296. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium1

159694. Subject: Chirep—Conversation with Davignon re Belgian Initiative. Ref: Brussels 4387 (Notal).2

Summary: In conversation Sept 25, Belgian Fonoff Dirgen Davignon told Acting Asst Sec Herz (IO) Belgian res will not be tabled but consultations to find alternative to Albanian res will continue. Harmel [Page 516] will discuss res in General Debate speech, noting Peking should be in UN. Kosygin had earlier told Harmel Chirep was “internal problem between the two states”, but GOB was surprised at vehement Soviet reaction to their res. Yugoslavs had told them Peking would oppose anything short of full Albanian res. GOB will try establish contact with Peking on recognition but expects difficulty since GOB will refuse break with Taiwan. End summary.
Following points made by Belgian FonOff Dirgen Davignon during conversation with Act Asst Herz Sept 25. Full memcon by pouch.
In proposed res, GOB sought explore solution to Chirep problem not involving ejection of ROC which GOB would find abhorrent. GOB does not consider it has “special vocation” this area, would be glad if others could come up with solution providing for Chinese participation while protecting Taiwan’s UN membership. Fact is, no one is doing this now and GOB still feels beginning must be made.
Resolutions which openly endorse “two Chinas” are lame ducks, shot at by all, Davignon said. GOB sought get around problem by devising “one China-two Govts” res, recognizing objections would be raised to wording but knowing objections would be raised to any conceivable wording. Davignon explained that difference between operative paragraphs re treatment of Peking and Taipei had been intentional: GOB felt something more had to be offered to Peking than to Taipei since former could be expected object even more vehemently to dual representation. This explained fact that entire res was described as temporary arrangement (which could in practice become permanent) pending different arrangements between the two govts. It also explained why Belgian draft would have declared PRC to “be” UN member representing territory it controls while ROC would “participate in General Assembly” in similar capacity. Of course, Davignon said, one would have to lean hard on Taipei to get their acceptance, but this inevitable in any case.
Result of Belgian soundings had been mixed, Davignon said, and reaction mostly unfavorable though GOB feels if tabled res would have received 25–30 affirmative votes. French opposed tabling on grounds it would draw votes off from Albanian res which should be passed as soon as possible. Bitter opposition of Soviet Union and EE bloc most surprising. Year ago Kosygin told Harmel Chirep issue was “internal problem for both states” and “both states” would have to solve it by themselves. Kosygin had repeated this formulation, so it must have been deliberate.GOB had tried take this into account in “pending other arrangements” clause of res, and had not expected vehement Soviet reaction. Yugoslavs, who also advised against tabling, said Peking explicitly informed Yugo Embassy “moment has not come to change Albanian res” and would oppose one paragraph resolutions. [Page 517] (Yugoslavs, according to Davignon, had probed Chicoms on acceptability of simple res on PRC admission that would have been silent on ROC expulsion.)
View largely negative reaction, GOB will not introduce res at this GA, Davignon said. Res is not dead however and GOB will continue soundings in attempt find some way out of impasse. Harmel in General Debate speech will discuss problem, noting Peking should hold China’s UN seat, and will describe GOB’s proposed solution.
Davignon felt Belgium could not indefinitely maintain its present position of merely abstaining on Albanian res. It is one of small group of remaining EUR countries without relations with Peking. After Canada, Italy will soon establish relations with PRC. Thus Belgium will fairly soon have to try establish contact with Peking to negotiate recognition. Such negotiations will be hard for GOB as GOB will not agree break relations with Taiwan as price for relations with Peking, Davignon said.
Since Davignon informed us of cabinet decision not to table, Herz confined his remarks to expression of appreciation and assurance we would expect to work closely with Belgians in reassessment of situation after this year’s Chirep vote.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Feldman; cleared by J. Theodore Papendorp, McNutt, Armitage, Shoesmith, Alfred le S. Jenkins, Herbert S. Okun, and Sean Holly; and approved by Martin Taipei, Tokyo, Wellington, Hong Kong, and USNATO.
  2. Dated September 25. (Ibid., POL 16 CHICOM)