98. Editorial Note

On October 27, 1971, on his return from China, Henry Kissinger held a press conference in the White House Briefing Room. Kissinger was in China October 20-27 to continue planning for the upcoming Presidential trip to China. Unlike the first visit, the second trip was announced publicly beforehand. For Kissinger’s account of this trip, see White House Years, pages 776-785. When asked during the press conference whether there was any discussion with the Chinese of the upcoming Moscow Summit, Kissinger responded:

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“First of all, let me say that I will not comment on any of the substantive discussions. But I do want to take this opportunity to make the following point: Our relations with the People’s Republic of China are designed to end the isolation from each other of two great peoples. It is an attempt to settle or to begin the long process of settlement of outstanding issues between two peoples who have had a history of friendship.

“It is not directed against any third country. Neither side is going to use the discussions that will come up as an opportunity to discuss the possible settlement of issues that primarily affect third countries. Therefore, we do not feel, nor does the People’s Republic require us to give an account of whatever dealings we might have with other countries.

“This, incidentally, this precise rule, will be applied in our relationship with Moscow. Whatever differences may or may not exist between the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union are for them to discuss among themselves. We have a long agenda of bilateral issues to discuss with both of them. This is going to be the exclusive concern of the President when he visits first Peking and then Moscow.” (White House Press Release, October 27, 1971; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 426, Subject File, Background Briefings, December 1970-December 1971)

The press conference, which began at 4:16 p.m. and ended at 4:51, was conducted almost entirely “on the record.”