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

3627. For Secretary From Ambassador. Subj: Chirep: Ambassador’s Meeting With Vice Premier Chiang Ching-kuo. Ref: State 133369.2

Summary: Ambassador made representation to Vice Premier Chiang Ching-kuo in accordance instructions reftel. CCK made clear that GRC takes dim view of proposal put to Ambassador Shen by Secretary. During conversation he referred repeatedly to Murphy conversation in April and said that GRC considered SC seat and UNGA membership as separate matters. If PRC were to come into the SC in disregard of the Charter, ChiCom presence would “negate the legal existence of the ROC.” Chiang asked if US had definitely discarded IQ tactic. He said he wished to have further discussions as soon as possible. Atmosphere of talk was good and it was psychologically helpful, but GRC’s inclination at present is negative.

I decided to make approach authorized reftel to Vice Premier Chiang Ching-kuo rather than to FonMin Chou Shu-kai. I met with CCK for an hour and twenty minutes this afternoon. His aides Gen. Wen and Capt. Yeh only other persons present. Both of them took full notes and Chiang Ching-kuo himself occasionally made notations in a small notebook. Chiang Ching-kuo greeted me warmly and with very amiable personal inquiries. Atmosphere friendly and natural throughout although seriousness of occasion was evident. Chiang Ching-kuo seemed well but somewhat care-worn. He said he felt that both Pres. Nixon and I as friends of the Republic of China of long standing would understand the difficulties he and his associates in the government were going through. I assured him of my sympathetic understanding and added that I knew that he and his colleagues had found reassurances in the last paragraph of Pres. Nixon’s announcement and in the President’s letter of July 16.3
I then set forth systematically and in detail presentation contained reftel. At the end I added on informal individual basis several related points of my own devising which I felt might exert some additional influence on GRC thinking on the issue. These related to: (a) [Page 739]problems created for Peking by continued GRC presence in the UN whether or not Peking accepted the invitation; (b) sufficiency of membership in the GA (without SC membership) for purpose of achieving the needed benefits of GRC identification with the UN; (c) the better capability of influential Japanese leaders in the LDP to assist the GRC cause in Japan if the latter remained in the UN; and (d) importance from the foreign trade, investment, and international credit standpoints of avoiding the economic isolation and possible discrimination that could accompany withdrawal from the UN.
Chiang Ching-kuo listened closely to the entire presentation without interruption. He then said that he attached great importance to frank US–GRC exchanges of views on matters of critical importance, and he was glad that we were having this meeting. He was deeply aware of the magnitude of the problem confronting us, and he could see that USG was also fully aware. He said that the attitude of his government on the Chinese representation question was amply stated in the conversations held here last April with Amb. Robert Murphy. He noted rather pointedly that there had been no reply since Amb. Murphy returned to the US. He said if there is a need for further discussion of the UN problem, “The gist of the Murphy conversations can be used as a basis.” He added that the foregoing was his “personal observation as a friend” and was not made in his capacity as a government official.
Then (apparently speaking in his official capacity) he recalled that he had indicated to me fully in an earlier conversation the paramount importance which his government attached to the Security Council issue. He noted that the Security Council question is concerned with the Charter itself. He mentioned the specific provision of the Charter that the “Republic of China” is to occupy the permanent seat of China on the SC. Hence the Republic of China is by Charter provision a permanent member. He termed this as a “political consideration of tremendous importance.” “If Communist China comes into the Security Council in disregard of the Charter, the ChiCom presence would negate the legal existence of the Republic of China”. He reiterated that President Chiang had discussed the SC issue fully with Amb. Murphy and he thought they had agreed that “The SC was one thing and general UN membership another, to be treated separately.” He noted that the Charter specifies the “ROC, not the PRC.” Any change or violation of this provision is certainly a matter of substance, not merely procedural.
The Vice Premier said that the issue before us is of such moment that close consultations are called for and he hopes to continue a close interchange on this subject, as we have done on all important matters in the two decades past. He said speaking as a friend and off-the-record, he wanted to ask a question to clarify one part of Ambassador Shen’s report of the July 19 meeting with Secretary [Page 740] Rogers,4 as follows: “Did the Secretary tell Ambassador Shen that the USG would only discuss the Chirep issue further if the GRC tacitly agreed that it would acquiesce in the abandonment of the Security Council seat?” He said Ambassador Shen’s report seemed to indicate that only under this condition would the US agree to any further discussion. He would like to know if there was any other basis for continuing the discussion.
I replied that while the Secretary had been very definite in stating the only basis on which we could support a new approach in the GA it was certainly not the Secretary’s practice or intention to shut off discussion with representatives of friendly governments. The door was always open for further discussions with the GRC without conditions. The only pressure imposed on our discussions was that of time. At best the remaining time available for the necessary preparatory work on texts of resolutions and consultations with member governments was quite short. If we lost much more time it might be impossible to prepare our position as thoroughly as we should like. I said if our estimates of the voting alignment for the various propositions was not challenged, it would seem that we should be about ready to take the needed decisions. However we would certainly extend discussions if this was the desire of the GRC. But we would both be paying a price in terms of lost time.
CCK again reverted to the SC issue and said that both in the Murphy conversations and in the conversation of Ambassador Shen with Secretary Rogers on May 285 the GRC had thought that the American representatives had agreed that the Security Council issue should be treated separately from the GA dual representation resolution. CCK reaffirmed that he felt strongly the two matters can and should be treated separately and that the SC issue is a matter of substance.
CCK inquired if we had definitely discarded the IQ tactic, and if so how did we expect to handle the problem of stopping the Albanian resolution? I replied that we were skeptical about use of the IQ approach because our voting estimate indicated it could not win a majority. We could not rely on it if it was a losing tactic. If a DR resolution could command a majority, that would ensure the defeat of the Albanian resolution and make IQ procedure unnecessary. (Comment: I did not feel I had enough basis to encourage CCK to think that we might still be able to utilize some form of modified IQ procedure. However if the Dept contemplates accompanying the DR resolution with a modified IQ resolution or incorporating some IQ procedure in the DR resolution itself it would be extremely helpful to be able to pass this information urgently to CCK and FonMin Chou.)
CCK volunteered that he “took a dim view” of the DR approach, and he did not think his government could agree to it. I said I supposed he was referring to a DR with the SC rider attached, and not to a straight or simple DR with no reference to the Security Council seat. I said I thought we had had discreet confirmation several times from the GRC that it could reluctantly live with the simple DR concept, if this was the only solution. CCK only nodded in assent.
CCK said that he would like to sum up by saying that the GRC position was that “the gist of the conversation with Ambassador Murphy should be treated as the basis of the current position.” He said that Ambassador Murphy had “taken a copy of the minutes with him.”
CCK said that today’s conversation had been helpful. He and his associates would consider the points I had made and he would like to have clarification of several obscure matters. He said he wanted to have further discussions with me “as soon as possible.”
I expressed my satisfaction that we had had an extended exchange and expressed my readiness to meet with him again as soon as he was ready. I had thought it best to ask for this meeting with him rather than with the FonMin, but I did not want FonMin Chow to feel that I had improperly bypassed him. CCK readily agreed to inform the FonMin of the substance of our conversation.
Comment: While atmosphere of talk was good with some clarifications made and it was psychologically helpful, it is clear that basic inclination at or near the top is still rather on the negative side. CCK may be reflecting more of the Gimo’s posture than his own, although I think he too is relying rather heavily on GRC interpretation of Murphy talks. Since I am not fully posted on Murphy talks, I do not feel able to make an informed recommendation as to how we handle that aspect of the problem. In a sense the ball is in GRC court and I expect CCK to ask for another meeting soon, but I cannot envisage much progress until I can give him something definite in response to the questions raised about the April conversations.6
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 522, Country Files, China, Vol. VIII. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Document 379.
  3. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVII, China, 1969–1972.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 379.
  5. See Document 359.
  6. In a follow-up telegram, Ambassador McConaughy wrote that he had also mentioned that “regardless of the legal and logical strength of the constitutional case that could be made in the GRC’s behalf …, the hard fact of the matter was that a great number of UN members in these times make their decisions and cast their votes without particular regard for Charter restraints or legal niceties. Their voting decisions are often based on their conception of immediate national interest, judged from a standpoint of pragmatism or expediency.” He doubted that there was any way of appealing an adverse vote in the General Assembly, or a Security Council vote that Chinese representation was a procedural rather than a substantive issue. (Telegram 3630, July 24; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM)