"Transforming the Cold War: The United States and China, 1969-1980"
Co-sponsored by The U.S. Department of State and The Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
September 25-27, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
2201 C St., N.W., Loy Henderson Conference Room, U.S. Department of State
1:00-1:40 Registration - Enter from 23rd Street
1:40-1:45 Welcome and Introductory Remarks: Dr. Marc J. Susser, The Historian, U.S. Department of State
1:45-2:30 Scheduled Keynote Speaker: Dr. Philip D. Zelikow, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State
2:30-4:30 Scheduled Panel of Former Diplomats and Government Officials:
- Ambassador Winston S. Lord (ret.), Member of the National Security Council Staff, 1969-1973; Special Assistant to Henry Kissinger, 1970-1973; Director of the Policy Planning Staff, Department of State, 1973-1977
- Professor W. Richard Smyser, Operations Staff, National Security Council, 1970-1971 and 1973-1975; Deputy Assistant Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Refugee Programs, Department of State, 1980-1981
- Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, U.S. Air Force (ret.), Deputy National Security Advisor, 1973-1975; National Security Advisor, 1975-1977
- Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor, 1977-1981
- Ambassador Charles W. (Chas.) Freeman, Jr. (ret.), Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State, 1971-1973; Director for Chinese Affairs, Department of State, 1979-1981
- Panelist Comments
- Question and Answer
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
2201 C St., N.W., Loy Henderson Conference Room, U.S. Department of State
8:30-9:15 Registration and Continental Breakfast - Enter from 23rd Street
9:30-10:00 Scheduled Keynote speaker, Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
10:15-12:00 Session 1: Roundtable - Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, volume XVII, China, 1969-1972 and Scholarly Interpretations of Establishing Relations With China, 1969-1980
- Professor Steven Phillips, Department of History, Towson University (Chair)
- Professor Chen Jian, Department of History, Cornell University
- Professor Warren I. Cohen, Department of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- James Mann, FPI Author-in-Residence, School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
1:30-3:00 Session 2
Chair: Dr. Chris Tudda, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State
- "Musical Diplomacy in the Opening of China, 1971-1972"
Professor Adam Cathcart, Department of History, Hiram College
- "Communication and Miscommunication in Sino-Soviet-American Relations,
Professor Lorenz Lüthi, Department of History, McGill University
- "The Romanian Efforts to Facilitate a Sino-American Rapprochement,
Mircea Munteanu, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/The George Washington University
Comments: Professor Gregg Brazinsky, Department of History, The George Washington
3:15-5:00 Session 3
Chair: Dr. Ding Xinghao, President, Shanghai Association of American Studies and Shanghai Institute of American Studies
- "Mobilizing for War: China's Limited Ability to Cope With the Soviet
Professor David Bachman, School of International Studies, University of Washington
- "Between Historical Determinism and Anxiety: The Soviet Union and
Sino-American Rapprochement, 1969-1973"
Dr. Bernd Schaefer, German Historical Institute
- "From Zhenbao Island to Beijing: The 1969 Sino-Soviet Border Conflict
and U.S.-China Relations"
Professor Dong Wang, Department of History and Political Science, York College of Pennsylvania
- "The Sino-American Rapprochement and Chinese-Vietnamese Relations"
Professor Qiang Zhai, Department of History, Auburn University Montgomery Comments: Professor Thomas Schwartz, Department of History, Vanderbilt University
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
1957 E St., N.W., Lindner Family Commons, 6th Floor, Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University (This portion of the conference is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation)
9:00-10:15 Session 1
Chair: Professor Hope M. Harrison, History Department and Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- "U.S. Relations With the People's Republic of China, 1969-1974: The
Malgorzata Gnoinska, The George Washington University
- "Economic Problems in U.S.-China Rapprochement, 1972-1975"
William Burr, National Security Archive
- "The Chinese Perspective on the U.S.-China
Professor Chen Jian, Department of History, Cornell University
Comments: Patrick Tyler, Woodrow Wilson Center
10:30-11:45: Session 2
Chair: Dr. Christian Ostermann, Woodrow Wilson Center
- "Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Carter Approach to China: 'The United
States Has Made Up Its Mind.' "
Professor Patrick Vaughan, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
- "The False ShuffleCyrus Vance and the China Card"
Breck Walker, Department of History, Vanderbilt University
Comments: Professor David Shambaugh, Department of Political Science and
Director, China Program, The George Washington University
1:00-2:15 Session 3
Chair: Professor Gregg Brazinsky, Department of History, The George Washington University
- " 'Maximum Flexibility for Peaceful Change': Jimmy Carter, Taiwan and
the Recognition of the People's Republic of China"
Brian Hilton, Department of History, Texas A&M University
- "The Carter Administration and China: The Culmination of
Self-Determination as a Human Right"
Professor Itai Sneh, Department of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Comments: Dr. Richard C. Bush, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy
Studies, The Brookings Institution
2:30-4:00 Session 4
Chair: Professor Edward McCord, Department of History, The George Washington University
- "The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and its Effect on Carter's Policy
Todd Rosa, Department of History, The George Washington University
- "'The Vietnamese Lesson': The Carter Administration and the Chinese
Attack on Vietnam"
Professor Scott Kaufman, Francis Marion University
- "The Chinese 'Punitive Invasion' of Vietnam as the 'Baptism of Fire'
of a New Strategic Partnership With Washington and its Repercussions on
the end of the Cold War"
Enrico Maria Fardella, Department of Political Sciences, University of Florence
Comments: Professor James G. Hershberg, Department of History, The George
4:00-5:00 Session 5, Wrap-Up Session: New Evidence on the International History of the Normalization of U.S.-China Relations
Professor William Kirby, Department of History, Harvard University
Professor Robert S. Ross, Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University and Department of Political Science, Boston College
MARC SUSSER (Historian of the Department): Thank you. As Amy said, I am the Historian of the Department. I'd like to welcome all of you here to the Department to this conference on "Transforming the Cold War: The United States and China, 1969-1980." This is the fourth annual historical conference sponsored by the Department of State and we are pleased to be co-hosting this with the Elliott School of George Washington University.
As with our previous conferences, this one is linked to the release of several volumes in our official historical documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States. As some of you may know, the Foreign Relations series was started by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward back in 1861. In that era, when the United States was in the midst of its greatest crisis, all the important documents fit into one volume. Today, the series has grown to over 400 volumes with the Office of the Historian now planning to publish 57 volumes covering just the Nixon and Ford administrations alone. And we will do that at just over 30 years after the events.
Several weeks ago, the Department published the first volume on the Nixon Administration's policy toward China. Today, we are adding to that material with a new publication, an electronic volume which is now available on the internet, Documents on China 1969-72, which supplements the documents that are found in the print volume. The combination of print and internet publication allows us to deal with the ever greater number and variety of documents that are now available to historians. This melding of the two formats allows the Department to provide a comprehensive account of the evolution of U.S. policy toward China during these crucial years.
The 1991 law that governs the Foreign Relations series requires that it be a thorough, accurate and reliable account of U.S. foreign policy, and we believe that is exactly what we provide in these two volumes. Although the broad outlines of the Nixon-Kissinger policy and opening to China are well known, our volumes include many new details not previously available to the public and many not previously available even to scholars in the field. Our historians have had full access to the files of all the agencies and departments involved in the foreign policy process during the years of the administrations of President Nixon and President Ford, and we have selected for publication the key documents that best tell the story of the evolution and development of U.S. policy during this period.
These volumes fulfill the requirements of the law that the published record shall omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision and that nothing shall be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect of policy. The publication of the Foreign Relations series provides an unrivaled example of transparency and of a government making its business open to public scrutiny. For more than 140 years, the Foreign Relations series has provided a powerful tool enabling the American public and indeed people all over the world to understand our country's foreign policy process.
We do this because we and our Congress believe that in a democracy a government has an obligation to tell its people the truth. We believe that it's important that the American people know what their government has done in its dealings with the rest of the world once sufficient time has passed and still-classified material has been protected. We believe that the best way to maintain the delicate balance of secrecy and trust between citizens and their government is to ensure that the actions of the government are not hidden forever. And that is why the Department of State publishes the Foreign Relations series.
The complete text of this new electronic volume is now available on the internet. The print volume that was released a couple of weeks ago will soon be available for sale from the Government Printing Office and I believe we have CDs of that volume included in your folders today.
We made extensive efforts to ensure broad participation in this conference and we are pleased that we have several scholars with us here today from China. The opening to China and the later normalization of relations dramatically altered the international landscape of the Cold War and set the framework for U.S.-China relations until today. We have with us today some of the key policymakers from the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations who will share their recollections of these key years.
Also with us today to formally open the conference and to put this period in U.S.-China relations in historical perspective is one of the Department's most senior officials, the Counselor of the Department, Dr. Philip Zelikow.
Dr. Zelikow was appointed Counselor of the Department in February of 2005 and he advises the Secretary of State on a wide range of issues. Before his appointment, he was the staff director of the 9/11 Commission, a trial and appellate attorney, a former career Foreign Service officer, a member of the National Security Council staff and the Director of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He is also a former member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and from our perspective here in the Office of the Historian, even more important, a former member of the Department's Historical Advisory Committee.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Philip D. Zelikow, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State
PHILIP ZELIKOW (Counselor of the Department): Ladies and gentlemen, it's an honor to be here today to address this conference. I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Office of the Historian, by acknowledging their patient and determined scholarship from year to year, decade to decade, preserving and publishing the record of American foreign relations.
You'll note that this volume is not just about the record of the Department of State. Increasingly, the Historian's Office has assumed the responsibility of providing a foreign policy record that extends beyond the State Department to include the records of the White House, our intelligence agencies. It really is one of the treasures of our nation's government that just happens to be lodged in the Department of State.
I also want to note in commenting on the role of the Historian's Office and on the role of a conference like this that this is not about official history. A lot of the historians who are at this conference don't like this administration. Why, some of the premier historians of Sino-American relations, like Warren Cohen or Michael Hunt don't like this administration. And that's okay. Their scholarship has earned them the kind of honor and attention that it continues to receive today and it is perfectly normal and natural that scholars should criticize the administration, have different views and provide a wealth of perspectives.
Indeed, when I served on the Historical Advisory Committee I was appointed to that role by a Democratic Secretary of State and members of that committee were involved in constant strife with whichever administration was prevailing at the time, usually pushing harder and harder for more declassification, placing more material in the public records, to always be sure that those values were given attention to.
In other words, the Historian's Office in a conference like this is not about official history. It is instead about an official duty to history that is being discharged. I hope this conference can serve as an example to other historian's offices and other governments elsewhere in the world, including our friends in China and even our friends in Japan on various ways that one can approach sensitive problems in contemporary history.
I want to acknowledge too the quality of scholarship and expertise available to students of U.S.-China relations in particular, the outstanding quality of the primary sources, a tradition of careful documentation that I think is influenced by Chinese culture and traditions in this particular field.
There is something disciplining about the fact that when you believe people really will scrutinize what you say word for word, you're more careful in how you write it down. There's also a rich tradition of interchange of scholarship between public and private work. Stanley Hornbeck, journeying from Harvard with the gentle permission of President Lowell back to join the State Department and serve in public service. Or people like the late Jim Thompson or Ezra Vogel or Ken Lieberthal or many, many others, including the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tom Christensen, coming to us from Princeton University.
Finally, as I turn to this subject, I want to note that it's really appropriate we're holding this conference on this date to me because it's almost exactly one year since Bob Zoellick spoke last September, September of 2005, about America's relations with China today and the way those relations have really entered a new phase, a phase made possible by the developments and policymakers whose work we are studying today and in the succeeding days.
Of course, American historical memory in these matters can be questioned. I was looking at some different works on this and I stumbled across a wonderful quote after then Defense Secretary Harold Brown visited China in the beginning of January 1980. A Chinese intellectual told the delegation of American China specialists that the potential in Sino-American relations should not be overestimated. The quote from the New York Times article is that, "You Americans are so charming," a Chinese scholar said, "for you have such short memories. We can't forget so fast or so easily what happened between us in the past." Well, this conference is trying to at least contribute to the slight lengthening of our traditionally short national memory.
Let me offer some questions and policy reflections: first, on why normalization occurred when it did; second, what did the United States want from normalization; third, on what I think is a striking continuity in American hopes for China; and fourth, some of the lingering consequences of this history today.
First then, why did normalization occur when it did? It's an interesting question because, of course, the State Department had long wanted to normalize U.S.-China relations and had equally long been ambivalent about what would happen if we did. So there was a constancy of State Department desire to normalize and a constancy too of State Department ambivalence towards the actual prospect because of reactions from Japan, from Southeast Asia, from the Soviet Union and so forth, that naturally were caveats that would have to be taken into account before you actually made such a move.
So then when one looks at the American variables, in addition to that constancy, I think it is interesting to look at the role that Richard Nixon himself played. Nixon's role is interesting in this matter because Nixon was more interested in Asia than many American national leaders were even of his time. It's important to remember that Nixon, for example, in contrast to the life story of Henry Kissinger before 1969, that Nixon was a man of the west and a man of the Pacific Rim in some distinctive ways. Nixon grew up in California. His World War II service was in the Pacific, not in the European theater. The Republican Party in which he had spent his formative years, the Republican Party of the late 1940s and early 1950s was actually a Republican Party that was extremely interested in Asia. One of the characteristic stereotypes of, say, Bob Taft, a leader of the Republican Party on that issue, is to think of these people as isolationist because of their opposition to NATO. In fact, it's important to remember that Taft Republicans may have been isolationist with regards to American engagement in Europe, but they were anything but isolationist when it came to American engagement in the future of East Asia, where their policy prescriptions were very activist and Nixon very much internalized that. Indeed, one of his signature issues when he became Vice President to Dwight Eisenhower was Asia, was an intense interest in the fate of Indochina, for example, in 1953 and 1954, and in the Taiwan Straits crises later in the Eisenhower Administration.
So Nixon comes into office as President as a person conditioned to a constancy of interest in Asia and with a lot of knowledge and interest in America's traditions there. So in his very first foreign trips, when literally he's been in office only weeks, he's already talking about the idea of opening to China. In his meetings with President DeGaulle, for example, he noted -- and this is in the Foreign Relations documents -- that there existed "considerable sentiment in the State Department not only in favor of a Soviet-U.S. détente but also for a lineup of the Soviets, Europe and the U.S. against the Chinese." By the way, in this instance I believe that this is a false allegation against the State Department, setting up a straw man to which Nixon could then comment. Because Nixon's comment was such a détente against the Chinese might be a good short-range policy, but in the longer term it was in the U.S. interest to recognize that China and the Soviet Union were "great powers" and that we should "build parallel relationships with them." Nixon then conceding that this was "largely theoretical as it was difficult to have relations with the Chinese," which begins to suggest that the critical variable in the opening was less in Washington and more perhaps in Beijing.
It's not, of course, the place of an American government official to speculate in depth from this podium about the motives and attitudes of Chinese leadership, but it is important to recognize, as many historians have, that this was a period in the late 1960s and especially the beginning of the 1970s when Chinese revolutionary activism and domestic turmoil was appearing to subside, that China's role in the Vietnam War was changing as the Soviet role in supporting the North Vietnamese became primary and the Chinese role becoming secondary, but also a period in which China must have felt an increasing sense of isolation from the communist world and in the world more generally. Relatively few fast friends for China back then, among them countries like Pakistan and Romania, which then both provided back channels to try to facilitate a normalization of relations with the United States. And then there was the Soviet factor, the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, border clashes, a lot of ominous talk in public and in private.
So why normalization occurred when it did -- yes, there's an American factor, Nixon being important, but also very important to look at the Chinese variable as perhaps even being the critical variable. But as that variable changed, the opportunities for normalization opened and we turn to my second subject, what did the United States seek from normalization, or to put it even more plainly, what did we want from them?
The answer to this question is interesting and I think thought-provoking. Let's start with what Kissinger wanted. There is a lot of evidence and fragments of evidence about Kissinger's views on this subject. I think it's fair to say that for Kissinger the opening to China was very much part of the foreign policy perspective he had focused on the Soviet Union and the broader geopolitical balance of power.
For instance, in October 1971, Kissinger, returning from having met with Zhou Enlai -- again, out of FRUS volume -- Kissinger telling Nixon, "The China trip's the keystone of your foreign policy, Mr. President. You get a good reception in China, which I know you will, you come out with a decent communiqué, you're in business with the Russians. Then the Russian trip will be a great success," which they were already thinking about for the spring of 1972.
Or for instance, in an exceptionally revealing meeting that lasted for hours between Nixon and Kissinger on the eve of their departure for China, a meeting that fortunately was caught on tape and painstakingly transcribed by the State editors of the FRUS volume, Kissinger remarks that for the next 15 years, we have to lean towards the Chinese against the Russians; we have to play this balance of power game totally unemotionally; right now, we need the Chinese to correct the Russians and to discipline the Russians.
And then going on, in the very same conversation, Nixon makes some remarks about the Chinese reception for a visiting African leader. Kissinger comes back to his main subject: "Our concern with China right now in my view, Mr. President, is to use it as a counterweight to Russia, not for its local policy." President Nixon says he agrees. Kissinger adds, "As a counterweight to keep it in play in the subcontinent for the time being, but above all, as a counterweight to Russia and the fact that it doesn't -- that China doesn't have a global policy is an asset to us, that it doesn't have global strength yet, and to prevent Russia from gobbling it up. If Russia dominates China, that would be a fact of such tremendous significance."
That gives you a little bit of a sense, some fragments of Kissinger's perspective, of his orientation, but not to what people then wrote about Nixon's orientation, which was different and in some ways more fundamental, more inchoate. For instance, Marshall Green recalling ways that Nixon had expressed himself to him on this subject, especially in 1969 when Green spent a lot of time with Nixon, recalled that "Nixon said to me," Green, "We simply cannot go on indefinitely in a hostile relationship with one-quarter of mankind, especially as the PRC grows in military power."
Or try the recollection of John Holdridge, who was working at State, then went to work with the NSC staff along with Win Lord and others who are here. Holdridge recalled Nixon rationale, which he says he often heard Nixon express, was "It's far better to talk to the Chinese than to fight them," given China's huge population, key geographic location, and important influence. And this is interesting because then, when you look at what did America want from China from the normalization process instrumentally, if the question is, what did we want from them, the answer is not very much. A lot of the agenda was a defensive agenda, how to avoid giving away too much on Taiwan.
It was not an agenda -- unlike the agenda with the Soviet Union, where we really expected dramatic results on, say, Vietnam; why, after the February 1972 summit, shortly thereafter, the Vietnamese launched the Easter Offensive that began on March 30th, 1972 and neither Nixon nor Kissinger appeared to feel betrayed by that. They didn't think they had a deal with the Chinese. Indeed, if anything, the Chinese were kind of urging the Americans to be tougher on the North Vietnamese because of their growing estrangement from the North Vietnamese that was already evident.
But you go through issue after issue, it's hard to find anything that's concrete and instrumental that the Americans are really seeking from the open. There is the balance of power argument put showing that America and China could work together and the chilling effect that would have on the Russians that Kissinger emphasizes. But then it's hard to resist the sense that there is just this more fundamental, inchoate concern which Nixon articulates that's less instrumental and more about, such an opening is an end in itself.
In other words, that to Nixon, he would be earning his place in history simply by ending what Warren Cohen has called "the great aberration," the period of rupture in US-China relations that had lasted for about 20 years. That point is important because it brings us to the third one. If you think about "the great aberration," you think that, for Nixon, in a way, he was returning to a sense of good relations with China that, for him, was part of the natural, normal American context. He was returning to normalization, not creating it new. Then you really capture the sense of the continuity of American hopes for China, which I think is worth dwelling on in some detail.
It is asserted by some Chinese nationalists, not necessarily by the Chinese Government, that the recent tradition of American relations with China is a desire to keep China down, to limit China's power, to limit China's influence. In contrast, I think it's fairer to assert that as long as it has been involved in Asia's politics, for more than 100 years, America's leaders have sought a strong, united, and independent China.
Year in and year out, from one generation to the next, America pursued this goal with a constancy of purpose unique among all the major powers in the region. Of course, America did so to serve America's interests. But America conceived of its interests in a rare harmony with the long-term interests of the Chinese people. And America thus played, again and again, an indispensable historical role in the evolution of a strong and independent China.
Let me offer just a few illustrations. In 1899, immediately after America realized that it is an Asiatic power, Hay and William Rockhill authored the Open Door. The Open Door Note, as I'm sure many of you here know, is commonly remembered for the goal of being sure that the door was not closed to American commerce, as some of the imperial powers were moving to carving up China in the waning years of the Manchu Dynasty.
But it's also worth remembering when one reads the Open Door Note that it had two goals, not only the goal of not excluding the United States and keeping the door open in that sense, but also asserting that China should be allowed to continue to have control of its finances, the issue of control of China's customs revenue. Because if China lost complete control of its finances, its effective independence would come to an end, and the United States had already decided that it was very much in America's interests for China to preserve its independence.
That kind of persistent view of the need for a stable, stronger and more independent China is carried forward in the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, carried forward in the way America distinctively approached the settlement of the Boxer rebellion claims, Roosevelt's own article on the awakening of China. It continues on through the Taft Administration and then on into the Wilson Administration. Remember that after the Chinese Revolution of 1912, the Wilson Administration rushed to recognize the new Republic of China and did so unilaterally before the other great powers were willing to go along. Wilson once expressing, as Josephus Daniels noted in his minutes of a cabinet meeting -- Wilson saying his desire to help China was so strong, "that I prefer to err in the line of helping that country than otherwise."
All this coupled with a growing concern about Japan, all of it limited by a keen sense of how little American power there was to project in East Asia and how little one could do to safeguard China or promote China. But America would do what it could.
In 1922, when in the Harding Administration, Charles Evans Hughes, the Secretary of State and Elihu Root decided to create a Washington system for East Asia organized around the Washington conferences. By the way, again, the stereotype of American isolation after the failure of the League of Nations, not at all true when it comes to American policy in Asia. That Washington system they crafted had at its core a Nine Power Treaty designed to secure Chinese independence in a period of disorder, guaranteeing its independence, guaranteeing its territorial integrity, with America as the lead sponsor of those provisions to ensure the Nine Powers respected them.
Not enough for the Chinese nationalists, not enough for them that America couldn't overthrow the regime of unequal treaties that the other powers insisted on; yet even on that score, by 1926, again ahead of the other powers, the United States was ready to discard extraterritoriality and wanted to grant China tariff autonomy. By the way, over active protests from within the Department of State and protests from both London and Tokyo because of American dedication, here now the role of Secretary Kellogg and Nelson Johnson, to this need to preserve a strong and independent China once China could sort out its internal disorder and its internal weaknesses.
Then American interests, while they remained the same, were not so actively pursued until finally, as Japanese aggression on the Chinese mainland grew in the period from 1938 to 1941, the United States of America took supreme risks to protect the strength and independence of China. Finally, at the end of 1938, as the activist Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau found at last an ally in the Department of State, hitherto preferring to do nothing about these problems except to refuse to recognize either side's claims and not intervene.
Morgenthau over again, asking for another embargo on some Japanese trade. Hull, of course, as usual, disagreeing with Morgenthau. Hull then sending for Stanley Hornbeck. And then Hornbeck arrives and Morgenthau noted in his diaries, "I almost fell out of my chair when Hornbeck agreed that this ought to be done." Hornbeck said, "As a matter of fact, we're working on several other ways to put the screws in the Japanese, and this is just what we ought to do," ushering a period of financial and economic aid to China, then fighting for its life, and financial and economic sanctions against Japan of growing strength and gravity until by 1940 and '41, the risks that were being undertaken by these sanctions flew in the face of America's grand strategy which was, after all, Germany first.
So with a Germany first strategy, you do not want to provoke a war in the Pacific before you come to grips with the main problem in Europe. Yet that is exactly the kind of risk that was being courted by the policy and in fact, the risk that materialized finally in the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. And you are then left with this extraordinary dichotomy of risk and principle that's worth noting because some of the ideas involved have resonance to the present day.
Stanley Hornbeck, reaching the end of his life in the early 1960s, asked about what America should do to meet its present challenges, said -- and here, I'm indebted to the late Jim Thompson for noting this -- "Well, I am sure about some things," Hornbeck said, "our national concern for and regarding principles and practices of freedom, independence, justice and security is greater than is that of any other nation. We should be prepared to go further and to make greater efforts in defense of those principles and practices than is to be expected of any other country."
At the same time, drawing to a close, Hornbeck files a little note in a box marked "Pearl Harbor," in a way leaving a record for posterity, "Did I," Hornbeck, "underestimate Japan's strength? The answer is: Yes, both in absolute terms and in comparative terms. And so did practically everyone else in the United States, both in the government and out of the government in varying degrees." The results were that America then found itself in a war, a war it had been drawn into in conflict with its grand strategy, in great part because of its stubborn dedication to trying to preserve a united and independent China.
Another key moment arises as the war goes on; who will make up the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council that will have such an extraordinary role in the postwar order? There was only one voice in the councils of the great powers that said such a seat must be held for China. And that voice was, again, that of the United States. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, insisting on it with Anthony Eden in March of 1943 so that in 1945, that seat is there, the seat which the Peoples' Republic of China now holds, a seat which it could take in 1971 because that seat had been built for it in 1945. Had that seat not been there, China might today be, along with other countries, joining the ranks of those asking for the reorganization of the UN Security Council to recognize China's role. But instead, the United States had worked to preserve that role as early as 1943, successfully.
And in 1946, another extraordinary choice that America had to make; as the war came to an end and American policy was fluid on its attitude toward the Chinese communists, the great choice facing the United States Government was: Do you side completely with Jiang and the Guomindang against the communists? And instead, a series of American leaders, especially Byrnes, Acheson, Marshall and John Carter Vincent decided instead to choose mediation and restraint in China's civil war.
There was an extraordinary opportunity for the anti-communists. After all, Stalin had already made his deal with Jiang Jieshi in 1945 as to how he would come to a modus vivendi with Guomindang rule in the new China, and Mao knew it. There were a lot of Americans, Patrick Hurley among them and others, who would have argued that the United States should come down 100 percent on the side of the Guomindang, and that the United States chose not to do. Or indeed, in 1947, as the civil war deepened into complete strife with the result that here, where the future of East Asia was arguably at stake, perhaps the most important contest in the emerging Cold War, where a quarter of the world's population was on the table, the United States fundamentally chose not to intervene with its full military might at the time when victory for the Guomindang could have been assured.
We can argue about whether those decisions were right, but the reason for their choice of mediation and restraint was because of their hopes for a strong, united and independent China and that somehow, this was the only way to achieve that unity. We can fault the way they went about it, we can decry the naiveté, but the purpose is important to understand. And even that lingering purpose going on in the Korean War, when in 1950 and 1951, Mao essentially invited America to join World War III, an invitation that, despite the recommendations of some, such as his commander in the Far East, President Truman chose to decline.
In the Taiwan Straits crises, despite Chinese intervention into the Vietnam War in the early and mid-1960s and its threats to the United States that if they sought to solve the Vietnam War by dealing with North Vietnam, they would face war with China, and the American decision therefore to accept the limited war that China insisted on as the choice between that and war with China; again and again, the United States chooses the path of its consistent interests and regard for China, which then brings us back to the issues of the 1970s.
So for America in the 1970s, there was a constancy of interest that now seemed enabled and possible in new ways. And the question is whether that constancy is now coming to fruition. Therefore, I want to turn fourth to the consequences of that normalization and that constancy today.
Looking back at 1969 again, one of the many studies that the White House commissioned was National Security Study Memorandum 14, commissioned in the spring and summer of 1969 to look at U.S. policies towards China. Kissinger famously remarked that these studies were make-work projects to keep the State Department busy. I think this is Kissinger in his more puckish moment. In fact, at the time, I think this particular study was taken quite seriously. A lot of people worked on it, especially at the State Department, and there was a prescient question asked in the State Department's paper answering that study.
In August 1969, the State Department paper responding to NSM 14 posed the following question, which I think was probably written by Marshall Green, John Holdridge and their colleagues, Holdridge at State before he then went over and received the paper on the NSC staff.
"A question can legitimately be posed as to whether or not it is in U.S. interests for Peking to become more engaged in the international scene. If Peking should choose to pursue a more pragmatic and moderate foreign policy, pressures by the nations of Asia for accommodating Peking and for accepting the PRC into international organizations would build rapidly. Peking's emergence from its self-imposed isolation would thus pose new challenges for U.S. policy in Asia and would probably result in certain short-term losses to ourselves and our allies."
And to that prescient question, it is interesting to note a prescient answer. The answer then offered in August '69 was that over the long-term, however, "evolution of Peking's policies toward moderation would offer the prospect of increased stability in East Asia. Since it does not lie within the United States' power to prevent Peking from breaking out of its isolation, the issue posed for the U.S. is whether this evolution will take place in spite of U.S. resistance or whether the U.S. will be seen as willing to accept and live with Peking's entry into the international community and do what it can to take advantage of the change."
Those words do indeed ring true today, as do further cautions in that same memorandum, cautions about limited U.S. power. To what extent, one can ask, can America actually influence the way China approaches the international system if it has these new opportunities? Here again, the study's authors in the summer of '69 wrote, "Future Chinese leaders' perspectives may be altered, however, by considerations of domestic political control, by the need for economic development, and by China's relations with third countries. U.S. actions to alter what Peking perceives as the U.S. 'threat' could contribute to this. This need not be hostile to U.S. interests in the long-run if it allows for continuing U.S. political and economic relations with these countries throughout Asia, even though at a reduced level of intimacy than previously," because we would sacrifice some quality of intimacy because of the growing role of China and their decreasing reliance on us as protection against Chinese influence.
In other words, America made that choice that was forecasted for it in the summer of 1969. It made the choice to embrace the growth of Chinese power. So for example, when Zoellick gave his speech a year ago, he said that "For the United States and the world, the essential question is, how will China use its influence? To answer that question, it is time to take our policy beyond opening doors to China's membership into the international system. We need to urge China to become a responsible stakeholder in that system."
It is essential, then, to understand the historical record and see the continuity across more than a century of the American belief that a strong, independent and united China could contribute to the stability of East Asia and that that role should be welcomed. The address that we gave a year ago on behalf of the Administration made it clear that the argument about whether the United States wanted to contain Chinese power or encourage Chinese power had been settled. The paradigm that we put forward cannot be reconciled with a paradigm of containment. It is a paradigm that welcomes the growth of Chinese power and urges the Chinese to take on their role in strengthening the international system that has enabled its success.
Now the choice is that of China. China has choices it will make about how it approaches its own historical record and its own view of its past, but China also has important choices to make about the future. And when I was trying to think about words with which to talk to the Chinese Government or its people about its choices, about its future, I was very drawn to some lines that Dean Acheson used more than half a century ago in a very different context.
And so paraphrasing Acheson, I will just close by saying: And by no means least of all, it rests with our friends to see that this relationship reaps its true fruits. And I say to them: A great broad highway to a position of equality, of honor, of friendship in the world lies open to you. All the obstacles on that highway have been cleared away so far as governments can clear them away. The obstacles that remain, only you can remove, and you can remove those if you act with other peoples, with understanding, and with generosity and with kindness. All those qualities are inherent in the nature of your people and what we urge you to do is to make those qualities, which are so inherent in your people, the policy of your government.
SUSSER: Thank you, Counselor Zelikow. We'll now take a moment for our first panel to assemble up here. (Pause.)
Panel of Former Diplomats and Government Officials
Keynote Speaker: Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Thank you very much. It's a real pleasure to be here. I must say it's a little intimidating to be here, too, because as my bio suggested I'm not a China scholar although I did serve in Albania which has a sort of curious Chinese connection. I'll always remember in Albania we were giving them some cotton and weren't sure whether it would work in their textile mill. And I said, well, where did the textile mill come from? They said oh, it came from China. So we had a couple of experts go and check it out. And it said something like Moscow, in Cyrillic, on it, 1890. And what we realized was it was a gift of the Soviet people to the Chinese people who promptly or maybe not so promptly turned it around and made it a gift to the Albanian people. So I have a little familiarity from China in those days.
But I must say taking up my current position, as you see from my bio, I moved from being Ambassador to Korea to being Assistant Secretary to North Korea. We occasionally have some dealings with China. Every day I walk into my office and I walk past the picture of John Carter Vincent, who at some point I guess took up cigarette smoking because he's there with a cigarette in his mouth. I've been tempted to pick up cigarette smoking as well in this position. I also walk past the photo of W.W. Butterworth. And these are two figures who had my position and who have had to live through I think a very, very tough time in policy terms, a lot of recrimination, just took a lot of courage. And so I frankly find those people quite an inspiration.
It has been more than three decades since President Nixon and Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Kissinger made their historic breakthrough with China. It's, I think, always memorable at the Beijing banquet that honored him in 1972 President Nixon responding to Chou En-lai's toast spoke frankly, he said "Let us recognize at the outset these points. We have at time in the past been enemies. We have great differences today. What brings us together is that we have common interests which transcend those differences. Neither of us will compromise our principles. But while we cannot close the gulf between us, we can try to bridge it so that we may be able to talk across it." And indeed, I think those remarks uttered some 30 years ago at a toast are very much applicable today, very prescient remarks.
I think at a critical juncture when China's own leadership was reassessing its priorities, emerging from the isolation of the Cultural Revolution to engage on an uncertain course of opening to the west, U.S. policymakers decided that our approach to China had to be different from the way we dealt with the Soviet Union. That approach would take deeper roots once China launched its impressive domestic reform program in 1978 and the U.S. and the PRC established diplomatic relations.
Indeed I would say the policies pursued by both administrations, by administrations of both parties, by now some seven Presidents, has been to encourage China's economic reforms, to expand the trade and our contacts with China, and to especially use our influence to integrate and bind China into a rules based international system.
And I would say that policy, that policy that has been for seven Presidents has been extremely successful. China is an active player in the United Nations, a Perm 5 member, a member which we are in constant communication, constant negotiations across international issues across the globe. China's part of the WTO, virtually every other economic organization participates in international endeavors ranging from efforts to stop the spread of infectious diseases to initiatives on the development of clean energy, which is one such effort we have going in China just this month. And increasingly stepping up to take an active role in dealing with regional security issues and a prime example being China's efforts at hosting the six-party talks and dealing with North Korea's very dangerous nuclear ambition, something I'll get to a little later.
And certainly, I think this is very good for China and I think it really reflects to some extent to China's economic rise. It's GDP has grown some ten-fold since 1978, per capita income has doubled every eight and a half years. By comparison it took Great Britain 58 years to double its per capita income in the early 19th Century. It took the U.S. 47 years. It took Japan 34 years after industrialization.
China recently surpassed Italy and the United Kingdom to become the world's fourth largest economy. It trails only the U.S., Japan and Germany. But -- and I'll go back to the famous -- I call it a quote, but I hate to do that in front of historians because it's probably more apocryphal than anything else. But when President Nixon congratulated Mao Tse-tung on the enormous changes in China, Mao is reported to have said, "In fact, Mr. President, I've only been able to change a few places around Beijing."
And indeed, I think when people do go outside of Shanghai and outside of Beijing, you still see that China remains in many respects a very poor country, a per capita income that ranks 133 in the world at $1200. Over 160 million people have moved fitfully from China's rural areas to cities looking for employment, really the largest internal migration in world history. And this floating population now accounts for almost 20 percent of Beijing's residents, almost 20 percent of Shanghai's residents. Indeed it's because of this migration in less than a decade Shanghai's population has increased by a number equal to the population of China.
And of course, as we are very aware, and I would say the Chinese Government is more aware than anybody, average urban incomes are some four times what they are in the rural areas. So by no means is China, as way say, out of the woods in terms of what it has to do economically, but I think it is also fair to say that one should look at some of the enormous progress in that rural area. In fact, despite the disparities, the number of China's rural poor has been cut in half during the 1990s, according to the World Bank, and that a population larger than the entire population of the United States has been pulled out of abject poverty. And I would say that this development in China has been very good for the United States. China is now our fourth largest export market. It -- the trade deficit is a huge issue to be sure, but also I think U.S. exports to China, it's worth pointing out they've doubled since China joined the WTO in 2001 and that pace continues this year.
I had the pleasure of accompanying or meeting President Hu Jintao in Seattle. What the Governor of Washington said, this is the real Washington, and you will soon go to the other Washington. And I think she had a very good point, because it was truly stunning to see the volume and depth of our relationship with China.
China is going to be in the market in the next 20 years for some 2800 jets. And when Hu Jintao came to the Boeing factory and was greeted by workers there in overalls and just cheering him like he was their best customer. And there's a reason why they treated him like he was their best customer, he -- it was a real sense among the workers of how important he was. And what I really liked about the meeting -- and I've never had a chance to ask him this but I'd love to ask him, when he looked out on those sea of faces, many people wearing work overalls and baseball hats, I think he realized something very important which is Americans also need jobs now and again. America also needs to export goods now and again. And so I think when he went there he saw really I think a very good face of what our country is about, and it's not just about people in suits and the other Washington, that is in Washington, D.C., but people who are really trying to make a living as workers. And I thought it was a very important visit in that regard.
He also went to the Microsoft campus, as the factory there is called, and saw I think what was important in a number of respects, first of all, the cutting edge technology that goes on in Microsoft. But secondly, when you look at the number of Chinese engineers or people of Chinese extraction, Chinese-Americans, I think he saw not only the connection of our economies but very much the connection of our people.
In short, I think that trip to Seattle which lasted some 24 hours which -- and where he met a lot of people including a lot of Falun Gong protestors I might add, I think he saw and I think we saw in him the fact that our countries are very much linked, very much linked if not entirely by a common past then certainly by a common future.
And as one goes around in Washington, D.C. today, you will hear the occasional person talk about China as the new Soviet Union, but that is extremely rare, extremely rare indeed. I think you see very clearly from Americans of all political persuasions that this is our key relationship. This is the relationship that we have to, above all other relationships in the world, nurture and make it work. We need to make it work in a way that's true to our value, true to our interest but also make it work in a way that makes sure that U.S. and China can work together because the stakes are simply enormous. They're not only stakes in East Asia, they're all over the world and we have to work -- we have to find ways to work with China.
I think our engagement with China, which now takes place across many fora both bilaterally and multilaterally, speaks to the importance that we attach to this fundamental relationship. Bilaterally we have -- in the State Department we've had a senior dialog that was first started by then Deputy Secretary Bob Zoellick last year. And in fact, we planned -- of course we'll have a new Deputy Secretary who will continue that dialog, but we didn't want to have too many months go by. And so when I was in China just a couple of weeks ago, I approached the senior foreign policy leadership to see if we could get the dialog going as early as this month and have our Under Secretary for Political Affairs handle it, and the Chinese were very, very happy to pursue that dialog. And I think it was really a reflection of the fact that they appreciate the fact that we sit down systematically go through our political relations and not just issues that are urgent, which is often when you have diplomacy, but also issues that are important. That is, these are dialogs where we try to have the important crowd out the urgent now and again.
So we're looking forward to having the senior dialog continued in the next month by Under Secretary Burns. Of course, you are all aware of Secretary Paulson's strategic economic dialog. This is a dialog where in addition to the specific dialogs where we get down to, you know, discussing imports of chicken parts, this is a dialog that's not going to be discussing imports of chicken parts, it's going to be a dialog that will be on top of the entire economic dialog if you will flying at 20,000 feet to try to oversee some of these economic dialogs and make sure that we can make this really, really work.
In addition to this strategic economic dialogue, we have a number of other economic dialogs. The JCCT, the State Department NDRC dialogue. Our Under Secretary for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, is also pursuing a global issues forum. We have a Department of Energy energy dialog as well. And these are just a few of the examples of how we interact with China today. We have very successful engagement on law enforcement cooperation. We have constant exchanges of teams to discuss areas such as human trafficking, cyber crime, combating corruption. The other day Elaine Chao from the Labor Department had her counterpart over from China and they discussed issues like labor code and especially pensions, an issue that if you've been reading the Chinese press, now is quite an issue in Shanghai.
So we have a very -- it's just -- I've never seen anything quite as comprehensive as the relationship we have with China, and it is comprehensive because it is so fundamentally important. Still, we have to find ways not only to talk to China about things that we agree -- already agree on or things that we already disagree on, we also have to find ways to work with them together. And here I think is the -- is where the six-party process I think plays a key role in the relationship with China. I cannot tell you today that the six-party process is going to succeed in getting North Korea to disarm itself of these nuclear weapons. I think we have -- it has been a difficult process. We are dealing with difficult people. But what I can tell you is that there is a certain early harvest in the six-party process and that is the fact that we are able to work very closely with China, come up with common initiatives, make approaches to North Korea that are coordinated, have work multilaterally in very specific areas such as with the South Koreans and yes, with the Japanese because a lot has been said in recent months and recent years about the difficulty of Sino-Japanese relations. But yet, in the six-party process they actually work, they function and because we all share the interests of getting the North Koreans to give up these weapons.
A key moment, I think, came in early July when against all advice, against all admonitions all over the world North Korea decided to fire off several missiles. There was really a missile for everybody in that barrage. There were some six or seven missiles. There were short-range missiles whose only purpose in practicing would have been to hit South Korea. There were short-range longer-range missiles whose purpose would be threaten Japan, and there was Taepodong-2 missile whose purpose would have to be looked at as an intercontinental missile ultimately with the purpose of reaching the United States. In short, in that missile barrage, the North Koreans essentially validated the concept of the six-party talks. In that missile barrage, the North Koreans were essentially saying this is not a U.S.-North Korean problem. We in North Korea are going to make it a problem between us, the North Koreans and everyone else. They validated the process of making this multilateral.
And so as soon as these missile launches happened, which was for us in the afternoon of July 4th, the first example of a sense of irony I've ever seen from North Korea, we got in -- went into action diplomatically, and I went off -- I left that next day on the fifth. And normally when I'd make a trip to Asia to discuss North Korea I'd start with our allies, Japan and South Korea. In this case I went right to China. And I sat down with the Chinese and we went through what could be done, what needed to be done. And I could see in China there was a certain -- I should say a sea change in how they dealt with the North Koreans. I was not asked to be more patient. Often the dynamic between me and the Chinese is, as you can predict, the Chinese asking me to show more patience and I asking the Chinese to show less patience. But in fact, I think we got on very quickly to the task of what can we do to convince the North Koreans that they can't do this.
And indeed as we began to discuss the need to respond, the need to respond forcefully and with a sense of unity, the Chinese asked if they could be given an opportunity to get up to Pyongyang and get from the North Koreans a commitment to get back to the talks to re-impose a moratorium. And so we worked that out. We worked that out in a way that our diplomacy going on in New York with the passage -- with the work we're doing especially with the Japanese who are on the Security Council to get the -- to have a strong resolution. We gave the Chinese some time. We worked with the Chinese on their efforts to get up to Pyongyang. They sent a very senior delegation to Pyongyang. And when they came back, in fact I returned to China and we talked some more and we worked out, especially our diplomats in New York, worked out a UN Security Council Resolution 1695.
There are a couple of very important elements to that. The first element, of course, is this was a great credit to Japanese diplomacy because they were the ones who drafted it and began to press forward in the UN. But I think it was also a great credit to our ability to work with China because at the end of the day when 1695 was passed, it was actually the end of the week, it was unanimous and China was on board, on board on a unanimous resolution dealing with a neighboring country and significantly I think the word condemned, that is, the people who supported -- the countries that supported this which included Japan and China, we all used the same word, we condemn these missile launches.
We also called upon all member-states to exercise vigilance in ensuring that North Korea does not get the funds and does not get the technology to continue these types of programs. I saw in the Chinese, with respect to this North Korea missile launch, a real kindred spirit, and I think it was very important. And so someday in the annals of U.S.-China relations, we'll have to give Kim Jong-il a little credit because he brought us much closer together that week.
We have also continued to work with China in other areas of the world. We're working in Iran. We're working very, very feverishly with China to try to come up with a resolution on Iran that would encourage Iran to do the right thing on these weapons of mass destruction. This is a very difficult problem. It's a problem that's also rooted in Iran's situation and its own neighborhood, but it's also routed in the U.S. and China and the other Perm 5 members' desire to see -- to prevent nuclear arms proliferation. And this is an area were I think we're working very closely with the Chinese.
I do not mean to suggest that our relations with China are at this point a walk in the park. We have a lot of issues, a lot of difficult issues where we deal with China. We work with China on human rights issues, on religious freedom questions. These are not easy issues. Some of these issues don't come naturally to China, and we need to work with them and try to work with China on international standards. We're not looking to impose a U.S. view on all of these issues, we're looking to really gain an international consensus on how to approach issues like human rights and religious freedom consistent with China's agreement with the UN charter and consistent with China's desire to live up to these universal values.
We also have to work very hard every day and every hour of every day on getting a level playing field for U.S. businesses. Anyone who's been to China knows that there has been improvement on intellectual property rights in the -- in a de jure sense and in a legislative sense, but on the street the picture can sometimes be different. Although I must say that if you try to buy a counterfeit version of anything to do with the Beijing Olympics, you'll be very hard pressed. In fact, the intellectual property rights of the Beijing Olympics are being very well respected. And let's see if we can use that as an inspiration for everything else including golf clubs.
So that is a work in progress, but I think we have a pretty strong and active dialog with the Chinese on that. We're also working, and I know this is a -- this continues to be an enormous issue, to look for more transparency in military budgets, in military doctrine and, in fact, in military intentions.
Now if you look at the U.S. budget, as the Chinese have done, you will notice the U.S. budget somewhat exceeds the Chinese budget, a fact that has been brought to light by Chinese analysts. We're not questioning that for a minute, but you can also find in the U.S. budget exactly where the money is going. You can find the supply of explanatory notes at times exceeding the demand for those same explanations. In short, everyone in Washington has an opinion about our military budget, and it's out for everybody to see.
China has not quite achieved, let me put it, the same degree of transparency. And what we're really looking for from the Chinese is not necessarily to reduce their budget or something like that, we're looking for transparency. What are they doing? Where is the money going? Why is it going there? What is it -- what are the contingencies they're working on? We need clarity on this and we need a good dialog. We are beginning to have a dialog with the Chinese on this. I was just with Admiral Fallon who has gone to China on several occasions, most recently just a few weeks ago. We've had some -- we had some joint exercises with the Chinese recently in San Diego. We are beginning a process to work on ways that we can agree -- we can see what each other is doing because we still do have a mountain of mistrust in this relationship, especially in this military relationship, and we need to work on that.
We're also working in I'd like to mention a couple of other regional areas. I know in Southeast Asia, an area that I also cover, that there are people who say that the U.S. is somehow staging a strategic withdrawal while China is a staging a strategic entry into that area. I really don't buy that frankly. I don't buy the idea that we're leaving, and I don't buy the idea that the Chinese want us to leave. I think there's -- more China in Southeast Asia does not mean less U.S. After all, I think China for years and years, decades and decades, the world has looked for a second engine of growth, and I think many countries are finding that second engine of growth and it's called China. It's called the China economy, and we welcome that. More China does not mean less U.S. there. And so we can work that out.
We're also working in the Pacific island states. You know, people look at the Pacific Island states, they look at the Pacific and they try to find the islands there. Very small countries. I would that say sometimes big problems can come in small places, and we need to make sure that governance issues in the Pacific Island states and capacity issues, tiny places like the Solomon Islands, you know, that those countries develop and don't become centers of problems and, therefore, we need to make sure that countries that are big donors, and China is a big donor in those states, finds ways to make sure that the assistance that China is giving is going to causes that will help those countries develop governance and capacity. And in that regard, we're going to have still another dialog with the Chinese. We're going to sit down and talk about some of our mutual assistance or assistance efforts in some of these countries.
So I think ultimately I feel that there is a real reason for optimism in this relationship. I feel that the people who worked so hard on this relationship in the late '40, early '50s, the people who really I think in some cases went to their graves with a sense that this was going to be a very, very difficult process that may not turn out well can actually, if they're still listening, realize that a lot of their work in those very troubled years has led to some very special developments. We are by no means there. We are by no means there, but I hope that future generations can look back on this period and draw from it a certain inspiration as we move forward.
So, again, I speak as a sort of a person who can maybe give some raw material to your -- to what you are doing. I am not a historian. I probably spend more time looking at the U.S. Civil War than I have at China's various civil wars. But I do believe that to understand our history with China is to understand our future with China. I'm very pleased at the publication of this. I will read every word of it later in the day I guess. But to be sure it is I think an excellent time to be reflecting on where we are with China because there's no relationship in the world that's more important to us than the relationship with China.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)