334. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

37377. Subject: Chirep Consultations with UK. Ref: London 1914.2

Summary—Under Secretary called in British Ambassador (Lord Cromer) March 4 to emphasize once more to British importance USG places on UK not taking a position or getting themselves into a situation requiring them to take position on Chirep until we have concluded policy review and had opportunity consult with UK on results of that review. Lord Cromer assured Under Secretary that UK would not take such steps without first discussing with US, but emphasized time element getting very short for UK since PRC has made [Page 613] “encouraging noises” and will set pace in talking with British on improvement in their relations, including exchange of ambassadors. End summary
At the request of Under Secretary Irwin, British Ambassador Lord Cromer, accompanied by Counselor Moberly, called at the Dept at 3:15 PM March 4 to discuss Chirep. The Under Secretary led off by noting that Dept had already expressed to UK Emboffs US hope that UK would not take position or get into situation requiring them to take position on Chirep until we have concluded our Chirep policy review and had opportunity consult with UK on results of that review. He had called in Ambassador in order to emphasize once more importance that USG places on this point. In response to Lord Cromer’s query on how study is going, Under Secretary said we unable at this point to give specific time when review would be completed but that we moving as quickly as possible.
Cromer said UK predicament is that PRC has made “encouraging noises” on prospects for improvement in relations with UK, that without being certain how promising these overtures might be, UK did not wish to spurn “tiny shoots which might otherwise blossom” and that it would undoubtedly not be very long before UK would have to say something positive to them. Moberly interjected that Chinese had raised for first time in six years, question of exchange of ambassadors and that they were certain in this context to raise question of British position on Chirep. Ambassador then said, “However, we won’t do anything without first discussing it with you.”
Under Secretary assured Cromer that USG not stalling to keep PRC out of UN and that we are seriously attempting to find a solution to the Chirep problem in a way acceptable to the majority. At same time, he reiterated importance to US of keeping ROC in UN. We believe our efforts to work out an equitable solution would be damaged to considerable degree, if not even more, if UK were to take an early decision damaging to our position. He emphasized that we are not asking UK to support any particular proposal that might emerge from review, but simply that we hope UK would not take a position that might do harm to our position before we have had chance to talk.
Cromer noted that 25th UNGA Chirep vote, which for first time gave Albanian resolution simple majority, had created new situation in UK eyes, and that UK did not believe its position of support for Important Question, which had been taken for US benefit, could be continued if it appeared to be thwarting the will of the majority. He said Chinese could now say UK support for IQ would be tantamount to working against their entrance into UN and there would be logic in such a position. He then reiterated assurance with statement: “All we can really say [Page 614] at this time is that we won’t take any action likely to embarrass you without consulting with you.” He concluded saying that the fact is that the tide is running “that way”, but he would be pleased if US could really come up with “something that would satisfy everyone.”
Conversation then turned to reported meeting of Chou En-lai with British Chargé Denson in Peking. Cromer said Embassy had not yet been informed on this meeting, but he understood that Chargé was being given chance, for first time, to talk directly with Chou En-lai. Moberly added that initiative had come from Chinese side and that he was certain Denson would not have put forth any new initiative. Ambassador promised brief us on talks when report received.
Returning to US request, Cromer said time element getting shorter and that UK may get to stage where it difficult to defer “an announcement on this.” He also reiterated that UK not setting the pace, was reacting to PRC initiatives “in friendly way”, but UK fully understood sensitivity of problem from US point of view. Under Secretary said we would try to move along as quickly as possible.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Long; cleared by Armitage, James A. Williams, Robert T. Curran, Shoesmith, McNutt, Robert T. Burns, and Winthrop G. Brown; and approved by Assistant Secretary Mr. De Palma. Repeated to USUN, Geneva for Herz, Taipei for Brown, and Hong Kong.
  2. Dated March 4. (Ibid.)