121. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, September 7, 19551


  • Chinese Representation in the UN


  • Sir Robert Scott, Minister, British Embassy
  • Miss Barbara Salt, First Secretary, British Embassy
  • The Acting Secretary
  • Mr. Robertson, FE
  • Mr. Wilcox, IO
  • Mr. Elbrick, EUR

The Acting Secretary said that he had invited Sir Robert to call this afternoon in order to discuss with him a very important question, namely, that of Chinese representation in the United Nations. After reciting briefly the history of the U.S.-U.K. moratorium arrangement on Chinese representation, Mr. Hoover said that we had been concerned at the recent suggestion of the British Government that a change be made in the procedural formula used heretofore in avoiding consideration of the question of seating the Chinese Communists in the General Assembly. He said that any change in the formula, such as that suggested by the British Government, which could be interpreted as a weakening of this Government’s position with regard to Chinese representation could have very serious repercussions in the United States which could involve our relations with the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth nations as well as our participation in the United Nations. He pointed out that the Congress and the public in this country are unanimously opposed to the seating of the Chinese Communists and the reaction on the part of the public here to any apparent change in our attitude would be pronounced and immediate. There had been exchanges between the U.S. and U.K. Delegations in New York on this subject [Page 301] but some time had now elapsed since this Government’s views had been called to the attention of the United Kingdom Delegation and we had not yet received any definitive reply from the British Government. We were bringing this matter up again through our Embassy in London and hoped that Sir Robert would also report our views to his Government with a view to obtaining an early favorable decision.

Sir Robert said that it was his understanding that the British Government’s attitude toward the moratorium had not changed basically but that a slight alteration of the formula had been suggested to prevent the loss of any votes when this matter came to be acted upon by the General Assembly. He referred particularly to developments arising from the Bandung Conference in this connection. He would, of course, report our views to his Government. Meanwhile, he wished to assure us that the United Kingdom Government desires a harmonious relationship with the United States in the UN. He realized that we felt very strongly on this subject of Chinese representation but he wished to point out that the British Government feels just as strongly on the subject of any discussion of the Cyprus question by the UN, and he reminded the Acting Secretary that the British Government has appealed in the strongest terms for American support in avoiding such discussion. He made it very apparent that he considered that the United States should cooperate with the United Kingdom on this matter if we expected the latter to accede to our suggestion regarding Chinese representation. In any event, he said, this question of Chinese representation will soon come to a head and he doubted that it could be avoided after this year.

Sir Robert was told that we were awaiting the outcome of the British-Turk-Greek talks in London on the Cyprus question before determining our final position for the forthcoming General Assembly session. Sir Robert said there seemed little reason to suppose that the Greeks would not proceed with their plan to introduce the resolution on the subject, though he admitted that there was a chance that the London talks might have the happy result of inducing the Greeks to refrain from such action.

Mr. Robertson raised the question of the UN censure resolution against Communist China which named it as an aggressor and said that he assumed that action would have to be taken to rescind this resolution before consideration could be given to Chinese Communist representation. Sir Robert said that he had not considered this angle but had assumed that a vote to seat the Chinese Communists as the representatives of China would suffice.

Sir Robert said that he would report this conversation immediately to his Foreign Office.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Confidential. Drafted by Elbrick. Hoover was presumably Acting Secretary.