23. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions1

491. Re Depcirtel 436.2 Purpose this message summarize present stage Department’s thinking general problem Afro-Asian Conference and convey (in para 8) preliminary instructions Missions concerned re substantive consultation with invitee Governments.

While wishing avoid show undue interest which could be interpreted as U.S. effort use Conference advance own ends Department anxious ensure friendly delegations be on guard against Communist tactics and be prepared (a) deal effectively with Communist misrepresentations and by exposing Communists’ own record put them on defensive and (b) put forward subjects discussion of which would redound benefit free nations and discomfiture Communists. [Page 51] To extent major division in Conference is between Communist countries and all others, not (as Communists will try have it) between “U.S. stooges” and all others, Conference will be success our point view. Hence Department believes that while our friends should be fully prepared stand up to Communists and give as good as and better than they receive, they would be well-advised avoid onus initiating acrimonious exchanges and instead take constructive and non-provocative positions in which uncommitted elements could join them and would find it difficult not join. We are hopeful that with planning and cooperation non-Communist nations will be able not only prevent effective Communist exploitation Conference to detriment non-Communist world but also to turn Conference to positive benefit.
While Communist countries will constitute only small minority at Conference Chinese Communists may be expected exert disproportionate influence and make every effort utilize Conference enhance own prestige and discredit U.S. and its allies in eyes Asian-African nations. In view minority position and since they doubtless aware uncommitted countries (especially four of five sponsoring powers) will resent advocacy extreme and controversial positions which would tend jeopardize appearance Asian-African unity at Bandung, Chinese Communists will probably feel themselves obliged (except re issues on which party-line coincides with majority opinion) to seek objectives through less direct means. Thus rather than attempting commit Conference through submission controversial party-line resolutions which would tend alienate majority and isolate Communists, latter may be expected pursue their ends through such means as speeches from floor, lobbying and private consultations outside Conference sessions, circulation of and attempts give official status to propaganda documents, and manipulation Conference publicity, as well as through introduction or amendment apparently innocuous but “loaded” resolutions. It also expected they will endeavor influence conduct and decisions of Conference through such procedural devices as controlling selection officers, adoption rules of procedure, adoption agenda, designation committees, if any etc.
It may be anticipated Chinese Communists will seek lull other Asian nations into false sense security re “peaceful” nature their own intentions (as evidenced inter alia by ChouNehru Five Principles) while placing blame for continuing world tensions on “aggressive” and “imperialistic” motives of U.S. (as exemplified by “aggression” against China in Formosa and off-shore islands, conclusion of “aggressive” military pacts and base agreements directed against “peace-loving” peoples of Asia, obstruction “peaceful” unification Korea and Vietnam, prevention admission Communist China to UN, atomic “sabre-rattling”, etc.)
One of principal motives Chinese Communists will undoubtedly be discredit various mutually beneficial cooperative arrangements in area to which U.S. is party and create psychology which would make it difficult for Asian-African countries, particularly those under Communist threat, accept essential aid from U.S. We believe it of utmost importance our friends understand this and realize it in their interest even more than ours that such efforts be frustrated. To this end friendly delegations should be prepared, either on or off Conference floor as circumstances dictate, to expose this Communist thesis for what it is by (a) making clear U.S. brought into conflict with Communists primarily because where latter have tried take over neighboring countries U.S. has given crucial assistance intended victims, especially in Southeast Asia whose resources coveted by Peiping (b) raising question whether for sake peace and removal tensions Asians would have wished U.S. stand by while USSR took over Greece, parts Turkey, Berlin, and progressively all Europe and while it took over Korea as step to Japan and whether they believe cause humanity would be served by surrender ten million inhabitants Formosa to Communist tyranny and (c) suggesting free Asians ask selves honestly if they would sleep better if U.S. withdrew behind oceans leaving nothing between them and massive military forces China and USSR but long thin line Communist promises.
Chinese Communists may also be expected present selves as spokesmen for peoples struggling to free selves from subjugation by “U.S.-supported” colonial Powers. In meeting Communist efforts exploit colonial question we believe it would be mistake try persuade our friends make issue of defending position colonial Powers (especially France), except perhaps to extent keeping record straight and pointing out number countries attending which were given independence from Western rule in past generation. We do believe however patent hypocrisy Communist protestations support for subject peoples could be effectively exposed by citing treatment their own subject peoples by Communist China and USSR and in particular fact that, apart from Malaya where early self-government is goal, only significant number Asians under European colonial control today are many millions in Soviet Asian territories whose struggles for self-rule have been ruthlessly suppressed and who now being subjected thorough Russification.
In addition above believe useful points for exploitation by friendly delegations as circumstances warrant would include following:
U.N. commission finding of unmistakable Communist aggression Korea.
Mass exodus invariable accompaniment extension Communist rule, in Korea and Vietnam no less than East Germany.
Communist fear of truth exemplified by iron curtain suppression civil political religious liberties.
Slave labor in Communist China and USSR.
Contrast Chinese Communist peace talk with their rejection UN invitation discuss termination offshore island hostilities and repeated declarations intent seize Formosa by armed force.
Fact so-called Five Principles and others equally important to cause of freedom, including principles UN Charter, have long been observed as standards of conduct by democracies. Necessity for NATO and Manila Pact to safeguard Western Europe and Southeast Asia from threatened Communist violation such principles. Hope that professed if tardy conversion Communists to those principles will promptly lead end violent Communist conspiracies against integrity, self-government Philippines Burma Malaya Thailand Laos etc. and reduction enormous military forces Communist China and North Vietnam.
Demonstrated value economic aid, technical assistance to underdeveloped countries from more industrialized nations and desirability such aid continue. Also contrast between U.S. and Soviet records this regard.
Questions likely be raised in atomic field—e.g. nuclear moratorium, disarmament, peaceful uses—will be subject separate guidance.
Department preparing background papers such subjects as above. Will be air pouched as completed. Above subjects could doubtless all be discussed under broad agenda items likely be generally agreed on and would not necessarily require special items. They would however also provide material for resolutions favorable free world should Communists, contrary expectations, seek push party-line resolutions.
Foregoing views while obviously not covering all facets of problem are set forth as indicative Department’s thinking on major aspects Afro-Asian Conference for use in discussions other interested Governments. Other points will be dealt with in subsequent telegrams as required by Missions for purposes further consultation. While extent to which these views made known to Governments left to Missions’ discretion, Department believes full and frank discussion should be undertaken with friendly and allied Governments such as Japan Philippines Thailand Pakistan Turkey Iran. Particularly effective use might also be made in discussions with key individual officials of known anti-Communist sympathies in countries not aligned with West. This however for Missions determine in light local situation. Department intends hold complementary discussions Washington representatives sympathetic Governments. Department would hope consultations in field would be carried out to maximum extent on informal oral basis without handing over documents which might turn up at Conference to our embarrassment. Department most appreciative [Page 54] constructive views expressed by Missions and has taken these fully into account in formulating position.

USIA concurs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 670.901/2–2555. Secret. Sent to Kabul, Phnom Penh, Tehran, Baghdad, Tokyo, Amman, Beirut, Manila, Jidda, Damascus, Ankara, New Delhi, Rangoon, Saigon, Cairo, Tripoli, Addis Ababa, Monrovia, Colombo, Djakarta, Karachi, Vientiane, Khartoum, Accra, and Salisbury. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, Taipei, Seoul, Canberra, Wellington, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid. 670.901/2–2555)