188. Telegram From the Department of State to All East Asian and Pacific Diplomatic Posts1

1656. Subject: Presidential Memorandum—Relations with the People on Taiwan.

1. On December 30, 1978 the President signed the following memorandum for all departments and agencies.

“As President of the United States, I have constitutional responsibility for the conduct of the foreign relations of the nation. The United States has announced that on January 1, 1979, it is recognizing the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and is terminating diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. The United States has also stated that, in the future, the American people will maintain commercial, cultural and other relations with the people of Taiwan without official government representation and without diplomatic relations. I am issuing this memorandum to facilitate maintaining those relations pending the enactment of legislation on the subject.

I therefore declare and direct that:

(A) Departments and agencies currently having authority to conduct or carry out programs, transactions, or other relations with or relating to Taiwan are directed to conduct and carry out those programs, transactions, and relations beginning January 1, 1979, in accordance with such authority and, as appropriate, through the instrumentality referred to in paragraph D below.

(B) Existing international agreements and arrangements in force between the United States and Taiwan shall continue in force and shall be performed and enforced by departments and agencies beginning January 1, 1979, in accordance with their terms and, as appropriate, through that instrumentality.

(C) In order to effectuate all of the provisions of this memorandum, whenever any law, regulation, or order of the United States refers to a foreign country, nation, state, government, or similar entity, departments and agencies shall construe those terms and apply those laws, regulations, or orders to include Taiwan.

(D) In conducting and carrying out programs, transactions, and other relations with the people on Taiwan, interests of the people of the [Page 694] United States will be represented as appropriate by an unofficial instrumentality in corporate form, to be identified shortly.

(E) The above directives shall apply to and be carried out by all departments and agencies, except as I may otherwise determine.

I shall submit to the Congress a request for legislation relative to non-governmental relationships between the American people and the people on Taiwan.

This memorandum shall be published in the Federal Register. 2 Jimmy Carter.”

2. Further information will follow septel.

  1. Source: Department of State, American Embassy Beijing, 1979 Central Subject Files: Lot 82 F 82, Pol 2 Taiwan. Unclassified; Immediate. Repeated to Embassies in Africa, South and Central America, the Middle East, and Europe and to CINCPAC Honolulu.
  2. The memorandum, dated December 30, 1978, was published in the Federal Register on January 2. See Public Papers: Carter, 1978, pp. 2302–2303.