346. Letter From the Representative to the United Nations (Bush) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry,

The Security Council (SC) question is fundamental. It will be impossible to consider Peking’s (PRC) coming into the General Assembly (GA) without considering the SC question.

I have not talked to a single person around the UN who feels that a Dual Representation (DR) would have a chance unless the SC went to PRC. As we ask the official of GRC to consider a policy shift on our part they must face this basic fact.

A DR resolution could in fact include a paragraph recommending that PRC hold the China seat on the SC; but at a minimum there would be an unwritten understanding. Any effort to obscure the SC seat question will be viewed as an effort to keep the PRC out of the UN. Alas, I wish it weren’t so.

Some comments on the parliamentary situation:

The election of PRC to the Security Council by the members of the SC is NOT VETOABLE because it is a credentials question.
If PRC is voted into the GA under a DR formula it could appear at the first meeting of the SC in 1972, present its credentials as the Government entitled to represent China. A majority (9) would clearly support PRC over GRC.2
If the question was on admitting a “New Member” an SC veto would apply. New Members are admitted to the UN by a 2/3rds vote of the GA following recommendation of the SC with the permanent members all in agreement (none vetoing).
If the question was on “Two Chinas” as opposed to Dual Representation it would then be a membership question and would then be vetoable. But Two Chinas is a non-starter, both PRC and GRC vigorously opposing it, plus all the Albanian Resolution types would say—“just a device to keep PRC off the SC”.

My recommendations:

Any emissary discussing UN representation with GRC must not avoid facing up to the SC question. It is a regrettable fact of life.
Pres Nixon would be ill served by any policy that appears to be “selling out” the GRC. It is argued by the elite—”PRC is a reality” … It is but so is GRC and we must not appear to “sell out” a little reality in order to face up to a big reality. It may happen, but we must not be its advocate.
Time is important. As soon as things shape up, we should be able to get you a lot more dope as to how viable a DR plan is, but we will have to be able to hustle up some votes, and we will need some insight into the GRC final position.3

George Bush
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN 1, June–30 September 1971, Vol. VII. No classification marking.
  2. Bush’s handwritten clarification reads: “(9 required)”.
  3. Bush added a handwritten note at the end of the letter: “If you need more detail—[UN] charter references etc.—call me: I’ll be in N.Y. Sun. night—until then WASH 362–1214. Self-typed—apologies… GB. If you show this to anyone please re-type the damn thing!” Melvin Levine drafted a response for Kissinger to Bush. In his covering memorandum to Kissinger, he did not agree with Bush’s proposal to confront the ROC immediately on the Security Council issue, because “we should not at this juncture add another straw to Chiang’s back.” The letter acknowledged that the Security Council seat was essential to any dual representation plan, but suggested that it was in U.S. interest to see the issue “kept blurred a bit longer.” Haig commented on the draft response: “HAK: You shouldn’t spell your views in writing. This should say thanks—let’s talk sometime you’re here.” Kissinger added “Right, HK.” The response actually sent, dated May 7, reads: “I am sorry to be so long in responding to your letter of April 17. I was glad to get your thoughts on the fundamental importance of the Security Council seat for the Chinese representation issue. Let’s talk about it next time you are in Washington.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 301, Agency Files, USUN, 1 June–30 September 1971, Vol. VII)