Cairo Declaration

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Cairo Declaration

The December 1943 Cairo Declaration that wrapped up a meeting held in Cairo between Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek is often cited as the primary legal foundation for the PRC’s and the ROC’s claims to territorial sovereignty over Taiwan.

At various public occasions, Beijing’s leaders have invoked the Cairo Declaration to establish that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The KMT has also long cited the Cairo Declaration as the legal basis for Taiwan’s return to the Republic of China.

On December 2013, for instance, former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou affirmed the validity of the Cairo Declaration as an “international treaty,” stating that it is the legal basis upon which Taiwan was restored to the ROC post-World War II.

After all, under international law, ONLY a treaty can settle the status of territories, right?

Ma stated: “In fact, the declaration is a treaty because there is no prescribed formality in terms of such agreements…From the perspective of international law, any concrete promise made by an official of a country in their capacity as head of state, prime minister or minister of foreign affairs is legally binding.”

But is it?

The US National Archives do not consider the Cairo Declaration a treaty. Several years ago, FAPA received a letter from the assistant archivist for records services at the Archives just outside Washington DC, who wrote: “The National Archives and Records Administration has not filed this [Cairo] declaration under treaties. […] The declaration was a communique and it does not have [a] treaty series (TS) or executive agreement series (EAS) number.”

The National Archives flatly contradict the KMT claims that the Declaration is a treaty, and with one fell swoop also voids the basis for Beijing’s “One China Principle” claims.

Indeed, the Cairo Declaration was merely intended as a “declaration of intent” about the world’s affairs among the three leaders – a mere statement of war aims, the territorial reassignments of which had to be solemnized in a formal peace treaty after Japan’s surrender. It has negligible status in international law as a treaty or convention.

Although important at the time, the Cairo Declaration does not have any legal binding power 65 plus years later, allowing neither the KMT nor the PRC to derive territorial claims from it.








美國國家檔案館(US National Archives )並不將開羅宣言視為條約。數年前,台灣人公共事務會收到一封來自華盛頓國家檔案館記錄部門的助理檔案管理員的信件,其中這麼寫道:「國家檔案管和紀錄管理局並沒有將(開羅)宣言列為條約,﹝···﹞該宣言性質為公報,它並沒有歸屬於任何的條約或行政協定編號。」