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45. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Chinese Representation in the United Nations


  • General Ch’en Ch’eng, Vice President, GRC
  • Dr. Shen Ch’ang-huan, Foreign Minister, GRC
  • Dr. George K.C. Yeh, Chinese Ambassador to US
  • Dr. T.F. Tsiang, Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN
  • Dr. Hu Ch’ing-yu, Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GRC
  • Mr. James Shen, Director, Government Information Office, GRC
  • President Kennedy
  • Vice President Johnson
  • Secretary Rusk
  • Mr. Ball, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
  • Mr. McConaughy, Assistant Secretary, FE
  • Mr. Cleveland, Assistant Secretary, IO Ambassador Drumright
  • Mr. Rostow, White House Staff
  • Mr. Rinden, Acting Director, CA
  • Mr. Mehlert, Interpreter

The President said that he wanted to say something about United States policy with regard to China in the United Nations. United States policy is to take every means to prevent the Chinese Communists from entering the United Nations. This is the basis of our policy.

If Red China were to gain admission into the United Nations these effects would follow:

The GRC would no longer be a member. This would adversely affect its international position, as well as its bilateral relations with a number of countries who now recognize it.
It would have a detrimental effect on the attitude of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
Such a success for the Communists—when we face them in Southeast Asia and Berlin—would give impetus to their prestige at a difficult and important time for us. It would be a very damaging blow to United States prestige and would hurt the United States position in Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. So the United States and the [Page 103]GRC have the same position on this question: to use every means to keep the Chinese Communists out of the United Nations. On this we are in whole agreement.

So the matter which concerns us is how to get a majority plus one in order to carry out this policy. We do not want to lose by three or four votes. This is a question that does not involve just the GRC; it involves the United States equally.

Vice President Ch’en said that while en route to the USA he was gratified to learn that the United States Senate had passed a resolution opposing entry of Communist China into the United Nations.1

The President said the problem is to get votes in the United Nations; there is no problem to get votes on this matter in the United States Congress.

Vice President Ch’en said that because the United States and the GRC are defending one position of common interest it is easier to find means to realize the objective.

The President emphasized that this was a matter of vital importance to the United States and the GRC and that, given the background of this situation, it would be extremely inimical to United States interests if the Chinese Communists should enter the United Nations.

The President said we must be realistic in counting votes in the United Nations. We must be careful not to count votes we don’t have. We don’t want to be beaten in the United Nations by a few votes. This is a matter that will be won or lost in a very close vote.

At 12:30 the conference adjourned for the President’s luncheon in honor of Vice President Ch’en.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. Secret. Drafted by Rinden. The time of the meeting is from Kennedy’s Appointment Book. (Ibid.) Vice President Ch’en Ch’eng visited Washington July 31-August 3. Briefing materials for the Ch’en visit are ibid., National Security Files, Countries Series, China; President’s Office Files, China Security; and Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, CF 1939. A memorandum of conversation on U.S.-Chinese cooperation in Southeast Asia is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. A copy of Chiang’s July 28 letter to the President is in Department of State, Central Files, 303/8-1561. See the Supplement for both.
  2. The Senate adopted S. Con Res. 34 on July 25 by a vote of 76 to 0. The House of Representatives concurred by a vote of 395-0 on August 31. The resolution reaffirmed U.S. support for the Republic of China and opposition to seating the Chinese Communist regime in the United Nations, “so long as that regime persists in defying the principles of the United Nations Charter”. For text, see 75 Stat. 965.