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60. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to the Representative to the United Nations (Stevenson)0


  • Representation of China in the United Nations

Following is a summary of the standing instructions on the Chinese representation issue, which were worked out during your two recent visits to Washington. They have been approved by the President.

U.S. objectives in the 16th General Assembly are twofold: To keep Communist China out and Nationalist China in the United Nations.

Your instructions are to attempt to accomplish these objectives by the following steps: [Page 136]

Induce several countries broadly representative to inscribe on the General Assembly an item entitled “Representation of China”. Use your own judgment as to the countries and the title of the item. If you cannot induce other countries to take this initiative, the United States should inscribe the item promptly.
Attempt to get the General Assembly to declare that any change in the representation of China is an “important question” within the meaning of Article 18 of the Charter. My understanding is that such a decision requires a simple majority vote and that an important question requires a two-thirds vote.
Persuade the Assembly to appoint a committee to consider criteria for UN membership (including the question of Chinese representation) and the composition of the Security Council and ECOSOC; and to report to the next General Assembly a year hence. We strongly prefer one committee rather than a special committee on Chinese representation.
You are authorized to say—privately, if believed essential—that the United States does not exclude the possibility that the study committee would recommend to the 1962 session a successor state solution if that becomes necessary.
The U.S. objective is to head off any consideration of the representation of China as a credentials question requiring a simple majority vote. If the foregoing proposals are rejected by the Assembly and a defeat of U.S. objectives, stated above, appears imminent you should then seek instructions as to whether we should adopt the successor state approach.
When the applications of Outer Mongolia and Mauritania come before the Security Council, you are authorized to abstain or vote for the admission of Outer Mongolia to thereby assist with the election of Mauritania, assuming that these elections take place at a time when you deem the support of the French-African States necessary in the larger question of Chinese Representation.1

Dean Rusk
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. Secret. A September 13 covering note from Rusk to Stevenson noted that this memorandum contained “the revisions we discussed.” Stevenson’s draft is in Princeton University, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Stevenson Papers, Previously Embargoed Files, Box 3, Kennedy.
  2. In a September 13 telephone conversation between Ball and Stevenson, Ball expressed concern that Nationalist supporters in Congress were not prepared for the possibility of a U.S. defeat on the Chinese representation issue and that Stevenson could “get badly hurt in this.” Stevenson said he “had tried to protect himself by a memo.” (Notes of telephone conversation; Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, China (Taiwan))