376. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

132194. 1. At their request, Chiefs of following European missions called on Assistant Secretary Green for briefing on President Nixon’s July 15 announcement:2 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. During twenty minute session Green made following points:

2. He appreciated group’s desire for information but speaking frankly there was not much he could say beyond the Presidential announcement. He cited President Nixon’s 1971 Foreign Policy Report statement, “In this decade, therefore, there will be no more important challenge than that of drawing the People’s Republic of China into a constructive relationship with the world community and particularly with the rest of Asia.”3 Consistent with that view, President had taken a number of unilateral steps designed to open up communication with the PRC, to renew the dialogue, to improve relations with Peking and to facilitate PRC movement into the international mainstream. Internal changes within PRC since end of Cultural Revolution offered hope that now might be a propitious time for such an initiative.

3. He regretted our inability to hold advance consultation with friendly governments on this latest move but it had to be handled with the greatest secrecy; no country was informed in advance and very few were privy to this information in USG. He hoped that those present would also appreciate the necessity for holding down speculation which could impair or jeopardize the success of the Presidential visit, no date for which had yet been set.

4. The President’s trip was not directed against any country. On the contrary as we moved toward better relations with Peking there was no reason for others to believe that it would be at their expense. We continue to stand by our friends, including the Republic of China, and our commitments to them.

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5. Although he could not go into substance of the ChouKissinger talks, he could say that there were no agreements beyond that set forth in the communiqué.4 The talks were exploratory in nature, directed at preparations for Presidential trip including the drafting of the communiqué.

6. World reaction had been almost uniformly favorable and Green thanked those present whose governments had supported our move.

7. In the ensuing question and answer period, Green said: (A) USG is close to a decision on the Chirep issue but must consult further, especially with Taipei; (B) we could not comment on the modalities of future contacts with Peking; and (C) the term “normalization of relations” in the joint communiqué was carefully chosen because it is not specific with regard to the question of diplomatic recognition.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 CHINAT. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by William A. Brown; cleared by Armitage, Arva C. Floyd, Russell Fessenden, and Robert H. Miller; and approved by Assistant Secretary Green. Sent to Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Brussels, Vienna, Bern, Dublin, Madrid, Lisbon, The Hague, USNATO, USUN, and Luxembourg.
  2. Reference is to President Nixon’s announcement of his acceptance of an invitation to visit the People’s Republic of China, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1971, pp. 819–820.
  3. The full report is ibid., pp. 219–345; the quote is on p. 276.
  4. For text, see ibid., pp. 819–820.