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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963
Volume XXII, Northeast Asia, Document 75


75. Editorial Note

A memorandum of October 16, 1961, from Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy to the President reads in part as follows:

“We are going to get a blast from ADLAI on our assurances to Chiang. He feels greatly distressed not to have been consulted, especially about our private assurance that we will use the veto if necessary and effective. Harlan Cleveland briefed him on this yesterday at the Secretary's direction, and ADLAI spent the day muttering about resignation. He will be writing you direct to ask for an appointment Monday.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, China, General, CIA Cables, 7/61-10/16/61)

A memorandum of October 18 from Representative to the United Nations Stevenson to Secretary Rusk objected to the proposed public statement on Chinese representation. The first paragraph reads as follows:

“The timing of this statement could not be worse. It could cause us acute trouble in sustaining our good faith in asking for a study committee and prejudice our chances of winning approval. It will be interpreted by many as excluding the chance of a compromise policy next year, such as the successor state approach. Others will interpret it, coming at this time, as confirmation that our proposal for a study committee is insincere and only a device to postpone. I will not comment here on other possible effects on confidence in our leadership in the United Nations.”

Stevenson suggested a revision of the language of the second sentence of the statement and suggested a supplementary statement which could be used to explain and enlarge upon the President's statement. (Ibid.)

Handwritten notes prepared by Stevenson for a meeting with the President criticize the “deal with Chiang” on the veto as unnecessary, against Chiang's own interests, and “grossly dishonest”. One point reads, “Diminishes chances of a compromise pol. next year—2 China policy.” A handwritten notation indicates that Stevenson discussed the subject with Kennedy at Newport, Rhode Island, on October 22. No record of the meeting has been found. (Princeton University, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Stevenson Papers, Previously Embargoed Files, Box 2, Chiang Kai-shek, 1961)

Bundy's memorandum to Kennedy cited above also stated that he thought there was one “loose end” in the communications through Cline. He attached a draft cable to Cline, which he intended to check with Rusk. The draft message pointed out that the Chinese representation question might not present itself in a form subject to the veto, that the veto of one proposal might result in another proposal that was still less desirable but not clearly subject to the veto, and that the use of the veto might therefore not be effective in all cases. It stated that President Kennedy wanted to be sure that President Chiang did not mistake his assurance for an unconditional guarantee, and it suggested that Cline consult with Ambassadors Yeh and Drumright as to whether this was sufficiently clear to President Chiang or whether “the danger of misunderstanding and consequent breakdown of partnership next year” was grave enough to make further action necessary. The memorandum bears a handwritten note stating that at Rusk's request the draft message was not sent.

On October 25 the United Nations Security Council recommended the admission of the Mongolian People's Republic to the United Nations by a vote of 9-0 with 1 abstention (United States). The Republic of China did not participate in the voting. (U.N. doc. S/4968) Mongolia was admitted to the United Nations by General Assembly Resolution 1630 (XVI), adopted by acclamation on October 27. The Republic of China did not participate in the voting.

On December 1 Australia, Colombia, Italy, Japan, and the United States introduced a draft resolution deciding that any proposal to change the representation of China was an important question. The resolution was adopted on December 15 as Resolution 1668 (XVI) by a vote of 61 to 34 with 7 abstentions. The text of the resolution is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, page 145.