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


  • Information Items

[Omitted here is one paragraph on fighting in Cambodia.]

Edgar Snow’s Interview Chou En-lai: Our Consulate General at Hong Kong has commented on the first part of a four-hour interview between Edgar Snow and Chou En-lai which appeared in an Italian magazine last month.2 While the interview reveals no strikingly new departures in Chinese policy, it is a notable expression of the return of “peaceful coexistence” as the general line of China’s foreign policy, [Page 256] including its relations with the U.S. and the USSR. The rationalization for this policy springs from what Snow described as “cautious revolutionary optimism,” i.e., 90 percent of the people of the world will want revolution “sooner or later” but in the meantime flexible policies which serve China’s immediate interests are in order. Only passing reference is made in this first account to Vietnam and none to Cambodia. Instead. Chou stresses the importance in Sino-U.S. relations of the Taiwan problem and he indicates that a major goal of the PRC’s current diplomatic offensive is the strengthening of its position vis-à-vis the Taiwan issue.3

[Omitted here is information on Jordan, Berlin, USSR, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Ethiopia.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 30, President’s Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Contains Codeword. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. The magazine was L’Epoca. Much of this paragraph is taken verbatim from Air- gram A–369 from Hong Kong, December 31, 1970. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 CHICOM) A version of this interview is also in Edgar Snow, “A Conversation with Mao Tse-tung,” Life, April 30, 1971, pp. 46–48.
  3. This analysis did not differ significantly from a January 4, 1971, INR Intelligence Note, which includes an annex of PRC statements on the Taiwan issue during the 1955–1970 period. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS)