305. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Part I—Chinese Representation


  • Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Albert Lakeland, Executive Assistant to Senator Javits of New York
  • Alfred le S. Jenkins, Director of the Office of Asian Communist Affairs
  • Louise McNutt, UN Advisor, EA, Office of Regional Affairs

Mr. Lakeland, who was again calling at his own request, noted at the outset that he was very pleased to see the recent Ziegler statement on Chirep.2 He thought this represented a most useful step forward and wondered whether we could not be similarly forthcoming in our statement to the General Assembly.

Mr. Green, who noted in passing that he had drafted the Ziegler statement, said that as far as what we say to the General Assembly is concerned, we have to be very careful to stand by what we have told the GRC and other Governments, especially at this time when the vote is so crucial. We hope to do this without digging ourselves into a hole and by stressing our strong adverse reaction to any proposal to expel the GRC.

What we had tried to do in the Ziegler statement is to set up a formulation to which we can look in the future. He noted that so far we have seen no reaction to the statement from the GRC and that indeed Ambassador Chow, in answer to a question had indicated that there were no problems for him. We feel that many officials in the GRC are well aware of the shadows on the road ahead. The problem, however, is the Gimo’s reaction.

Mr. Lakeland argued strongly that we cannot wait too long—to the point of no return—to try to move our position to one of keeping [Page 534]the GRC in the UN but not opposing a seat for the Chinese Communists. He said that this year we have to show that we have the strength to beat the Albanian resolution but we should shift while we are still strong. To him this suggested that we should now indicate a new formulation, otherwise we may see the Chinese Communists seated and the GRC expelled.

Stressing that what he was saying was highly confidential, Mr. Green said that we probably would have to make some changes in our position. But we must handle any such move with exquisite diplomacy. On the question of moving from strength, we already have the Ziegler statement on the record and after the vote his (Mr. Green’s) statement before the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will be published showing clearly it also came before the vote. But any subsequent moves must be in the closest consultation especially with the GRC and Japan. With regard to this year’s vote, if the GRC were defeated by a significant majority Peking would certainly be in no frame of mind to do anything but demand a price for its seating. The situation is similar, if reversed, in the case of the GRC. If it feels the hot breath of a losing position, it may be more willing to face reality. Meanwhile, however, we have to stand by Taipei, otherwise our ability to influence it will be weakened.

The difficulty will come after the vote. We will then face such problems as how we take the matter up with the GRC; the need of avoiding precise labels such as two Chinas; one China—one Taiwan, etc. Probably the more nebulous the description of the relationship, the better. In this connection Mr. Green recalled that he had heard that Sato had mentioned something along the lines of one China—two voices.

Mr. Lakeland felt the question was how best to protect the GRC. We cannot do this if we wait too long. With regard to the GRC’s reaction, perhaps we should move whether it is ready for us to do so or not. This even at the cost of the GRC’s walking out. It could perhaps re-enter later. After all the Indonesians walked out of the UN at one time but subsequently came back without difficulty.

Mr. Green thought the situation in the case of Indonesia was quite different and that GRC withdrawal followed by a later attempted reentry was likely to be impossible. He went on to stress however, that what we want is the GRC in the UN. We neither want to see it expelled or to have it walk out. We have a stake in this too and it poses us with a very difficult problem.

Continuing, Mr. Green took up an earlier comment of Mr. Lakeland’s about the fact that a number of nations seem to be interested in the idea of universality. He noted that the concept had considerable support and it makes a good deal of sense. Mr. Green himself thought there was much to be said for the idea of universality with the added [Page 535]element of self determination. In this combination we might be able to work out the necessary protection for Taiwan. But there are problems in connection with the concept. In East Asia there is a fundamental one in the attitude of the South Koreans. They would obviously react strongly and adversely, even though there was some element of give in Pak’s recent statement with regard to relationships with the North.

In reply to a comment by Mr. Lakeland that we did not seem to show a sense of urgency about moving our policy on ChiRep, Mr. Green denied that this was the case. He said we thought it was a problem of the greatest urgency, but we have to be careful in how we go about it. He recalled President Roosevelt’s actions in the early days of World War II. By not moving too fast in the early period of the conflict Roosevelt brought the country with him, so that by the time Pearl Harbor occurred the people were ready for the task ahead. There were similarities in the present situation with regard to China. The attitude of the American people is changing on this issue, but it still has a distance to go. Mr. Green referred to the recent Gallup Poll which found that 35% favored a seat in the UN for the Chinese but 49% opposed. While this showed a movement toward liberalization in the public’s mind, it still indicated a considerable body of opposition. Accordingly we must play our cards very carefully.

Mr. Lakeland said he thought that if the question had been posed differently as for example—do you favor the continued opposition of the US to a seat for Peking, the answer might have been reversed. What we must do is free ourselves from the albatross of our present position.

In closing this section of the conversation, Mr. Green said that Senator Javits could be very helpful to us in trying to work out some method of dealing with this difficult problem. Mr. Javits as a leading Senator could help prepare the way in Congress and with the public and we hope that we can stay in close touch with him after the vote this year.

Mr. Lakeland said that the Senator was very appreciative of the role Mr. Green had played in this issue and was well aware of his persuasiveness in getting others to agree with his forward looking concepts.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret. Drafted on October 30 by McNutt.
  2. During the White House news conference held on the afternoon of October 25, Press Secretary Ron Ziegler said: “But it should be stated very clearly, as I have stated it to you today, that the United States continues to oppose the admission of Red China at the expense of the expulsion of the Republic of China, and that the efforts we are making in seeking opportunities to improve our relations with Peking in no way lessens the importance we give to the close association with the Republic of China and the support we give to their constructive role in the international community.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, White House Press Conferences, Box 16, White House News Conference No. 789)