19. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 0

500. Following summary Ambassador Yeh’s call on Secretary April 3 based on uncleared memcon.1 Conversation centered on Chinese Representation issue, but Yeh first handed Secretary letter for President Kennedy from President Chiang 2 together with copy of translation for Secretary to read. In portion devoted to Chinese Representation letter recalls ROC’s role as founding member of United Nations and its record faithful adherence to obligations of charter. From its own standpoint ROC’s continued membership in United Nations means preservation its rightful status and its moral position as true representative of Chinese people in community of nations, while from United Nations standpoint ROC’s continued presence assures United Nations of Chinese peoples uninterrupted cooperation with other free nations in safe-guarding positions and principles of United Nations charter. Admission of Chinese Communist regime, however, would not only run counter to wishes of people of mainland, but also extinguish their hope of liberation. Letter states further: “My Government cannot possibly accept the so-called ‘two-Chinas’ or any other arrangement that would affect the character of the Republic of China’s right of representation in the United Nations … there is no room for patriots and traitors to live together.” Letter expresses gratitude for United States Government’s staunch support of GRC in United Nations in past years and sincere hope for continued cooperation in devising ways and means to bar Chinese Communists from United Nations membership.

After reiterating some of foregoing arguments orally Ambassador Yeh put forward GRC proposal that United States and GRC canvass United Nations members see how many oppose and how many favor moratorium and how many reserve their position. Also suggested ascertain how many countries basically oppose entry of Communist China. He suggested next two months be spent in accumulating and analyzing these data, then Governments could meet again and go over whole problem. Yeh said he had explained to GRC United States intention to block [Page 47] Communist China’s admission, but he emphasized that any tactic which implied two-Chinas would meet terrific opposition both within ROC and among overseas Chinese. In this connection he stressed Dulles-Chiang Joint Communique of October 19583 was furthest GRC could travel in this direction. He also mentioned constitutional problem arising from any situation implying separate mainland.

Secretary felt there were two points on which GRC wholly isolated.

  • 1—On recognition of GRC as in any sense de facto Government of all China.
  • 2—On issue that support of GRC means active support of continuing civil war or regaining mainland.

Yeh agreed, but expressed hope that this issue would not be raised. Secretary pointed out people want to know what they are supporting. Yeh felt this question answered in Joint Communique of 1954 [1958]. Secretary said implication Chiang’s letter was that Chinese Representation question would be dealt with by moratorium formula, which could be decided by a bare majority. If moratorium failed, same bare majority could treat issue as credentials matter and seat Communist China. In reply to Ambassador’s comment that if moratorium failed effort could be made treat issue as important question requiring two thirds vote, Secretary said if both GRC and Peiping regime take view that it is only question who sits in China’s seat, it would be very hard to argue it is anything but procedural matter. Yeh pointed out he was not saying moratorium formula would work, but GRC wanted to wait longer before making definite assessment. Cleveland suggested that if we wait too long we may go beyond point where still possible get majority for some alternate formula.

In reply Secretary’s comment he gathered from Chiang’s letter there no change in GRC’s attitude toward problem since 1949, Yeh replied this correct so far as GRC’s being in United Nations with Peiping regime. However he understood our purpose was not to get Peiping regime into UN but to block it. Secretary confirmed this as a purpose but said we could not think about it efficiently without knowing GRC’s position. He said there was point of difference in United States and GRC attitudes. GRC would rather keep its position as is at risk of losing it. Yeh rejoined that it would risk losing it in order to adhere to principles. Secretary said if GRC took risk and lost it would be out of UN, but United States would still be there with loss to our position. Thus we had to think separately about our own interests which were different from GRC’s on this point.

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Ambassador said GRC’s proposal was to think further on matter and explore possibility another formula which would not mean volte-face for GRC. Perhaps we would be helped by international situation. Secretary said we would have think about problem some more.

When Yeh asked what British want, Secretary said if issue posed as credentials question (as implied by Chiang’s letter) they would have to go along with Peiping. However we are trying think of way of avoiding that issue being posed. Cleveland said we wanted build majority on simple proposition that GRC should stay in UN. This difficult if GRC says there are worse things than being out of UN. It probable we could get majority in UN in support of letting Peiping regime stay out because GRC was there thus shifting onus to Peiping.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 303/4-561. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Martin, cleared by Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Harlan Cleveland, and approved by Steeves.
  2. Drafted by Martin; not printed. (Ibid., 303/4-361)
  3. Dated April 1; not printed. The letter is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China, Chiang Kai-shek Correspondence; a translation is in Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Chinese Officials Correspondence with Kennedy/Johnson.
  4. Reference is to the joint communique issued at Taipei on October 23, 1958, at the conclusion of meetings between President Chiang and Secretary Dulles. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1958-1960, vol. XIX, pp. 442-444.