166. Memorandum of Conversation0



July 17–20, 1960

[Here follows the same list of participants as Document 164.]


  • China

In connection with the general world situation, President Tito stated that there was one problem very much on the mind of his government; namely, that of China. He stated that Yugoslavia believed it would be beneficial to the world community if China were represented in the UN. If she were, he argued, China would have to defend itself both in that forum and accept responsibilities in the UN. He said that there are Chinese policies and actions of which Yugoslavia disapproved, for example, India and Nepal, but felt that these and other difficulties could be better handled if China were in the UN.

Another aspect of this matter, he said, was that though China has been excluded from the UN, it was developing rapidly economically and thus constantly growing stronger (with the implication that China was thus becoming more dangerous). He also stated that the exclusion of China from discussions and agreements on disarmament would be to the detriment of the world community. He stated that with the present attitude against China, the latter might feel pressed to take harsh actions politically and to go even beyond, thus creating even more dangerous situations from which it would be difficult to disentangle.

He emphasized that the views he had presented on the matter of China were not prompted out of concern of any direct danger by China to Yugoslavia, but rather out of Yugoslavia’s general assessment of the world situation, and the interest of the world community. The President solicited Mr. Dillon’s views on this question.

Mr. Dillon then reviewed the position of the US against mainland Chinese membership in the UN until they could accept the principles and obligations of the UN. He appreciated the view that if mainland China were in the UN, it might be made more responsible and deterred from aggression. But, he said, the situation in our view was more complicated. [Page 450] A positive step was involved in bringing mainland China into the UN. In order to do this, it must be agreed that it is a peace-loving country, willing to abide by the principles and obligations of the Charter. It was difficult to support mainland China as such a country against the background of her using force in India and Tibet.1

Furthermore, he noted, we have responsibilities to Taiwan and other countries in Asia to take into account. Asiatic countries traditionally have been fearful of China and even now are more fearful in view of the Chinese aggressive expansionist bent. They would be greatly concerned over anything on our part that could be interpreted as our being prepared to tolerate aggressive Chinese action.

As regards Formosa, the mainland Chinese want to “liberate” Formosa, but the latter do not want to be a part of the present regime in China. Eighty percent of the people of Formosa have always been indigenous to that country and do not want to come under sovereignty or control of the mainland Chinese government. He noted in this connection that Formosa has had a remarkable economic development with a 8–9% annual increase in GNP over the last ten years. Part of this growth was attributable to successful agrarian reform in Formosa.

He also noted that we have difficulties in accepting Chinese membership in the UN in view of the fact that China is still holding American prisoners, that is, now some 4–5 out of orginally approximately 40.

Mr. Dillon recognized that obviously the present situation, exclusion of China, cannot continue indefinitely. He stressed, however, that we saw no way to modify the situation until the Chinese show a willingness to follow principles of law and order envisaged under the UN Charter.

He stressed that this attitude was one held by both parties in the US. In this connection, he noted, that the recent Democratic platform takes essentially the same position on China as that which he had outlined.

Mr. Dillon also noted that the emotions stirred up by China in the American public must also be taken into account. He indicated that the strong emotional feeling in the US against China after the Korean war had subsided to a considerable extent; then came the Indian and Tibet incidents and feelings in the US were stirred up again.

Mr. Dillon indicated that we understood the point of view expressed on China by President Tito, and expressed the hope that President Tito would understand ours. He asked for President Tito’s views on Chinese-Russian relations, in particular whether recent Russian reactions [Page 451] were stimulated by a harder Chinese attitude on international issues.

President Tito stated that he understood the emotional reactions generated by Chinese action. But, he asked, historically how long can 600 million people be excluded from the world community? Sooner or later, he stated, something must be changed.

Mr. Dillon agreed that this situation must eventually evolve. He agreed that any eventual agreement on disarmament must include China. He noted that Secretary Herter had stated this publicly and that there was no bad reaction to this statement in the US.

We believe, however, Mr. Dillon went on, that it was not desirable to complicate the disarmament negotiations by bringing China in at this time. He stated that we felt that first we should try to make progress with the Soviets; once preliminary agreement had been reached with them, then would be the time to bring in other countries, including China.

President Tito stated that we must face up to the China situation very soon. In this connection, he noted that China might soon commence atomic tests. He stated they were concerned not with disarmament but with arming. He argued that once they had made progress in their atomic tests and otherwise in increasing their power, it would be very difficult to settle the China problem and to bring China into the disarmament arrangements in the way Mr. Dillon had suggested.

In reply to Mr. Dillon’s general question about the influence of Chinese attitudes on Russian policy, President Tito stated that he did not believe that there was any action of China which was capable of breaking any Russian resolve to reach agreement on international matters. Mr. Dillon suggested that perhaps the matter was the other way, that is, that the Chinese attitude might stimulate the Russians to seek agreement with the West, particularly in nuclear test negotiations. President Tito and all his advisers agreed this was possible.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 559, CF 1274. Confidential. The drafting officer is not indicated; approved by Dillon on July 21. The meeting was held in Tito’s villa. See also Documents 164165 and 167168.
  2. Reference is to the suppression of the Tibetan revolt in March 1959 by China and the Sino-Indian border disputes which had led to armed clashes in August and October 1959.