139. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Prime Minister Chou En-lai, People’s Republic of China
  • Yeh Chien-ying, Vice Chairman, Military Affairs Commission, Chinese Communist Party, PRC
  • Huang Hua, PRC Ambassador to Canada
  • Chang Wen-chin, Director, Western Europe and Americas Department, PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • One Other Chinese Official, and Deputy Chief of Protocol
  • Tang Wen-sheng and Chi Chao-chu, Chinese Interpreters
  • Chinese Notetakers
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • John Holdridge, Senior Staff Member, NSC
  • Winston Lord, Senior Staff Member, NSC
  • Smyser, Senior Staff Member, NSC

PM Chou: There is special news this afternoon—you are lost.

(Premier Chou offers cigarettes to the American party.) No one wants one? I have found a party that doesn’t smoke.

First of all, I would like to welcome you, especially as Dr. Kissinger is the special representative of the President.

Dr. Kissinger: It is a great pleasure to be here. I have looked forward a long time to this opportunity.

PM Chou: As Chairman Mao Tse-tung has already spoken about this to Edgar Snow, there is no need to elaborate. I believe you have first-hand knowledge of this article by now.2

Dr. Kissinger: I read it with great attention.

PM Chou: You do not know Mr. Edgar Snow?

Dr. Kissinger: I have never met him.

PM Chou: Thirty-five years ago he became a friend with us. Now he is an old friend. He is considered an old man in your country now, over 60, I believe 65.

[Page 360]

Dr. Kissinger: I have read his books with great interest, and all his articles. I read the book in which he recounted his long conversation with the Premier.

PM Chou: I was the first to see him. The most important point is his conversation with Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, and we read those that had been published.

PM Chou: It seems to me that in 1936 when he left China and went back to the U.S to write an article, his first article was published in LIFE. This time it is also in LIFE.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, it is in LIFE magazine. The article of him with Mao Tse-tung has been widely read, particularly by President Nixon, who read it with the greatest attention.

PM Chou: Of course not all his works were so accurate, because they were written in the manner of conversation. Certain points were not so accurate, and in individual places were wrong. It is basically correct.

Dr. Kissinger: President Nixon has asked me to convey his sincere greetings both to you and Chairman Mao. He looks forward warmly to visiting Peking personally in the not too distant future.

PM Chou: We thank His Excellency, the President, for his kind attention, and I believe that this desire will be able to be fulfilled eventually through exchanges of our opinions.

Dr. Kissinger: We expect that.

PM Chou: According to our custom, we first invite our guest to speak. Besides, you already have prepared a thick book.3 Of course, later on we will give our opinions also.

Dr. Kissinger: It is most unusual for me to have written notes. However, because of the importance of this occasion and because I wanted President Nixon to see what I would say, I have taken the liberty to write out certain of my comments.

PM Chou: Please.

Dr. Kissinger: As I have already pointed out to you, President Nixon has asked me to convey to you and Chairman Mao his high personal regards. He looks forward to meeting with the leaders of the People’s Republic of China personally to exchange ideas.

We thank his Excellency, the President, for his regards. As Chairman Mao has already said, we welcome President Nixon to our country for a visit, no matter whether he comes as President or as a private person. Of course, he now is still in his capacity as President.

[Page 361]

Dr. Kissinger: He expects to remain there for some time.

PM Chou: That’s good.

Dr. Kissinger: The President asked that this mission be secret until after we meet, so we can meet unencumbered by bureaucracy, free of the past, and with the greatest possible latitude.

PM Chou: You don’t like bureaucracy either.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, and it’s mutual; the bureaucracy doesn’t like me.

PM Chou: Do you know that some people call me the dictator of bureaucracy and warlords?

Dr. Kissinger: But that has been strongly overcome. For us this meeting.

PM Chou: Perhaps you did not understand. Do you know who said that?

Dr. Kissinger: No.

PM Chou: You have not read the articles and documents printed by our northern neighbor?

Dr. Kissinger: They tell us so many things about you that we can’t follow them all.

PM Chou: This is a very ourstanding article, a recent title.

Dr. Kissinger: For us this is an historic occasion. Because this is the first time that American and Chinese leaders are talking to each other on a basis where each country recognizes each other as equals. In our earlier contacts we were a new and developing country in contrast to Chinese cultural superiority. For the past century you were victims of foreign oppression. Only today, after many difficulties and separate roads, have we come together again on a basis of equality and mutual respect. So we are both turning a new page in our histories.

We are here today, brought together by global trends. Reality has brought us together, and we believe that reality will shape our future.

Because this is the beginning of our discussions, let me generally state our general approach towards the People’s Republic of China.

We consider that the People’s Republic of China, because of its achievements, tradition, ideology, and strength, must participate on the basis of equality in all matters affecting the peace of Asia and the peace of the world. We consider it in our interest, and above all in the interest of the world, that you play your appropriate role in shaping international arrangements.

We realize, of course, that there are deep ideological differences between us. You are dedicated to the belief that your concepts will prevail. We have our own convictions about the future. The essential question for our relations is whether both countries are willing to let history judge who is correct, while in the interval we cooperate on matters [Page 362] of mutual concern on a basis of mutual respect and equality and for the benefit of all mankind.

Mr. Premier, I see two principal purposes for our meetings today and tomorrow. First, as Chairman Mao and you have suggested, we should work out satisfactory understandings concerning a visit to China by President Nixon, a visit which he intends to make and to which he looks forward. I am authorized to settle all matters concerning such a visit, including its nature, time, and other details; the manner in which the meeting should be prepared; the subjects to be discussed; the possible outcome; and as well, a possible communiqué when I have returned to the U.S.

Secondly, to make President Nixon’s visit the success we want it to be, we should lay the groundwork by discussing issues between us, our mutual concerns in Asia, and the peace of the world.

Among the topics I believe we should cover are the following:

  • —Taiwan, which, from the exchange of notes between us, we know to be your principal concern in relations between us.4 Mr. Premier, you have defined this as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits. I am prepared to hear your views and to discuss the matter practically.
  • —Indochina, which is currently the major area of conflict and tension in Asia.
  • —Relations with other major countries, for example, the Soviet Union and Japan, which of course will certainly affect the future peace of the world.
  • —The situation in the South Asian subcontinent, which involves many outside countries.
  • —Establishment between us of a secure channel of communications which is not dependent on the goodwill or the upheavals in third countries, and which is entirely within the control of our two leaders.
  • —Issues of arms control, such as the recent proposal for a five power conference, on which we have delayed our reply until we could have the benefit of the views of the Premier.
  • —Any other topics which the Chinese side would care to raise.

In discussing these matters, Mr. Premier, I will be absolutely candid with you, because I want to make sure that if we disagree, it will be in full knowledge of each other’s point of view, and because I hope with full candor we will come closer to an agreement.

As a close associate of President Nixon, I am authorized to explain to you fully what our interests are in major areas of the world and areas of policy, and I hope you will feel free to raise any issue with me.

[Page 363]

I need not add that any assurances made in this channel will be honored absolutely.

We will have an opportunity to discuss in detail all of these issues, but there’s one issue which I know from the statement of the Premier is very much on your mind, which I would like to take the liberty of raising now.

I know you are concerned about collusion, or what you call collusion, of other countries against you. Let me say now that we will never collude with other countries against the People’s Republic of China, either with our allies or with some of our opponents. Of course, you may believe that the objective consequences of our actions will bring about collusion, no matter what we say. But we will consciously strive to avoid this.

It is the conviction of President Nixon that a strong and developing People’s Republic of China poses no threat to any essential U.S. interest. It is no accident that our two countries have had such a long history of friendship.

To make these thoughts concrete, President Nixon has authorized me to tell you that the U.S. will not take any major steps affecting your interests without discussing them with you and taking your views into account.

I hope while I am here to arrange for a channel which will enable us to communicate directly and secretly. We are prepared to set up communications comparable to those that link us to other major countries of decision, and other means of communication which will enable us to explain our views to each other better.

I am authorized to discuss with you negotiations in which we are engaged with some of your neighbors which you believe may affect your interests.

Both our countries face a difficult task as we move to formalize these contacts. I know that we must both be true to our basic principles, because neither of us can play a responsible world role or build a lasting peace if we abandon our principles.

My colleagues and I look forward to our conversations here with warm anticipation and a keen awareness of the responsibilities we share.

Many visitors have come to this beautiful, and to us, mysterious, land.

PM Chou: You will find it not mysterious. When you have become familiar with it, it will not be as mysterious as before.

Dr. Kissinger: All have departed with new perspectives, and a few have left some modest contributions behind.

[Page 364]

We have come to the People’s Republic of China with an open mind and an open heart. We hope that when we leave we may have contributed to sowing seeds from which will grow peace between our countries, peace in this region, and peace in this world.

Thank you.

PM Chou: I thank you for the statement you have made at the beginning and for your general explanations of U.S. policy. Before you came, we had already recived a message from the NSC Chief of Gen. Yahya Khan, who told us you were coming here with a frank and sincere attitude and wanted to have serious discussions with us. We welcome this attitude. We come with the same attitude, and we are ready to explain our opinions frankly. It is very clear that the world outlook and stands of our two sides are different. As you just said, each side has its own convictions, and we both believe our ideas will become reality. But this shouldn’t hinder our two countries on the two sides of the Pacific Ocean seeking what you mentioned—a channel for coexistence, equality, and friendship.

The first question is that of equality, or in other words, the principle of reciprocity. All things must be done in a reciprocal manner. I agree with what you just said—the Chinese and American peoples are friendly toward each other. This was true in the past and will be true in the future. Recently, we invited the U.S. table tennis delegation to China—perhaps you met some of them—and they can bear witness that the Chinese people welcomed this visit of the American people. We have also received many repeated invitations from the U.S. Table Tennis Association to send a delegation to the U.S. We feel this shows that the U.S. people want to welcome the Chinese people.

Dr. Kissinger: We have talked to Mr. Steenhoven.5

PM Chou: He recently sent us a cable.

But the question of friendship between the Chinese and American people began to be discussed very early after New China appeared. In 1955, at the Bandung Conference, I answered questions put to me by some American correspondents on relations with the U.S. But later, due to various factors, it was not possible to continue the exchanges which began from this time. Perhaps Your Excellency knows the reason why. Later on, beginning from August 1, 1955, representatives of our two governments sat down for negotiations.

[Page 365]

Our meetings have gone on for almost 16 years now. We have met 136 times, but there’s still no result.6 Just as you have now mentioned, it’s not so easy to bring about results through official negotiations. This is not solely because the negotiations are official, because these today are official; it is whether there is an intention to solve problems. This is the crux.

You just now mentioned the objectives of your present mission. Your first objective is also linked to your second objective, because your second objective is to engage in a preparatory exchange of views in order to bring our basic stands closer together and make them favorable for resolution.

Just now you mentioned seven issues. Of course, we are not limited to seven because we can each put forward what we like. That was your seventh point. You said that you brought with you the desire of your President to make it possible for our views to a certain extent to come closer, and so be beneficial to a settlement. This is a different situation than that in which the Ambassadorial talks began first at Geneva and later in Warsaw. At that time the U.S. Ambassador always said he would like first to settle the small questions one at a time so that we could gradually come closer. We consistently said that only the settlement of fundamental questions first could lead to the settlement of other questions. Therefore, our stands were always different.

However, since President Nixon came into office he has expressed a willingness to settle fundamental questions with us. From the very beginning, he took the attitude that he was willing to come to Peking to meet us, either to send his special envoy or to come himself.

Of course, after he expressed this opinion there was a cessation of contacts for a period of time. As you know, one reason was last year’s Cambodian incident, and this year there was the Route 9 battle. This could not but affect our contacts.

Dr. Kissinger: We agree. That is why I wanted the opportunity to express our views concerning peace in Indochina, so that these differences can be settled, both in Indochina and in our relationship.

PM: Chou: That’s your second item, that’s true. I think that as we are beginning to exchange ideas today, we can put forward all kinds of questions. One item can be expanded to link up with other items in a wider field and we can express clearly the stands and views of each side.

The first question is Taiwan. Dr. Kissinger has put forward views very frankly and we will express our own ideas.

[Page 366]

Dr. Kissinger: I have quoted from a communication from Prime Minister Chou which may account for my uncharacteristic clarity.

PM Chou: You mentioned that the meeting today is an historic occasion. Of course a still greater historic occasion would be if President Nixon comes to China and meets Chairman Mao Tse-tung. That would be an historic occasion, if we could solve problems. Of course, we can begin today to create the atmosphere, because as you mentioned, our two separate roads meet each other. On the other hand, we would like to settle on the basis of equality.

Therefore, the question of Taiwan becomes one regarding which we cannot but blame your government. Of course, you are not responsible for this, and you may say that President Nixon wasn’t responsible for it either.

As for the U.S. Government, however, I must say a few words. I will not mention the old meetings in China in which U.S. representatives participated, because this is too long ago. Dean Acheson’s White Paper7 shows what happened more clearly than anything else, and shows that it was the Chinese people themselves who won their own liberation, who liberated our motherland, and drove away the reactionary rule of the Chiang Kai-shek clique. At that time, the U.S. Government considered this an internal affair of China. This was during the period of 1949 to the beginning of 1950. By then, Taiwan was already restored to the motherland, and China was that motherland. The U.S. stated then that it had no territorial ambitions regarding Taiwan or any other Chinese territories. And, therefore, the U.S. declared that it wouldn’t interfere in China’s internal affairs and would leave the Chinese people to settle internal questions.

This attitude was proclaimed in all your documents of that time, although some documents adopted an attitude hostile to us—you wouldn’t agree that the Chinese Communist Party was leading a new China, but you couldn’t do anything about it. Therefore, you made a statement that you would not interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Within a short period afterwards, the Korean war broke out and you surrounded Taiwan and declared the status of Taiwan was still unsettled. Even up to the present day the spokesman of your State Department still says that this is your position.8 That is the crux.

Dr. Kissinger: He hasn’t repeated it! (Considerable laughter from the Chinese side.)

[Page 367]

PM Chou: If this crucial question is not solved, then the whole question will be difficult to resolve. We are two countries on two sides of the Pacific Ocean, yours with a history of 200 years, and ours with a history of only 22 years, dating from the founding of New China. Therefore, we are younger than you. As for our ancient culture, every country has it -- the Indians in the U.S. and Mexico, the Inca Empire in South America, which was even more ancient than China. It’s a pity that their scriptures were not preserved, but were lost. With respect to China’s long history, there’s one good point, the written language, which contains a heritage of 4,000 years based on historical relics. This is beneficial to the unification and development of our nation. But there’s also a weak point. Our symbolic language of ideograms restricted our development. You might think that these are all idle words, but they are not. They show that we know our objective world and we can coolly appraise it.

History also proves that Taiwan has belonged to China for more than 1000 years—a longer period than Long Island has been a part of the U.S. In the middle (sic) of this period Taiwan was temporarily grabbed away by Japan when China was defeated in the war. It was returned to China in the Cairo and Tehran Declarations, and by the Japanese surrender. Both Acheson’s White Paper and Truman’s statement serve as evidence to that.

Therefore, in recognizing China the U.S. must do so unreservedly. It must recognize the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China and not make any exceptions. Just as we recognize the U.S. as the sole legitimate government without considering Hawaii, the last state, an exception to your sovereignty, or still less, Long Island. Taiwan is a Chinese province, is already restored to China, and is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

This leads us to the second question: The U.S. must withdraw all its armed forces and dismantle all its military installations on Taiwan and in the Taiwan Straits within a limited period. This is the natural logic of the matter.

Of course, the treaty between the United States and Chiang Kai-shek which was signed by Dulles in 1954 is considered to be illegal by the PRC and Chinese people, and we do not recognize it. So speaking of the Taiwan question, this is crucial. I would like to know your opinion so we can exchange views.

Dr. Kissinger: I wanted to ask the Prime Minister how he proposes to proceed. We can do it in one of two ways—each stating the problems which concern us, reserving its answers until later, or proceeding with the issues one at a time. Which do you prefer?

PM Chou: What is your opinion?

[Page 368]

Dr. Kissinger: I have no strong opinion. One possible way is that since Prime Minister Chou has stated his views on Taiwan, we could state our views on Indochina. Then I could tell him of my reaction to his statement on Taiwan, and he could tell me of his reaction to mine on Indochina. Or we could take each issue one at a time.

PM Chou: Either way, it’s your decision. You can say whatever you like. You could speak first on the Taiwan question or Indochina, or together, because you may think they are linked.

Dr. Kissinger: I believe they are linked to some extent. But why don’t I give a brief reply to your comments on Taiwan and then speak about Indochina, after which we can have an extended discussion of both.

PM Chou: That’s agreeable.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me then make a few comments first about Taiwan, and then perhaps say a few things about Indochina.

I agree with a great deal of the historical analysis presented by Prime Minister Chou. There’s no question that if the Korean war hadn’t occurred, a war which we did not seek and you did not seek, Taiwan would probably be today a part of the PRC. For reasons which are now worthless to recapitulate, a previous Administration linked the future of Korea to the future of Taiwan, partly because of U.S. domestic opinion at the time. Whatever the reason, a certain history has now developed which involves some principles of foreign policy for us.

I have noticed that the Prime Minister in his remarks here went beyond some of the communications we have previously exchanged. Both in these communications and in our Warsaw meetings he has spoken of withdrawing military presence and installations from the area of Taiwan and the area of the Taiwan Strait. Today he has spoken also of certain official political declarations.

PM Chou: This was because in order to exchange opinions one must give the entire opinion on the matter

Dr. Kissinger: Of course. I am not saying this critically, but simply to divide the matter into two parts—first, the military situation in Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits, and second, the question of political evolution between Taiwan and the PRC.

PM Chou: This differs from our opinion. We hold that our relations with Taiwan is a question of China’s internal affairs. We have consistantly repeated this in the Warsaw talks and in all our open declarations we have also maintained this same sonsistent stand. What I was speaking of just now, that if relations are to be established between our two countries, China and the United States, the United States must recognize that the PRC is the sole legitimate government in China and [Page 369] that Taiwan Province is an inalienable part of Chinese territory which must be restored to the motherland. Under these circumstances, the U.S.-Chiang Kai-shek Treaty would not exist.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand what you have said with respect to the problem of diplomatic relations. Let me talk about Taiwan in our relations in the immediate present in the absence of diplomatic relations.

First, let me say some things about our military presence and then let me say something, in the frankness that these talks permit, about how we see future relations between Taiwan and the PRC as we see objective reality. I am not talking about the formalities of diplomatic relations for the time being.

First, about our military presence, which was the first point the Prime Minister raised with us in his communications and also in the two Warsaw talks that took place in our Administration. We have demonstrated our general intentions with a number of symbolic steps. For example, we have ended the Taiwan Strait Patrol, removed a squadron of air tankers from Taiwan, and reduced the size of our military advisory group by 20 percent. I know this is not your principal point, and I only mention it to show the general direction of our intentions.

Our military presence in Taiwan at this moment is composed of two elements, the two-thirds of it which is related to activities in other parts of Asia, and the one-third of it which is related to the defense of Taiwan. We are prepared to remove that part related to activities other than to the defense of Taiwan, that’s two-thirds of our force (I have the detailed numbers here in case you would like to hear them) within a specified brief period of time after the ending of the war in Indochina. We are prepared to begin reducing our other forces on Taiwan as our relations improve, so that the military questions need not be a principal obstacle between us. I may say, incidentally, that these are personal decisions of President Nixon which have not yet been discussed with our bureaucracy or with Congress, and so should be treated with great confidence.

As for the political future of Taiwan, we are not advocating a “two Chinas” solution or a “one China, one Taiwan” solution. As a student of history, one’s prediction would have to be that the political evolution is likely to be in the direction which Prime Minister Chou En-lai indicated to me. But if we want to put the relations between our two countries on a genuine basis of understanding, we must recognize each other’s necessities.

PM Chou: What necessities?

Dr. Kissinger: We should not be forced into formal declarations in a brief period of time which by themselves have no practical effect. However, we will not stand in the way of basic evolution, once you [Page 370] and we have come to a basic understanding. That is all I want to say now in a general way, but I would be glad to answer questions.

PM Chou: It’s quite clear that in the relations between our two countries that Taiwan is the crucial issue. We have said this more than once in the Ambassadorial talks in Warsaw. And we have said that the matter is not only the withdrawal of U.S. forces, but also the basic relations between our two countries. Taiwan must be regarded as a part of China. The solution of the question must follow in order to find a way out. In our messages, we’ve also reiterated this, that Taiwan is a province of China.

With respect to what you have just now said, that is, your opinions on historical evolution and that you do not advocate a “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” solution, which you just now clearly expressed, this shows that the prospect for a solution and the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries is hopeful.

Dr. Kissinger: This depends, Mr. Prime Minister, on the situation of reality and in what time frame. The principles I mentioned are principles of our Administration and you can count on them. The timing of political steps will have to be discussed between us. The easier task will be the military steps than the other steps which will require a little more time.

PM Chou: There are two questions I would like to clarify. I see the necessity for a period of time, but the time that is left for President Nixon is limited. And as a close associate of him, you must be quite clear about this point.

Dr. Kissinger: What is the Prime Minister’s estimate of the time left to President Nixon?

PM Chou: I see two stages. The first is one and a half years, and the second, if he is re-elected, five and a half years. This would take us to the 200th anniversary of your country.

Dr. Kissinger: Which time period is the Prime Minister talking about, five and a half years or one and a half years?

PM Chou: When your President comes to discuss matters with Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the conclusion could be drawn that when he comes he will answer that question. Because neither the U.S. nor the Chinese people would oppose the establishment of diplomatic relations on the basis of equality and reciprocity despite an estrangement of 22 years. But now a time to solve the question has come. Neither of the two questions are of the President’s making, but if this issue is solved, it will be one of the factors relating to his re-election. Of course, there are many factors, and precisely because of this we welcome President Nixon and you to come.

Dr. Kissinger: Our policy with respect to the People’s Republic of China has nothing to do with the President’s re-election, but is related to [Page 371] his lifetime conviction that there cannot be peace without the participation of the PRC. These decisions we make on the basis of the permanent interests of the U.S. and not the personal interest of President Nixon.

PM Chou: Of course, the President’s policy should be established on the basis of equality, in which each treats the other as an equal, and just as you mentioned, we should promote matters in that direction.

Dr. Kissinger: I would like to ask the Prime Minister a question, before making an observation. Is the Prime Minister linking a meeting between the President and Chairman Mao Tse-tung to the prior establishment of diplomatic relations, or can the two be separated?

PM Chou: This is not absolute. Of course it should be discussed. If time is needed, it may not necessarily be solved then. However, the general directionshould be established

Dr. Kissinger: I agree.

PM Chou: This should make their discussions easier. If you say that you need some time, we can understand.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me give the Prime Minister my personal estimate of what is possible. We can settle the major part of the military question within this term of the President if the war in Southeast Asia is ended. We can certainly settle the political question within the earlier part of the President’s second term. Certainly we can begin evolution in that direction before.

PM Chou: Can’t the matter of a military withdrawal from Indochina be settled at the most by next year? You just came from Saigon.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you mean from Vietnam or from Taiwan?

PM Chou: I was speaking of Indochina now. You just now mentioned that a settlement of the political part should be later.

I must clarify one point on another matter. What is the attitude of your government toward the so-called Taiwan Independence Movement?

Dr. Kissinger: The Taiwanese? We would not support this.

PM Chou: Was it supported by a part of the people of the U.S. Government, that is, by CIA or the Pentagon?

Dr. Kissinger: There is an exaggerated opinion in the minds of people in many parts of the world about the abilities of CIA. The only two countries where there have been revolutions in Asia in the last ten years were ones where we had no CIA—Indonesia and Cambodia. For your part, you might call these revolutions “counter-revolutions.” There was no CIA, unbelievable as that may sound to you.

PM Chou: This was possibly so in in Indochina, which I know is one of the places the President is most interested in, but I don’t believe it can be said about Cambodia. We can talk about this later.

[Page 372]

Dr. Kissinger: Perhaps we can talk socially about it at dinner. I believe it might be to some advantage to us to maintain CIA’s bad reputation (laughter from Chinese).

PM Chou: I attach great importance to what you have just now said: the U.S. government and the President do not support, and will not support, the so-called Independence Movement of Taiwan.

Dr. Kissinger: May I call you “Prime Minister,” or is it offensive?

PM Chou: As you like.

Dr. Kissinger: This term is more natural in English.

Mr. Prime Minister, bureaucracies are large, and sometimes not perfectly manageable.

PM Chou: Don’t you know that Chiang Kai-shek is complaining greatly that it was CIA which allowed Peng Meng-min to escape from Taiwan?9

Dr. Kissinger: You may know that Peng Meng-min was a student of mine fifteen years ago, but I don’t want you to think that I had any relationship to this matter (laughter from the Chinese).

Let me be serious. First, to the best of my knowledge, CIA had nothing to do with Professor Peng Meng-min’s coming to the USA. Second, if the President and Chairman Mao come to an understanding, then it’s my job to enforce it in the bureaucracy, and I will assure you that it will be enforced. And there will be no support from the U.S.

I must be honest with the Prime Minister; there’s no sense deluding ourselves. There’s no possibility in the next one and a half years for us to recognize the PRC as the sole government of China in a formal way. It is possible to prevent new claims from being established, and that we will do. For example, the Taiwan Independence Movement, forces that disrupt the evolution which the Prime Minister and I have talked about and which could be confirmed between Chairman Mao Tse-tung and President Nixon.

PM Chou: You want to talk about Indochina.

Dr. Kissinger: It’s the only other point on which I have some notes.

I told your associates on the plane that whenever I talk from notes I talk for fifty minutes. It’s a sign of my enormous respect that I don’t do so today.

PM Chou: (laughs) You may act according to your own procedure and take longer. We have time

Dr. Kissinger: I wanted to take the liberty of discussing Indochina with you. We know your principles and your friendships. We believe [Page 373] that the time to make peace has come, for the sake of the people of Indochina, for the sake of peace in Asia, and for the sake of peace in the world.

I can assure you that we want to end the war in Vietnam through negotiations, and that we are prepared to set a date for the withdrawal of all our forces from Vietnam and Indochina as you suggested before.

But we want a settlement that is consistent with our honor and our self-respect, and if we cannot get this, then the war will continue, with the consequences which you yourself have described, and which may again, despite our interests, interrupt the improvement in our relations.

The actions in Cambodia and Laos and other actions that would happen if the war continues will never be directed against the People’s Republic of China, but they will have unfortunate consequences for our relations which we would very much like to avoid.

One of the difficulties, in our judgment, which I want to mention frankly, is that we look at the problem from the perspective of world peace, but the North Vietnamese and the NLF have only one foreign policy problem, and that is Indochina.

I know Hanoi is very suspicious, and they are afraid to lose at the conference table what they have fought for on the battlefield. And sometimes I am frank to say that I have the impression that they are more afraid of being deceived than of being defeated. They think that they were deceived in 1954. But I want to say that we are realists. We know that after a peace is made we will be 10,000 miles away, and they will still be there.

So it is in our interest to make a peace that they will want to keep. We do not want the war to start again.

Let me tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, where I believe we stand in our negotiations.

As a specialist in secret trips, I took a secret trip to Paris on May 31 and made a proposal to the North Vietnamese with which you may be familiar.

PM Chou: I am not familiar with it.

Dr. Kissinger: I offered the following on behalf of President Nixon:—we would set a date for a withdrawal from Vietnam.

PM Chou: A date for complete withdrawal?

Dr. Kissinger: Right.

  • —Secondly, as part of the settlement, there should be a ceasefire in all of Indochina.
  • —Third, that there should be a release of all prisoners.
  • —Fourth, that there should be respect for the Geneva Accords.
[Page 374]

There were some other provisions for international supervision and no infiltration, but I consider those subsidiary.

On June 26, at another secret meeting, Le Duc Tho replied with a nine point proposal which is different from the seven point proposal of Mme. Binh in some respects, but not in great detail.10

There are some positive, but two negative aspects to this Vietnamese reply.

There are some detailed military proposals which are unacceptable in their present form, but which I think we can negotiate and with which I shall not bother the Prime Minister unless he wants to discuss them.

PM Chou: If you like, you may speak of it.

Dr. Kissinger: Well, they give a shorter deadline than we. They want December 31, 1971, which is too short. But, we believe that within the next year what you mentioned can be settled; this is possible and I believe that we can find a compromise there. Within the next twelve months. The Prime Minister asked whether before the election this could be settled, and this is my answer.

Then there are demands, such as that we must pay reparations, which we cannot accept in that form as consistent with our honor. We are willing to give aid voluntarily once peace is made, but we cannot as a matter of honor pay reparations as a condition of peace.

But these are issues which we believe we can probably settle with North Vietnam, although I do not believe that they have survived 2000 years by being easy to deal with.

PM Chou: It is a heroic country.

Dr. Kissinger: They are heroic people, great people.

PM Chou: They are a great and heroic and admirable people. Two thousand years ago China commited aggression against them, and China was defeated. It was defeated by two ladies, two women generals.

And when I went to Vietnam as a representative of New China on a visit to North Vietnam, I went personally to the grave of these two women generals and left wreaths of flowers on the graves to pay my respects for these two heroines who had defeated our ancestors who were exploiters.

[Page 375]

In France, Joan of Arc was also worthy of respect.

Dr. Kissinger: Women in politics can be ferocious. (Chinese laughter)

Even though they are now our enemies, we consider them an heroic and a great people whose independence we want to preserve.

There are two obstacles now to a rapid settlement, and not the ones I have mentioned. The two are the following:

  • —One, North Vietnam in effect demands that we overthrow the present government in Saigon as a condition of making peace.
  • —Secondly, they refuse to agree to a ceasefire throughout Indochina while we withdraw.

With respect to the political solution, they claim that the present government is a phantom government supported only by American forces. If this is true, then the removal of our forces should bring about the conditions which they are speaking of and which they desire.

Moreover, they are unrealistic. The longer the war goes on, the longer we will strengthen the Saigon Government; and the more we withdraw our forces, the less we can meet demands they make of us. They threaten us with the continuation of the war which will make it impossible to fulfill their demands even if we wanted to, and we don’t want to.

As for the ceasefire, the reason we believe it is essential for all of Indochina is that if they attack our friends while we are withdrawing, we will be drawn into war again. And then the conflict will start again with incalculable consequences. They propose to make a ceasefire only with us and not with others. That is dishonorable, and we cannot do this.

I would like to tell the Prime Minister, on behalf of President Nixon, as solemnly as I can, that first of all, we are prepared to withdraw completely from Indochina and to give a fixed date, if there is a ceasefire and release of our prisoners. Secondly, we will permit the political solution of South Vietnam to evolve and to leave it to the Vietnamese alone.

We recognize that a solution must reflect the will of the South Vietnamese people and allow them to determine their future without interference. We will not re-enter Vietnam and will abide by the political process.

But what we need is what I told the Prime Minister with relation to Taiwan. The military settlement must be separated in time from the political issues. It is that which is holding up a solution.

On July 12, after I leave here, I shall see Mr. Le Duc Tho in Paris, and I shall make another proposal to him along the lines I have outlined to you.

[Page 376]

If Hanoi is willing to accept a fixed date for our complete withdrawal, a ceasefire, a release of prisoners, and a guaranteed international status for South Vietnam, which can be guaranteed by any group of countries, including yourself, then we have a very good chance for a rapid peace.

If not, the war will continue, and it will be a misfortune for everybody.

We seek no military bases or military allies in Indochina, and we will pursue no policy in that area which could concern the People’s Republic of China. We are willing to guarantee this either alone or together with you, whichever you prefer.

The President has asked me to tell you that we believe the time for peace has come. It is not up to us to tell you what, if anything, you can do. We believe that the end of the war in Indochina will accelerate the improvement in our relations. In any event, what we want is the people of Indochina to determine their own future without military conflict.

Let me say, Mr. Prime Minister, that regardless of what you do, we are prepared to withdraw that part of our forces on Taiwan which is related to this conflict within a specified time after the conflict is over.

I am not mentioning this as a condition, but for your information.

PM Chou: I thank you for telling us rather systematically about your position on the Indochina question. There is a common point between us in that both of us have respect for the greatness and the courage of the Vietnamese people.

I believe that, in my opinion, for the Vietnamese people to feel that they were deceived during the first Geneva Conference is not groundless, because on this point all signatories at that time, including the U.S., have the responsibility for this.

Dr. Kissinger: That is understood.

PM Chou: Since we have such a common understanding, it is easier to discuss. The secret documents, that were exposed in the New York Times,11 show up the truth. A document which is no less significant is the White Paper produced by Dean Acheson.12 Of course we knew of these events.

That a country should not sign an international agreement but would abide by it was a precedent which was set by Dulles, and never before seen in history.

[Page 377]

I think now that if at that time we had been more cool-headed, we could perhaps have forced him to sign the agreement, saying we would not sign unless the U.S. did.

Dr. Kissinger: It is hard to believe that the Prime Minister could be anything but cool-headed.

PM Chou: But on this I did not think enough. It was possible for us to be more cool headed

Chairman Mao has spoken of this many times with our Vietnamese friends. Our Vietnamese friends do not blame us for this. But we could have done more at that time.

The French were ready to withdraw and did not want to get involved in military adventures. Also at that time the British Government didn’t want to be embroiled in adventures. President Truman had already had a role in the war in Indochina.

Dr. Kissinger: I believe it was Eisenhower.

PM Chou: But it began with Truman

Dr. Kissinger: Right.

PM Chou: So did John Foster Dukkes, indirectly, as advisor to the State Department -- later he became Secretary of State.

So it was quite clear that the U.S. authorities at that time were preparing to step in the shoes of France.

Looking back from now, we can see that was the worst precedent set in international history.

It is not necessary to say any more on that, since you have now made public many portions of secret documents.

Dr. Kissinger: I hate to admit this, but they were made public by another student of mine.

PM Chou: I believe that and also thought that

Dr. Kissinger: If I can make a comment about the difference between 1954 and 1971.

PM Chou: I agree there are differences.

Dr. Kissinger: There is a formal similarity, but an objective difference.

In 1954, Secretary Dulles believed that it was America’s mission to fight communism all around the world and for the U.S. to be the principal force, to engage itself in every struggle at every point of the world at any point of time.

President Nixon operates on a different philosophy.

We do not deal with communism in the abstract, but with specific communist states on the basis of their specific actions toward us, and not as an abstract crusade.

We believe that if people want to defend themselves, they must do it on the basis of their own efforts and not on the basis of the efforts of a country 10,000 miles away.

[Page 378]

So when we offer to withdraw from Vietnam, it is not in order to devise some trick to re-enter in some other manner but rather that we want to base our foreign policy on the realities of the present and not on the dreams of the past.

I can assure the Prime Minister that any agreement that he makes with us will be kept in the letter and in the spirit.

PM Chou: In this matter I trust, I believe that Dr. Kissinger, as a special envoy of President Nixon, has sincerity.

And it is precisely because of this that I would like to explain to you the historical developments, which is why our Vietnamese friends are holding out so strongly.

Secretary Dulles’ policy at the time, which you explained, was brinkmanship. We understand that. That policy was to isolate the socialist countries and to try to win control over the middle areas in between. Perhaps you have read Chairman Mao’s works in which he mentioned this.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: Such an assessment is not wrong.

Dr. Kissinger: It is correct.

PM Chou: Therefore, the Vietnamese people feel that they were greatly taken in and deceived at that time. It was stipulated very clearly that one year after the 1954 Geneva Agreement a plebiscite would be held in Vietnam and that the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese would come together to organize election committees which would draw up the election law. No matter what election law might have been drawn up, with international supervision, it was a certainty that President Ho Chi Minh would have been elected if an election had been held. That was where the hearts of the people lay. It was impossible to go against the trend, the evolution of history.

Toward this one must take an attitude of historical realism. There was a great love of the Vietnamese people for Ho Chi Minh. He gave them a sense of national dignity, and national pride. We were very old friends. I knew Ho Chi Minh myself in 1922.

Dr. Kissinger: He joined the Chinese Communist Party.

PM Chou: In Paris

It was the activity of the U.S. which went against all that and forcibly fostered the Diem puppets in order to overthrow Bao Dai,13 the regime at that time, and disrupt the agreements. In this way the Geneva Agreements were completely violated.

[Page 379]

And the result was that the broad masses of the people of South Vietnam were unable to win liberation and were naturally disappointed. They were again submitted to oppression and massacre.

Hundreds of thousands of them in South Vietnam were thrown into jail and killed. Many went to the north under the Geneva Agreements. It was in such a way that the patriotic movement of the South Vietnamese people began. Even Ngo Dinh Diem was dissatisfied with this. You must know about that. President Kennedy did this. Before he was assassinated, he had Diem and his brother killed.

This cannot but give rise to the just resistance movement of the South Vietnamese people.

The Vietnamese people have continued their resistance movement up to this day. You know the Vietnamese have not asked the Chinese people to send troops. They have counted on themselves alone for the past ten years. This is quite a thing.

Of course, the biggest battles were from 1964–1968. The incident of the Tonkin Gulf was also in your documents. In this way the Geneva Agreements were completely violated.

When President Nixon came to office, he wanted to withdraw troops. That is true. We must say that the total number of U.S. troops now in Vietnam is quite less than the highest number under President Johnson’s Administration.

Therefore our attitude toward the Vietnam question and toward a solution of the question of Indochina is composed of the following two points:

The first point is that all foreign troops of the United States and the troops of other countries which followed the United States into Indochina should be withdrawn.

The second point is that the peoples of the three countries of Indochina should be left alone to decide their own respective fates.

Dr. Kissinger: We agree with both points.

PM Chou: You must know that for all this time we have truly supported them, but we have not sent one single soldier to fight.

As to what political system the people choose for themselves, it is for them to decide. So long as no foreign force interferes in that area, then the issue is solved.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me give you the personal impression from the other side of the Pacific, from one who has seen Le Duc Tho five times and Xuan Thuy nine times.

I agree the Vietnamese are heroic people. The same qualities which make the Vietnamese such great fighters make it hard for them to make peace. The singlemindedness with which the Vietnamese people fight may deprive them of the perspective to make peace. If some of their [Page 380] friends, and you may not want to reply to this, can help with their perspective so that they understand that some political evolution is necessary, then we could end the war rapidly. If the war continues it will not be in the interest of the people of Indochina, or peace, but only perhaps for outside peoples. It would only disturb our relationship.

The two principles you mentioned, we are prepared to accept them.

PM Chou: You have talked so many times with them. It is the first time I have met you.

Dr. Kissinger: I regret that. We must catch up very quickly.

PM Chou: At the Paris talks there have been 122 sessions, about as much as the Warsaw Ambassadorial talks which have lasted sixteen years and 136 meetings

Dr. Kissinger: My meetings are always private so they don’t count.

PM Chou: Of course that’s true

As for the two principles that I have put forward, I would like to put forward some detailed questions:

Does the U.S. agree to withdraw all its military forces from Indochina including the army, the navy, the air force, and the marines, as well as its advisers and its military installations?

Dr. Kissinger: We are prepared to withdraw all organized military units and all installations within the time period I gave to the Prime Minister, and the advisers in a somewhat longer time period, but in a definite period. But we are willing to accept an upper limit on advisers.

PM Chou: Because that was the loophole in the Geneva Agreements. The war flared up from the matter of military advisers.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me make one other point. The advisers would not be combat advisers. They would be logistic and technical advisers, like some of those you have had in North Vietnam.

PM Chou: We have had no military advisers. They were only to build roads.

Dr. Kissinger: Whatever the situation, we need the advisers for somewhat longer. Every organized military unit, the army, the navy, the marines, and the air force and all their installations would be removed. Some technical advisers, up to an agreed limit, would remain longer up to a time limit, and then they too would be withdrawn.

PM Chou: What about the forces of the other countries which followed the U.S.? (He named the countries)

Dr. Kissinger: They would withdraw also. All would be withdrawn within the same time period as the organized U.S. military units.

PM Chou: On this point, I must state that the Vietnamese people are not shortsighted. It is precisely they who have made a great contribution [Page 381] to world peace. You must know that your newspapers and your people and even some of your demobilized army men and active army men all declared and expressed your cruelties in Vietnam.

Dr. Kissinger: But you have to understand two things. This is the tragedy of the war. President Nixon has two objectives:

  • First of all, he is dedicated to ending the war, and he has already withdrawn over 300,000 troops.
  • Secondly, he is also dedicated not to sign a peace which will undermine our basic principles in the world. I frankly believe that this would not be in your interest. If we are to have a permanent relationship, it is in your interest that we are a reliable country.

We must look at it from the point of view of a great country, not in terms of a local problem. Therefore, we may need to continue if we do not get reasonable terms, such as I have mentioned, which I have presented and will propose again Monday to the North Vietnamese. The war may have to continue, no matter what the newspapers say. But to continue is not in the interests of the peace of the world. There’s no sense in continuing the war.

PM Chou: I have not finished.

If all these conditions were met, there’s still another question which you must think about.

That is that even during Ho Chi Minh’s lifetime, he said that if U.S. military forces were to withdraw, he would send them off on a red carpet, in order to show respect for the American people and not harm their national dignity. The American people, of course except for those who violated the Geneva Agreements, are not held responsible.

Wouldn’t it be a good thing if the American troops could peacefully go home?

It would be another thing if after the U.S. armed forces should be withdrawn, if the roots of evil were still left and the Vietnamese people once again were thrown into the miserable abyss and submitted to slaughter. Then the civil war would still continue.

You should answer that question. Since the U.S. has sent troops for ten years, you must answer that question.

Dr. Kissinger: I would answer on two levels.

First, we should have a ceasefire for all of Indochina in good faith. Secondly, there should then be a reasonable effort by all the forces in Indochina which exist to settle their differences among each other.

Thirdly, we are not children, and history will not stop on the day a peace agreement is signed. If local forces develop again, and are not helped from forces outside, we are not likely to again come 10,000 miles. We are not proposing a treaty to stop history.

[Page 382]

PM Chou: This question involves an even greater sphere.

For instance, in Cambodia, the Lon Nol/Sirik Matak clique staged a coup to overthrow Prince Sihanouk, Head of State in Cambodia. The broad masses of the people of Cambodia are supporting Sihanouk and wish to overthrow the Lon Nol regime. So even if foreign military forces were to withdraw, the civil war would still continue, until the people of Cambodia had driven out Lon Nol and the Government of National Union had returned to its rightful place.

How can you answer that?

Dr. Kissinger: I once said at one of the Vietnamese negotiations that a curious thing about Laos is that most of the Laotian freedom fighters whom we find speak Vietnamese.

If North Vietnam withdraws genuinely its forces from Cambodia and then the civil war is fought only by Cambodians, it’s not an international problem. However, if the North Vietnamese troops are there, then it is an international problem. If the North Vietnamese return to their country, we would consider it an internal matter of Cambodia for them to decide and not an international problem.

Secondly, if the People’s Republic of China and the U.S. in a demonstration of goodwill, together with other nations, would guarantee a settlement, it would be different from 1954. Because we would be thinking of each other not from the point of view of hostility but of cooperation.

PM Chou: The U.S. should be held mainly responsible for the enlargement of the war in Indochina, and there is no way to shirk that responsibilty.

Dr. Kissinger: That is history, and our problem now is how to end it.

PM Chou: But as you just now mentioned, you would like to make a honorable retreat. We think that the best way to do this is forthrightly withdraw and completely withdraw all forces and leave the problems of Indochina, no matter which way they would like to solve them. This is the most honorable and glorious way to withdraw from Indochina.

Dr. Kissinger: I have stated our views and don’t believe I need repeat them. I have stated the conditions which we have offered, which include complete withdrawal of U.S. forces and leaving the future to the people of Indochina, if there is a ceasefire and the release of POWs. I have explained our position, and that is the position which we will be forced to maintain.

PM Chou: Anyway, the cause of the war in Indochina and the responsibility for the beginning of the war in Indochina should be borne by the U.S. Government. Even though President Nixon’s Administration wishes to change previous policy and carry out its present policies, [Page 383] it still must take the primary responsibility and must take it upon itself to end the war. Because the Nixon Administration enlarged and expanded the war to all three Indochina countries and spread it to cover the whole area.

The war was expanded with the invasion into Cambodia last year and the battle of Route Nine in Laos this year.

Therefore, if you want the Vietnamese people to continue fighting, they are prepared to do so. They have only two prospects. The first is for the U.S. to withdraw all its military forces. The second is to continue fighting on.

Since you have admitted that withdrawal of your forces is a good thing and beneficial for world peace and peace in the Far East, you should be able to make up your mind and withdraw from Indochina. This would be an honorable withdrawal and a glorious withdrawal. And you, Excellency, as adviser to the President, should be the first to make up your mind.

At least you should want peace in the Far East. If you speak of the Far East this also involves other questions we can speak of. Because if you don’t end the war in Indochina, we must think of other areas. That means Japan, where you are rearming the Japanese militarists. You know of the present Fourth Defense Plan, which was drawn up according to the Joint Communiqué of President Nixon and Prime Minister Sato of Japan. You must know that the Sato Cabinet has been reorganized, and the plan is to be fulfilled ahead of schedule. The Japanese are bent on expanding; their economy has expanded to such an extent. Economic expansion will of necessity lead to military expansion. And once they expand, the Far East will be the first to feel the effects. They have openly decreed that Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam are linked up with their security.

What attitude toward peace is that? Isn’t that a threat? We are not afraid of that.

Therefore this is a question on which we must frankly state our views in a clear way.

Dr. Kissinger: Regarding Indochina, I, of course, know your principles. I did not expect that I would convince you on our point of view or that you would tell me if I had convinced you.

I think perhaps after studying what I have said, you can decide what is appropriate, if anything, and needs to be done.

I will say nothing more except that we are sincerely interested in ending the war. It is a danger to peace in Asia. It obscures fundamental problems, one of which you have mentioned, which is the relationship with Japan and maybe with the other great powers. If the war continues, it will menace Asian peace. If you wish, I am prepared to discuss those with you.

[Page 384]

PM Chou: Let us have a break and prepare for dinner. We can continue later on.

(At this point, 7:55 p.m., there was a break for dinner. During dinner, in addition to light conversation, there was a substantive discussion on Indochina, the highlights of which follow:

PM Chou: The U.S. should withdraw from Indochina.

Dr. Kissinger: I said that the U.S. was prepared to do so.

PM Chou: One cannot blame the Indochinese people for struggling.

Dr. Kissinger: I do not blame them, but the withdrawal of outside forces would meet the aspirations of the Indochinese people and strengthen world peace.

PM Chou: There should be a ceasefire with the U.S. because the U.S. is withdrawing. This does not solve other problems [in Indochina]14 and therefore there can be no ceasefire with those people. One must remove those who are in power, either through democratic elections or by overthrowing them.

Dr. Kissinger: We are in favor of democratic elections and support them.

PM Chou: We don’t believe in the elections in South Vietnam. It is a different situation, There are August elections and October elections and you help Thieu. Have you discussed this situation with Mr. Minh?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, on this trip.

PM Chou: They want you to get rid of the government.

Dr. Kissinger: They can’t ask us both to withdraw and get rid of the government of Vietnam. To do both of these is impossible.

PM Chou: We have not exchanged views at this point. We have always thought on this matter that we cannot interfere in these affairs. If you withdraw and they want to continue the civil war, none of us should interfere. The situation has been created over a long time.

How can you make the Cambodian people recognize Lon Nol?

Dr. Kissinger: First, concerning Cambodia, there were 50,000 North Vietnamese troops there before any Americans crossed the border. Secondly, I can assure the Prime Minister that we were as surprised by the coup in Phnom Penh as the Prime Minister was. I thought it was a Sihanouk trick to show hostility against the North Vietnamese, because he was going to Moscow and Peking to try to get them to use their influence against the North Vietnamese forces.

PM Chou: The result was the standing together of the Indochinese people.

[Page 385]

Dr. Kissinger: It was not our doing; it was unfortunate. We did not want Sihanouk overthrown. Why should we lie? What difference does it make now? We were negotiating with North Vietnam at that moment. The coup ruined negotiations that we were conducting and that we wanted to succeed.

PM Chou: The result was that Sihanouk stood together with the Indochinese people.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree with the result [the coup]. We did not produce, cause, or encourage it.

PM Chou: Was it possibly done by the French?

Dr. Kissinger: That is conceivable, but it certainly was not done by us.

PM Chou: How about the shipload of American weapons taken by Lon Nol?

Dr. Kissinger: I know the incident. It had nothing to do with the coup. It was a historical accident. For two days I believed that Sihanouk had staged the coup as his own maneuver, so that he could come to Peking to impress you with the fact that he had a lot of domestic opposition. I’m not proud of my analysis, but that’s what I thought.

PM Chou: Perhaps you were deceived by others.

Dr. Kissinger: I’m too vain to admit that.

Dr. Kissinger: A revolution could not be started by the bureaucratic apparatus. Perhaps an isolated incident like Peng Meng-min could, but it could not happen that a revolution would start without my knowing it. I knew Peng as a student. I don’t believe CIA was involved. I can assure the Prime Minister that we will not support the independence movement.

You can rely on my word.

PM Chou: We have noted your statement.

(The formal meeting then resumed after dinner at 9:40 p.m.)

PM Chou: We can go to 11:00 p.m. tonight and if we don’t finish, we can continue tomorrow. The main thing is that our guests do not get tired.

Just before dinner and at the table, Dr. Kissinger said that we should look at things from a global point of view. This was also mentioned by President Nixon on his way to San Clemente on July 6 when he said that the U.S. should not concentrate its energies on the Indochina question.15 The U.S. had been tied down for ten years and had suffered a lot.

[Page 386]

He said that world problems are very large. Indeed, former administrations had driven the U.S. into a dead alley and it couldn’t get out.

Since both the President and Your Excellency look at things in broad perspective, it should be easier for the U.S. to extricate itself. Of course, Your Excellency said that the U.S. must look after its honor, and an honorable peace. I think the greatest honor would be a glorious withdrawal. Because that is the call of the overwhelming majority of the people throughout the world, inside or outside the U.S. One can say in all frankness that if it were not for the help given the South Vietnamese puppets, the Saigon regime would have collapsed long ago.

Why must you want to leave a tail on this matter and be unwilling to give it up? As your President has said, you are tied down the last eight to ten years. Why do you not extricate yourselves? This is said by public opinion in the U.S. as well as the world.

So I cannot quite understand what you mean by wanting to leave a tail there, although you reaffirmed moments ago your complete withdrawal.

Dr. Kissinger: What do you mean by a tail?

PM Chou: One would be Thieu. In our view, you should just simply withdraw completely and never mind how. They might fight. We will not interfere. We believe they will solve their problems by themselves.

If you remain there, the fighting will continue and world opinion will not tolerate what you do.

Dr. Kissinger: I do not believe that I have explained our position clearly to the Prime Minister.

If there are no negotiations, we will eventually withdraw, unilaterally. But it will take longer, the government in Saigon will be strengthened with more equipment, and the outcome will still be decided in the long run by the Vietnamese. What we are now proposing is that we have rapid negotiations. We will set a deadline for withdrawals, and during withdrawals there should be a ceasefire, and some attempt at negotiations. If the agreement breaks down, then it is quite possible that the people in Vietnam will fight it out.

PM Chou: If you, while planning to withdraw, want the Vietnamese to undertake obligations tantamount to recognizing that Thieu will remain or be in a coalition government, then that is a conditional withdrawal on your part.

At the same time, you are maintaining the rule of Lon Nol/Sirik Matak in Cambodia. How can they accept that? They cannot accept that.

[Page 387]

If that came to be the case, with Thieu and Sirik Matak continuing to oppress and slaughter their people, then the Vietnamese and Cambodian people would rather fight on.

Particularly after the summit conference on the three Indochinese peoples held last year, they in effect became allies.16 After the war, they will have different social systems, but at the present they are as one in fighting against aggression. I do not quite understand what good it is for the U.S. to maintain such unpopular rule.

Dr. Kissinger: Our position is not to maintain any particular government in South Vietnam. We are prepared to undertake specific obligations restricting the support we can give to the government after a peace settlement and defining the relationship we can maintain with it after a peace settlement.

What we cannot do is to participate in the overthrow of people with whom we have been allied, whatever the origin of the alliance.

If the government is as unpopular as you seem to think, then the quicker our forces are withdrawn the quicker it will be overthrown. And if it is overthrown after we withdraw, we will not intervene.

PM Chou: Then the following question arises: while withdrawing, will you look upon such a government as the legitimate government, as an ally; or will you pay no attention to it?

Dr. Kissinger: I understand the question, but I don’t understand the significance of the question.

PM Chou: That means, would you still continue to support this regime, such as military aid? You would not have troops, but if there is military aid you would be giving support.

Dr. Kissinger: We are prepared to accept an agreed international status for South Vietnam, i.e., precisely stipulated limitations on the amount of military aid the kind of military aid we would maintain.

For example, we are prepared to look at point 5 of Mme. Binh’s seven point proposal. Some aspects of it we are prepared to negotiate on.

Then if after some time, the government changes, these limitations would remain in effect.

The same restrictions would apply with respect to Cambodia. It is the most practical way, we believe, of dealing with the problem, which still leaves open the evolution of the political forces.

[Page 388]

PM Chou: But you have a prerequisite with that, that is, a ceasefire throughout Indochina

Dr. Kissinger: For some period of time. We can put on a time limit, say 18 months or some period.

PM Chou: We cannot consider these specific matters. We are not Vietnamese. If you discuss the Taiwan question, then the details are more familiar with us. On Vietnam we only give them assistance.

Your information on military advisers is entirely inaccurate. We only have technical advisers to re-build roads, railroads, and bridges, and when this was done they went back. Because we must protect our engineering personnel, we had anti-aircraft batteries. As soon as we complete the construction work, we will all go. So the situation is entirely different from what we did in Korea.

Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister is fortunate not to be involved in the details of the Vietnamese negotiations. This reminds me of a complicated situation in Europe in the Nineteenth Century, a negotiation which only three people ever understood. One of these was dead, the second was in an insane asylum, and a third was himself but he had forgotten everything.17 (Laughter from the Chinese.) I recognize that your possible direct concern over the details of the negotiations is limited. I appreciate your giving me the opportunity of presenting the problem, which as you correctly point out is ours and brought about by our actions. But since it affects the peace of Asia, and our relationship, I wanted to present our point of view, and I appreciate the courtesy with which you have listened to me.

PM Chou: I would like to go into some explanation. Since you mention peace in the Far East, not only Indochina, should I limit it to Indochina or discuss other areas?

Dr. Kissinger: No, let me hear about all the problems we have discussed.

PM Chou: I will do so, including South Asia and the subcontinent.

First, East Asia. You have troops in South Korea and know about the situation there. You have troops in South Korea and then the South Koreans sent troops to South Vietnam. Therefore, in your withdrawal, all South Korean troops in Vietnam should be withdrawn too.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

[Page 389]

PM Chou: Your troops in South Korea should also withdraw. We withdrew our people voluntarily from Korea back in 1958, but you said that the Chinese troops were only just behind the Yalu and could easily come back. However, there must be a reason; they cannont just cross over. That would be interference in internal affairs. There must be a guarantee in international relations, and we have given that guarantee. There are two points expressed in this agreement, which are: all foreign troops should be withdrawn from the territories of other countries, and let the people of those countries settle their affairs in the way they see fit without outside interference.

Dr. Kissinger: I was talking about this.

PM Chou: If we were to expand these to other points, would we agree?

Dr. Kissinger: If you agree to these principles, we are willing to sign an agreement with you on the basis of the Five Points of Peaceful Coexistence.

PM Chou: We put those forward many times.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: We believe that the peoples of any country should be capable of solving their own affairs without outside interference by others. There is the fact that twenty-fove years after the Second World War, your hands are stretched out too far and people suffer from it in another country. Now if you do not withdraw, there will be a sticky situation. The President was right in Kansas City when he said that 25 years ago nobody would belive the U.S. could be in such a difficult position today. But Chairman Mao foresaw this at the time. He wrote an article shortly after World War II on the international situation. The word had spread that an attack was imminent against the USSR. Chairman Mao disagreed, and said that this was only a slogan whose purpose was to gain control over the intermediate areas of the world between the USSR and the U.S.

Chairman Mao pointed out the existence of two intermediate zones: First, the intermediate zone of what is generally known as the third world of Asia and Africa, Latin America, the developing countries, where there was a question of the struggle for control of these areas. The second intermediate zone, was the more developed countries. What was the result of this struggle for control? The result was as the President said. Now in Western Europe, a new collective strength has appeared. The problem in the President’s thinking is that West Germany is out ahead of this, although England, France and others are also included. In the Common Market there were six, and there are now ten countries. In East Asia, there is Japan.

Your President also looks upon China as a country with potential strength. Although our country is large in size and has a large [Page 390] population, yet comparatively it is not developed. So at the present time we only have a voice. But Chairman Mao on many occasions has said that we would absolutely not become a superpower. What we strive for is that all countries, big or small, be equal. It is not just a question of equality for two countries. Of course, it’s a good thing for our two countries to negotiate on the basis of equality to exchange views, and to seek to find common points as well as putting on the table our differences. In order to really gain a relaxation in the international arena over a comparatively long period of time, one must deal with one another on the basis of equality. That is not easy to achieve.

After 25 years it’s no longer possible for the U.S. to exercise a position of hegemony. Japan has become strengthened, and if you will now withdraw all foreign troops from the Far East, it’s your purpose to strengthen Japan so it can serve as your vanguard in the Far East in controlling Asian countries. When we blame you for this, you say that it isn’t the case.

Dr. Kissinger: Blame us for Japan?

PM Chou: Yes. You have had troops in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indochina, and also Thailand. As for Taiwan, we discussed that. That is the situation in the Far East. So, if we don’t discuss these matters, how would it be possible to live in equality?

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, we should discuss these matters. I had them in my opening remarks but decided it would be better first to discuss concrete matters before proceeding to philosophical problems.

PM Chou: These are not only philosophical matters, they are also concrete.

Dr. Kissinger: Partly philosophical, partly concrete. Philosophical because it’s what each thinks of its place in the world. Concrete in the conclusions we draw from our philosophy.

Let me begin with a concrete example that you mentioned, namely Korea, then make general observations on how we see the U.S. role in the world, and then proceed to Japan and other problems. Is this all right?

PM Chou: All right.

Dr. Kissinger: On the narrow issue of U.S. troops in Korea, a great deal depends on the general relationships in this area and on the wisdom with which both of us handle the transition from one phase of international relations to another phase of international relations. Sometimes even correct things must be done gradually, because if done too quickly they have a shocking impact and create an opposite effect from what one intends. For example, if the relationships between our countries develop as they might, after the Indochina war ends and the ROK troops return to Korea, I would think it quite conceivable that before the end of the next term of President Nixon, most, if not all, American troops will be withdrawn from Korea.

[Page 391]

PM Chou: Next Term, not this term?

Dr. Kissinger: We have already reduced U.S. troops in Korea by 20,000 men.

PM Chou: There are still 40,000 or more.

Dr. Kissinger: We still have about 40,000 there. This process of reductions can continue as political relations in the Far East improve, until by a gradual process after a few years there will be either very few or no U.S. troops left there.

PM Chou: I would like to make an observation on this matter. You have such heavy burdens and military expenditures, but what are the results? For instance, precisely because you have been protecting Japan, Japan spent very little on military expenditures before 1971, and is able to expand its economic strength very rapidly. The President mentioned the last ten years; I looked at the figures which you have published on your military expenditures which were $700 billion.

Dr. Kissinger: That’s right.

PM Chou: While Japan has had practically no expenditures, with the result that Japan developed rapidly. Now the President says they are very powerful. Of course, your businessmen habe a great investment in Japan. So what purpose is there for you to keep 40,000 troops in South Korea -- just honor? You already have a treaty with the Koreans, Park Chong-hee recently was re-elected, and your Vice President went to congratulate him. You have tied yourself down.

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, if there were Japanese troops in Korea, without making any judgments about your policy, I imagine that you would be more disquieted by these Japanese troops than by American troops.

PM Chou: We would oppose foreign troops in Korea, no matter whose.

Dr. Kissinger: Frankly, I don’t think that the Korean problem need detain us very long. I am certain that a political evolution is occuring in which this will take care of itself. Our military presence in South Korea is not a permanent feature of our foreign policy. A precise timetable for withdrawal is perhaps something which President Nixon can discuss, or else the matter will take care of itself in the very foreseeable future.

But if I may make a general observation about the problem of super powers and of the American involvement in world affairs. The U.S. is a complex nation for outsiders to understand because at one and the same time it’s extremely materialistic and extremely idealistic—and by Marxist standards, naively idealistic. I believe it’s quite possible, Mr. Prime Minister, that at the end of World War II Chairman Mao could have understood the tendencies in American policy better than American leaders themselves. I refer to the essay you described.

[Page 392]

PM Chou: You are right. There’s a saying that those on the sidelines often are more clear about the issues that those directly involved.

Dr. Kissinger: The U.S. attitude until the end of World War II was that it really believed it need not participate in world affairs at all. It was protected by two oceans, and if there were international troubles, they were due to the short-sighted attitudes of other countries.

At the end of World War II, we confronted an objective reality for which nothing had prepared us and which we had in part generated by our own actions during the war. Every European country had been occupied at one time or another except England, which had been economically destroyed. So there was a vacuum in Europe. And there was also a vacuum in Asia produced by the complete defeat of Japan, and for a while by the Chinese civil war.

So the U.S., against its inclinations, found itself engaged all over the world, in every part of the world, simultaneously. (Chou nods.) It had two different policy doctrines carried out by two different groups dealing with this. First a military doctrine which drew a lesson from World War II to the effect that every aggressor had the same character and that therefore Communism was like Fascism, and had to be dealt with like Fascism. The other tendency was a social welfare tendency which dealt with the world’s developing nations, accepting the principles inherited from the New Deal.

These said that if you ease economic conditions a little, without political organization and without economic doctrine, a political organization would emerge automatically. This was a mistake which I must say you never made.

At any rate, Americans spread across the world engaged in two unrelated enterprises, with the social welfare group not understanding that in a developing country before economic progress you must have political organization, and the military-oriented people like Dulles not understanding that to have a true defense there must be a consciousness of a common threat, and that an outside country cannot supply the will to resist even if it supplies the weapons.

So a curious thing occurred, Mr. Prime Minister. We didn’t look for hegemony as we spread across the world; this was an undesirable consequence and led us into many enormous difficulties. In fact, our liberal element, very often because of missionary tendencies, got itself even more involved, for example, as in the Kennedy Administration, than the more conservative element. (Chou nods.) So here we are. When President Nixon came into office, we found ourselves, as you say, extended around the world without a clear doctrine under enormously changed circumstances. Europe had recovered, and was forming itself into an economic unit.

PM Chou: How much money did you spend on the Marshall Plan?

[Page 393]

Dr. Kissinger: I think about $30 billion.

PM Chou: Was it paid back?

Dr. Kissinger: By nobody.

PM Chou: Was it the same for Lend Lease

Dr. Kissinger: Essentially.

How much did you spend on Lend Lease?

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t know.

PM Chou: It’s too far back.

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Lord was not born yet.

PM Chou: He can study.

Dr. Kissinger: My staff will catch hell over this when we get back because they’re supposed to prepare me for every question.

PM Chou: It was an accidental question.

Dr. Kissinger: I will get the figures for you, and once we have established communications, will get this to you.

PM Chou: It doesn’t really matter.

Dr. Kissinger: I will place a telephone call.

PM Chou: Ambassador Huang Hua will help me get the figures.

Dr. Kissinger: There’s no need. We will get the figures for him.

At any rate, this Administration has had a very difficult task of adjusting American foreign policy to new realities at the same time we also have to conclude a very painful and difficult war. (Chou nods.) We have established the principle that the defense of far away countries cannot be primarily an American responsibility. That responsibility must in the first instance be their own, and in the second instance must be the responsibility of other countries of the region. And the U.S. should intervene primarily when a super-power threatens to establish hegemony over countries which can never be strong enough to resist on their own. This has been our philosophy since we came into office.

PM Chou: On this point, there is a difference in our respective views.

Dr. Kissinger: Indeed, this philosophy has brought me here.

PM Chou: I understand. There is another super-power.

Dr. Kissinger: Here? To the North?

PM Chou: Yes. We don’t believe that super-power will be able to control the world. It will also be defeated as it stretches out its hand so far. You are feeling difficulties now, and they too will also feel difficulties. They were just following after you.

Dr. Kissinger: With all respect, I think they triggered us, they caused our actions. Even today their constant probing makes it very hard to have a real settlement with them.

[Page 394]

With this as our philosophy, we have, for example, reduced our military forces in parts of the world other than Vietnam by over 100,000 men, and civilians by about 50,000 since we came into office. But as we move into a new period, certain contradictions become apparent. The Prime Minister has on a few occasions mentioned Japan. Let me say two things: first, as between a strong Japan and a strong China, we believe a strong China is not expansionist because this is your tradition.

PM Chou: This is not only because of our traditions but because of our new system. In the past, we had an expansionist tradition, and commited aggression against Vietnam, Burma, and Korea. But New China will not commit such aggression, because that is decided by our system and ideals.

You overestimate us when you say we will develop our economy after five to ten years. We don’t go so fast, but we don’t want to move along at a snail’s pace. But you are correct that the new China will not practice expansionism. It’s not the same for Japan.

Dr. Kissinger: A strong Japan has potentially some of the tendencies which the Prime Minister mentioned. A strong Japan has the economic and social infrastructure which permits it to create a strong military machine and use this for expansionist purposes if it so desires. The American forces on Japan are in this respect totally insignificant. They play no role compared to the potential power Japan represents. In fact, they create a paradox because it is our belief, and this is one of the occasions where we may be right, our defense relationship with Japan keeps Japan from pursuing aggressive policies. If Japan builds its own military machine, which it will do if it feels forsaken by us, and if it builds nuclear weapons, as it could easily do, then I feel the fears which you have expressed could become real indeed.

In fact, Mr. Prime Minister, from the point of view of the sort of theory which I used to teach in universities, it would make good sense for us to withdraw from Japan, allow Japan to re-arm, and then let Japan and China balance each other off in the Pacific. This is not our policy. A heavily rearmed Japan could easily repeat the policies of the 1930’s.

So I really believe, Mr. Prime Minister, that with respect to Japan, your interests and ours are very similar. Neither of us wants to see Japan heavily re-armed. The few bases we have there are purely defensive and enable them to postpone their own rearmament. But if they nevertheless rearm heavily, I doubt that we will maintain our bases there. So we are not using Japan against you; this would be much to dangerous for both of us.

With respect to South Asia and your northern neighbor, perhaps we can discuss them separately. I have talked too long already.

[Page 395]

PM Chou: It doesn’t matter. With respect to Japan, there are some points we have in common, wheras some others we can further discuss.

I would like to ask one question—in Secretary Laird’s recent visit to Japan and South Korea, I believe one of the questions discussed was military cooperation between Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. I think he is still there, for ten days. He goes to Korea on the 13th.

Dr. Kissinger: If I can tell the Prime Minister something in the frank manner we are discussing, one reason Secretary Laird is so long in Japan was that he was going to Taiwan, and I kept him from going there while I am here. Mr. Prime Minister, if you believe this was easy, you don’t know our bureaucracy.

PM Chou: I understand.

Dr. Kissinger: Two things. I believe that our Cabinet members this time of year discover important reasons to take them round the world and these visits very often assume local significance. For example, Secretary Laird was invited to Japan by Nakasone, but had the misfortune the day he arrived that his host was no longer in office. (Chou laughs.)

PM Chou: This was not expected, I believe.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree that it was not planned. In what Secretary Laird said, you should be in no doubt that he was not expressing the President’s national concepts, but was exploring how to make it technically easier for us to cooperate. I will have to look into this matter. He may simply be looking at U.S. bases.

But it is absolutely against President Nixon’s policy to project Japan’s military power outside its home islands into other areas for possible offensive uses. This would be uncontrollable, short-sighted, and extremely dangerous, all of which does not exclude some bureaucrats from making technical arrangements. But they would not be of great significance.

PM Chou: One question I would like to ask which I did not ask. It’s a very strange phenomenon. On the question of the reversion of Okinawa itself, the Jaoanese people are saying three things: first, that this arrangement still contains no guarantee for Okinawa’s non-nuclear status; secondly, that this reversion cannot be said to be unconditional, that there are still conditions; and thirdly it is not a complete reversion and some rights are to be retained by the U.S. Why do you insist on maintaining the Voice of America two years more on Okinawa, something which gives rise more easily to resentment.

Dr. Kissinger: On the first point, with respect to Okinawa’s non-nuclear status, I don’t understand the criticism because I was somewhat involved in the negotiations myself and I know that it will have exactly the same status as Japan, that is, a non-nuclear status. [1½ lines of source text not declassified]

[Page 396]

Second, with respect to a conditional or unconditional reversion, of course there were certain financial provisions associated with it with which I am prepared to deal if the Prime Minister wishes to raise any issues.

As to VOA, there is still some time before I leave here. If the Prime Minister is patient for another ten minutes’ discussion, I want to explain how our government works. It will be important for him when we set up direct communications to understand who communicates with whom on what subject, what subjects should go in what channels, and what roles the various bureaucracies play. For example, it is very fortunate for our presence here that the Prime Minister has corresponded through President Yahya rather than through our Ambassador in Warsaw, which would have produced a quite different result. We will discuss this separately.

On continuing the VOA in Japan for two years, it didn’t seem worth the bureaucratic fight to overrule what the bureaucracy had decided and agreed upon. That was the easiest thing to do. It didn’t seem that important an issue. Had these conversations taken place between the Prime Minister and myself, or between Chairman Mao and the President, before the negotiations on the reversion of Okinawa, the result would have been different because we would have attached a different importance to the issue.

PM Chou: I did not intend to go into this matter today. It came to me just on the spur of the moment. However, it is not only an irritant to the Chinese people, but also to the people of the Far East and the Japanese people themselves.

Dr. Kissinger: I asked the Prime Minister to put questions to me which puzzle him, and I believe that this is one of the good results of this meeting.

PM Chou: That’s right I have come to understand not only your philosophy but also your actual policies. Because these actual policies represent the thinking of the President who has put them into effect; they have helped to explain the position of the U.S. at the present time. In this respect, I have paid particular attention to the talk given by your President at Kansas City on his way to San Clemente. It was long, especially the part on international affairs.

Dr. Kissinger: I haven’t read it yet; I have been travelling.

PM Chou: We’ll get you a copy.

Dr. Kissinger: When Ambassador Huang Hua comes to Canada, we will send him the latest Chinese statements.

PM Chou: So this concludes our discussion for tonight.

Tomorrow, depending on the weather, if we kept you in this house for talks without letting you take a look, as hosts we would feel uneasy. I suppose you will get up about 8:00 a.m., Peking time.

[Page 397]

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: So if the weather is good, we will ask you to take a look at China’s former Imperial Place.

Dr. Kissinger: We would be most grateful.

PM Chou: It can be kept closed to the public for a short time in the morning. You can see two parts, the exhibition of various historical relics, and the Imperial Palace itself. Amoung the relics are antiques unearthed during the great proletarian cultural revolution in ten different provinces.

Dr. Kissinger: That sounds very interesting.

PM Chou: The relics are from 2000, 1000 years ago. The two parts should take two hours.

Dr. Kissinger: We are very grateful.

PM Chou: We can then continue our discussions. I invite you to a roast duck dinner at the People’s Hall at noon.

If there is rain the tour is troublesome. An alternative would be to go together to the Summer Palace for boating in the evening after the people have left. So the alternative depends on the weather.

Dr. Kissinger: Then we will continue our discussions tomorrow.

PM Chou: Yes

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1032, Files for the President—China Material, Polo I, Record, July 1971 HAK Visit to PRC. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the “Chinese Government Guest House.” According to three memoranda from Lord to Kissinger (July 29, August 6, and August 12), these transcripts were prepared by Holdridge, Smyser, and Lord. Kissinger initialed Lord’s memoranda to indicate approval of the transcripts. (Ibid., Box 1033, Files for the President—China Material, China Memcons & Memos—Originals July 1971)
  2. See Document 103.
  3. Apparent reference to the briefing books prepared by the NSC staff. See footnote 2, Document 137.
  4. See, for example, Document 130.
  5. On April 21 Graham D. Steenhoven, President of the United States Table Tennis Association, met with President Nixon in the Oval Office. Scali prepared a 2-page April 23 memorandum for the President’s file that reported on this meeting. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 84, Memoranda for the President)
  6. Reference is to the Warsaw talks.
  7. United States Relations With China: With Special Reference to the Period 1944–1949 (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1949).
  8. See footnote 3, Document 121.
  9. See Documents 65 and 91.
  10. Copies of the seven and nine-point proposals are in Richard P. Stebbins and Elaine P. Adam, eds., American Foreign Relations, 1971: A Documentary Record (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1976), pp. 295–306 and Allan E. Goodman, The Lost Peace: America’s Search for a Negotiated Settlement of the Vietnam War (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1978), pp. 111–114.
  11. Commonly known as the Pentagon Papers.
  12. See footnote 7 above.
  13. Last emperor of Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty, 1925–1945, and Vietnamese head of State, 1949–1955.
  14. All brackets in the source text.
  15. Reference is to the President’s remarks to news executives in Kansas City, Missouri. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1971, pp. 803–813.
  16. Representatives of North Vietnam, the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, the National United Front of Kampuchea, Prince Norodom Sihanouk (deposed Cambodian head of state), and Laotian Communists met on April 24–25. They pledged to forge a unified anti-American struggle in the region. See , 1969–1970 (Bristol: Keesing’s Publications, Ltd., 1970), pp. 24030–24031.
  17. “Lord Palmerston, with characteristic levity had once said that only three men in Europe had ever understood [the Schleswig-Holstein question], and of these the Prince Consort was dead, a Danish statesman [unnamed] was in an asylum, and he himself had forgotten it.” See R. W. Seton-Watson, Britain in Europe, 1789–1914 (1937) cited in Angela Partington, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Fourth Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 505.