visit to the President in prospect, and with the Chinese Communists’ public agitation over the Egyptian issue tapering off somewhat, an abrupt move of a defiant nature at this moment would not seem to be in the cards, notwithstanding the fact that they have lost the UN membership battle for this session of the GA.

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We have delivered your message to EUR. There was considerable apprehension at absences of any of our chiefs of mission in curtain countries following the political criticism of Jacobs and Wailles for not being at their post when the trouble started, but this is less evident now.

I agree with you that the EUR telegram authorizing your “visit” to Geneva was peculiarly worded. We did not see the text before it went out or we would have objected. They simply told us that they were okaying your travel to Geneva.

I was at the American Assembly at Harriman, New York, November 15 through November 18. The final Report was pretty favorable to our basic far Eastern policy, although there was criticism of our policy on travel of newsmen. You get so many reports of the harm which the talks are doing to us in the Far East, I’m glad I can tell you that the fact of the talks made it much easier for me to defend our China policy before the Conference. They are all for “flexibility and a reasonable conciliatory and moderate approach.” They felt that the Geneva talks are a definite manifestation of such an attitude. I believe we would have been criticized for a negative and rigid posture toward the Chinese Communist problem, had we not had the Geneva conversations to point to. I will send you a copy of the revised Final Report as soon as I receive it. You no doubt have seen the references to the speech of Ernie Gross on the night of November 17 in which he rather minimized the Geneva talks as being “behind the barn” in character and as not being at a sufficiently high level.

I am enclosing a copy of an extremely confidential report made by [text not declassified] his recent trip to Communist China. I apologize that we have to send you a rather messy copy, but it is the only one we have. It is particularly sensitive and we had to get a special dispensation to send it to you.

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Walter Robertson got away on Thanksgiving Day. I am enclosing a copy of his itinerary in case you would like to write him before he gets back on December 22nd.

I leave on Wednesday to make a speech in Mr. Robertson’s stead at the Naval War College on November 29 on “The Power Struggle in the Far East.” I’ll have something to say about the talks in the course of that speech.

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Sabe Chase has just reported for temporary duty with us until he retires next March. It is good to have him here.

Regards and good wishes to all of you,


Walter P. McConaughy


Copy of report by [text not declassified]
Copy of Mr. Robertson’s itinerary

  1. Source: Department of State, Geneva Talks Files, Lot 72D415. Secret; Official–Informal. Drafted by McConaughy.