99. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • The Secretary’s Bilateral Talk with Canadian Minister for External Affairs—Canadian Meeting with Chinese Communists

PARTICIPANTS

  • U.S.
  • The Secretary
  • Ambassador Yost
  • Mr. Thompson, SecDel
  • Canadian
  • Min for Ext Affairs Sharp
  • U/Secy Cadieux
  • Amb. Beaulne
  • Mr. McGill

Mr. Sharp reported briefly on the recent meeting in Stockholm between Canadian Ambassador Meagher and Chinese Communist diplomats. Sharp said that from the time of the first meeting with the Chinese on possible Canadian recognition of the CPR, the Taiwan issue was the key. The Chinese were asking the Canadians to (a) break off relations with the government on Taiwan, (b) support mainland China in the UN, and (c) explicitly recognize CPR sovereignty over Taiwan. The Canadian Minister said that his government would of course break relations with the Republic of China as soon as they had worked out an agreement with the CPR on recognition. Canada was not promoting a two-China policy now or in the future. Canadian support for Communist China in the UN would, he said, be consistent with the state of their diplomatic relations; i.e., once Canada had recognized the CPR, Can[Page 400]ada would certainly support the Chinese Communists in the UN from that time on. Canada was not prepared, however, to make a statement recognizing CPR sovereignty over Taiwan. The Canadians had told the Chinese negotiators that it was not an appropriate question to discuss in connection with the act of diplomatic recognition. The Canadian argument was that such a statement on their part would only indicate that Canada had doubts about CPR sovereignty in a specific area. Sharp commented, “We don’t ask the Chinese to recognize our sovereignty over the Arctic waters.” The Secretary interjected, “And you’d better not!” The Canadians appeared to appreciate the Secretary’s humor.

Mr. Sharp said the Chinese had wanted to have a second meeting. The new Canadian Ambassador in Stockholm, Miss Meagher, had now had a meeting which in many ways the Canadians had found more satisfactory than the previous one. This time the Chinese had not felt they had to say everything three times. The Chinese had asked that the two sides work up a draft communiqué to be issued on the effective date of diplomatic recognition. Ambassador Meagher had agreed and had brought out a draft which simply stated the fact of Canada’s diplomatic recognition of the CPR. The Chinese said they wanted more included in the communiqué: specifically, a statement of “certain principles.” The Canadian Ambassador told the Chinese she had carefully followed the text of the announcement which had been used by the French and Chinese at the time that France extended diplomatic recognition. The Chinese had not appeared to be embarrassed by this ploy and had said that the earlier communiqué was history now. The Canadians left the meeting with an understanding that the Chinese would draw up a proposed communiqué including any principles which they wished the Canadians to consider.

Sharp commented that the Chinese side at the Stockholm meeting had shown no interest in hearing a report on the Canadian position in the UN concerning the question of Chinese representation. The Secretary asked whether Sharp thought that indicated a present lack of interest on the part of the Chinese Communists in joining the UN. Sharp did not think so. He believed that the Chinese would come back to the Canadians on the question of Chinese representation in the UN. U Thant had told Sharp that he believed the Government of the CPR had a very real interest in UN membership.

At the end of the meeting Sharp asked the Secretary if we knew whether the Italians were conducting substantive talks with the Chinese on the question of recognition. The Secretary said he did not believe so. Ambassador Yost said he understood that the Italians were waiting to see what came out of the Canadian talks with the Chinese [Page 401]Communists in Stockholm before taking similar initiatives of their own.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL CAN–US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Thompson on September 25; approved by R.L. Brown on September 27. The original is labeled “Part 2 of 5.” The Secretary and Sharp were attending the U.N. General Assembly session. The meeting took place at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.