316. Telegram From the Consulate General in Hong Kong to the Department of State1

4967. Subj: Chirep—Tactics. Refs: A.USUN 3383; B. Hong Kong 4725.2

Particularly grateful to Dept and USUN for giving us chance to comment on reftel A. Chirep question appears to us to have reached stage at which definition of US position has policy implications more critical than any near-term tactical or political considerations. If US Chirep position is defined in manner which logically implies that Taiwan and mainland China are separate nations, we believe long-run effect could be to make conflict between PRC and ourselves (and others, like Japan, who might go along with US) more probable than if we keep our Chirep position consistent with concept that Taiwan and mainland China are parts of single nation. Short-run effect would be virtually to rule out significant détente between US and Peking, and to enlarge differences between US and GRC. In line with last sentence para 2 reftel A, we accordingly recommend avoidance of Chirep positions implying that Taiwan and China are separate nations, even if alternatives might appear to lead to tactical defeat, or seem harder to “sell” in the GA.
Our intent in reftel B was thus not merely to extol merits of one particular variant of “two-para res,” but to call attention to importance of avoiding implications, via our Chirep position, that US has committed itself to perpetual political separation of Taiwan from China, thereby tending narrow options leading to accommodation with Peking. We believe that all Chirep proposals should be reviewed from standpoint of these consistent with concept that Taiwan is legally part [Page 554] of China, and that those which are not consistent should either be eliminated from consideration, or, if feasible, revised to make them consistent with such a “one-China” position. For example, it appears to us that “universality res” could, depending on its definition and context, be either consistent or inconsistent with one-China position. As commonly used, “universality” seems to us to mean that every nation should be represented; if there is only one China, then Albanian res is not in conflict with principle of universality. Accordingly, if “universality” is to be used as basis for opposing expulsion of GRC, there should be a gloss on the term to effect that in favoring “universality” US intended, not just that every nation should have delegation in UN, but that every established regime in firm control of definite territory and population should have right to representation. We have thought of this as “popular universality” (as opposed to “national universality”) and have been attracted to it in part because it might accommodate cases of other divided nations.
Similarly, one-para res suggested by Yoshida might, in our view, be made acceptable if amplified to make clear that it was without prejudice to territorial integrity of China. Otherwise, given the prevalent assumption that only sovereign nations are entitled to have delegations in UN, Peking might fairly conclude that PRC was being asked to sacrifice territorial integrity as price for seat. Peking and probably many UN members would regard Yoshida res, if not amplified as suggested above, as merely another device to prolong exclusion of PRC. In this connection, it is noted that the amplification we have suggested would be quite in line with “one-China” position that Japanese Govt spokesmen have consistently taken in public statements and in Diet for at least past year.
I wish to make clear we are not urging that US operate on assumption that GRC and PRC will necessarily be able eventually to agree on peaceful reunification. Nor would US adoption at this time of Chirep position consistent with Taiwan status as province of China necessarily foreclose option of eventual recognition of independent Taiwan or its admission as such to UN, should this be course of history. We are concerned, rather with serious effects that would stem from our identification at this time with view that Taiwan is not part of China.
Dept please repeat USUN, Taipei, Tokyo.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Documents 314 and 313, respectively.