The action of the United States was expressly to be without prejudice to the future political settlement of the status of the island. The actual status of the island is that it is territory taken from Japan by the victory of the allied forces in the Pacific. Like other such territories, its legal status cannot be fixed until there is international action to determine its future. The Chinese Government was asked by the allies to take the surrender of the Japanese forces on the Island. That is the reason the Chinese are there now. [Communication to UN Security Council: Aug. 25, 1950]
Pursuant to Japanese Imperial General Headquarters General Order No. 1, issued at the direction of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), . . . . . Continuously since that time, the Government of the Republic of China has occupied and exercised authority over Formosa and the Pescadores.
By the peace treaty of Sept. 8, 1951, signed with the United States and other powers, Japan renounced "all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores." The treaty did not specify the nation to which such right, title and claim passed.
It is the understanding of the Senate that nothing in the [1955 ROC-USA Mutual Defense] treaty shall be construed as affecting or modifying the legal status or sovereignty of the territories to which it applies.
. . . . technical sovereignty over Formosa and the Pescadores has never been settled. That is because the Japanese Peace Treaty merely involves a renunciation by Japan of its right and title to these islands. But the future title is not determined by the Japanese Peace Treaty nor is it determined by the Peace Treaty which was concluded between the Republic of China and Japan.
Article 2 of the Japanese Peace treaty, signed on Sept. 8, 1951 at San Francisco, provides that "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores." The same language was used in Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace between China and Japan signed on April 28, 1952. In neither treaty did Japan cede this area to any particular entity.
By a letter dated September 20, 1950, the United States requested that the question of Formosa be placed on the agenda of the fifth session of the UN General Assembly. In an explanatory note of September 21, the United States, citing the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations and the Japanese surrender, stated nevertheless:
"Formal transfer of Formosa to China was to await the conclusion of peace with Japan or some other appropriate formal act."
That note also stated:
"The Government of the United States has made it abundantly clear that the measures it has taken with respect to Formosa were without prejudice to the long-term political status of Formosa, .... "
In its Report on the San Francisco Peace Treaty dated February 14, 1952, the Senate Committee [on Foreign Relations] stated:
"It is important to remember that Article 2 is a renunciatory article and makes no provision for the power or powers which are to succeed Japan in the possession of and sovereignty over the ceded territory.
"During the negotiation of the Treaty some of the Allied Powers expressed the view that Article 2 of the treaty should not only relieve Japan of its sovereignty over the territories in question but should indicate specifically what disposition was to be made of each of them. The Committee believes, however, that this would have complicated and prolonged the conclusion of the peace .... "
The position of the United States was set forth by the State Department in connection with the 1970 Hearings before the Subcommittee on United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (91st Cong., 2d Sess.):
"Legal Status of Taiwan as Defined in Japanese Peace Treaty and Sino - Japanese Peace Treaty
"Article 2 of the Japanese Peace treaty, signed on September 8, 1951 at San Francisco, provides that 'Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Formosa and the Pescadores.' The same language was used in Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace between China and Japan signed on April 28, 1952. In neither treaty did Japan cede this area to any particular entity. As Taiwan and the Pescadores are not covered by any existing international disposition, sovereignty over the area is an unsettled question subject to future international resolution .... "