321. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Chinese Representation in the United Nations

PARTICIPANTS

  • His Excellency Sir James Plimsoll, C.B.E., Ambassador E. and P., Embassy of Australia
  • Mr. Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary, East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Mr. John A. Armitage, Director, IO/UNP
  • Mr. Alfred le S. Jenkins, Director, EA/ACA

Ambassador Plimsoll opened by asking whether things were moving with respect to China. Mr. Green said that we were in the process of preparing a basic issues paper on China policy and that IO was preparing a paper on tactics relating to Chirep. There were a number of possible alternative approaches. We would have to undertake more “nose counts” in the near future and we were now starting preliminary talks with our friends. We certainly wanted to keep in close touch [Page 564]with Australia. If we hold to our present line on the Albanian Resolution and the Important Question we could well have an increase in votes on the former and a decrease in the latter which could create a situation in which the GRC might walk out. On the other hand it is possible that a dual representation formula could at least buy time. The Ambassador thought there was no doubt that a majority of the membership would look favorably on the concept as such. Mr. Green said it would indicate that we recognized the realities in the situation and were trying to move toward what people wanted. We would also not look as though we were a prisoner of President Chiang. Over the last two years we have developed basic support among the American people for what we have been doing with respect to overall China policy.

The Ambassador expressed doubt that present Chirep policy could hold for long. Mr. Green thought that Peking would hold out for the time when it could get into the UN on its own terms. He was not sure that any of us had thought enough about what it would mean if the GRC were out of the UN. The Ambassador said he personally thought that things would not “go on pretty much as usual” if the GRC were out. Mr. Green said our consistency in supporting our pledges is a considerable asset to the US. If the GRC should walk out because it anticipates a defeat people might well ask: why should we be left holding the bag?—in other words why should we continue to support the GRC?

The Ambassador said as long as the GRC is in the UN any attack on it by Peking is difficult. Mr. Green agreed that there would be less credibility under that circumstance concerning Peking’s claim of our interference in internal Chinese affairs. Mr. Armitage thought most people were not aware that a two-China formula was anathema to both Chinas. Mr. Green said if we continued on our present line it would make it easier with respect to our relations to both Peking and Taipei but that we could be in difficulty because of domestic reaction in case of defeat. It could of course lead to a total resolution of the problem, with Peking in and Taipei out, although this would be far from an acceptable solution. One of the worst results would be for us to support dual representation, and then back down in the face of Chiang’s strong objections. We will have to go through with it if we start down the path of dual representation.

Mr. Armitage asked whether pro-Peking countries would not vote against dual representation. The Ambassador thought this would depend largely on Peking’s stand. He said the Yugoslav Ambassador thought it would be best to seat both, but he was not sure how significant this observation was. Mr. Green said if Taipei acquiesced in dual representation and Peking should not come in, the GRC could simply sit still for a while. Some key figures in the Government in Taipei give some signs of flexibility as have a couple of recent Taipei editorials.

[Page 565]

The GRC line has been that the US has never let it down in the past, and it trusts we will not do so in the [future.]2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret. Drafted by Jenkins.
  2. The source text ends at this point.