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70. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy 0


  • Chinese Representation

Ambassador Yeh informed the State Department this afternoon that he has received a telegram from Vice President Chen Cheng containing the following points: (1) after prolonged consideration the Chinese Government still feels that President Kennedy would best save the Chinese Government’s situation by including in his reply to a question at his coming press conference reference to the use of the veto by the United States in the Security Council if necessary to prevent the admission of Communist China; (2) if the Chinese position on Outer Mongolia’s UN application were to be changed, Vice President Chen would resign;1 (3) if [Page 153]President Kennedy is unable to include in his press conference statement a reference to the United States veto of Communist China, the Chinese Government will not change its original instructions to its UN Delegation on the Outer Mongolia issue—that is, the Chinese Delegation would veto Outer Mongolia if there was no other way to prevent Outer Mongolia’s admission to the UN; and (4) the Chinese Government would not want to place the US Government or President Kennedy in any difficulty but hopes that President Kennedy can consider the need for the requested reference in his press conference statement in order to save the face of President Chiang and the Chinese Government.

A subsequent telegram received by Ambassador Yeh from Vice President Chen this afternoon instructs Ambassador Yeh to assure the State Department and, if possible, the White House that the position taken by the Chinese Government on Outer Mongolia has nothing to do with its attitude toward President Kennedy, which remains one of friendliness and respect. The Chinese Government’s position, this message states, has been taken entirely for internal reasons. This message also expressed the hope that President Kennedy can suspend what he is prepared to say at the press conference on October 11 because what he has prepared would not improve the position of the Government in Taipei.

We have considered carefully once again the Chinese request in light of the foregoing. We have concluded that it would not be desirable for the United States to make a press statement of the kind requested by the Chinese. There are two principal reasons supporting this conclusion.

First, such a statement would tend to establish the premise that the United States had already suffered two defeats: (1) our proposals in the General Assembly had not received the required support and (2) the United States does not have seven affirmative votes for a proposal which it favors in the Security Council. The fact that the new Administration would have found it necessary to make such a statement would be regarded as defeatist and help to generate this kind of an atmosphere in the General Assembly.

Secondly, an indication by the United States of its intention to use the veto to oppose the admission of Red China to the United Nations would seriously undermine our present tactical plan at the General Assembly designed to establish the precedent that any change in the Chinese representation question is an “important one” under the Charter and providing for the establishment of a committee to make recommendations on this and related questions. A United States statement of intention to use the veto in this way would tend to preclude in the eyes of a number of delegations a possible recommendation by the study committee in favor of a two China solution. Our study committee would then be conceived of not as a serious study proposal designed to make constructive recommendations, [Page 154]but rather as an empty one-year moratorium gimmick. It would not be viewed as a serious proposal, and therefore our statement would tend to diminish considerably the voting support we can hopefully expect.2

Dean Rusk
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China. Confidential. The source text is not dated, but the Department of State file copy is dated October 10 and indicates that it was drafted by Sisco. A marginal note indicates that Rusk gave the original to Bundy on October 10. (Department of State, Central Files, 303/10-1061)
  2. Telegram 313 from Taipei, October 11, reported Chiang and Ch’en had agreed that if the GRC were to change its position on Outer Mongolia, Ch’en would have to resign as Prime Minister. (Ibid., 303/10-1161)
  3. Rusk met with Yeh on October 11 and stated that there were two objections to a public reference to a possible U.S. veto on Chinese representation. First, it would be an empty gesture, if the issue arose in a framework in which the veto could be used, the GRC would also have the veto; second, and more important, it would imply that “the jig is up in the General Assembly.” (Memorandum of conversation, October 11; ibid.) See the Supplement.