298. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 1
Washington, February 13, 1968, 0250Z.
114300. From Bundy for Ambassador.
- I am scheduled to address Cincinnati Council on World Affairs February 16 on subject US policy toward Communist China. I regret final draft not completed in time provide you with full text but believe you should be aware of general thrust and particularly those portions dealing specifically with our policy toward GRC.
- Principal objectives this speech are to clarify certain misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding US policy toward Chinese Communist regime on mainland and GRC, to relate both these aspects of our China policy and attempt to remove some of ambiguities which have arisen in this area, and to reiterate our willingness to continue to seek reconciliation with mainland China. Speech does not announce any new departures in specific courses of action which would alter actual substance of our relations with GRC or Communist China. It details at some length record of Chinese Communist self-isolation, persistent hostility toward US, and threat posed by its aggressive posture toward outside world. It also reiterates fact that US commitment to GRC not open to negotiation and that US cannot accept Chinese Communist demand for participation in any international body to exclusion of GRC.
- However, although noting that Peking’s refusal to expand and improve contacts between US and Communist China makes unrealistic any suggestion that US recognize Peking, speech acknowledges possibility for movement in that direction at some point if Peking’s attitudes change. In addition, speech makes clear that US has been treating, and is prepared to continue to treat, separately with government of mainland China and GRC. In so doing speech employs somewhat more restrictive definition of substance of our relations with GRC than has been used in past. Portions of draft which bear on these points and others which we anticipate will be especially sensitive with GRC are as follows:
- US recognition of Chinese Communist control of mainland: “… it must be perfectly clear to anyone who has looked at this history of last 18 years that USG does not doubt existence of Communist China. We fought against its soldiers in Korea. We have negotiated with its representatives in international conferences in Geneva twice. We have maintained regular bilateral contact with it on an Ambassadorial level for 14 years, first in Geneva and now in Warsaw. Territory controlled and administered by Peking is well known to Government of US and when matters arise which pertain to this area and involve interests of US or American citizens, obviously our approach is to Chinese Communist authorities. This is reality and it fully acknowledged by this Government.”
- Relations between US and GRC: “What is this relationship? It is one of friendship going back many years, of mutual respect, and of common security interests in present circumstances in Asia. The United States recognizes the Government of Republic of China and deals with that Government on matters which, for most part, relate to areas over which it exercises actual control. Demands of ChiComs, accompanied by threats of force and use of force, for control of Taiwan are, of course, totally unacceptable. There can be no bargaining with lives of more than 13 million people who have made clear their rejection of Chinese Communist control. Under our treaty of 1954 with the Republic of China, we have a commitment to help it defend itself against an armed attack.
- Whatever final resolution there may ultimately be to question of Taiwan, it should, in all events, meet with approval of GRC and its people, whose interests are most directly affected. Given present posture of Peking, including its totally unfounded allegation that island is under US occupation, there is at present no means of resolving this issue. Therefore, our best hope is to see whether progress can be made on other issues and problems creating strain between the United States and Communist China.”
- Trade embargo: “I noted earlier situation in Korean war under which our present restrictions on trade and remittance of funds to Communist China were put into effect. Certainly while Korean war continued there could have been no question of trade with a country with [Page 640] whose soldiers we were engaged in fierce conflict. In years since then, admittedly situation has changed very considerably. Peking itself has grown increasingly able to produce many industrial materials which it needs. And gradually more and more states, including many such as Japan, Australia, and West Germany which do not recognize the Peking regime, have in fact entered into active trade with mainland China in non-strategic goods and commodities. Peking has consistently, however, for many years given no hint whatsoever of any interest in trading with the United States. Rather it has rejected even the vaguest hints that such trade might be possible. … In recent months USG has been reviewing this trade policy to determine if it would be feasible and in our interest to remove barriers on our side to mutually beneficial trade in non-strategic goods with mainland. We are doing this in belief that such peaceful trade should be possible without harming our strategic interests in area.”
- US-Chinese confrontation: “We are convinced that no war is inevitable. Seen in terms of national interests of our two countries, there no fundamental reason why United States and Communist China should come into conflict and every reason for us both to exert every effort to avert such a disaster. … US hopes for better relations with mainland China. It recognizes as I have said earlier that major differences exist in our political, social, and economic systems as well as on many concrete issues. Their resolution will be difficult and probably slow. Interests not only of US but of many other states deeply concerned over security, economic development, and political and social progress in Asia are involved. US recognizes that major interests of Chinese both on mainland of China and on Taiwan are also involved. There is need for all concerned to work toward lessening of tensions without abandoning or surrendering values and interests. United States intends to continue to strive toward this goal. We hope that Peking will alter its absolute opposition and resistance to these efforts on our part. We hope also that it will change its dedication to violent revolutionary overthrow of governments and social structures which do not match its image of society. We recognize that our abilities to influence rate at which this occurs are limited and that such changes will fundamentally be result of changed perceptions derived from within Chinese society and leadership itself. But we convinced that these changes will occur. When they do, United States will be prepared to respond positively to them.”
- We recognize likelihood that statement of US policy along above lines may provoke strong negative reaction by GRC and could make our working relations more difficult. In our judgment, however, such reaction will not damage basic structure of our relationship with GRC. We also feel that such statement, in addition to providing clearer basis for and greater flexibility in our China policy, might possibly open way for more frank and realistic dialogue with GRC concerning possibilities for [Page 641] long-range accommodation to its position on Taiwan in manner which will meet both our national interests. Please comment urgently.
- Full text will be forwarded ASAP.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 CHICOM-US. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Shoesmith, cleared by Kreisberg, and approved by Bundy.↩