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187. Telegram From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State0

513. Cabot-Wang Talks. 117th meeting.1 Two hours 35 minutes. Deptel 390.2

I opened with substance paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 reference telegram on deportees, claims against shipping companies, and Howden,3 [Page 393]adding to paragraph 3 that we still hoping for release other imprisoned Americans in accordance with agreed announcement. Said I mentioned this particularly in light newspaper reports Bishop Walsh ill. Said did not need tell Wang what painful impression would be caused in US if Bishop Walsh should die in Chinese jail. Continued with substance paragraphs 4 and 5 with some embellishment and handed Wang copy of Documents on Disarmament 1961.4 Concluded opening statement with substance paragraph 7 on our defense commitments in area.

Wang said he had listened with regret because he thought after more than month of consideration my government would have reacted favorably to Chou’s August 2 letter and to draft agreed announcement. Said my statement showed once more we not sincerely interested preventing nuclear war. Wang said his government position clear and consistent, always standing for general disarmament and complete ban nuclear weapons. Gave lengthy review in most general terms of his government’s “unremitting efforts for general disarmament and destruction nuclear weapons”. Wang said his government convinced mankind will destroy nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons will not destroy mankind. Said his government had put forth both general objectives and concrete measures to reach general disarmament and destruction nuclear weapons. Said there was sharp contrast between his proposal and tripartite treaty which “divorced discontinuance of nuclear tests from total banning nuclear weapons”. Alleged only by adopting Chinese proposal could real progress be made. Referred to ChiCom call for conference heads of all nations of world and said facts have shown that without participation China no major international question can be settled. Era when handful of big powers take all in their hands is passed. Said proposal for nuclear-free zone in accord with overwhelming desire people of Asia. Enumerated various provisions called for in Chou letter and draft announcement. Said it was high time we took action extricate ourselves from difficult situation posed by fact people of countries where we had military bases opposed our presence. Wang said believed agreement on draft presented last meeting would facilitate smooth settlement other disputes between China and US. Said draft was only statement of principle not containing any complicated technical questions and therefore agreement should be reached in a relatively short time. Said once agreement in principle reached, technical questions such as verification and [Page 394]control could be settled through further negotiations between the two sides.

Said we had even got “Chiang clique” sign tripartite treaty.5 This showed hostility to his country and was new plot to create two Chinas. Said nuclear fraud of USG could not succeed. Said he was calling on me to “reconsider” their proposal but immediately started his sentence over saying “give careful consideration” to proposal for it was major question which we called on to discuss seriously in this meeting. Invited constructive views on it.

Wang said report by French correspondent of fifth American allegedly imprisoned was complete fabrication.
I said disarmament was very complicated subject on which we have negotiated in Geneva for very long time. This suggests Wang incorrect in saying we not interested in elimination threat nuclear war. Fact we have been able sign treaty with USSR and UK is step forward and at least 88 nations have signed treaty. Said we had given detailed documents on our position re disarmament while Chinese proposal was vague and certainly not clear to us. Said his side had repeatedly talked of anxiety to reach general disarmament and prohibition nuclear weapons—why then did they not sign test ban treaty which is important step in that direction. Reminded him he had said number of nations had expressed sympathy for his side’s proposals and inquired which these were. Said he had mentioned so-called Vietnam Democratic Republic support. Considering blatant intervention that regime in Laos and South Vietnam, I did not think this was good endorsement for proposals. Said while we shared to considerable extent basic objectives as he had described them in connection his side’s proposals, we were far from convinced deeds matched words his side and certain care was essential in any scheme for disarmament to make sure there was no cheating.
I continued with substance paragraph 9 reftel re firmness without hostility6 and gave answer redraft agreed announcement as instructed paragraph 5 (C).7
Wang continued with long dissertation peaceful intent his Government and USG obstruction to disarmament efforts. Listed testing and other activities by USG which he thought inconsistent with spirit recently signed treaty. Again asked for serious consideration draft [Page 395]agreed announcement and returned to theme of convocation of Heads of Nations for conference on total disarmament. Said that proposal had been endorsed by many countries including North Korea, North Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Albania, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. Read at length endorsements by Prince Sihanouk, Emperor Haile Selassie, and Bertrand Russell, and numerous editorials from newspapers (some of which I recognized as being pro-Commie). Said fact so many countries had signed tripartite treaty shows US authorities have abused innocent peaceful wishes of people of these countries in order serve selfish interest USG and was continuance policy of satellization. Quoted Time magazine saying, “effect of treaty negligible.”

I expressed regret Wang had not spelled out more fully what was meant by his side’s proposals and recalled we had not received comments from their side on our explicit and detailed positions re disarmament which earlier passed him.

Reminded Wang actions we had taken since tripartite treaty had been in accord with that treaty and we had no intention accept moratoria as we did before and find ourselves surprised by nuclear testing. Asked Wang whether his side when able would test in air and under sea, and whether reports true his side working hard as it could to get nuclear power at same time talking nuclear disarmament.

Wang simply replied by saying mankind confronted with serious nuclear threat and specifically his country now faced with nuclear threat coming from US. Therefore necessary put forward draft agreed announcement which is not vague but specific, practical and feasible and formed useful basis for negotiations.

Next meeting November 13.

Before talk I told correspondents at entrance that no significance should be read into presence of photographers who in view of precedents were briefly admitted by mutual consent. After talk I said to correspondents that no inference should be drawn from length of talk. This was because there seemed to be impression among correspondents that something important was impending. At end of talk one correspondent asked whether atmosphere was cordial and I, knowing correspondent was well aware that Wang and I are very blunt with each other, said ironically that atmosphere was always cordial.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files,POLCHICOM-US. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Taipei, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Moscow, and Geneva.
  2. Cabot commented and sent recommendations for the next meeting in telegram 516, September 12. He commented that in view of the Sino-Soviet rift, the Department was presumably considering whether a “more conciliatory tone on our part in talks might pay off.” He stated that he saw “no signs whatever as yet it would”, but he thought the Department “should study situation in light its overall knowledge to judge whether any change in atmospherics of the talks would be worthwhile experiment.” (Ibid.) He sent a detailed, apparently verbatim report of the meeting in airgram A-235, September 14. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 390, September 4, provided guidance for the meeting. (Ibid.)
  4. Paragraph 1 concerned arrangements for the return of six deportees. Paragraph 2 stated that discussions were to take place in Hong Kong between the parties involved in one of the shipping incidents raised at the previous meeting. Paragraph 3 instructed Cabot to request information concerning Robert Howden, reported by a French journalist to be an American in prison in China.
  5. Paragraph 4 instructed Cabot to call attention to discrepancies in Chinese statements on disarmament. Paragraph 5 instructed him to call attention to various U.S. statements and suggested that he give Wang a copy of Documents on Disarmament, 1961; it stated that the Department did not intend to answer Chou’s letter or comment further on the agreed announcement Wang had proposed at the August 7 meeting (see Document 183), since it believed the Chinese might be hoping for an outright U.S. rejection of their proposals used to justify their own nuclear tests.
  6. The Republic of China signed the treaty on August 23.
  7. Paragraph 9 instructed Cabot that the United States intended to maintain an attitude of firmness without hostility and was prepared to “wait patiently until Wang’s side is willing to cooperate in lessening tensions.”
  8. Paragraph 5 (C) summarized U.S. criteria concerning nuclear-free zones. For a statement of U.S. views on this subject as set forth on October 29 in Committee I of the U.N. General Assembly by Charles C. Stelle, see Department of State Bulletin, November 18, 1963, pp. 797-798.