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

281. Beam-Wang talks. At beginning of informal conversation over coffee after formal 106th August 15 meeting, Ambassador Wang and I exchanged remarks on Geneva Laos conference. Wang stated Ambassador Harriman had told him in Geneva he would like to have meetings between American and Chinese delegations in order to exchange views on means of solving the Laos question. Wang said he told Harriman that his side would not refuse to participate in any exchange of views. When I asked Wang if he were going back to Geneva, he replied he had many things here to take care of before he could return. After we had exchanged a few more general remarks concerning Laos conference, I made presentation outlined in Deptel 220,1 speaking from penciled notes.

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Wang replied: There have always been many problems between us. In these ambassadorial talks we have a very heavy responsibility to solve them. No one is willing to be responsible for a mission that has failed. A famous British diplomat, Neville Henderson, once wrote a book, Failure of a Mission, which described a diplomat’s unfortunate experience along this line. You have said that you appreciate the candid statements which I had made during our previous informal meeting. Then I explained that Chinese people did not intentionally set themselves against American people and all of our leaders, including Chairman Mao, Premier Chou and Foreign Minister Chen, have said many times that Chinese people are friendly to American people. We hope that US policy can be built on realistic foundations and that US will be able to change its former methods. (At this point, Wang entered into discussion of why he felt the “Chiang Kai-shek regime” had fallen despite fact that US had given large amounts of aid. He attributed this defeat to the “personal dictatorship” of Chiang and to his policy of “action against the people’s interest”. Likewise Rhee had been thrown out by Korean people despite US aid. Wang predicted that some day he and I would be discussing the fate of Taiwan just as we today were discussing the past defeat of Chiang Kai-shek on mainland of China.)

Wang continued:

I remember after Chiang Kai-shek had evacuated to Taiwan, President Truman stated that Taiwan problem was Chinese internal affair and that US had no intention to meddle therein.2 If US had held to this non-interference principle, we believe Sino-American relations would be different from what they are today. We also believe that US policy toward Taiwan is of no benefit to US but rather detrimental to its best interest. China will never threaten US interests and will never expand outwards. This is because not only does China have sufficient resources and territory for its own development, but also (and this is not least important) because socialist system forbids expansionist policy. China and US were located on opposite sides of world. Being such a long way apart, there is no reason why there should be any direct clash between us.

We don’t believe war settles anything. We oppose war and advocate peace. The big powers, including China and US, should seek to adjust their differences in order that world peace be maintained. Basis of Chinese foreign policy is adherence to the five principles. These should be applied to Sino-American relations. Thus, we have advocated creation of a nuclear free zone in Pacific.3 Furthermore, it is not true as you have just [Page 124]alleged, that Chinese people or government are deliberately opposed to US or are trying to create discord between China and US. Since the Chinese people are injured party, it is normal that they manifest their feeling of being wronged. Just as people of Tunisia, so Chinese people want to regain their own territory and to restore their territorial integrity.

Mr. Ambassador, your return to US provides you opportunity to make a new appraisal of Sino-American relations and for your government to adopt more positive approach. We believe if your government takes over-all view, it will be seen that wisest move by the US Government would be to normalize relations with us. We hope something useful will come out of your discussions in Washington and that on your return you will be able to take positive steps to change present state of affairs between us.

I believe many US statesmen are aware of this situation. I had an opportunity to talk with Senator Humphrey at Geneva, he told me he hoped someday he might visit China in order to contribute to promotion of better relations between our two countries. He told me also he had campaigned consistently for Chinese participation in international disarmament talks.

To express a willingness to promote better relations is one thing, but to adopt real measures to this end is another. One must prescribe correct medicine for the treatment of a particular disease; it is not enough merely to apply a panacea like tiger balm. In India I learned a saying which went something like this: I want to live, but, I must also live and let live. We believe reason will prevail. Thus I am happy for this opportunity to exchange views with the Ambassador before he returns to Washington. Despite long interval before our next meeting, I hope that when you return, we shall be in a position to make progress.

Wang then inquired concerning Alex Johnson, asking if he were not now in Washington in a high position.

I said he was now Deputy Under Secretary of State.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/8-1661. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Hong Kong, Taipei, and Geneva for FECON. Received at 11:05 a.m.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 50. Concerning Laos, telegram 220 instructed Beam to tell Wang that the United States hoped that a “genuinely neutral, independent Laos” would emerge from the Geneva discussions but that it would not enter an agreement which was only a “thinly veiled screen for eventual commie takeover Laos.”
  3. Reference is to a statement made by Truman on January 5, 1950. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1950, pp. 11-12.
  4. A message from PRC Premier Chou En-lai to the Sixth World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and for Total Disarmament, July 30, 1960, called for making the Asian and Pacific area a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The text is printed in Documents on Disarmament, 1960, pp. 180-181.