446. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

4408. PRC UN Del First Week Miscellany.

Summary. PRC UN delegation, statements about lack of preparedness and conservative approach to committee participation to contrary, has been active in UN corridors speaking to wide variety of newsmen and mostly third world delegates. In calls on various delegations [Page 887]in and outside UN, Chinese have listened to advice, asked many questions and kept silent on intentions. PRC apparently relying primarily on UN Secretariat for formal briefings and acquisition of documents. Delegation has shared USUN reluctance to take initiative on contacts, but Bush and Phillips have now met, respectively, Chiao and Huang. End summary.
In mild, low-key approach, Chinese have been going about process of learning the UN ropes. PRC delegates have made calls on many AR cosponsors, solicited and listened to advice, and have taken cautious first steps toward inserting selves into UN committee issues. Though many delegations (e.g. Norway, Algeria, Burundi) have taken initiative to put selves in position of intermediaries with USUN and presumably other delegations, Chinese appear to be relying on Secretariat for basic briefings and documents. (See septel for a Secretariat view of Chinese.)
In first week of UN participation, Chinese attended only plenary, SPC, First and Third Committees. Despite this limited activity, numerous Chinese delegates met in lounge and corridors with Afro-Asian and Latin American DelOffs especially Chileans and Cubans. Their ease in moving about and talking with such variety of delegates has drawn on apparent linguistic versatility. Ubiquitous corridor motion justifies friendly delegation officer’s remark that Chinese activity and its apparent relaxed manner already exceed that which characterized Soviet Delegation ten years ago. Indeed PRC may quickly approach USUN coverage of both UN committees and corridors.
Mild and cautious posture in UN chambers broken on November 19 with sharp exchange in First Committee between Chinese (An Chih-yuan) and Saudi Arabia (Baroody) over Chinese nuclear test. On same day, Chinese made dramatic appearance in Third Committee where they came down hard on side of Pakistan against India.
Chinese, while moving with ease around corridors, appear generally to be avoiding contact with American officials, but Chiao exchanged greeting with Bush in corridor prior November 15 plenary welcoming session and Huang shook hands with Phillips November 18. US press corps has confirmed in detail to us impression conveyed by published stories that Chinese very accessible to them. Li Wenchuan, whose English considerably better than Kao’s, appears be acting as Kao’s assistant and interpreter in press contacts.
UN Protocol Assistant Castrounis informs us that PRC delegation staffing pattern published by NY Times November 18 reflects Secretariat’s current understanding of delegation pigeon holes. He had been obliged to put this list together, however, on basis of “bits and pieces” elicited on various occasions from Chinese. When Chinese expressed surprise to him at publication of list, Castrounis asked if it contained any [Page 888]errors. Chinese indicated list contained only one or two small mistakes. Castrounis tells us, however, that he confident only in list’s identification of top ten names and he has pressed PRC delegation to let him know ASAP, for example, which of personnel were to be members of permanent mission.PRC has declined to indicate when this question would be sorted out.
Castrounis also states that below Huang Hua, only Chen Chu has ambassadorial rank. Chen is specifically designated as deputy for Security Council.
Castrounis has confirmed to us that in past week, Kao Liang has not been involved in protocol matters. These now seem to be handled largely by Hsu Hsin-hsi (when English required); Lin Chia-sen (French) and a third staffer, surnamed Liu, who speaks English.
Another Secretariat source informs us that Chou Nan will be handling military liaison work with Secretariat. PRC designated him in response to Secretariat request. We previously reported that Chou was functioning as delegation secretary, stressing internal coordination, and we assume that for present he doing both concurrently.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 22–2 CHICOM. Confidential. Repeated to Taipei, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.