Learn about the beta

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

189. Eyes only for the Ambassador from the Secretary. Your 2371 caused me to review Embassy telegrams since Chen Cheng’s return. With one or two exceptions (such as your 183 on DCM’s conversation Vice FonMin)2 record is thin on reports of efforts by Embassy to impress upon GRC views of USG as well as suggestions or actions to prevent or modify mood reported your 237. We expect frank and accurate reporting from Ambassadors on attitude host government but such reporting in turn becomes point of departure for maximum effort Embassy as well as Dept. to search for means for giving effect to US policy.

If GRC is determined to “go down with ship” rather than compromise on Outer Mongolia this is GRC decision for which we will share no responsibility and we shall make it quite clear if necessary that GRC elected to commit political suicide in UN despite our best efforts.

If GRC dissatisfaction with US is mounting reverse is equally true. If we have applied persistent pressure on Outer Mongolia issue it is for no other purpose than to marshall support on ChiRep issue. Of course we are consulting other governments on ChiRep issue but with none so fully or in so timely a fashion as with GRC. Their complaint this score is not on failure consult but our inability agree with them at every point.

President personally has spent enormous effort to mobilize international support for GRC. It has been a principal topic of conversation with the many distinguished statesmen whom he has seen since January 20. Department’s effort has been equally intensive. We cannot accept GRC doubts our motives and must ask that you react sharply to any such implications by GRC officials.

We had not supposed we have failed to clarify what we will do in SC on Outer Mongolia. Our vote on that question will be used to support [Page 138] GRC on over-riding question ChiRep. That means we will not share responsibility losing African votes on ChiRep by negative vote or by organizing abstentions. We will cast affirmative vote if necessary to clarify this point. President and I made this entirely clear to Chen Cheng.

It is sign of increasing isolation GRC from reality that they persist in disregarding best advice their own representatives and best friends abroad. It is patent absurdity for GRC to conclude that inability USG to persuade enlarged and changed membership UN is due to lack of US effort. If we cannot persuade GRC, whose primary support is US, to meet us on any of several significant matters whom can we persuade?

If GRC officials are tempted to give signal for expressions frustration and anger at US, they would make fundamental error in supposing what GRC thinks of US is sole preoccupation both sides. Someone in Taipei would be well advised to begin to worry about what US thinks about GRC. We have seen very little investment by GRC in US-Chinese relations.

We will do everything we can to help GRC in its difficult position except to join it in reckless policy which insures its own defeat. If leadership GRC cannot break through its own mythology and give leadership to its own people on course necessary to preserve its international position, our ability to help them is severely limited.

Urge you to make entirely clear to GRC gravity of their situation. We wish to give them strongest possible support because of fundamental common interests but we also want support from them.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 303/9-1161. Secret; Priority. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Johnson. A copy was sent to Bromley Smith with a covering memorandum of September 18 from Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department Melvin L. Manfull stating that it had been circulated in the Department on a “show” basis to Bowles, Johnson, and McConaughy and requesting that it receive similar handling at the White House. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China)
  2. Telegram 237, September 11, reported a GRC mood of “deep gloom and dissatisfaction mixed with determination to go down with ship rather than compromise over Outer Mongolia and ChiRep issues” and mounting GRC dissatisfactions with the United States. (Department of State, Central Files, 303/9-1161) Telegram 236 from Taipei, September 11, transmitted the text of a September 10 letter from Chiang Kai-shek to Kennedy, which stated that agreeing to Outer Mongolian U.N. membership would be yielding to “international blackmail” and that such an abandonment of the GRC moral position would be such a “fatal blow” that continued U.N. membership would not compensate for it. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated August 24. (Ibid., 303/8-2461)