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November 2, 1970

Letter from Aldo Moro to President Giuseppe Saragat

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

November 2, 1970

Dear Mr. President,


In order to provide you with all the elements of judgement with regard to the recognition of the People's Republic, please allow me to send you some documents on our contact with the Canadians in the course of negotiations. Originally, when we agreed to gradually move from economic relations to diplomatic relations with mainland China, we thought it would be useful to act alongside another Western country and friend of the United States, relying on one another. When I took charge of negotiations, started by the Rumor-Nenni government, I focused on achieving this perspective, believing that the time and manner in which to conclude the negotiations would determined by mutual agreement and with the intent to cause the least possible damage to the position of the United States. Therefore, in my interview with Sharp in Ottawa I insisted that recognition should not take place too close to the UN debate. The documents show, however, that our hopes were unfulfilled, and that Canada shied away from concerted action. I do not know the reason for this. The fact is however that we were left without cover and with no real freedom of choice as to the timing and conditions for recognition. For the first point, in fact, we would have had to adopt delaying tactics, equivalent to a refusal of recognition. For the second point, we would not have gained, over time, any better chance. It should be presumed that after the French and Canadian formulas, more stringent versions will be introduced with regard to Taiwan. Now, although what would have been desirable and fair has not been achieved on this issue, it is also true that we explicitly state that we will not subscribe to Beijing's claim. Moreover, the situation with regard to diplomatic relations with Taiwan was abnormal for many years, since we had no active representation. Of course, the political significance and consequences of the emergence of the People's Republic is open to much debate. You know how many doubts I have had with due respect to the Americans. But things move on even without us. It can be observed that 1) the U.S. did not prevent and did not influence the moves of their friends in time (starting with the UK, as you have already correctly observed) 2) without wanting to cynically play the China card against the USSR (it would risk war), a more forcefully articulated American position could curb growing Soviet power. The threat to the free world lies in the fact that major Communist powers exist: the politics of recognition and relations, if judiciously expressed, may perhaps reduce, not increase this risk. Of course, we will employ the necessary courtesy with the representatives of Taiwan and will adopt every possible friendly tactic towards the Americans in the vote.


Thanks for your attention, and respectful greetings


signed ALDO MORO


Moro discusses establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC in respect to the position of the United States.

Document Information


Historical Archive of the Italian Foreign Ministry. Obtained by Enrico Fardella and translated by Joe Caliò.


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