345. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Bundy) and the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Leddy) to Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Diplomatic Recognition of the Mongolian People’s Republic


In an action memorandum dated May 6, 1966 (Tab H),2 the SIG forwarded a recommendation that we initiate steps to recognize Mongolia. No action was taken at that time, largely because the timing was considered unpropitious. The SIG recommendation stated that there were then more international advantages than disadvantages in recognizing Mongolia. (Tab F gives the arguments pro and con as presented to the SIG.)3
There have been significant changes in the situation, leading us to reexamine the problem. We believe the time is now propitious to undertake steps which would lead to recognition of Mongolia. Factors supporting this view include the following:
Chinese representation in the United Nations has been resolved for another year and will not come up again for several months;
The Republic of China is pleased with the results of the Chinese representation issue in the United Nations which has strongly reaffirmed its international status, and this fact strengthens our position in countering expected GRC opposition to our recognition of Mongolia.
We have demonstrated our opposition to Communist aggression in Vietnam, and recognition of Mongolia now would demonstrate our desire to work with and establish contacts with peaceful Asian Communist states;
We have had a few recent indications from Mongolian officials through private channels that they continue to wish to establish relations with the U.S. [3 lines of source text not declassified] (INR has completed a [Page 749] study of probable reactions by Mongolia and certain other countries to a U.S. approach—Tab G.)4
We do not expect the Soviet Union to oppose establishment of a U.S. presence in Ulan Bator, although Soviet interests will undoubtedly be reflected in Mongol efforts to control the size and activities of our mission. At the present time, also, the prospect of Chinese Communist criticism will carry less weight with both the Mongols and their Soviet allies. We believe that the current situation in Communist China will have no effect on reactions to our approach to the Mongols.
One factor again urging speed is the prospective visit this May of the Vice President of the Republic of China. We should if possible pro-gress to the point that we can make our approach to the Mongols a matter of public knowledge prior to his departure for the United States.
If the decision is taken to recognize Mongolia, certain members of Congress should be consulted and the GRC and Japan should be informed beforehand. Japan is also seriously considering early recognition of Mongolia after the January 29 elections and will wish to consult with us on the timing of our respective actions. We should also inform the Soviet Union shortly after approaching the Mongols. We may also wish to notify our NATO allies at an appropriate stage.
A recommended action schedule has been prepared by EA and EUR and is attached at Tab B. The talking points at Tab C and D, and draft telegram at Tab E, would be utilized in implementing this schedule following approval of the recommendation contained in the Memorandum for the President at Tab A.
We expect the GRC to protest, but we have already told the GRC that we had the step under review. We also believe we should be able to reassure the GRC that these actions do not in any way affect our continuing support for it and that we will play our move in low key. Our suggested action schedule allows the GRC time (two weeks) to make their views known.
Although we believe that the Mongols will respond favorably to our initiative, it is always possible that for some reason they will reject it. We believe that the risk on this score is minimal and that in any event the disadvantages that a negative Mongol response would entail do not outweigh the advantages of moving at this time.
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That you sign the Memorandum to the President at Tab A.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 MONG. Secret. Drafted by Franklin O. McCord of ACA. Concurred in by Jacobson, Bennett, Country Director for Soviet Affairs Malcolm Toon, Sisco, Country Director for Japan Richard L. Sneider, MacAr-thur, and Kohler. The Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs became the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs on November 1, 1966.
  2. The memorandum from Under Secretary Ball to the Secretary, undated but with a drafting date of May 6, 1966, stated that at the Senior Interdepartmental Group meeting on May 3, it had been agreed that Ball should inform Rusk of the SIG views: that there were more international advantages than disadvantages in recognizing Mongolia, that such a decision would require consulting some members of Congress and Japan and informing the GRC, and that the question of timing was important with respect to the GRC reaction.
  3. The remainder of the tabs, except Tab G, consisting of unsigned and undated papers as described in the memorandum, are attached but not printed.
  4. Tab G is not attached to the source text.
  5. The source text is filed with a February 7 note from Under Secretary Katzenbach’s Special Assistant Donald R. Morris stating that Katzenbach had discussed this memorandum with Rusk, who did not sign the memorandum to the President, and that it should be returned to EA on the basis of Katzenbach’s conversation with Bundy. A memorandum from Bundy and Leddy to Rusk, undated but with a drafting date of July 5, states that in response to their January 9 memorandum, Katzenbach had suggested seeking to moderate the Republic of China’s opposition to recognition of Mongolia by discussing with it some of the anticipated intelligence benefits. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 MONG)