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Office of the Historian

China, 1969


1. Memorandum From Richard L. Sneider of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 518, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. I. Secret. Sent for action.


2. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 16 CHICOM. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to Brussels, Hong Kong, London, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and USUN.


3. Memorandum From President Nixon to his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 341, Subject Files, HAK/President Memoranda, 1969–1970. No classification marking. A typed note, attached but not printed, reads: “Copy sent red tag to Dick Sneider on 4 Feb 69 by Col Haig.” The memorandum was not initialed or signed.


4. National Security Study Memorandum 14

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–134, NSSM Files, NSSM 14. Secret.


5. Memorandum From Richard L. Sneider of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 518, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. I. Secret. Kissinger's handwritten comment at the top of this memorandum reads: “Where is memo?”


6. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 700, Country Files, Europe, Poland, Vol. I Warsaw Talks up to 1/31/70. Top Secret; Exdis. This memorandum and the options described in Tab A were taken from a February 11 memorandum from Sneider to Kissinger. (Ibid.) In September and November of 1968, the United States proposed renewing ambassadorial talks between the United States and the PRC that had commenced in Geneva in 1955 and moved to Warsaw in 1957. Talks had been suspended since the 134th meeting on January 8, 1968, and U.S. attempts to restart talks during the spring of 1968 had failed. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXX, Documents 311, 331, and 332.


7. National Intelligence Estimate

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box H–037, SRG Meeting, China NPG [Part 1], 5/15/69. Top Secret; Controlled Dissem. Another copy is in Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–R1012, NIE and SNIE Files. According to a note on the covering sheet, the CIA and intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense, the AEC, and the NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. All members of the USIB concurred with the estimate on February 27 except for the representative from the FBI, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside his jurisdiction. This estimate was included with the materials for the May 15 SRG meeting of the NSC. The updated version of this estimate—NIE 13–8/1–69—is printed as Document 42. For the full text of this NIE, see Tracking the Dragon, p. 578.


8. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF CHINAT. Secret; Exdis.


9. Special National Intelligence Estimate

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–037, SRG Meeting, China NPG [Part 1], 5/15/69. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the covering sheet, the CIA and intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense, and the NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. All members of the USIB concurred with the estimate on March 6 except for the representatives from the AEC and FBI, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside their jurisdiction. For the full text of this SNIE, see Tracking the Dragon, pp. 527–539. This estimate was included with the materials for the May 15 SRG meeting. According to a March 5 memorandum from Holdridge (then with INR/REA) to George C. Denney, Jr. (INR/OD), this SNIE was discussed by the USIB on February 26 and 28. Holdridge mentioned that the INR/REA staff felt that the original version had “overemphasized the failure of Peking's foreign policy in Asia and overlooked the major role assured for China by her location, population, and traditional fears of her neighbors.” He also emphasized that “the Chinese may hope that possession of a strategic [nuclear] capability will limit the possibility of a nuclear attack by the U.S. and the USSR and thus give China a freer hand to support people's war, or more remotely, engage in conventional war in Asia.” (Ibid., RG 59, INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 110, SNIE 13–69)


10. Memorandum to Members of the 303 Committee

Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, 303/40 Committee Files. Top Secret; Idealist; Byeman. Chapin sent the memorandum on March 17 to all agency representatives (Kissinger, U. Alexis Johnson, Packard, Mitchell, and Helms) of the 303 Committee. The Committee met on March 11 to discuss U–2 photographic reconnaissance of Northeast China, SR–71 flights over South China, [text not declassified]. The northeast China mission was designed to examine missile construction, while the flights over southern China were to observe fighter aircraft, as well as logistical and support facilities. [text not declassified]. While no agreement was reached on these three operations, the Committee reached a consensus that the use of drone reconnaissance over South China was acceptable. (Memorandum for the record, March 13; ibid.)


11. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 518, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. I. Confidential with Top Secret Attachment. Sent for information. Notations on the memorandum indicate the President saw it, and that it was returned from the President on May 1.


12. Summary of the CIA Response to NSSM 14

Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, NSSM 14. Secret. A May 15 short covering memorandum from [name not declassified] Executive Staff, Office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA, indicated that the summary, prepared by CIA, “is being circulated to members of the Review Group at the request of Mr. Morton Halperin.” The final version of the response to NSSM 14 is printed as Document 23. The CIA comments were based upon the April 29 draft response to NSSM 14, not printed. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–037, SRG Meeting, China NPG [Part 2], 5/15/69)


13. Minutes of the Senior Review Group Meeting

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–111, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1969. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. Lord forwarded the minutes through Halperin to Kissinger on May 19 under a covering memorandum. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it.


14. National Security Decision Memorandum 17

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–210, NSDM Files, NSDM 17. Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to Laird, Helms, and Wheeler.


15. National Security Study Memorandum 63

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–155, NSSM Files, NSSM 63. Secret. A copy was sent to Wheeler.


16. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POLCHICOMCHINAT. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Received at 1429Z. Kissinger included a summary of this telegram in the President's July 5 daily briefing memorandum. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 9, President's Daily Briefs)


17. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 519, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. II. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. Printed from an unsigned copy.


18. National Security Study Memorandum 69

Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 80 D 212, National Security Files, NSSM 69. Secret. Copies were sent to Wheeler and Smith (ACDA). Little substantive discussion took place on this NSSM until March 1971 (See Document 108).


19. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 519, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. II. Secret; Sensitive. Richardson forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a July 17 note, in which he urged that the Republic of China be given at least 24 hours notice of the changes, and that Bryce Harlow contact key Congressmen. (Ibid.) A handwritten comment by an unknown hand at the bottom of the note indicates that it was “handled orally.” On July 21 David Dean, Political Counselor at the Embassy in Taipei, informed Frederick Chien, Acting Director of North American Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the impending changes to FAC and passport regulations. (Telegram 2684 from Taipei, July 21; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, FT 1 CHICOMUS) See also footnote 5, Document 17.


21. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 519, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. III. Secret. Drafted by Holdridge and approved by Kissinger on August 7 with instructions to “hold in W[hite] H[ouse].” (Memorandum from Holdridge to Kissinger, August 7; ibid.) The meeting was held in Kissinger's office.


22. Telegram From the Embassy in the Republic of China to the Department of State

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–1972, Entry 3051B: Lot 70 D 387, Box 74, Secretary's Trip to the Far East, July–August 1969, CF 384. Secret; Priority; Exdis. From July 26 to 28, Rogers accompanied President Nixon on his trip to the Philippines and Indonesia. From July 28 through August 10, Rogers visited Japan, South Korea, the ROC, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. He was in Taiwan from August 1 to 3. An English-language record of this conversation, provided by the ROC Government to McConaughy, is attached to an August 27 memorandum from Shoesmith to Green, and is ibid., Central Files 1967–69, POLCHINATUS.


23. Response to National Security Study Memorandum 14

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–023, NSC Meeting (San Clemente), 8/14/69, Briefings: Korea; China. Secret. This is the final version of the response to NSSM 14 (Document 4). The document was largely drafted in EA. Comments on early drafts are in National Archives, RG 59, EA/ROC Files: Lot 74 D 25, Political Files, NSSM 14. An early draft was discussed in an NSC Senior Review Group meeting on May 15 and returned to Brown and the Interdepartmental Group for revisions (see Document 13). Talking points for the President and Kissinger, an outline of NSSM 14 prepared by the NSC staff, and an analysis of U.S. China policy were prepared for an August 14 NSC meeting to be held at San Clemente, California. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–023, NSC Meeting (San Clemente), 8/14/69, Briefings: Korea; China) An August 11 memorandum from Haig to Kissinger stated that the response to NSSM 14 “will be designed primarily as an informal update for members of the Security Council.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 334, Items to Discuss with the President) NSSM 14 was superseded by NSSM 106, China Policy (Document 97) and NSSM 124, Next Steps Toward the People's Republic of China (Document 117).


24. National Intelligence Estimate

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–040, SRG Meeting, Sino-Soviet Differences, 11/20/69. Secret; Controlled Dissem. This NIE supersedes NIE 11–12–66; see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXX, Document 223. According to a note on the covering sheet, the Central Intelligence Agency and intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense and the NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. All members of the USIB concurred with the estimate except for the representatives from the FBI and the AEC, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside their jurisdictions. For the full text of this NIE, see Tracking the Dragon, pp. 543–559. This estimate was included with the materials for the November 20 Senior Review Group meeting of the NSC. See Document 47.


25. President Nixon's Notes on a National Security Council Meeting

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Personal Files, Box 51, Speech File, NSC Meeting, September 1969. No classification marking. The meeting was held on August 14. Nixon's handwritten notes were transcribed by the editor for this volume. An August 9 memorandum from Kissinger to Agnew, Rogers, Laird, and the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, George A. Lincoln, indicated that Helms would give a 25-minute “assessment of present Chinese Communist situation, including development of their nuclear capability and political trends.” (Ibid., NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–023, NSC Meeting (San Clemente), 8/14/69, Briefings: Korea; China) The President's notes suggest that he was listening to Helms' briefing. Although typed minutes from the portion of the meeting devoted to South Korea are in the National Security Council files, no record of discussion of NSSM 14 or China policy was found. (Ibid.) Nor have the materials used in the Helms briefing been located in the CIA files. The President's Daily Diary indicates that the President, Kissinger, Agnew, Rogers, Laird, Mitchell, Lincoln, Wheeler, Richardson, Helms, Halperin, Haig, Lynn, Holdridge, and Green attended the meeting, which lasted from 9:39 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files) Kissinger's personal account of this meeting states that “the President startled his Cabinet colleagues by his revolutionary thesis (which I strongly shared) that the Soviet Union was the more aggressive party and that it was against our interests to let China be ‘smashed’ in a Sino-Soviet war. It was a major event in American foreign policy when a President declared that we had a strategic interest in the survival of a major Communist country, long an enemy, and with which we had no contact.” (Henry Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1979), p. 182). Laird's files contain talking points on Sino-American relations that concluded: “It is assumed that United States policy toward Communist China remains unchanged, with the exceptions of the decisions concerning mainland travel of US citizens and limited purchases of goods of mainland Chinese origins.” (Talking Paper for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA) and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, NSC Meeting of 14 August 1969; Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 75 0103, 335 NSC)


26. Memorandum From Lindsey Grant and Hal Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1320, NSC Unfiled Material, 1969, 9 of 19. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information. Grant signed for himself and Saunders. Kissinger wrote on the memorandum: “This is to be strictly WH matter. I want no discussion outside our bldg. Has Hal talked to Hilaly[?]”


27. Memorandum From William Hyland of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 710, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. IV. Secret. Sent for information. A covering note reads: “The attached memo (Tab A) represents a highly personal and apparently minority view of our choices in the event of major hostilities between Russia and China. Still, you might find it worth reading before the interagency paper is submitted next week.” Kissinger's handwritten comment reads: “Note to Hyland: 1st class paper. Thanks. HK.” Regarding the interagency paper, see Document 29.


28. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1032, Files for the President—China Material, Cookies II, Chronology of Exchange with the PRC, February 1969–April 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on August 29. The meeting was held in the Pakistani Embassy.


29. Memorandum for the Record of the Washington Special Actions Group Meeting

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–071, WSAG Meeting, 9/4/69, Sino–Soviet. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Holdridge prepared talking points for Kissinger. (Memorandum from Holdridge to Kissinger, September 3; ibid.)


30. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee

Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, 303/40 Committee Files, China. Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. A handwritten notation on the first page indicates the 303 Committee approved the memorandum at the October 16 meeting. According to the minutes of that meeting, attended by Kissinger, Mitchell, Packard, U. Alexis Johnson, and Helms: “The consensus was that this is a worthwhile program and its continuation was approved.” (Memorandum for the record by Frank Chapin; ibid., 303 Committee, 1969 Minutes) The 303 Committee became the 40 Committee after President Nixon signed NSDM 40 on February 17, 1970, thus updating NSC 5412/2.