12. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State1

736. Embtel 735.2 At a twenty minute meeting with the President at 1800 today he confirmed the arrival of the French communication delivered orally to the Foreign Minister by French Charge Pierre Salade this morning. He considered this as an official communication from the French Government.

President said he had cooperated with the United States in his handling of the January 27 announcement and the January 31 press conference but he considered that the French message delivered by the French Charge had ended the period of manuever. He said that at a meeting of his government after arrival of the message he had decided that the relations of the GRC and the Government of France had been terminated by the French communication. I said that in speaking for the United States all our efforts had been bent on forcing the French to take the initiative and I hoped that in handling this matter the GRC would assure by all means available that the responsibility for this action in the eyes of the world rested squarely on the French. The President replied that there was no doubt in his mind that the French Government with the delivery of the French Charge message had in fact taken the initiative.

The President then asked that I convey to the Secretary of State and President Johnson that relations between the GRC and the Government of France had by French action ceased to exist.

There will be an emergency Cabinet meeting at 2100 to decide on the form in which the French action will be announced. The Premier stated there would be an announcement to the press tonight.

I have urged the Premier and Foreign Minister to get the French message in writing to facilitate a clear public understanding but both have stated that they considered that the meaning of the French message was clear and unmistakable and therefore a written statement would not be requested. I repeated to Premier and Foreign Minister the need for wording of their announcement so as to make it clear that the initiative for breaking relations had been taken by the French.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 CHINAT-FR. Secret; Flash; Limdis. Received at 9:04 a.m. Repeated to Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and US UN. Passed to the White House, OSD, Army, Air Force, Navy, and CIA.
  2. Telegram 735 from Taipei, February 10, reported a conversation with Shen, who stated that the French Chargé had made an oral statement to him that day that France would exchange diplomatic representatives with Peking soon and that once the Chargé from Peking arrived in Paris, the French would consider him as the representative of China; consequently, the Republic of China diplomatic mission would lose its raison d’etre. (Ibid., POL 1 CHICOM-FR)