362. Action Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretaries of State for International Organization Affairs (Herz) and East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Brown) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1


  • Timing of Announcement of Chirep Policy

The President stated at his press conference June 1 that he expected to announce a decision on Chirep in about six weeks; i.e., end of July.

There are clear advantages in putting off publicizing his decision in order to defer an angry reaction from the PRC which would follow a US decision in favor of dual representation and to avoid stimulating early tabling of the Albanian resolution on the provisional agenda for the Assembly Meeting. The President may well have other reasons also.

On the other hand, the agenda is already open for inscription and the date of filing resolutions determines the order in which they will be considered by the Assembly.

It is important that our dual representation resolution be voted on before the Albanian resolution, since we would almost certainly get a larger vote for it if it came up first. Moreover, if our resolution was passed, we could move that the Albanian resolution not be voted on because the issue had already been settled. Prior filing would also mean that we could give the agenda item a more neutral caption than “Restoration of the Lawful Rights of the People’s Republic of China.”

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Should the Albanian resolution be inscribed first, we would have a difficult parliamentary battle, which we might well lose, to get our proposal dealt with first.

The other side knows this and probably will inscribe earlier than in the past. Any public statement that we will sponsor or even favor a dual representation resolution would undoubtedly precipitate action by them, so we should be prepared for simultaneous announcement and inscription.

The last day for filing items on the provisional agenda is July 24, though supplemental items may be added until August 23 when the agenda is made substantially final.

To be able to inscribe a resolution by July 24, we would have to have a text and co-sponsors, the more the better. This will take several weeks to arrange.

Both ROC Ambassador Shen and Foreign Minister Chow have told us that delay in decision on UN tactics was putting us behind schedule on such necessary pre-Assembly Chirep activities as lining up votes. For example, we have just had word that Liberia is wavering and we can’t do anything about it in the absence of a decision. Sato said substantially the same thing to Meyer June 2, and McMahon made a similar point in his letter of May 13 to the President.

Moreover, we have been asked to testify on June 25 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in open session about the Javits, Mc-Govern and Gravel resolutions, all of which deal specifically with the Chirep question.

Preliminary check with Norvill Jones and Trimble of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff indicated sympathy for our quandary but the feeling that the Committee would, nevertheless, want to have a State witness on the 25th, even if he could not deal directly with these problems.

Not being able to state a position would make our position in testifying rather embarrassing. There would be rumors about a new policy and denials would create a credibility problem. Given the subject matter, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff’s suggestion that we should confine ourselves to comment on the legislative proposals (attached)2 simply would not work. Moreover, our search for co-sponsors would be considerably hampered if at the same time we were indicating continued indecision in our testimony before the Committee.

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These conflicting considerations could, however, be substantially reconciled by the following scenario:

The President would make, but not announce, his decision shortly after the Secretary returns and, if he decides on further pursuit of the dual representation formula, authorize us to conduct further exploration of other countries’ views and particularly to line up cosponsors. This could be done, even though no public statement of position had been made. Leaks would occur, but we could deal with them.
The date of July 24 would fit within the President’s decision not to announce his policy before the end of July. If we could persuade Fulbright to postpone at least State’s appearance to testify on the three resolutions until that date, the Secretary could announce our new policy on that date and we could simultaneously inscribe our resolution on the provisional agenda.
We would, however, have to be ready to inscribe and table first if we get any indication that the other side is about to do so, even if it should mean speeding up the timetable. We have always been able to get advance notice of such action.

This program would be consistent with the Secretary’s memorandum to the President of May 28,3 in which he reported his understanding that the President would make his decision upon the Secretary’s return from Europe, and that this could be announced either before the Committee on June 25 or before the Bar Association in London in July. The Secretary pointed out the difficulty of keeping our current thinking secret and said that the hearings might be the best forum for making the announcement, particularly since this would help improve our Congressional relations.

We would like to discuss this problem with you to get your views on how best to present these additional elements in the situation and our proposed scenario to the President.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Brown and Herz; concurred in by Assistant Secretary Green, Shoesmith, and William A. Brown.
  2. An attached memorandum for the record, June 3, by Harrison M. Symmes on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s interest in an administration witness on China policy on the morning of June 25 is not printed.
  3. Presumably a reference to Roger’s memorandum mentioned in footnote 2, Document 359.
  4. Johnson wrote “Done, 6/5/71” and his initials in the time option block.