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

79607. Subject: Soviets and Chirep.

Recent conversations reported reftel, USUN 12922 and elsewhere reflect Soviet preference, as result Sino-Soviet conflict to see continued exclusion of Chicoms from UN. Gradual Soviet shift away from full support of Peking on Chirep issue has been evident, though not always manifest, for past several years. Despite formalistic support in official statements and in voting Soviets on several occasions have made private statements or taken behind the scenes actions designed— sometimes grossly apparent—to give impression its support is not wholehearted. Fact that we have not faced serious challenge on Chirep in Security Council despite unfavorable composition of Council during 1968 and 1969 is due in part, we believe, to conscious Soviet disinclination to press issue when opportunity to do so has arisen.
Our preliminary judgment is that formal Soviet position in UN is likely to remain unchanged despite “unofficial” comments suggesting shift in attitude toward GRC and Chirep. We rule out possible change this year in traditional Soviet vote on Albanian Res and Important Question3 and expect statements in UN, although perhaps somewhat more muted, essentially to repeat past position.
Private comments reflect probably genuine Soviet preference that status quo in UN not be upset. But Soviets probably assume that Chirep position of GRC, US and its allies commands sufficient support in UN to assure continued Chicom exclusion without Soviets having to do embarrassing about-face. This is related to Soviet concern and probing about possible shift in US-China policy.
Most likely impact, if any, of these Soviet hints of changed position might be upon those countries whose position on Chirep is influenced more by Moscow than by Peking. Whatever position Soviets [Page 486]take formally, cumulative effect of Soviet private expressions of concern might be to prompt shifts by these others.
On other hand, private, low-level Soviet assertions of need to preserve representation of Taiwan in UNGA might encourage consideration by others of proposal calling for admission of Chicoms without at same time calling for expulsion of GRC. Such a proposal would possibly receive considerably greater support than the Albanian resolution and in case of adoption would seriously risk GRC withdrawal, result which neither we nor presumably Soviets would like.
Outside UN, Soviet private statements might serve to discourage additional moves toward bilateral recognition of Peking.
For USUN : Your comments solicited. We would appreciate particularly reporting on any sentiment on this issue which you may hear expressed by other missions or any indications Soviets are discussing Chirep along lines reported reftel.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret. Drafted by Jay H. Long; cleared by Louise McNutt, Nicholas Platt, Adolph Dubs, Paul H. Kreisberg, and John P. Sontag; and approved by William H. Gleysteen. Also sent to Taipei and repeated to Moscow, Ottawa, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
  2. In telegram 1292, May 1, Yost reported that an unnamed First Secretary at the Soviet Mission to the UN said that he hoped that the United States would not change its attitude toward “Nationalist” China whether or not it sought improved relations with Communist China, adding that “Nationalist” China’s 13 million people could not be discarded. (Ibid.)
  3. See Document 278.