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


  • Chinese Representation in UN-related and Specialized Agencies

After a close examination of the problem of Chinese representation in the specialized agencies and the IAEA, I have reached some conclusions regarding agencies in which we should endeavor to maintain Republic of China (ROC) membership, those in which it is desirable to avoid a losing confrontation and those in which further study within the U.S. Government and further consultation with other governments is necessary. The Department is consulting with ROC representatives with a view to coordinating our positions. We will not seek to foreclose the possibility of participation of the People’s Republic of China in agencies of which the ROC remains a member.

Our examination of the membership, likely voting positions and constitutional factors in each of the specialized agencies has led me to conclude that:

It will not be possible, under present circumstances, to preserve ROC representation in the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Despite legal or technical grounds that we might cite in justification of continued ROC representation in these organizations, an overwhelming majority of the members will not consider them sufficiently important to override their interest in voting as they did in the UNGA. (The UNESCO Executive Board has already taken a decision to regard the PRC as the sole representative of China in UNESCO; the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has invited the PRC to apply for membership, but the ROC is not a member.)
With careful planning and some effort, it is likely that ROC membership can be preserved in the IMF and the World Bank group, at least so long as the PRC does not express an interest in participating. It may be possible to preserve ROC representation in the International Civil Aviation Organization as well, at least for the time being, but an indication of the PRC’s readiness to assume the rights and obligations [Page 879]of China under the ICAO Convention would probably lead to the exclusion of the ROC.
Complexities in the case of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) require further examination before we can make a final decision on the approach we should take in these agencies. Our preliminary view is that we could not prevent the exclusion of the ROC from the ILO or the ITU. The situation in IAEA is particularly complicated because of the organization’s mandate to safeguard peaceful nuclear activities in member and nonmember countries.

We are consulting with the ROC regarding these conclusions and informing them that we are examining the means to preserve their representation in the agencies in which we have concluded it is possible to do so (the IMF, World Bank group and ICAO). We are at the same time informing them that we wish to avoid a confrontation in IMCO, UPU, WHO and WMO, in which there appears to be no feasible way to preserve their position, and that we are continuing to examine the more complex situations in the IAEA, ILO and ITU.

We are also consulting with other appropriate governments and groups, especially Treasury with respect to the financial institutions, to coordinate strategy to be followed in the agencies in which we have decided to work actively to preserve ROC representation and to obtain more precise assessments in regard to the agencies on which we have not reached a decision.

In the interest of maintaining institutional integrity and in order to avoid ill-considered actions, we are continuing to urge, in all agencies, that the issue be dealt with in strict compliance with the agencies’ statutes and rules of procedure.

We intend to inform the ROC that we will probably share with the international community the view that PRC participation in the work of certain conferences, e.g., nuclear arms limitation, population, drug control and environment, will be desirable and will be insisted upon by a majority of UN members. We may wish to encourage the ROC not to contest the issue of representation in such fields.2

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHICOM. Secret. Drafted November 5 by Long; concurred in by Armitage, Stevenson, Brown, Pedersen, and Rein. An attached transmittal memorandum from Assistant Secretary De Palma to Rogers is dated November 9.
  2. A meeting between Assistant Secretary De Palma and Foreign Office Director of UN Affairs Che Yin-shou on November 10 on Chinese representation in UN agencies was described in telegram 206298 to Canberra, Taipei, Tokyo, and USUN. (Ibid.)