FORMOSA—symbol of the struggle between freedom and Communism in the Orient—poses a test of how far United States foreign policy can combine the ideals of freedom with the flexible realism required by the harsh facts of world politics.

Our friend and long-time ally, Chiang Kai-shek, presently holds Formosa (Taiwan); the Communists hold the mainland. We are unhappy that a great nation with the cultural traditions of China should be under the control of a totalitarian régime which does not share our belief in freedom. But for the present, at least, unless we wish to risk an all-out war, our desire to see the return of freedom to continental China cannot overcome the stark fact of the possession and control of the mainland by the Communists.

United States foreign policy seems to have three major alternative methods of dealing with Formosa. The first is to acquiesce in frightened demands (made, for example, by prominent members of the British Labor Party) that we abandon Formosa to the Communist Chinese. The second is to insist that the Communist rule of the mainland should be formally ignored, regardless of what the alternatives may be or what they hold in prospect for us. The third, an intermediate position, is to accept, albeit unhappily, that at the present time the Peking government controls continental China and that any prospect of stabilizing the Far East may of necessity entail that we negotiate with it.

The present American policy towards the two claimants for the title of "Republic of China" is based upon our long-time friendship for the Chinese people, the Japanese Peace Treaty, our Treaty of Defense with the Government of Nationalist China on Formosa, our policy of nonrecognition of the Red Chinese Government, and active opposition to attempts to replace the Nationalist Chinese representative at the United Nations (including his seat on the Security Council) with a delegate from Peking.

Chiang Kai-shek in full uniform, 1940.
Wikimedia Commons
The history of our postwar policy toward Formosa began with the Cairo Declaration of December 1, 1943. President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek spoke for the three allies in these terms:

It is their purpose . . . that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.

In the Potsdam Proclamation of July 1945, President Chiang, President Truman and Prime Minister Churchill declared:

The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

However, when the Treaty of Peace with Japan was signed in 1951 (and neither the U.S.S.R. nor Red China signed, though the U.S.S.R. is now angling to come under its terms), the precise statement with respect to Formosa, in Article 2(a), was:

Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.

There was no specific cession of the island, which had been held by Japan since China ceded it in 1895, to any particular nation or government or to the United Nations, as such.

With the attack upon Korea in 1950, President Truman ordered the Seventh Fleet to patrol the strait between the mainland and Formosa. That zone was "neutralized." In 1953, the United States announced that it would "unleash" Nationalist China and permit attacks from Formosa upon the mainland. The fleet, however, was to continue President Truman's policy of preventing Red China from attacking Nationalist-held territory. By now this policy appears to be somewhat modified by the limitations of the Treaty of Defense and by President Eisenhower's message to the Congress of January 24, 1955, and the Joint Resolution four days later.

For, implicit in the Administration's recent actions is acceptance of the proposition that the Nationalists will not be able to recapture the mainland, at least in the immediately foreseeable future. The remarkable unanimity with which Congress passed President Eisenhower's requested resolution affirming his authority to defend Formosa and the Pescadores, like the disturbed reaction in the Congress to the subsequent remarks of George Yeh, the Nationalist Foreign Minister, seemed to hinge in large measure on the general conviction of both the American people and their legislators that no aggressive action either would be taken or permitted by the United States.

Both the President and Secretary of State Dulles, in urging the Senate to give consent to the Mutual Defense Treaty with the Republic of China, insisted on its defensive character. A United Nations cease-fire, which was backed by both the President and the Secretary of State, can hardly be consistent with a policy of invasion of the mainland by Chiang. As Mr. Dulles has said,

. . . renunciation of force is one of the basic principles of the United Nations, and the United States had hoped, and I may say still hopes, that the United Nations may be able to effect a cessation of the present hostilities.

Any doubt of our present position should be dispelled by Admiral Radford's statement:

Certainly we are not planning an invasion of the mainland. Of course we have, as you know, ground troops in the Western Pacific. They were not put there to invade someone's territory but to defend against Communist aggression.

Unless Red China starts an aggressive attack on Formosa, it seems apparent that the necessary coöperation of the United States for a Nationalist recovery of the mainland will not be forthcoming, and then it would be only a defensive measure. Without coöperation by the United States there can be no such recovery.


As for the first alternative, it is wrong to suppose, as some people do, that peace and international calm are to be won by delivering Formosa to the Chinese Communists and exiling Chiang Kai-shek. Besides being a virtual death sentence for hundreds of thousands of Nationalists who fled the mainland, this course has no prospect of appeasing the Communists. For if anything should be established from our past parleys with Communist countries, it is that gratuitous concessions induce further and more extravagant demands from them rather than mollifying their existing claims. This is fundamental.

Control of Formosa by the Nationalist Government is of immense importance to the free world, both physically and as a symbol. It forms a strategic part of the vast arc of islands—Aleutians, Japan, Ryukus (Okinawa), Formosa, the Philippines—which form the essential perimeter of America's defense in the Pacific. A break in this perimeter, while not likely to be fatal, would be a severe blow to our plan of defense in the Pacific area and an even greater blow than Dienbienphu to the morale of Asian peoples now oriented in favor of freedom. Formosa, which lies only 500 miles south of Japan and 100 miles north of the Philippines, was the jumping-off point for the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II.

Furthermore, as Secretary of State Dulles said in his recent speech to the Foreign Policy Association, failure to live up to our commitment on Formosa would undermine the faith of free Asian peoples in the military and moral strength of the United States to restrain the forces that aim to destroy the liberty of free nations. We have made a commitment to defend Formosa and the Pescadores by our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Republic of China. Our honor as a nation and our claim to be a champion of freedom rest on carrying out this solemn obligation. Even without it there would be an ethical duty owing by the West to help ensure a free and safe life for the men and women who have fled from the mainland to Formosa, including those Chinese prisoners from the Korean war who chose to go to Formosa instead of returning to their homes.

In addition, the fact that a non-Communist Republic of China exists provides a rallying point for the large Chinese colonies, numbering nearly 13,000,000 persons, who live outside the borders of China. Overseas Chinese are an integral part of the economic and commercial life of key Southeast Asian areas such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. These Chinese have not been absorbed by the native populations. For example, there are some 2,000,000 Chinese residents in Indonesia, of whom only 800,000 have accepted Indonesian nationality. This problem of nationality concerns Prime Minister Nehru sorely. The tendency of these people to look towards China as a guide in their attitudes and conduct is abetted by the Communist slogan, "a Chinese remains Chinese, wherever he may be domiciled." Maintenance of a free China government on Formosa gives them, at the very least, a choice of where they shall put their allegiance. If credence is to be given to reports that as many as 7,000,000 Chinese have been "liquidated" by the People's Republic, it is reasonable to hope that the allegiance of the overseas Chinese to that government will be small, even though a large percentage of students still go back to China to be educated, the nostalgic ties with the families and villages on the mainland are still strong, and many overseas Chinese contribute to the Chinese Communist cause as a sort of "insurance policy against future contingencies." An important measure of defense against Communist subversion in Southeast Asia is to preserve the non-Communist sympathies of the Chinese residents there.

Finally, the military strength of Chiang Kai-shek adds to the strength of the West. By reinforcing this vital part of our global defense it releases, to the extent it can be utilized, troops of other free nations for service in other crucial danger areas.


A second alternative policy is to insist bluntly that Communist China is an outlaw from the international community, that there can be no intercourse or bargaining with her at any time, that she shall be denied any participation in international organizations and that no concessions of any sort shall be made to her.

Panmunjom, Geneva, the subsequent French withdrawal from Northern Vietnam, the case of the eleven American airmen, the increasing demand for East-West trade and India's and Indonesia's insistence that the government of China is China's own domestic problem—these and many other things indicate that in practice the United States and the rest of the world cannot completely ignore the physical weight and psychological impact of Communist China. Nevertheless, there is a strong body of opinion in America which favors treating the Peking government as an "outlaw" and insists that any agreement with it would be "appeasement."

This view is frequently associated with the belief that Generalissimo Chiang could successfully invade the mainland if only we would give him the equipment. But such an invasion could have no prospect of success without very sizeable and continuing American military support. That would necessarily mean our participation in a war with Communist China and possibly with her ally, Soviet Russia. Persons who favor "unleashing" Chiang (now aged 67) never seem to visualize what would happen if he were unsuccessful and called for help, or the extent to which the policy they advocate would put the determination of our foreign policy into his hands. Curiously, many of those who do not trust our own President on foreign policy and have favored the Bricker Amendment would delegate power over our foreign policy to a foreign leader.

In fact, of course, the threat to "unleash" Chiang simply adds to a serious possibility of war which already exists. The Seventh Fleet and the U.S. Air Force are patrolling the Formosa straits; and the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu are included among the probably "related positions and territories . . . now in friendly hands" which the President has authority, with the support of Congress, to secure and protect. In view of these facts, and the categorical and daily renewed proclamations by the Communists of their intent to take both the offshore islands and Formosa itself, there is more than ample opportunity for the inadvertent misstep, the hot defense or hot pursuit, the major conflict.

What would such a war be like? The precise answer must, of course, be left to the military experts. But too grave a national issue is involved here for citizens to forswear reflection upon it or to fail to cross-examine the experts extensively. One serious possibility is that the Soviet Union will support China and that the war will become total. The new Soviet premier, Marshal Bulganin, referring to the Sino-Soviet mutual defense alliance, has declared: "China knows that it can look to us not only for sympathy but also for help. That help will be forthcoming when needed."

A more likely possibility is that Moscow would be willing to let Red China, helped with Russian matériel, absorb and dissipate the energies of the United States (and participating allies, if any). Would not Red China then have the capacity, helped by Russian arms, to force us to live under a war economy, to drain our resources, to withdraw our troops from Europe, Africa and our Arctic outposts, and to expend our blood, enthusiasm and moral leadership in the broad rice fields and steep mountains of China?

The Communists would be fighting on their own soil; we would have to maintain an air and sea supply line of 14,000 miles, vulnerable in part to submarines (of which the Russians have enough to lend a number to their ally) and costly to maintain. Troops, supplies and matériel which should be protecting the brittle frontiers between East and West in Europe would be required for a Far Eastern effort. Unless there is some short, quick way to knock out Red China, this might be a reënactment of Napoleon's 1812 adventure or the Wehrmacht's frustrating penetrations of Russia in World War II. France and Germany might become oriented to Moscow.

Some profess to believe that a landing by Chiang's army of 500,000 men would be a signal for an uprising on the mainland. But in view of the ruthless Communist controls there is little evidence to support the hope that such an uprising could be on a large enough scale to affect the war significantly. The lack of unity among the Nationalist armies during the pre-1950 civil conflict and the difference of opinion with respect to Korean military policy suggest that Nationalist sympathizers on the mainland could not organize successfully in the throes of an invasion.

A stalemate war in which the Western Powers chose only to harass the mainland by naval and air forces would be a clear invitation to the governors of mainland China to use their resources of manpower to invade the militarily weak and economically rich countries of Southeast Asia, stymie India, break the Korean Armistice, attack Japan and threaten her with annihilation if she permitted us to use our bases there to launch attacks.

Whether we should fight with atom or thermonuclear bombs presents special problems. The military efficacy of atomic weapons upon China cannot be fully appraised. Industrial facilities in Manchuria, railway communications, and troop or shipping concentrations would offer susceptible targets. But China is a country of 3,750,000 square miles; it is not centralized as Western nations are; and, as the Japanese found, it does not offer a solar plexus upon which to deliver a knockout blow. Further, even if Soviet Russia is not a participant in the war the Communist Chinese may borrow nuclear weapons from her and slip through our defenses for havoc-wreaking blows on the United States. Since the revelation by the Atomic Energy Commission that the 1954 Bikini explosion had a lethal fall-out zone of 7,000 square miles, we should have enough horse sense not to try to win a war with Red China "on the cheap." Our own Christian ideals as well as the opinion of our friends, which in many respects constitutes our strongest continuing weapon in the cold war, rebel at the thought that we might precipitate an atomic battle and the indiscriminate slaughter of human beings. We are not in a position to exercise our atomic strength without risking destroying civilization as we now know it.

So much for the possible military consequences of a policy of considering Red China an "outlaw." Turning to the political consequences, we find two chief arguments for the "outlaw" policy being urged. The first is that a stern refusal to acknowledge Red control of the mainland gives us propaganda and ethical advantages. The second is that, by preserving the Nationalist Government as the true Government of the Republic of China, the West avoids the probability of encountering two obstructive vetoes in the United Nations Security Council.

Propaganda and ethical advantages in the eyes of many large sections of world opinion would undoubtedly be lost if we acquiesced in a Red rape of Formosa. But refusing to acknowledge the existence of the Peking government is a different thing. A number of our important allies and important neutral countries formally recognize it. They believe—and it is a view long supported by textbook writers—that in international law formal recognition of a government is merely recognition of the fact of its effective control, of its intention to act as sovereign and of its ability to carry out its mandates. Moral approval is not involved.

The United States clearly should not—and will not—permit the free and friendly Chinese on Formosa to be attacked and taken by the Communists. But our intransigence in dealing with the Peking régime in the political field may be costing us a flexibility we badly need. It narrows our alternatives to one, and that one is likely to cause a serious deterioration in our relations with our allies and in our own political and strategic planning.

Japan, for example, badly needs trade if she is to survive economically and continue her present non-Communist political orientation. She feels that hope lies in markets on the Asian continent, and assiduous wooing by the U.S.S.R. is also having its effect. Japanese hopes of opening such markets—and perhaps retrieving the Soviet-held Habomai and Shikotan islands—are incompatible with an American policy which dogmatically ignores Peking's existence and insists on maintaining the blockade.

Those of our allies who recognize Peking are in the anomalous position of treating with the Nationalist Chinese in the United Nations and of abstaining when issues relating to the credentials of the Chinese delegate arise. Besides this, there is a rising sentiment in the United Nations that it is a forum for all countries, not just the "right" countries, and that we who used it in Korea are now restricting its influence. If this continues, the political thinking of the United States may not be sufficient to prevent a vote to seat the People's Government as the delegate from the Republic of China. Even assuming that we could and did exercise a veto (and there are those who say the question of which "China" has the seat is procedural and not substantive), this would be a major political defeat, shaking the unity of the West and damaging our ability to mobilize allies on more crucial issues.

Let me be clear. I do not believe the United States should favor admitting Red China to the United Nations unless thereby we substantially advance American foreign policy and keep Formosa under Nationalist rule. To recognize the mainland régime and to admit it to the United Nations without a valid quid pro quo would tend to encourage the belief that a loaded pistol and a belligerent refusal to make concessions are the best way to be rewarded in international politics. But people must earn their daily bread, and the desire to see aggression punished wears thin if that is to be done at the cost of vital opportunities for trade. As things are going we face the inevitable defection of friends in the United Nations, and when that happens it may be too late to negotiate a cease-fire. Our strategic position may be ebbing away; we risk losing both our position and our prestige without obtaining any balancing concessions.

Since one veto is effective, the addition of another Communist veto in the Security Council (assuming the U.S.S.R. and Communist China work together) should not, as a practical matter, have any really substantial effect upon the present efficiency of Communist diplomacy in the United Nations. The Security Council has been unable to function effectively on matters such as the 11 American fliers without the presence of a People's Government representative. This may lead to negotiations outside the United Nations, thereby diminishing its influence. The flat refusal of Communist China to take part in cease-fire talks over Formosa caused the Security Council meekly to suspend all action on the matter. And in areas other than the Far East, Communist interests are protected by the U.S.S.R.'s veto. It is even arguable that the influence of Communist China over the minds and fears of neutralists will be weakened if it is in the United Nations. The voice of Peking may sound less strong in the vocal forum of 42nd Street, where it is subject to rebuttal, than it does trumpeted unchallenged across the Pacific.

If Communist China is to be admitted to the United Nations there of course must be at the same time a general reorganization of admission policies so that Japan, Spain, Italy, West Germany and other long-excluded applicants may become members—perhaps, even, a reorganization of the functions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

I am not one of those who suggest that Red China be seated in the United Nations without our achieving thereby some effective basis for a lasting peace, simply because we must recognize "facts" or because she demands it and we must appease her. But neither do I go along with those who say that no workable policy with her is possible. That is not the way to formulate effective policy. What I do suggest is that unless we are prepared to embark on all-out war or to see our position deteriorate, our foreign policy may simply have to accommodate to a hard fact that seems unlikely to change in the near future, and that with careful planning the consequences of it could conceivably be less cataclysmic than the Cassandras predict.

Rather than urge a particular policy, I wish to point out that flexibility and ability to "roll with the punches" are required in any dealings with the Communists. Our own intransigence may be paralyzing our thinking and may give the Communists a weapon. What I have chosen to call the "outlaw" policy reduces the manœuvrability which we sorely need when faced with such an opponent. Flexibility does not mean a series of servile offerings of concessions. The Communist gluttons are not likely to be appeased. It does mean that we must be free to strike bargains and reach agreements where value received equals value given. Dogmatic positions cost opportunities. And in international negotiations opportunities are wealth.


The British have suggested a third alternative—"two Chinas." The thought behind this seems to be that an acceptance of the present de facto status of the two territorial areas of Formosa and mainland China will lessen the chances of another war without victory (perhaps even a World War III) by attempting to convince the "two Chinas" to forget their designs upon each other's territories. The British idea is to have both "Chinas" in the United Nations and to stabilize the situation in the Far East in conformity with approximately the current physical territorial division. This may in part explain Red China's desire to obtain the maximum improvement in her physical condition before an effective cease-fire.

Assuming that an over-all effective peace plan could be negotiated, it is not beyond legal ingenuity to work out an arrangement which would not entail depriving our Nationalist friends of their overseas possessions and their right to protect Chinese citizens abroad.

It is said that by reshuffling its position on Formosa and opening the possibility of negotiation with Peking in return for a quid pro quo the United States runs the risk of losing "face." That would not be true of what many people in Europe would think, nor of large sections of opinion in Asia. In any case, must we go to war, with all it entails, because we do not like events and are not versatile enough to meet them as they occur? We may actually avoid worse defeats later by foreseeing future difficulties now and accommodating ourselves to them while we may still turn them to our own account—or at least minimize the disadvantages to us. A gradual defection of allies or a vote to install the Communist Government in the United Nations over our determined opposition would very seriously damage our leadership in the free world and our future diplomatic strength.

Certainly any "two China" arrangement is contingent upon working out an effective cease-fire arrangement ensuring peace. For example, we might offer to persuade Chiang to temper his immediate warlike ambitions on the continent in return for a promise by Peking to respect the integrity of Formosa, Laos and Cambodia and South Vietnam and to forego attempted coups elsewhere. By this, the United States might consolidate rather than disperse the unity of the free world and gain rather than lose respect. Of course, it would be denounced as "appeasement" and a "Munich." But are the situations parallel? The global nature of the West's defense commitments makes it impractical to weaken our defense ring in Europe and the Middle East so that the bulk of our forces can be massed near a small coastal island to protect the "right" to try to invade mainland China.

The offer to negotiate might be rejected. Indeed, the attempt to formulate a cease-fire has already been rejected once. The Communists have consistently refused to attend the meeting of the Security Council while the Nationalist Chinese continue to sit there. This has been so even though Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai must surely have thought they could exact some sort of advantageous arrangement. The Communists have reason to think that they will win all their points by standing pat and talking tough.

An unaccepted offer of itself would not change the physical possession of territories or existing military positions. Our ability to protect Formosa successfully is hardly in doubt according to Admiral Radford:

. . . I continue to be amazed at the credulity of so many people in accepting the theme of Chinese Communist strength. It is indeed an amazing paradox that an offensive posture can be maintained and initiative achieved with no real substance to back it up.

The principal effects would be psychological.

Chief loss to the West would be the blow to the morale of Chiang Kai-shek's troops, of the Nationalist Chinese and of the South Koreans. The Generalissimo's hope to liberate his oppressed countrymen would be fairly definitively smothered, for if he and his people could not adjust themselves to the rôle of developing the resources of Formosa it might pave the way for a successful Red China attack.

A concomitant of this is that any aspirations which the relatively few native Formosans may have held for their own independence would be dimmed. For them, of course, this solution would be no more onerous than if Chiang held the mainland and ruled Formosa from there. An independent Formosa without either a Red Chinese or native Chinese government on the island is not a present possibility whatever its theoretical desirability may be in the long-run future. Probably their only real alternative to rule by the Nationalists would be rule by the Communist police state. As a practical matter, the native Formosan's position would be unchanged; and he is certainly far better off under an independent Nationalist China than he would be under Communist rule.

In view of the military impracticality of the Nationalists' undertaking an invasion of the mainland in the immediately foreseeable future and of the unwillingness of the United States to support it, it follows that while an offer to negotiate would be a heavy blow to that particular Nationalist goal, it cannot be unexpected.

The psychological effect upon most of our other allies and India, Burma and Indonesia might be just the opposite. We shall have made an offer to settle our differences peaceably. Red China's refusal of it should clarify the matter of responsibility. One more graphic example of the complete unreasonableness of Communist international policies will have been presented to the neutralists.

If the offer is accepted, we have reasonable hopes of a stable modus vivendi. What we have given for it may be little more than we might well have lost anyway by gradual corrosion of allied unity, pressure for trade and the mounting of our global obligations. We shall have gained in leadership, added unity to the free nations, and freed personnel, prestige and equipment for perfecting our defense perimeter elsewhere.

There is always the possibility, of course, that, once having gained the benefits of an agreement, the Communist Chinese may not live up to their promise. It is a risk which is inherent in almost any policy. It could be minimized by securing specific promises of wide support from allied and neutral sources in the event of Communist betrayal. Sanctions, such as a prearranged allied embargo and similar devices, should be clearly outlined as a stipulated consequence of any breach. The settlement certainly should be guaranteed by the United Nations, and Asian nations such as India should participate on any supervisory commissions, thus ensuring that any breach on the part of the Communists would provoke effective sanctions and carry with it such a loss of prestige as seriously to impair their aspirations for political leadership. However, no short answer can be given in advance. This is the kind of problem which must be wrestled with in the context of actual negotiations and the factual content thereof.


The juridical status of Formosa and the Pescadores has not been so altered by the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of China as to preclude a "two China" policy, if it should become in our interest to follow that theory. As Mr. Churchill pointed out in the House of Commons on February 1 of this year, the Cairo Declaration and the Japanese Peace Treaty have not operated, in any formal legal sense, to cause Formosa to become a part of China.

The Mutual Defense Treaty, by its terms, does not commit the United States to that position. It is only for the purposes of Articles II and V (providing for joint resistance to an armed attack) that the territories of the Republic of China are defined in Article VI as including Formosa and the Pescadores. And it is rash, in any event, to think that the United States by its unilateral act can alone determine the juridical status of the island.

International law provides two basic ways in which title to a given territory can be acquired. One is formal cession from one sovereign to another; the other is occupation of a terra nullius. Japan, in renouncing all right, title and claim to Formosa, did not thereby transfer it to China. Whether a formal cession could now be made by all of the signatories of the Peace Treaty (which does not include the Republic of China or the Democratic Peoples' Republic of China), on the theory that the right to make this cession passed to such signatories, is an open question. But apart from annexation, it would seem, from a legal point of view, that the United States can consummate a cession of Formosa by itself.

Customary international law will allow a country to acquire legal title to territory which is terra nullius (unclaimed) by a demonstration of "the intention or will to act as sovereign, and some actual exercise or display of authority." The Chinese Nationalist Government surely has satisfied these requirements. And, if the island of Formosa was not unclaimed territory before the 1951 Japanese Treaty, it probably became so upon the renunciation of Japan's claim.

Even if Formosa were assumed to be a juridical part of the Republic of China, a perfectly good legal means of achieving the political result of two separate Chinese States would be to recognize Communist China as a new State which has broken off from the Republic of China and, at the same time, to acknowledge that the Republic of China has acquired title to Formosa and the Pescadores through occupation, or, if necessary, effect a formal cession of these territories to the Republic of China.

The Republic of China, having a people, a defined territory, and a sovereign government, would continue to satisfy the conditions of statehood stipulated by international law, and have a legal basis for asserting title to assets such as bank accounts and buildings and for undertaking to protect, and for exercising personal jurisdiction over, citizens of China when they are abroad. China's treaty rights, including the seat in the Security Council, would be secured to the Republic of China or appropriate revisions made in the Charter satisfactory to us. Or if the terra nullius theory is not accepted, then the Nationalist Government would at least have a juridical status similar to the traditional "government in exile," but even stronger, because it actually holds a portion of its national territory.


The larger aspects of a foreign policy towards Formosa must not be ignored. One danger of devoting so much diplomatic and military energy to this particular problem of Formosa is that of disproportion. American foreign policy in other important areas may well become a mere adjunct to the problems of this small Pacific island if all our political influence must be concentrated on keeping our reluctant allies behind our policy there and if all our military power is to go into maintaining a readiness to rebuff a constantly threatened armed attack there.

The Russians know this. By skillful encouragement of peripheral conflicts, fought by Chinese or satellites, the U.S.S.R. can pin down American troops and matériel, shake the morale of the free nations and divide their unity. An added benefit for the Russians is that such crises absorb the energies of the Chinese Communists and divert their attention from their very real territorial and economic conflicts of interest with the Soviet Union. It is a cheap, useful, yet dangerous ploy for the Russians. The system works well for them as long as no one inadvertently starts a major war.

The Chinese, as the Kremlin surely is aware, are too big to fit easily into the category "satellite." Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai are able men and not likely to be unnecessarily subservient when a clear conflict of interest arises between People's China and the U.S.S.R. Significantly, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev conducted a major part of the negotiations for the Chinese-Soviet agreement of October 1954. The fall of Premier Malenkov, perhaps attributable in some measure at least to the failure of his policy to slow Western defense efforts, has left these two men as the titular and recognized leaders of Russia. The Sino-Soviet partnership is surely a central feature of Communist strength.

Our foreign policy stands to gain if it is free to find sore spots in the relations of the two countries and to add to the frictions by actions like those that the Communists use when they coo and growl, in turn, to divergent opinions in the West. China and Russia have differing interests, even though it is to the Russian interest to keep the issues alive and troublesome, just as it is to ours to smooth out and settle them. The risks of a global atomic war over Formosa surely are not alluring to the U.S.S.R. Russia's historic national interests suffered severely when she was obliged to release Port Arthur and Dairen to maintain the Chinese alliance last fall. And the shipping of economic and military supplies to the Chinese undoubtedly is a potential source of friction—the Red Chinese annoyed by the inadequacy of the shipments, the Russians by the slowing effect on their own industrialization and the inordinate demands involved for their own economy. Moscow can hardly be happy at Peking's decision to go to Bandung, Indonesia, in April for the African-Asian conference, where the "non-white" nations are likely to consider China, not Russia, the apostle of Communist leadership in the East.

Secretary Dulles has already made efforts to emphasize inherent cleavages in the Soviet hierarchy by implying that the United States would be willing to deal with those in the Soviet Union "who are primarily concerned with the welfare, the security and the greatness of the Soviet Union and its people." Nationalism versus internationalism is a good theme to play upon within Russia. We are missing another when we maintain a blanket refusal to consider alternatives to the "outlaw" policy towards the present rulers of mainland China. This precludes both a realistic playing upon the potential split with the Soviet Union and any hope of establishing a stable relationship in the Formosa straits. Our initiative should be along the lines suggested by Secretary of State Dulles when he said:

It is hardly to be expected, of course, that the Chinese Communists will renounce their ambitions. However, might they not renounce their efforts to realize their goals by force?

If we forswear any possibility of taking such initiative, we may be throwing away the ammunition we need most to combat the dynamic, multi-temperatured offensive with which we are battling. Our policy should certainly not be to "indefinitely pile up one-sided concessions to the Communists." We should be tough realists. If we are, we can exact concessions of equivalent value for each concession we yield--and otherwise simply not make concessions.

This approach may offer some hope of reaching a stable modus vivendi in the Far East. It is offered in an effort to show that we need not necessarily resign ourselves to the gradual deterioration of the Far Eastern situation to our detriment, or that the only alternative is war.

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  • ARTHUR DEAN, representative of the United States and 16 other United Nations members in the Korean negotiations at Panmunjom; special United States Ambassador to Korea, 1953-54; deputy to the Secretary of State for the political conference foreseen by the Korean Armistice; senior partner in the New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell
  • More By Arthur H. Dean