187. Telegram From the Department of State to the Liaison Office in China and the Embassy in the Republic of China1

1526. For Ambassadors Unger and Woodcock and CG Shoesmith. Subject: PRC Claims to ROC Assets. Ref: (A) State 325513, (B) State 989.2

1) At his request, Ambassador Han Xu, accompanied by Counselor Cao Guisheng and interpreter Yang Yuyung, called on Assistant Secretary Holbrooke January 3 to present the PRC response to the U.S. position on PRC claims to ROC property in the United States. Deputy Legal Adviser Lee Marks and Anderson also sat in.

2) Stating that he wanted to continue the discussion of the property of the “Chiang clique” in the United States, Han read the following statement: “After the announcement of the joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese side stated that all official property of the “Chiang clique” belongs to the People’s Republic of China. In accordance with international law, the U.S. Government is obligated to protect the above mentioned property and prevent the “Chiang clique” from transferring or appropriating it and hand it over promptly to the [Page 692] People’s Republic of China for takeover. We have noted that the U.S. side also mentioned that the Government of the PRC is entitled to have title to this property. Obviously, the current transfer of official property of the “Chiang clique” in the U.S. is illegal. This is by no means a matter of an ordinary conflict of private claims of title to real property. It is unjustified that the Chinese side should be asked to seek resolution in the courts. The Chinese Government insists on its position, which it has clearly stated, that the Chinese Government maintains that the U.S. Government has the unshirkable responsibility to protect PRC rights and prevent any infringement or damage to those rights. Moreover, it asks the U.S. Government to take measures to prevent the continued illegal transfer and appropriation by anybody of all assets belonging to the Government of the PRC and guarantee to hand them over to the PRC for takeover. This is in reply to your statement of December 27.”3

3) Han stated that, “speaking personally,” he wanted to call our attention to the fact that he was speaking of all official property of the “Chiang clique” in the United States, not only in Washington. Holbrooke said that he did not wish to reply to the Chinese statement at present. He would consult with the Secretary, our legal advisers and the Justice Department before responding further. He noted, however, he was concerned that the Chinese position would make resolution of this problem more difficult.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840163–2229. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Anderson and approved by Holbrooke, Thayer, and Marks (L). Repeated Immediate to Bangkok and the White House.
  2. Telegram 325513 to Taipei, December 28, is Document 182. Telegram 989 to Taipei, January 3, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840175–2199.
  3. See Document 182.