357. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1


  • Chinese Representation in the United Nations: Recommended U.S. Position

1. Recommendation

The U.S. should begin active consultations now with a view to tabling a Dual Representation Resolution at the next General Assembly. The resolution should call for seating the People’s Republic of China and, in the same text, should provide that any proposal to expel the Republic of China shall require a two-thirds vote. This formula, which is favored by the Japanese and the Australians, gives the Republic of China the protection of the Important Question procedure directly with the document calling for Peking’s seating. I attach a text proposed by the Japanese, and a revised version prepared in the Department.2

2. Rationale

Unless we begin working for Dual Representation now, it is virtually certain that the Republic of China will be expelled this Fall through passage of the Albanian Resolution and defeat of the Important Question. Similar action probably would be taken by the Security Council shortly thereafter.

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3. Forecast

Provided we begin work immediately and exert a maximum effort, a Dual Representation Resolution of the type described should receive majority support in the General Assembly. An accurate forecast is difficult to make since we have not been able to consult on this issue since the end of March, but we believe the probable vote would be on the order of 65 in favor, 50 opposed, with 12 abstentions. Votes for such a resolution could be as low as 42 or as high as 76 votes; the votes against it could be as few as 37 or as many as 55. A country-by-country breakdown is attached.

4. Tactics

If this recommendation is approved, we would immediately inform our Japanese, Australian and New Zealand allies and request their active assistance. At the same time, we would inform President Chiang but would not be deterred if he withholds cooperation. We would undertake the widest possible consultations to enlist supporters and resolution co-sponsors. We should seize the initiative by inscribing an agenda item for the next General Assembly by early August and shortly thereafter table our resolution so that it would be voted on before the Albanian Resolution. If the Albanian Resolution is tabled first, we would have to wage a parliamentary struggle to gain priority.

5. The Security Council Seat

As tabled, our resolution would say nothing about the Security Council seat. We must expect that an amendment will be put forward from the floor stating that the seat should go to Peking, and that the amendment undoubtedly will pass. We would argue that the amendment is unnecessary and irrelevant since the Security Council is not bound by Assembly recommendations, and therefore we would either vote against the amendment or (preferably) abstain, but would not lobby. Outside the Assembly chamber, we would state (to the press as well as to other governments) that we consider it wiser to wait and see what attitude Peking takes: if Peking is willing to take the Council seat on the basis of the Dual Representation principle, well and good; if Peking refuses to come on this basis, we will all have to take that fact into account.

Within the Council itself, our options are severely limited. There is already a Council majority in Peking’s favor and we must expect that whether or not Peking has indicated willingness to accept Dual Representation, this majority will vote to seat Peking in the Council. We can try various parliamentary maneuvers to block the issue until Peking accepts the Dual Representation principle, but none of these have much chance of success. We would not have the votes necessary [Page 690]to sustain the position that a negative vote by ourselves (or by the Nationalists) constitutes a veto.

6. Republic of China Reaction

We believe that President Chiang may be willing not to oppose our tabling a Dual Representation Resolution which was silent on the Security Council issue even though he may still feel that he has to take the ROC out of the U.N. if the Security Council seat is subsequently lost.

7. Aftermath

Even if we are successful with the Dual Representation Resolution, we may not have found the ultimate solution to the Chinese Representation problem. Unless Peking alters the policy which it has maintained for over twenty years, we doubtless will have to fight this battle again, and it may be that in the end the Assembly will bow to Peking’s insistence and adopt some version of the Albanian Resolution.

8. Universality

We continue to believe that chances for success of a Dual Representation Resolution will be maximized by placing it within the philosophic framework of a general doctrine of universality, and that universality is an attractive policy in any case. I have been invited to address the London Bar Association in early July and believe this would afford an excellent opportunity to surface our new Chinese Representation policy against the background of the universality principle.

William P. Rogers 3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Exdis. An attached memorandum of transmittal from Assistant Secretary De Palma and Deputy Assistant Secretary Brown to Rogers is dated May 26.
  2. Both are attached but not printed.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.