33. Editorial Note

During his visit to Lahore, Pakistan, on August 1, 1969, President Nixon discussed with President Yahya Khan the importance of ending the diplomatic isolation of China:

“President Nixon stated it as his personal view—not completely shared by the rest of his government or by many Americans—that Asia cannot move forward if a nation as large as China remains isolated. He further said that the US should not be party to any arrangements designed to isolate China. He asked President Yahya to convey his feeling to the Chinese at the highest level.”

Nixon met privately with Yahya; no U.S. record of the meeting has been found. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Agha Hilaly, subsequently shared the Pakistani record of the meeting with Harold Saunders of the NSC Staff. That record, dated August 28, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1032, Files for the President, China Materials, Cookies II, Chronology of Exchanges with the PRC.

This closely-held initiative, which led to Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 and to the ultimate re-establishment of relations between the [Page 98] United States and China, contrasted with the view Nixon expressed in a conversation in San Francisco on August 21 with President Pak of the Republic of Korea. Nixon described China as aggressive and unsuitable for membership in the United Nations:

“We have relaxed our travel restrictions and purchases with regard to Communist China, but we regard Communist China as an aggressive nation. U.S. policy toward China has not changed, and we will not admit the country into the U.N.” (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 79, Memoranda for the President, Aug 3-Dec 28, 1969)