275. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations 1

41509. Subject: Chirep. Ref: USUN 679.2

We do not believe that Chicom’s presentation of “three constant principles” or their formulation of third principle to Canadians represents shift in Peking basic policy re recognition or UN. We do not however rule out possibility that Peking might wish to appear to be more interested than heretofore in UN membership. As Canadian/Chicom negotiations develop we will presumably get a clearer picture of Peking’s intentions.
“Principles” outlined to Canadians are consistent with position taken by Peking for past several years in private discussions with US and in negotiations on recognition of which we aware with other noncommunist countries. This was true even during period, i.e. 1965–66, when Peking publicly most strongly denounced UN and formulated its most extreme conditions for accepting membership. For example, Chicoms raised issue with us at Warsaw early 1966, charging US opposed restoration of their “legitimate” seat in UN. There are indications that these “principles” were put forward in negotiations leading to French recognition in 1964. We know that they were enunciated thereafter during attempts to get Japanese to follow French example.
With respect to para 3B reftel, it is uncertain whether clauses were in fact arranged or phrased precisely in the form passed to us by Canadians. Moreover, analysis is made difficult by lack of information concerning the precise manner in which the conditions were formulated to others previously. In any case, particularly if read, as clearly intended, in context of other two “principles”, we are inclined not to regard Chicom demand for support of its “rightful place” and for cessation of backing for GRC as a softening of traditional position. Whatever the order, it seems clear that Peking is not suggesting that continued presence of GRC in UN is any more acceptable.
Chicom formulation is consistent with proposition that Peking all along has wanted UN membership (on its terms of course) despite variations in the priority which it has given to achieving that objective. It should be noted that Peking has never explicitly ruled out UN membership and has never departed from attitude that it deserves to be member. It has simply made acceptance of membership conditional, with expulsion of the GRC as the minimum condition. Peking public denunciation of UN can be ascribed to “sour-grapes” recognition or belief that membership under its minimum condition has not been possible.
Despite the above, we agree with USUN (para 7 reftel) that any positive indication or impression of greater Peking interest in entering UN may make it more difficult to hold the line in the next GA as a result of our past use of the opposite argument. We will therefore have to watch developments very closely and in meantime recognize that such arguments could boomerang.
Hong Kong may wish to comment.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Jay H. Long; cleared by Richard H. Donald, Harry E. T. Thayer, Thomas P. Shoe-smith, William H. Gleysteen, Nicholas Platt, and William S. Shepard; and approved by Assistant Secretary De Palma. Repeated to Taipei and Hong Kong.
  2. Document 274.