Very few people know that in 1955 the then US President Dwight David Eisenhower was caught in an unenviable situation of choosing between the People’s Republic of China under the Communist regime led by Mao Tse Tung and the then Formosa or the present Republic of China for a permanent seat at the UNSC. While Communist revolution was new and was beginning to find a firm footing in the Chinese mainland or the present People’s Republic of China, Washington’s blue-eyed boy Seng Kai Sek was compelled to find shelter in the island of Formosa after fleeing from the Chinese mainland. While the US was dead against Communist China becoming a permanent member of the UNSC, Eisenhower could clearly visualize that any offer made in favour of Formosa, then ruled by a fleeing dictator, would be vehemently opposed by other permanent members of the UNSC, more particularly by the then Communist USSR.

With the Cold War between the NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries being the order of the day in 1955 and India maintaining equidistance from both the blocks, perhaps President Eisenhower thought it prudent that India could fit into the permanent Asian seat in the UNSC, and accordingly the offer was made.

Ironically, around 1955, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was offered the disputed Chinese Permanent Security Council seat by the US to keep out the People’s Republic of China, and he also was sounded out by the USSR Prime Minister, Nikolai Bulganin, to allow China to take this seat while giving India a sixth permanent seat in the Security Council. Nehru rejected this offer in deference to China. History may have been different if this offer had been subjected to serious negotiations. Now, 54 years later, we are struggling for this seat.

the statements made by the two people at that time

NEHRU:Perhaps Bulganin(USSR president at that time) knows that some people in USA have suggested that India should replace China in the Security Council. This is to create trouble between us and China. We are, of course, wholly opposed to it. Further, we are opposed to pushing ourselves forward to occupy certain positions because that may itself create difficulties and India might itself become a subject to controversy. If India is to be admitted to the Security Council, it raises the question of the revision of the Charter of the U.N. We feel that this should not be done till the question of China’s admission and possibly of others is first solved. I feel that we should first concentrate on getting China admitted. What is Bulganin’s opinion about the revision of the Charter? In our opinion this does not seem to be an appropriate time for it.

Bulganin: We proposed the question of India’s membership of the Security Council to get your views, but agree that this is not the time for it and it will have to wait for the right moment later on. We also agree that things should be taken one by one.