102. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Conversation with Ambassador Bogdan, Map Room, January 11, 1971

Ambassador Bogdan told me that after the conversation with the President, Ceausescu sent his Vice Premier to Peking and Hanoi.2 In Peking he had extensive talks with Chou En-lai. Chou En-lai handed him the following message:

“The communication from the U.S. President is not new. There is only one outstanding issue between us—the U.S. occupation of Taiwan. The PRC has attempted to negotiate on this issue in good faith for 15 years. If the U.S. has a desire to settle the issue and a proposal for its solution, the PRC will be prepared to receive a U.S. special envoy in Peking. This message has been reviewed by Chairman Mao and by Lin Piao.”

Chou En-lai added the comment that since President Nixon had visited Bucharest and Belgrade, he would also be welcome in Peking.

The Vice Premier found nothing new in Hanoi.

Comment: (a) The Chinese note indirectly refers to the Yahya communication. It also validates it because it is almost the same.

(b) It is free of invective.

(c) It strongly implies that the war in Vietnam is no obstacle to U.S.-Chinese rapprochement.

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(d) It remains to be seen whether Peking will accept a proposal for a solution with a long time-fuse.

(e) If they answer our communication through Yahya, we may get a clue.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President—China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK’s Trip to China, December 1969–July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicated the President saw it. Nixon was in San Clemente, California, January 5–14. Kissinger and Bogdan met in Washington from 12:30 to 12:50 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule)
  2. See Documents 20 and 94.
  3. The President noted at the bottom of this memorandum: “I believe we may appear too eager. Let’s cool it. Wait for them to respond to our initiative.” Kissinger an. Bogdan met again on January 29. According to a memorandum of conversation drafted by Halperin, “Mr. Kissinger began by saying that we had found the communication from the Chinese very interesting and helpful; Mr. Kissinger then asked if he was correct in thinking that China will negotiate with us only if we agree in principle on Taiwan ahead of time. Ambassador Bogdan was noncommittal in responding to this. Mr. Kissinger then said that we are willing to talk about a whole range of Sino-American problems including the problem of Taiwan. We have always said that the degree of our military presence in Asia is related to the degree of tensions in that area—and we would reduce our military presence as the tensions diminish.” Kissinger added that the United States was willing to hold talks outside of Warsaw, which he described as “a very public place.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President— China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK’s Trip to China, December 1969–July 1971)