379. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 1

133369. For Ambassador from Secretary. Subject: Chirep: Approach to GRC. Refs: A. Taipei 3540;2 B. State 130330;3 C. Taipei 3595.4

Summary. We are concerned, particularly because of Chiang’s extended seclusion, that GRC’s response to Secretary on Chirep may be [Page 736]inordinately delayed and that decision may be made on narrow grounds of effects on GRC image and claim to be sole government of all China. You should approach GRC to underscore our views of importance of continued UN membership even without SC seat for continued viability of GRC’s international position. You also should stress need for early decision in order to have best possible chance of success. You should point out that it will be an up-hill fight but that if GRC agrees we are prepared to undertake it.

We are concerned—particularly because of President Chiang’s unusually extended seclusion and possibility that he may not be accessible to full range of policy advisers (Ref A)—that GRC response to Secretary’s presentation of Chirep problem to Ambassador Shen (Ref B) may be not only inordinately delayed but also temporizing and not sufficiently clear-cut to provide a basis for action. We are also concerned that as result of his remoteness from current scene, bruised feelings, and shock at President Nixon’s announcement, Chiang may tend to reach decision on Chirep issue within narrow context of its presumed effects on GRC image and its claim to be sole government of all China. In attempt to insure that GRC decision takes adequate account of all major factors at stake you are requested to make approach along following lines to Foreign Minister Chow Shu-kai or Vice Premier Chiang Ching-kuo or both if you deem that desirable. In making your representations you should state that Secretary has instructed you to make this further amplification of his remarks to Ambassador Shen. In light Ref C, which received after this message drafted, you may subsequently make our views discreetly known to other sympathetic high-level GRC officials.
Throughout our deliberations on Chirep we have been keenly aware of GRC concerns and interests, as conveyed both in Taipei and Washington, and they have been given full weight in our efforts to devise an approach to this problem. We recognize gravity of choice which now confronts GRC and realize that it will require an act of high statesmanship to weigh all various factors involved. Decision is clearly one which GRC as sovereign government must make for itself and we will, of course, respect whatever decision it reaches. This is, however, a matter of real mutual concern, and it is in this context that we wish share with GRC certain considerations which we believe highly relevant to that weighty decision.
We believe that retention of UN membership, even at cost of relinquishing Security Council seat, is of great importance to maintenance of broad support for GRC. We hope, therefore, that the GRC will consider most carefully the difficulties that would be posed for its friends (particularly the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand) in maintaining political support for it internationally if it withdraws or is expelled [Page 737]from the UN. So long as GRC is UN member, it has firm and acknowledged international status both in UNGA and in international organizations which strengthens its hand in its dealings with other countries and in maintaining relations. If GRC left and PRC entered UN, a number of governments which had hitherto recognized GRC, might feel faced again by either/or choice and might well decide to follow UN precedent. Some might make rather cynical decision that it more important have relations with 700 million people on mainland than with 14 million on Taiwan. Thus there real danger that if GRC leaves UN its international position may erode and it may find itself relatively isolated.
Even among GRC’s close friends there is likely to be a public opinion trend along this line, particularly if GRC had rejected opportunity for continued UN membership under dual representation, and frankly we fear this could occur in US.
Over time the GRC has moved from a position of (A) wanting to use the old strategy of combatting the AR with the traditional IQ to (B) acceptance of a modified IQ or non-expulsion resolution plus a DR that did not call for the SC seat to go to Peking. We have sought to support successive positions that GRC has adopted on Chirep but have also informed GRC of our estimate of their chances. It is our current estimate that in order to have a chance to retain UN membership the GRC must be willing to relinquish the Security Council seat. To succeed even on this basis will be an up-hill fight. If GRC willing to proceed on this basis, even though it might not so indicate publicly, then we would be prepared to work hard to achieve that result.
We share with GRC sense of urgency in deciding on what course we should follow. As Secretary explained to Ambassador Shen, given importance GRC had attached to SC seat, when it became apparent that GRC membership in UN could not be preserved on that basis, we felt we could not proceed further without ascertaining GRC views. If approach which Secretary has outlined to Ambassador Shen is to have fighting chance, we must consult soonest with other governments to develop best possible texts of resolutions and tactics for use in UNGA. For that reason, we earnestly hope for early decision and prompt response to Secretary.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Starbird and Shoesmith; cleared by Winthrop Brown, Armitage, Assistant Secretaries Green and De Palma, and Samuel E. Fry; and approved by Secretary Rogers. Repeated to Canberra, Tokyo, and USUN.
  2. In telegram 3540, July 20, McConaughy reported that Chow cancelled his meeting with him in order to discuss the issue with members of the Legislative Yuan. McConaughy stated: “I find it impossible to make a reasonable assessment of how the GRC will respond to the Secretary’s statement that the GRC will have to agree to relinquishment of its SC seat if we are to make any serious effort at a dual representation formula in the UNGA.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 521, Country Files, China, Vol. VII) Secretary Rogers had met with Ambassador Shen on July 19. A record of the meeting is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVII, China, 1969–1972.
  3. Dated July 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 17 CHINAT–US)
  4. Dated July 22. (Ibid., UN 6 CHICOM)