295. Telegram From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State1

1763. Subj: 134th Gronouski-Wang meeting.2

Meeting lasted 2 hours 15 minutes. ChiComs had no new points to make. Atmosphere of meeting clearly an improvement over last session in June when Wang may have been intent on making good record for himself before returning for “cultural revolutionizing” to Peking.
Charge Ch’en Tung’s opening statement (which very brief, however) devoted to subject of US–CPR relations centering on Taiwan as key obstacle to improvement in US–CPR relations. (This in itself represented major relaxation from height of cultural revolution when ChiCom public statements appeared reject idea that Taiwan overriding issue dividing US and CPR in favor of thesis that Viet-Nam and whole question of US opposition to world revolution more important than Taiwan alone.) Ch’en referred to President’s statement Dec. 193 and Secretary’s press conference remarks Oct. 124 on living in harmony with ChiComs and peaceful coexistence, but characterized them as baseless. Said “peaceful coexistence” between US and Peking out of question while US “occupying” Taiwan. ChiComs during 12 years of talks with US had repeatedly sought get US to withdraw all its armed forces from Taiwan and stop aggression against mainland so that “peaceful coexistence” on basis “five principles” (panchshilla) could be established between US and CPR. China had exhibited much patience and made many efforts but nothing had been achieved. Ch’en referred to GRC claims to fight back to mainland “with US support” and noted it was particularly grave that US directed GRC to send [garble] over mainland. Said GRC had been launching military provocations against mainland with US cooperation.
I made statement on basis Departmental guidance (Deptel 92930)5 and added language on attacks on Chinese ships along lines that used in US reply to Soviets on bombing “non-hostile” vessels. Rejected ChiCom charges on Taiwan and urged we bypass this issue and [move?] on to other matters of interest to our two governments. In rebuttal, Ch’en took up numerous other issues, restating standard ChiCom positions on Viet-Nam, disarmament, including Non-Proliferation Treaty, prisoners. He described Lt. Flynn (USN), who shot down in incident over south China Aug. 21 this year, as criminal to be dealt with as ChiComs decided and refused reply to my requests for further information on him or other prisoners. (I rejected Ch’en’s contention in response. Ch’en said US clamoring to invade Cambodia and to send troops to Laos. Did not, however, mention ChiCom support for Cambodia. Soviets mentioned only once in passing reference to US-Soviet “collusion” on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. No reference to ABMs or Secy McNamara speech on this subject.6 Recent freighter incident covered as part of long recital of all incidents involving US aircraft intrusions and ChiCom shipping since last June but not singled out for particular emphasis or made object of particular warning.
General tone of ChiCom presentation was sharp but polite and not especially belligerent or provocative. Repeated “grave and serious warnings” were included in referring to past incidents and possibility of expansion of war but all in highly generalized and formalized language identical with that used by Chinese in public statements. Ch’en did note US “clamoring” for “hot pursuit” into China but did not add any specific warning in this context other than that we would meet with “thorough and ignominious defeat” if we should expand the war.
Current meeting conspicuously lacking in repeated references to Mao and quotes from Mao that dominated June meeting. Mao mentioned only once, and sole reference to 700 million Chinese omitted June’s routine (and repeated) addition that these “armed with thought of Mao Tse-tung”. General language used less pejorative than at last meeting and more in keeping with pre-cultural revolution Warsaw meetings.
Obvious that Charge Ch’en somewhat ill at ease on his first venture into “dangerous” area of US-ChiCom contacts. There unusual amounts of paper shuffling and confusion as to what documents to use and in what order on Chinese side. On several occasions, Ch’en clearly used guidance prepared for his use without regard to whether it applicable [Page 632] in context of our comments. For example, he belabored me for lodging unjustified charges against Chinese in my opening statement (I had made no charges at all), referred to US call for “disarmament conference” (I had made no such reference), and said it was false for me to allege there no US troops on Taiwan (I had made no such claim). On several occasions, Chinese interpreter Ch’ien clearly had to bail Charge out of confusion he found himself in.
Next meeting date set for May 29, seven weeks after date I had suggested but earlier than I had thought they would agree to. They continued be vague about when Ambassador Wang returning but I made it clear we saw these meetings taking place at Ambassadorial level and I expected next meeting would be at that level.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL CHICOM-US. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. Repeated to Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Saigon, Taipei, and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Gronouski sent a detailed report of the meeting in airgram A–417 from Warsaw, January 11. (Ibid.) Rostow sent a brief telegram to the President at the LBJ Ranch on January 9 stating that the meeting was “clearly better in tone and atmosphere than the previous session” and commenting: “It appears that the professional diplomats have recaptured the Foreign Office from the Red Guards.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Poland, Gronouski-Wang Talks)
  3. Reference is to remarks made by President Johnson in a television interview on December 19. For the transcript, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, Book II, pp. 1158–1173.
  4. For the transcript of Secretary Rusk’s October 12 news conference, see Department of State Bulletin, October 30, 1967, pp. 555–564.
  5. Document 294.
  6. McNamara stated in an address before a convention of United Press International editors and publishers at San Francisco on September 18 that a decision had been made to proceed with a “Chinese-oriented” deployment of anti-ballistic missiles. For text of the address, see Department of State Bulletin, October 9, 1967, pp. 443–451.