Sheng v. Rogers
(D.C. Circuit, Oct. 6, 1959)

Subject: Legal Status of Taiwan

Quote --
A Department of State Bulletin, Vol. XXXIX, No. 1017, dated December 22, 1958, which constitutes an official expression of the foreign policy of the United States, contains the following discussion of the problem in which we are interested (pp. 1005 and 1009):

'Since the middle of the 17th century and up to 1895 Formosa was a part of the Chinese Empire. In 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki China ceded Formosa to Japan. In the Cairo conference in November 1943 the United States, United Kingdom, and China declared it was their 'purpose' that Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores 'shall be restored to the Republic of China'. Thereafter in August 1945 in the Potsdam conference the United States, United Kingdom, and China declared that 'the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.' This Potsdam declaration was subsequently adhered to by the U.S.S.R. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese Government, in the instrument of surrender, accepted the provisions of the declaration. The Supreme Allied Commander for the Allied Powers then issued Directive No. 1 under which the Japanese Imperial Headquarters issued General Order No. 1 requiring Japanese commanders in Formosa to surrender to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China. Since September 1945 the United States and the other Allied Powers have accepted the exercise of Chinese authority over the island. In article 2 of the Japanese Peace Treaty, which entered into force April 28, 1952, Japan renounced all 'right, title and claim' to Formosa. Neither this agreement nor any other agreement thereafter has purported to transfer the sovereignty of Formosa to China.'

'In giving the historical background of Formosa it has been pointed out that at Cairo the Allies stated it was their purpose to restore Formosa to Chinese sovereignty and at the end of the war the Republic of China received the surrender of Japanese forces in Formosa. It has also been pointed out that under the Japanese Peace Treaty Japan renounced all right, title, and claim to Formosa. However, neither in that treaty nor in any other treaty has there been any definitive cession to China of Formosa. The situation is, then, one where the Allied Powers still have to come to some agreement or treaty with respect to the status of Formosa.' (Emphasis supplied.)

From the foregoing official pronouncements of the Department of State, it appears that the United States recognizes the Government of the Republic of China as the legal government of China; that the provisional capital of the Republic of China has been at Taipei, Taiwan (Formosa) since December 1949; that the Government of the Republic of China exercises authority over the island; that the sovereignty of Formosa has not been transferred to China; and that Formosa is not a part of China as a country, at least not as yet, and not until and unless appropriate treaties are hereafter entered into. Formosa may be said to be a territory or an area occupied and administered by the Government of the Republic of China, but is not officially recognized as being a part of the Republic of China. Expressions of the State Department are drawn with care and circumspection to refrain from such recognition.

Sheng v. Rogers, (D.C. Circuit, 1959)