326. Response to National Security Study Memorandum 1071

I. Conclusions and Options for Decision

The major problems facing us are Chinese Representation (Chirep) and UN membership for the divided states. We are likely to suffer a major foreign policy defeat this year on the Chirep issue if we persist in our present policy. Neither the Charter nor legal analysis furnishes real guidance for formulating a US policy. The issues are and always have been political, not legal. The choices before us are:
Maintain our present policy—continue to treat Chirep as a separate problem and deal with admission of the divided states on a case-by-case basis.
Adopt “Universality”—attempt to deal with the problems facing us within a single framework by urging General Assembly adoption of a doctrine of universality. Since there are important practical obstacles to the immediate admission of all divided states, we would not necessarily make specific proposals but might state willingness to see them admitted when conditions are appropriate. We would oppose expulsion of the Republic of China (ROC) as contrary to universality, and not oppose—perhaps even advocate—Communist Chinese (PRC) entry.
Adopt “Universality” plus a Dual Representation resolution on China—follow a universality resolution of the above type with a resolution calling for seating of both Peking and Taipei as a solution to the pressing Chinese representation issue within the universality context.
Adopt Dual Representation Alone—propose a dual representation resolution on China without the universality framework. A number of variations are available, some more desirable and/or more saleable than others.
Maintain our present policy: The ROC will strongly urge that we take this course and will resist any other choice. But doing so is likely to lead to early passage (this year or 1972) of the Albanian Resolution seating Peking and expelling Taiwan. It therefore involves the greatest potential loss of prestige for the US. (Curiously, this option least jeopardizes improvement in relations with the PRC—who also see it as leading to their early victory.)
Adopt “Universality”: The concept of universality has much to recommend it: it is supported by the great majority of UN members, would appeal to domestic and international public opinion, and might help stem the tide in favor of the Albanian Resolution. But espousing universality would cause us difficulties in our bilateral relations with the ROC, the ROK, and the FRG (in addition to the PRC). It would not by itself settle the China issue. Even if it were specifically invited to come in, Peking would almost certainly refuse to do so while Taiwan remained. It is more likely that the UN would eventually yield and eject the ROC, than that the PRC would yield and accept seating alongside the ROC.
A Combination of “Universality” plus a Dual Representation Resolution on China: This is the formula most likely to head off defeat on the Chirep issue, in the short term at least. Placing the dual representation resolution within the philosophic basis of universality improves its chances for passage by making it more difficult to attack. Should the PRC refuse to enter on this basis, even though it would have been specifically invited, the onus would be on them, and the ROC would remain a member (unless it decided to withdraw—see paragraph 7 below). In the long run, however, the same considerations about a contest of wills noted in paragraph 3 above would apply.
Dual Representation Alone: The Chirep problem could be dealt with independently by offering a dual representation resolution without universality as a philosophic cloak. This course would have less appeal in the General Assembly, but would avoid the problems with the Koreans and probably the Germans which universality would raise. Such a resolution would stand a good chance of commanding majority support in the General Assembly and blocking the Albanian Resolution and would be seen as a realistic and forward-looking policy. However, it also would have the problem of durability mentioned in paragraphs 3 and 4 above. Taiwan doubtless would argue that it would prefer to withdraw from the UN rather than agree to dual representation (see paragraph 7).

If we go the dual representation route, we must decide whether to press the Important Question again. By dropping the Important Question, we probably could easily pass a dual representation resolution by a simple majority—but it could later be overturned by a simple majority. If we go for the Important Question and the Important Question passes, we would have to get a two-thirds majority for dual representation, which seems rather doubtful. On the other hand, if we were able to get a two-thirds majority, dual representation would be established on a reasonably durable basis. Our decision on tactics should be made after an assessment of the situation later in the year, and in consultation with our allies.

A dual representation resolution probably would have to express the view that the Security Council seat should go to the PRC since this is in keeping with Assembly sentiment on the issue. However, we could and should attempt to explore other possibilities of keeping that aspect open. The Security Council, regardless of any specific Assembly recommendation, would probably decide to award the China seat to the PRC following Assembly action to seat Peking.

If the ROC remains adamantly opposed to dual representation and consequently withdraws from the UN before or after adoption of a dual representation proposal, our objective of preserving a place for it in the UN obviously would have failed. A carefully organized effort would be required to persuade the ROC that withdrawal would be against its interest, and there is no assurance that this effort would succeed. At the same time, we should recognize that the security of Taiwan depends primarily on the US defense commitment, which would not be affected, and not on UN membership. Taiwan’s economy would not be directly affected by loss of UN membership.
It has been occasionally suggested that the US also has the option of opposing the Albanian resolution, but in a relatively pro forma manner—assuming that since we are bound to fail, we should cut our losses and involve our prestige as little as possible. We believe that the [Page 583] ROC would view such a stance as conspiring in its ejection from the UN and thus as a breach of good faith and that passage of the Albanian resolution, over even passive US opposition, would still be seen as a serious American defeat. Accordingly, it appears that this option would be less attractive than it initially might seem to be.
PRC membership would be troublesome to us and to the UN. However, the PRC probably would not try to wreck the organization and could not even if it tried.
Microstates, insurrectionary regimes, irredentist organizations, etc., do not pose unmanageable problems to universality. Southern Rhodesia might be a theoretical problem, but in practice the UN would find ways of excluding it as long as its present racial policies continue. No state currently recognizes its sovereignty.
Whether or not we strike out on a new path, close consultation with a number of countries is required. After the ROC itself, Japan most urgently requires consultation on Chirep.
If we go the universality route, we must also consult closely with our German, Korean, and Vietnamese allies. ROK interests probably cannot be entirely reconciled with our own, but compromises satisfying some of their most urgent requirements are possible. In the case of the FRG, difficulties need not arise provided the US maintains the position agreed by the Foreign Ministers of the US, UK, France and the FRG on December 2, 1970 (see Section V).
If we opt for dual representation, we must expect a period of major difficulties with the ROC, and it is possible that they would be of such a magnitude as to cause us to reconsider the choice of that policy option.

II. Introduction to the Problem

We have been asked to study the question of UN membership in its totality. There is only one urgent problem, that of Communist China, but another is not far behind—East Germany which is already being pushed forward by the USSR. (The other divided countries, Korea and Vietnam, are not pressing matters.) If we adopted universality as a broad, philosophical approach to membership questions generally, this would give us a tactical advantage; but it would entail some cost in our relations with individual countries, particularly our Korean allies. No problem need arise with the FRG if we maintain the position agreed by the four Foreign Ministers (see Section V). If we depart from this position, we would have to expect a sharp FRG reaction.

On the Chinese Representation (Chirep) issue in the UN, the trend is clearly against us. Although we obtained a majority on the Important Question (IQ) resolution at the 25th General Assembly, support for the IQ will be subject to accelerating erosion. If we continue on our [Page 584] present course, the Albanian resolution will pass before long. There is little doubt that a strategy looking to UN acceptance of the principles of universality and dual representation for China would be better calculated to prevent or delay the expulsion of the ROC than our present policy. However, there are risks and pitfalls to every policy option. These are analyzed in this paper.

Curiously, if our overriding interest is in laying the Chirep issue to rest, to improve the prospect for relations with the PRC, and yet to remain faithful to our ally on Taiwan, it might be best to continue with our present policy and see the PRC admitted to the UN over our opposition and even at the expense of expulsion of the ROC. However, this would involve a major American defeat on an issue of world importance.

If we chose to go down to defeat on the Albanian resolution, the US Government would be widely regarded as wrong-headed, static, inflexible, and unrealistic—even though it might be pursuing a carefully calculated policy of the lowest aggregate of liabilities abroad. There would also be a political price to pay for the fact that the US Government was suffering a major defeat at the hands of the Communists. It is clear, therefore, that a rational calculation of international advantages and disadvantages is not sufficient for the choice among policy options. Domestic political considerations must play an important part in the decision.

[Omitted here are Sections III–IX.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, National Security Files, NSSM 107. Secret.NSSM 107 is Document 312. According to a covering memorandum from De Palma, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Working Group, he submitted this report to Kissinger on January 25. It was then forwarded to Irwin, Packard, Moorer, and Helms by Jeanne Davis on January 27. She noted that the report would be discussed at the February 26 Senior Review Group meeting, but the meeting was not held until March 9. For the minutes of this meeting, see Document 335. Davis also distributed an Issues Paper prepared in the Department of State to Irwin, Packard, Moorer, Helms, Anthony Jurich (Treasury), and Robert McLellan (Commerce Department) on February 9. (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, National Security Files, NSSM 107)