15. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State0
571. For first time since I came to Taiwan three years ago, I sense a feeling among high GRC authorities that USG is looking for some way out of China impasse at their expense. Thus far this “feeling” appears not to have seeped down to lower official levels or to general public. This attitude has its genesis in US election campaign and accompanying debates, change of administration, and public utterances of well known Americans who have become high officials and who are felt in position to influence US policy. Uneasiness has been heightened by what is believed to be US disposition to reach accommodation with ChiComs if only latter would unbend, and US shift toward advocacy of neutral Laos. Issue of sharpest focus currently however is UN representation. GRC authorities are deeply disturbed because they consider new administration has not come out unreservedly in support of GRC on this issue. They see US Government as fearful of its ability to preserve moratorium formula and prepared to toss in towel. There are officials here, and they are thought to include those in highest circles, who are coming to believe USG is prepared to plump for “two Chinas”. That there are responsible Chinese officials prepared to believe this preposterous and mistaken idea is testimony to decline taking place in their confidence in United States. It is also reflective on their extreme sensitivity to mere thought of any solution smacking of “two Chinas” which would be contrary to their fundamental doctrine of return to mainland and liberation of compatriots.
As I interpret thinking of GRC officials, they believe maintenance of moratorium formula remains best tactic and they profess to believe if only USG will place shoulder to wheel wholeheartedly and unreservedly, moratorium will win again. Because of repugnance for “two Chinas” GRC is most reluctant to advance or discuss alternatives suggestive in any way of “two Chinas”. Even if some such tactic were adopted with a view to keeping ChiComs out UN, there are officials here who believe that once door is opened other pressures would be applied by powers intent on ChiCom admission which would force GRC to leave UN. Point to remember here is that GRC would prefer to be out of UN to representing only Taiwan.
We are clearly faced with a problem of great delicacy and one on which GRC may not find it possible to yield at all. I believe it will be very difficult to sell GRC officials on any formula with a “two Chinas” connotation [Page 38]even if for tactical purposes only. Any approaches we make in this direction must be handled with utmost subtlety and tact lest GRC be driven in desperation to withdrawing from UN and going it alone. In my view, leadership here is quite capable of such course of action if pushed too hard or driven into corner. Of course such state of affairs would shake stability of Taiwan and could give ChiComs opportunity they have sought for years to take Taiwan without a struggle.
I have been engaged recently in almost daily talks with Foreign Minister and Vice Foreign Minister. Subject of UN representation has invariably come up and I have done my best to assure them of constancy of US position, of US opposition to “two Chinas” and of US opposition to ChiCom admission to UN. On March 18 I spoke of Secretary’s desire for GRC’s idea of solution and urged that one be provided.
Foregoing was prepared prior to receipt of Deptel 4711 which appears to pose problem in acute form. Foreign Minister told me today without going into substance of Secretary’s talk with Ambassador Yeh, that he wished to explore representation issue with me in day or two.