368. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • James Shen, Ambassador of the Republic of China
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • John H. Holdridge, Senior Staff Member NSC


  • Chinese Representation Issue in the UN

Ambassador Shen expressed appreciation to Dr. Kissinger on being able to see him on the eve of his, Dr. Kissinger’s, departure for a trip to South and Southeast Asia. Dr. Kissinger said that he wanted very much to see Ambassador Shen, apologized for the shortness of time available, and indicated a desire to see Ambassador Shen under less crowded circumstances following his return.

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Ambassador Shen brought up the question of the Chinese representation issue in the UN, noting that time was becoming short for organizing a campaign in the UN to retain the position of the GRC. Dr. Kissinger stated that the President would make his decision concerning the U.S. stand in July, and that he anticipated an announcement as to this stand within the next several weeks. Ambassador Shen appeared to accept this as satisfactory.

Ambassador Shen then reminded Dr. Kissinger of what President Chiang Kai-shek had said to Ambassador Murphy on the imperative need for the GRC to retain its Security Council seat.2 Any formulation which the U.S. wanted to follow in preserving the GRC’s UN position was acceptable so long as the GRC held on to its Security Council seat. Dr. Kissinger observed that the U.S. would do everything it could to preserve the GRC’s Security Council seat; however, frankly speaking, the checks which we had made with other interested parties suggested that it might be very difficult to do this. In a brief exchange with Ambassador Shen on the possible U.S. use of a veto to prevent Communist China from entering the Security Council, Dr. Kissinger explained that it might not be technically possible for the U.S. to exercise its veto power on this issue. If the question were put in terms of which entity represented China, Communist China or the GRC, this might be considered a procedural matter not subject to the veto. In addition, there were evidently quite a few countries in the UN which, while advocating the continued presence of the GRC, would advocate Communist China’s assuming the GRC’s Security Council seat. This attitude might be difficult to counter. Dr. Kissinger reiterated that we would do everything we could to safeguard the GRC’s Security Council seat, but that we could not offer a guarantee of success.

Ambassador Shen expressed concern over what Dr. Kissinger had said, and noted that if its Security Council seat could not be assured, the GRC might have to reconsider its position on the Chinese representation issue. He said that he would inform his Government of what Dr. Kissinger had said.

The meeting concluded with Dr. Kissinger expressing the President’s and his own best wishes to President Chiang. We intended to maintain our strong ties with the GRC and to honor our mutual defense treaty with it. Ambassador Shen thanked Dr. Kissinger for these sentiments. He spoke again about calling on Dr. Kissinger after the latter’s return to Washington.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 522, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. VII. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted on July 21. The time of the meeting is from Kissinger’s Record of Schedule. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 446, Miscellany, 1968–1976)
  2. See Documents 349 and 354.