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U.N. REPRESENTATION. The crusade, which the U.S. has led for the past 21 years, to keep China out of the U.N., has turned into an increasingly unrewarding exercise. Last year, for the first time, the Albanian resolution calling for the seating of Communist China and the expulsion of the Nationalist Chinese won a majority51 to 49. But the count fell short of the two-thirds necessary to decide an "important question" under U.N. procedure. But this year, if a majority of the members vote against having the issue treated as an "important question," China, which has probably picked up a half-dozen or so new supporters, may be invited to join.
That likelihood poses an important question for Nixon. He has three main options: 1) to continue actively to oppose the Albanian resolution by twisting arms for negative votes; 2) passively to allow the present trend to take its course and accept the consequences of Nationalist China's expulsion; 3) to declare the U.S.'s willingness to have Peking seated as the mainland China representative with the Security Council chairbut only under the condition that the Nationalists should be allowed to remain in the U.N. as representative of one part of China.
The problem with this third, or "Two Chinas" option is that it infuriates both Chinas. The Nationalists refuse to cede their claim to be China's only legitimate representative while the Chinese Communists claim that Taiwan is a domestic question that should be solved by the Chinese. So far, that solution has been unsatisfactory to the U.S. since it envisions the overthrow of the Nationalist regime. Some U.S. Sinologists are hopeful, however, that the two Chinas might be able to work something out. As an admittedly limited precedent, they point to the arrangement whereby the Communists shell the Nationalist-held offshore islands of Matsu and Quemoy only every second dayand never on holidays. In recent diplomatic dealings, the Chinese have bent even farther; when Canada established relations with China last October, Peking demanded only that the Canadians "take note" of China's claim to Taiwan. Subsequently, when Kuwait recognized China early in 1971, the subject was not even raised in the joint communique.
Apart from these major international stratagems, there is a purely human and largely forgotten matter pending between the U.S. and China. Four U.S. prisoners are now being held in solitary confinement in Peking. Two of the men have been imprisoned since 1952. They are John T. Downey and Richard C. Fecteau, both "civilian employees of the Department of the Army," who, according to the official Washington version, were lost on a flight from Korea to Japan; the Chinese say they were convicted of espionage. Downey drew a life sentence. Fecteau was sentenced to 20 years. The other two prisoners are American pilots who were engaged