406. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Taipei’s Position on UN Resolution Giving Security Council Seat to Peking

Although we expect pro forma, public opposition from the Government of the Republic of China (GRC), we now believe that Taipei will not oppose our resolution on Chinese representation behind-the-scenes. Indeed, if the vote is close, we feel that Taipei may well support our initiatives in its private representations to other governments.2

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The GRC’s response to my personal message to Foreign Minister Chow Shu-kai, informing him that we had decided to modify our draft resolution to specify that the Security Council seat go to Peking, was about as favorable as we had hoped. On September 10, Foreign Minister Chow handed our Ambassador a formal written response which called the decision “particularly regrettable” and reiterated the traditional position of the GRC: to admit the Chinese Communists to the UN would violate the Charter. The moment such a resolution was tabled, his government would have to issue a public statement objecting to it in the strongest terms. The GRC would continue to object, moreover, as required by the occasion.3

In addition to his somewhat “hard line” written response, however, Foreign Minister Chow made several statements to our Ambassador that show that Taipei’s position remains in fact both flexible and pragmatic. He indicated that the GRC did want our dual representation resolution to succeed. He implied that GRC public statements would be most carefully drafted and that, if the margin of support for the resolution should appear dangerously narrow, Taipei might adopt a more positive role in working for it off stage.

Over the last few months, Taipei has come a very long way toward developing a more pragmatic foreign policy—much farther than many would have predicted. We must be careful not to overreact when the GRC feels it must publicly reassert its basic and long held principles. To do so would be to risk inhibiting future GRC flexibility.

It will be most important for us in the weeks ahead to make it as easy as possible for the GRC to work with us behind the scenes for the passage of our dual representation resolution. Any public announcements that we make on this subject should be viewed in terms of the difficulties they might create for Taipei. To the extent possible, we should coordinate the exact wording of our statements with the GRC— or at least give Taipei adequate advance notification.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 522, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. 9. Secret; Exdis. A covering note dated September 14 indicates that the memorandum was drafted by Marshall Wright with the concurrence of Holdridge. Kissinger forwarded Rogers’ memorandum to the President under cover of a brief memorandum. (Ibid.)
  2. See Documents 404 and 405.
  3. Chow’s written reaction was transmitted in telegram 4552 from Taipei, September 10; see footnote 3, Document 405.