314. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada 1
Washington, June 10, 1968, 1538Z.
179549. Subj: Approach to Canadian Ambassador Regarding Canadian Policy Initiatives Toward Communist China.
- Assistant Secretary Bundy called in Amb. Ritchie June 7 to discuss with him US concern over implications of possible Canadian initiatives toward Communist China.
- Mr. Bundy said that the Secretary had asked him in low-key way to run through points of concern to the United States and proposed therefore to mention the various problems we see as Canada moves to possible recognition Communist China, as suggested by Prime Minister’s policy statement on Canadian foreign policy and other remarks by Prime Minister and Mr. Sharp. We have noted, of course, Mr. Sharp’s references [Page 682]to taking into account the Government of Taiwan in pursuing recognition of Peking.
- Mr. Bundy said that the first problem that we see is the pattern exemplified in French experience with recognition of Peking. At that time Peking made it totally clear to Paris that a continued relationship with Taipei was out of the question. Taipei, primarily for reasons of face, actually broke relations with France but did this only after being informed by French that with the arrival of Chinese Communist Mission their Embassy in Paris would lose its “raison d’etre.“ Mr. Bundy gave the Ambassador copy of a chronology encompassing US understanding of what transpired in course of French recognition of Peking.
- Primary concern to US is the status of Taipei. It is doing a very good job, Mr. Bundy said, and juridically, morally, and in regional terms it is a going concern and important to Free World position.
- Mr. Bundy said that it might be of interest to Canadian Government that we have been confidentially informed by French that in view of recent anti-French statements by Communist China, they are seriously considering not returning their Ambassador to Peking. He mentioned this, Mr. Bundy said, to indicate roller coaster nature of relationship with Chinese Communists.
- A secondary but important point involved the timing of possible Canadian initiatives. This was involved with the Viet-Nam situation and Paris talks. Such an initiative by the Canadians would give encouragement to hard liners, both within Communist China itself and in Hanoi, and this might well rub off on North Vietnamese position in the Paris talks. The degree of damage to be anticipated here obviously depended on the terms on which the Canadians dealt with the ChiComs.
- Bundy said that another important factor which again depended on these terms was the blow which Taipei would suffer and which might be increased if other countries were tempted to follow the Canadian example. There would be concern, particularly in East Asia, both over the blow to Taipei and over the increased prestige which Peking would gain from Canadian action.
- In conclusion, Mr. Bundy said he wanted to indicate to Canadian Government our sense of concern, a concern based in large part on what happened when the French began a similar initiative. Mr. Bundy referred to Mr. Sharp’s conversation with the Secretary and reiterated our hope that the Canadians would talk to us before they took any action vis-#-vis Communist China.
- In response, Ambassador Ritchie said that he would report points made by Mr. Bundy and the concern which he expressed. He would like to say, however, that he did not believe that the parallel with France was necessarily applicable to Canada. In a very real sense, he believed that Mr. Sharp felt that Canada could only find out what the ChiComs [Page 683]would have in mind by trying. He questioned the effect such an initiative would have on the Paris talks, but agreed that extent this influence would be governed by terms of Canadian initiative. He concluded by stating it goes without saying that Canadian Government would talk to us before taking any action.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL CAN–CHICOM. Secret. Drafted by Donald on June 7, cleared by Straus in EUR/CAN, and Thayer in EA/ROC, and approved by William Bundy. Repeated to 12 posts, CINCPAC, US NATO (Brussels), USUN, and CINCPAC for POLAD.↩