791. Letter 66 from McConaughy to Johnson 1

Letter No. 66
Dear Alex:
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Dave Osborn returned on March 4 and received a warm welcome. His ringside report on recent developments has been illuminating and has given us a better feel of the atmosphere. He reported to Mr. Robertson briefly on March 5. Unfortunately Mr. Phleger could not attend that session. Mr. Robertson left with the Secretary March 6 for the SEATO meeting at Canberra. Mr. Robertson will visit several of our SEA and SPA posts after the Canberra meeting and will not return to Washington until March 25. A copy of his itinerary is enclosed.
The Secretary on March 5 personally authorized your home leave following the next meeting on March 14. He agreed that you should take your full home leave, passing up the April meeting as far as you are concerned. We will have something to say in our guidance telegram which is to go out on March 11 regarding the way you will handle the announcement of your home leave plans with Wang at the next [Typeset Page 1339] meeting.2 The instructions will also cover the action you should take if Wang should insist on a meeting at some level while you are away. EE feels in any event you should go back to Prague for two or three days after the next meeting because [Facsimile Page 2] there may be some excitement on March 15 generated by the Hungarian issue, which might have some repercussions throughout the bloc. We assume you would not plan to come direct to the States from Geneva in any event. The foregoing is all based on the assumption that you would like to take your home leave immediately. If you would prefer to postpone it until late spring or early summer, there is no opposition on anybody’s part. More on this in your guidance telegram, and possibly in a follow-up letter by Monday’s pouch which should reach you on or before the next meeting.81
We are sending you several enclosures on the issue of American travel to Communist China, including the Secretary’s comments at his March 5 press conference and a memorandum of conversation he had with an executive of the UP at the Gridiron Club dinner last Saturday night March 2. Also enclosed is an excerpt from the President’s Press Conference of yesterday. This whole question is probably being debated right now on the Secretary’s plane enroute to Canberra. The Secretary, Robertson, and Andrew Berding, the new Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, were planning to review the matter at length aboard the plane. It looks as if there certainly will be no general relaxation and we in FE are hopeful that a strong line can be maintained.
You will have received news of Mackensen’s reported release from prison upon expiration of his sentence. But we gather that he is so thoroughly brain washed that he is likely to elect to remain in Communist China at least for the present. No Departmental comment on Mackensen’s release and his apparent decision to stay in China is now contemplated.
We are enclosing a copy of recent correspondence regarding the cases of prisoners Edwin Pon and John Woos. In regard to the Woos case, it is the confirmed U.S. Government position that dual nationals who are not dependents are not entitled to the benefits of the Agreed Announcement. For your background, we do not consider that we are bound to extend the benefits of the Agreed Announcement to alien Chinese criminals incarcerated after our offer to Chinese aliens of last summer. The benefits of the Agreement are being offered to Pon because it seems desirable to do so in view of the fact that he was sentenced about the time of the arrangement of last summer. But this does [Typeset Page 1340] not constitute a binding precedent. Each case will be judged on its own merits.
We do not contemplate any new tack in your instructions for the next meeting. Mr. Robertson’s last word was that you could and should be as tough as you wanted to be in dealing with Wang on the violation of the Agreed Announcement. He sees no reason to pull your punches on this issue.
I have just learned that I am slated to go to Bermuda March 20–24 for the talks with the UK.

Regards and good wishes and a hope that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you soon.


Walter P. McConaughy
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1. Mr. Robertson’s itinerary.

2. Correspondence on Edwin Pon Case

Letter to Pon 3/1/57

Letter to Senator Kennedy 2/20/57

Letter to Senator Kennedy from Edwin Pon 1/28/57

Memo from Department of Justice to CA 2/11/57

Memo from Warden-Lewisburg to Director 2/6/57

Letter from Edwin Pon to Warden Taylor 2/4/57

3. Letter to Mr. Munsiff re John Wood 3/6/57

4. Memorandum of Conversation between the Secretary and Frank Bartholomew, UP, dated 3/5/57

5. FBIS March 6—Text of Chou En-lai’s speech

6. Press Release No. 111—Secretary Dulles’ News Conference 3/5/57

7. Text of President Eisenhower’s News Conference March 7, 1957 (N.Y. Times 3-8-57)

8. Memo of Conversation 2/19/57 with Congressman Lane

  1. Source: Department of State, Geneva Talks Files, Lot 72D415. Secret; Official–Informal.
  2. The Secretary wants you to describe your home leave to Wang as being for the purpose of consultation and a needed rest, when the time comes to inform him. [Footnote is in the original.]
  3. Source: The Secretary wants you to describe your home leave to Wang as being for the purpose of consultation and a needed rest, when the time comes to inform him. [Footnote is in the original.]