404. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 1
Washington, September 8, 1971, 0048Z.
164355. Subj: Chirep. For Ambassador from Secretary.
- Please seek early appointment with Foreign Minister Chow to deliver following personal message from me:
- “Since my announcement on August 2 of our Chinese Representation policy, the United States has made exceptionally intensive efforts around the world to explain and seek support for this new policy. In addition, we have made strenuous and repeated efforts to persuade an appropriate group of influential countries to join with us in co-sponsoring the Important Question and Representation resolutions.
- I believe your Government is aware, through reports from Ambassador Liu in New York and from other diplomatic missions, of the drive we have mounted in this regard, as well as the fact that we have sought by every means to obtain co-sponsorship for a Representation resolution which was silent on the Security Council seat problem, even though it was understood between us that the resolution might have to be amended soon after tabling to take an explicit stand on this matter.
- In the month since we launched our initiative, and in particular over the past two weeks, we have found our prospects becoming bleaker with each passing day. Despite our best efforts, we have been totally unable to assemble even a minimally acceptable list of cosponsors for the Representation resolution. This is due primarily to the absence from that resolution of any reference to the Security Council seat. Well over forty friendly nations have pointed to this omission in their discussions with us, and almost all have expressed the view that the Representation resolution will have no chance for success unless it [Page 803]recommends that the Security Council seat be held by the People’s Republic of China. Indeed, some countries have come to regard our willingness to include such a recommendation as a test of our seriousness in pressing ahead with all available means to make our approach prevail in the General Assembly. Many more have reached the conclusion that it would be unwise to associate themselves with a resolution which in their view has no chance of success.
- In specific terms, this means that as of this date, we have had firm assurances of co-sponsorship of the Dual Representation Resolution from only two countries, Costa Rica and Guatemala, although we understand Upper Volta has also informed your government it will also co-sponsor. While it is probable that we could add to this brief list a few more countries from Africa and Latin America, these would not be countries with influence in the General Assembly. Even the prospective co-sponsors among our closest allies, such as Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Belgium, have stated that they are unable to co-sponsor the Representation resolution in its present form. In the case of Japan, the government is unable at this time to come to any decision on co-sponsorship. I believe your own Government has received similar information from Republic of China diplomatic missions in those countries.
- As you doubtless know, we have greatly stepped up our efforts over the past two weeks in the awareness that time is pressing and that many have commented on our delay in tabling our resolutions. We have made a special effort with Japan, realizing that its position in this matter could be crucial. We have communicated directly with Prime Minister Sato in an effort to see if Japan would co-sponsor now on a temporary basis a Representation resolution which was silent on the Security Council seat, on the understanding that appropriate revision could be made shortly thereafter. The Japanese Government has so far been unable to give us a definite response, and we have indications that the political situation in Tokyo is such that it may be some time before they will be able to make a decision in this matter, and it is unclear what that decision will be. It is clear, however, that further delay would seriously jeopardize the chances for success of our initiative.
- The overriding objective of the United States has been to make every possible effort to preserve the Republic of China’s representation in the United Nations. It was for this reason that we launched our initiative on August 2. I must inform you that we have been forced to the conclusion that our choice now lies between tabling a Representation resolution which recommends that the People’s Republic of China hold the Security Council seat or anticipating the overwhelming passage of the Albanian Resolution. Our latest estimates show that unless we take this step now, the Important Question resolution is likely to lose by a [Page 804]substantial margin. The Albanian Resolution will be adopted by an even larger margin, and the Representation resolution itself will never even come to a vote.
- Given this situation, given our commitment to attempt by all means at our disposal to protect your Government’s representation in the United Nations—a commitment which I publicly reiterated on September 32—and because any further delay would be fatal to what we and the Republic of China would hope to accomplish, I am sending urgent personal messages to all potential co-sponsors of influence in the General Assembly informing them that we have determined on the basis of our consultations that a majority of UN members wish to see the People’s Republic of China seated in the Security Council and that, accordingly, we are soliciting their co-sponsorship for the Representation resolution amended so that the first operative paragraph will end “… and recommends that it be seated as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.”
- I am aware, of course, that this action will present many problems to your Government, just as it does to our own. I trust you will understand that we are forced to take this step by the situation we now face and the prospect of defeat if we fail to act decisively and in timely fashion.
- As you are aware, there are certain intangibles which will have a bearing on our prospects for success in the General Assembly. One of these is the need to prevent any public acrimony between ourselves and the Republic of China. Only if we give the impression to other countries that we have made a cool-headed appraisal of the situation and are reacting to it realistically and with all the resources at our command—and with at least the tacit acquiescence of the Republic of China—can our efforts be crowned with success. In particular, we will need your continued active cooperation behind the scenes with countries who may be inclined to stand aside because of a mistaken belief that this would be agreeable to the Republic of China.
- We believe that, given this new basis, we can muster the minimum number of co-sponsors needed and that both our resolutions will now have a fair chance for passage. Our current estimate is that if we and our allies, including the Republic of China, will bend every effort to the common task, and if in the end Japan finds it possible to join in co-sponsoring, the chances for success are good. I must emphasize, however, that to accomplish this result we shall have to mount the most [Page 805]intensive campaign yet seen in the General Assembly. I trust that in this we may count upon the unstinting cooperation of the Republic of China, so that we may be victorious in defeating the Albanian Resolution.”
- FYI. We have carefully considered whether it is in our mutual interest to give the GRC an opportunity for rejoinder or counterproposal or a request that we delay seeking co-sponsorship on this basis. In view of your reporting and assessments, as well as indications of ROC attitudes from posts around the world, however, we concluded that it is best to inform them that we are acting and to seek their acquiescence through silence rather than in explicit terms. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance that they be convinced of the reasonableness of what we are doing and of the continuing importance of their own active cooperation in lining up a solid majority in favor of our resolutions.
- Should it be pointed out, as it probably will be, that our action in making provision for the Security Council seat will create internal problems for the GRC, you should reply that we understand this all the more keenly because the decision will occasion difficulties of an internal nature for us as well. Because of the over-riding importance of preserving UN membership for the ROC, however, we are taking the step with reluctance but with urgency since in our considered opinion the situation simply will not brook any further delay. If you deem it useful, you might also point out that the uncertainty of Japan’s position will seriously complicate our efforts. End FYI.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Herz and Feldman; cleared by Pedersen, Assistant Secretaries Green and De Palma, Kissinger, and Curran; and approved by Secretary Rogers. Repeated to USUN, Tokyo, Canberra, Wellington, and Brussels.↩
- Reference is to a news conference on September 3 during which Rogers reiterated the U.S. position on Chinese representation in response to a reporter’s question; for text see Department of State Bulletin, September 27, 1971, pp. 327–328.↩