140. 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 American Department, PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Tang Wen-sheng and Chi Chao-chu, Chinese Interpreters
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- John Holdridge, Senior Staff Member, NSC
- Winston Lord, Senior Staff Member, NSC
- W. Richard Smyser, Senior Staff Member, NSC
(At the opening of this session, Prime Minister Chou and Dr. Kissinger informally discussed the tour of the Imperial Palace grounds that the American party had taken that morning. Dr. Kissinger said that it was a very moving and interesting experience. When Prime Minister Chou noted that it involved a lot of walking, Dr. Kissinger replied that with all the eating the Americans were doing, this was the minimum they could do. Prime Minister Chou explained that the first Great Hall that the Americans had seen was built about 600 years ago and the second one was built during the reign of the Third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, during which the capital was moved from Nanking to Peking. Dr. Kissinger said that the buildings were very impressive, as were the symmetry of the courtyards and the relationship between the roofs and the courtyards which formed an ensemble. Prime Minister Chou noted that they had also seen antiques which had been unearthed, and Dr. Kissinger commented that the Director of Archeological Museums had been a very excellent guide. Dr. Kissinger confirmed that they had had a short break during their tour and were in good shape.)
PM Chou: Yesterday, although we were not able to go into all the seven issues raised and there was some that we did not touch, yet generally we went over the subjects. I should now like to give our opinion of the issues you raised yesterday in the same manner as you did when you began yesterday, that is, to give a brief general opinion, after which you can give your opinion. We will then still be free to exchange views. Then later on this afternoon, as you have agreed, we can give a summary of our views and have it recorded.
Dr. Kissinger: On the taping question, we should first agree on everything else and then see about the taping.2 That presents a special problem for me.
PM Chou: Our suggestion was that we could record the opinions of each side in a concise way at the end, and summarize them and have them recorded for you to use to report to President Nixon. This would also be a rather concentrated report which I could deliver to our leader Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Lin Piao, and the Chinese Communist Party.[Page 399]
Dr. Kissinger: If there is agreement that this would be the only use and there would be no public use, that would be one thing. The difficulty with respect to public use is that between the two of us it is possible to do more privately than we can say publicly.
PM Chou: This would not be for public use. I have no such intention whatsoever.
Dr. Kissinger: I also would have a personal problem. As I told you, you will be so much more precise and better organized than I, that I would be shown up at a disadvantage. It is a point of vanity.
PM Chou: This may not be the truth, then, because you are younger and have more energy than I. Of course, we can talk about this later. First we can have free exchanges.
Dr. Kissinger: Let’s have a discussion and agree on everything else. Then let us broach this in a constructive way. We can find a solution.
PM Chou: I would now like to answer the issues which you brought up at the beginning session and some of the issues you touched upon later.
From beginning to end yesterday, you constantly said that you wished the question of Indochina to be seen not only as an Indochinese question but also as an instance having a relationship to the general world situation.
Yesterday, you said that we should find a way to implement any overall agreements we had reached in a way beneficial to peace between our two countries in Asia and in the world.
This truly is the overall question. When we entered into the latter part of our discussion yesterday, I mentioned that the situation of the world after the Second World War was not one of relaxation; on the contrary, after the Second World War wars had never stopped. Although there was no world war, local wars existed including wars of resistance, wars of aggression, and civil wars. In your government documents, for example Lodge’s Report (The Report of the President’s Commission on the UN) this fact is also recognized.3 In reality, this is so. The report said that it can be said that such wars have almost never stopped since World War II. Can we say we can get rid of the present situation? Under present circumstances, this may not be quite so possible.
In his talks with the press en route to the West Coast, your President also admitted that in the past 25 years the situation has been tense. Have you received a copy of his remarks?
Dr. Kissinger: Thank you. I have had an opportunity to read it.[Page 400]
PM Chou: Yesterday I also mentioned that Chairman Mao analyzed the situation since World War II, describing it as one in which two super powers are contending with each other to win over the first and second intermediate regions. This situation is becoming more active, and not relaxing. The desire which your President expressed was that the five forces which have emerged cease their military competition, and embark upon economic competition.
The first part of our answer will be that we do not consider ourselves a power. Although we are developing our economy, in comparison to others we are comparatively backward. Of course, your President also mentioned that in the next five to ten years, China will speedily develop. We think it will not be so soon, although we will try to go all out, aim high, and develop our socialist construction in a better, faster, and more economical way.
The second part of our answer is that when our economy is developed, we will still not consider ourselves a superpower and will not join in the ranks of the superpowers.
Can the situation now make a turn toward easing tensions? Yesterday I also answered this question, saying that our two sides should make an effort to ease tension in our relations. But may I say with respect to the timetable which you described yesterday, this does not seem to be possible. That is, the steps which you are taking in your withdrawal from Indochina and the relationship of this withdrawal to the normalization of relations between our two countries, as mentioned in the first message which your President sent to us through President Yahya Khan.
Dr. Kissinger: I am afraid I don’t understand what the Prime Minister has in mind on the last point.
PM Chou: This was the President’s oral message of November 1970,4 saying that he wished to move toward friendship with China. If you are going to move towards friendship, this should mean normalization of relations between our two countries. According to the opinion which you gave to us yesterday, you would withdraw all armed forces from the area of Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits gradually within a fixed period, and only after that would you consider solving political questions. These would be left to your President’s second term to be solved.
Dr. Kissinger: I don’t think I made myself clear. Political evolution can start concurrently with our military withdrawal. It will take a somewhat longer period of time, but it can start at the same time.[Page 401]
PM Chou: But when you mentioned political evolution, and moving toward friendship with us, the following must be included:
- —It must be recognized that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the Chinese people.
- —It must be recognized that Taiwan belongs to China; that it is an inalienable part of China which was returned to China after World War II.
- —That, as you mentioned yesterday, the U.S. does not support a two Chinas or a one China, one Taiwan policy and does not support the so-called Taiwan Independence Movement.
- —Also, as you pointed out explicitly yesterday, the spokesman of the Department of State no longer reiterates what he said, that the status of Taiwan is undetermined.
If all these questions should be left to a later period to be solved, however, wouldn’t the intermediate period be one of tension? And if none of these issues were resolved during your President’s visit, then what would be the result of his visit? Not only the people in our country but the people of the world would ask us this question and ask you that question. If the President’s visit is decided and confirmed, there should be efforts to move in this direction. Of course, we do not set that as a precondition for the President’s visit, but we believe that there must be a certain direction of efforts as a result of the visit, because we have always viewed the question of Taiwan as our internal affair which we must solve ourselves. And if these questions are just hung up, then the tension that has existed between our two sides will continue to remain.
In other words, tension is also chaos. In our view, in the twenty- five years since World War II, the world all along has been in turmoil, the present has not settled down and is still in turmoil. In the example which you mentioned yesterday, the possibility that India will attack Pakistan in South Asia, from news which we received today it seems that the tense atmosphere has been stepped up.
Dr. Kissinger: Has something new happened?
PM Chou: There has been more propaganda from the Indian side. I also said yesterday that we always believed that such a possibility existed. The question of India is a question in which you two big powers, the U.S. and the USSR, are taking a hand in.
Dr. Kissinger: We (the U.S.) are taking a hand?
PM Chou: You are taking an interest in this affair because, as you said yesterday, you warned India when you went there. Of course, the Soviet Union has also declared that it hopes the two sides (India and Pakistan) will reach conciliation. Didn’t they (the Soviets) issue the so- called Tashkent Declaration before? But these are only superficial things. With India able to get such a large amount of military equipment, it will take expansionist turns.[Page 402]
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, India doesn’t get military equipment from us.
PM Chou: That’s what I have heard, but you are giving Pakistan some equipment.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but so are you.
PM Chou: We do so because India is committing aggression against Pakistan. They have also committed aggression against us, too, as you said yesterday …5
Dr. Kissinger: No, you mentioned that.
PM Chou: … in accordance with Nehru’s traditional thinking as expressed in the book, The Discovery of India. So with respect to the issue of the South Asian subcontinent, this region continues to be in turmoil and is not settling down. The turmoil in East Pakistan in a very great way is due to India. The so-called Government of Bangla Desh set up its headquarters in India. Isn’t that subversion of the Pakistani Government?
Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister doesn’t think that we are cooperating with this, does he?
PM Chou: I would not like to draw a conclusion on that at present, but simply want to point out the phenomenon—we cannot but pay attention to this. Perhaps our attention will be even greater than yours. This issue is before our eyes.
When we talk about the tensions in South Asia, this is to say nothing about the Middle East, Europe, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea or the Atlantic. And what about this side of the Pacific, aren’t there many military maneuvers in the Sea of Japan? On this very day joint U.S.–Japan maneuvers have taken place. Of course the Soviet Union is very tense about all this; there is mutual tension.
With respect to Indochina, according to the withdrawal plan which you described yesterday, you cannot accept the proposal put forward by Mme. Binh in its entirety?
Dr. Kissinger: Not entirely, but we can accept a substantial part.
PM Chou: According to what we discussed yesterday, there is the possibility that, through your strengthening the Saigon Government and the Lon Nol/Sirik Matak regime by military equipment, and because you left that “tail” behind, the civil war will expand.
Dr. Kissinger: Not increase, decrease.
PM Chou: But yesterday you also said that if the Vietnamese people did not accept your plan and allow you to withdraw according to [Page 403] your plan, then the war will certainly continue and the result would be incalculable consequences.
Dr. Kissinger: I will let the Prime Minister speak first and make my comments afterward.
PM Chou: The Taiwan question is the same.
When I mentioned the Japanese question yesterday, and talked about the ambitions of the Japanese militarists, I was not only thinking of Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but also of Northeast China, Indochina and the Philippines and areas way up to the Straits of Malacca which the Japanese regard as their lifeline. Thus there is a great possibility that before the U.S. forces have withdrawn from these areas and from Taiwan, armed forces of Japan shall enter. Entry into Taiwan would be possible because Japan and Taiwan still have a treaty, concluded with Chiang Kai-shek—the so-called Peace Treaty, and they are now stressing that fact.
All this is to say, that due to the development of history in the past 25 years, powder kegs have been set up everywhere. According to our philosophy, wherever there is oppression, there will be resistance. You have referred to Chairman Mao’s theories of people’s war in this connection, but such resistance is stimulated by your oppression, your subversion, and your intervention. Another aspect to be mentioned is the contention between the two superpowers. As a result, according to the objective facts the world is not moving toward relaxation of tensions, but on the contrary it continues in turmoil. This is precisely why we are digging air raid shelters here. I was using more diplomatic language yesterday.
Dr. Kissinger: You wouldn’t tell me whom they are against.
PM Chou: I would like to tell you today in a more forthright manner, because if we are going to dig air raid shelters, we must think about the consequences. You like to talk about philosophy. The worst would be that China would be carved up once again. You could unite, with the USSR occupying all areas north of the Yellow River, and you occupying all the areas south of the Yangtse River, and the eastern section between these two rivers could be left to Japan. In the past Japan has been interested in Shantung and Chingtao; it also has been interested in Shanghai. It had been to all these places before when Japan committed aggression against China. You are familiar with that.
If such a large maneuver should occur, what would the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Mao be prepared to do? We would be prepared to resist for a protracted period by people’s warfare, engaging in a long-term struggle until final victory. This would take time and, of course, we would have to sacrifice lives, but this is something which we would have to contemplate.[Page 404]
Of course, you can say that such things will never happen. Friends from Europe say that the Soviets will not attack. We say that we will never provoke an attack, but once they enter our borders, we must be prepared. We have to be prepared for attacks from all sides including from India as in 1962 or even on a greater scale. We shall use this to educate our peoples with the result that all issues will be solved. We will also educate the next generation, and guarantee that after victory a socialist country will emerge which is able to be truly developed without outside assistance.
Perhaps you have read some of Chairman Mao’s poetry. Perhaps not. When he returned to his native town in 1959 after having been away 32 years, he wrote a poem in which there are these two lines: “It is the bitter sacrifices that strengthen our firm resolve, and which give us the courage to dare to change heavens and skies, to change the sun, and to make a new world.” That is, we must be prepared to make even greater sacrifices to consolidate our new China.
I believe that this is the same case with the Vietnamese people and Indochinese people—they think in similar terms. As I mentioned yesterday, the Vietnamese people have made up their minds that if they are not allowed to live in peace they would be willing to sacrifice another million men and fight on to the end. Ho Chi Minh himself said before he died that he would not allow a single foreign soldier, that is, American soldier, to remain on Vietnamese soil and would fight on to victory. Therefore, this situation of great turmoil in the world exists, and no matter what you think, the objective situation develops in this way.
American friends always like to stress the dignity, the honor, and the face of the U.S. As I mentioned yesterday, the best thing for you would be to withdraw all your armed forces lock, stock, and barrel and withdraw all other foreign forces and do so on your own initiative. That would be the greatest honor. If you continue to want to leave a “tail” behind, then the Vietnamese people and the other Indochinese peoples will be able to say that you have something up your sleeve and will not be able to accept such a proposition. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, there have been 25 years since the Vietnamese people began their resistance against the French. In their relations with you, your aggression and oppression in South Vietnam has been going on for ten years now. If you proceed from the standpoint of equality with all countries, no matter big or small, you should also have respect for the dignity, honor and glory of the Vietnamese people. When we discuss what you call philosophy, we should view the objective world of developments in a cool manner.
Because of this, I have first touched upon the seventh issue which you mentioned yesterday, the general world situation first. In the messages which we exchanged between our two sides it was said that the [Page 405] two sides could discuss any subjects they desired to raise. There are also many other detailed questions, but most are included within the major issues. We believe that at present there is chaos under heaven, and believe that in the past 25 years there has been a process of great upheaval, great division, and great reorganization. Your President also said (in Kansas City) that 25 years ago you could not imagine that the present situation could emerge. He also said that in the remaining third of the century that efforts should be made to cease military competition and to embark upon economic competition. However, economic competition in itself involves economic expansion, and then will necessarily lead to military expansion. Japan is the most telling case in point, but the danger may not be less in the case of West Germany in relation to Europe.
Yesterday I also mentioned the USSR. The Soviet Union is following your suit, in stretching its hands all over the world. You said that you were triggered by the Soviet Union’s probing throughout the world. No matter whether there is a case of contention or a case of being triggered, anyway there is a situation of tension, of turmoil. This is the objective situation. If we look at the development of the objective world in a cool-headed manner, then we are called upon through our subjective efforts to attempt to undo some of the knots.
As you mentioned, there are links between the Taiwan question and the Indochina question. But the alternative that you put forward yesterday means dragging the situation on—going one step and waiting to see before embarking on the next. The result would be, before solving a question that you complicate it to such a degree that you would reach a certain point at which you would be unable to halt the course of events. For example on Taiwan. If you cannot determine your policy of moving toward a policy of friendship with the People’s Republic of China, and put forward a very clear plan, but take one step and look before taking the next step, then the consequence would be that Japan would go into Taiwan and have a hand. This would be because if you withdrew part of your troops and wait to see what would happen next, Chiang Kai-shek would know what you were doing and would seek another way out even though he says himself that he is opposed to a policy of two Chinas, a one China, one Taiwan solution, or Taiwan independence, and opposes the fallacy that the status of Taiwan is unsettled. If he feels that the U.S. is6 unreliable, he could go to Japan, and Japan itself wants to be drawn into Taiwan and already considers Taiwan within its security sphere. Chiang Kai-shek is not only a single person but has others below him, and they could come up with various different proposals.[Page 406]
Once your policy becomes fuzzy, and his policy is not able to be in accordance with yours, he will try to find a loophole and seek another way out.
Therefore, the Taiwan question is a very small matter to you. As you said, it was created by President Truman, and what use is Taiwan to you at the present moment? Taiwan is not an isolated issue, but is related to recognition of the People’s Republic of China, and it is also related to the relations of all other countries to China. If your President were to come to the PRC without a clearcut attitude on this issue, then what impression would this give to the world? In my view, it would be inconceivable.
The second question is Indochina. As I have said we support and have formally stated our support for Mme. Binh’s seven point proposal. Yesterday we discussed the crucial question of your leaving Indochina and also recalling all troops of other countries that went into Indochina with you. As for your two puppets, there is no need to pay any attention to them, and there is no sense giving any assistance to them because this can only do you discredit and not add anything to your honor, but on the contrary do dishonor to you. Only by leaving Indochina can you win honor. Of course, if you are able to change the puppets, and promote the establishment of a coalition government, that would be even better. If they will not agree, then if you just pay no attention to them they will collapse of their own accord. This can be said with certainty. This will be the case for Thieu and would be the same for the Lon Nol–Sirik Matak regime. By doing this you would be making an effort to change the turmoil of the objective world and let it settle down. If you do otherwise, and let things drag on messily, the only result would be ever greater turmoil for the world and the war would flare up again in the area even though you had withdrawn. If you still leave a “tail” there of experts and advisers, you will still have to protect them and history will repeat itself. Of course, history never repeats itself, though, and if the war flares up again in that area, the consequences will be even worse and you will be even more unpopular. You mentioned “incalculable consequences.” These consequences are not incalculable for the Indochinese people, but only for the U.S. people.
The third question we discussed yesterday was Japan. In our opinion, Japanese militarism is being revived at present. This revival of Japanese militarism is being encouraged and supported by the 1969 statement issued between your two countries.7 The total sum to be spent in Japan’s fourth defense plan is equal to more than half of the total sum of the previous three plans. It is one and a half times all the [Page 407] three previous plans. The fourth plan is more than $16 billion, while the whole total amount of the previous three plans was a little more than $10 billion. According to findings by two U.S. Congressmen who went to Japan to attend the U.S.–Japanese Parliamentary discussions, the strength that Japan wants to build up during the fourth defense plan greatly exceeds Japan’s own needs. The findings also revealed that according to Japan’s present economic strength, Japan would not need five years to fulfill the fourth defense plan, but only two to three years to rearm itself. Sato himself has acknowledged this. With respect to the question of Japan, yesterday both we and you mentioned some dangers of a revival of militarism there.
You say yesterday that the withdrawal of troops from South Korea could only be realized during the latter part of the President’s second term.
Dr. Kissinger: I said during the President’s second term, and that it would begin fairly soon.
PM Chou: If you put it that way, you can say it has already begun because you have pulled out 20,000 troops already.
Dr. Kissinger: I said it would continue. I am not trying to win legalistic arguments with the Prime Minister.
PM Chou: Of course, that’s not the main point.
The fourth issue was the South Asian subcontinent. In our opinion, if India continues on its present course in disregard of world opinion, it will continue to go on recklessly. We, however, support the stand of Pakistan. This is known to the world. If they (the Indians) are bent on provoking such a situation, then we cannot sit idly by. On May Day 1970 Chairman Mao met the Indian Chargé on the Tien An Men, and he suggested that we exchange ambassadors speedily. Actually, that could have been done, and we are prepared to do it now. They asked us to send our ambassador first, which was no great problem, but they have been spreading rumors throughout the world that they are going to seek out the Chinese for negotiations and there haven’t been any. They are just spreading rumors. We also learned something about that during the latter part of the rule of Nehru.
Of course, when one speaks of the South Asian subcontinent, this means mainly India and Pakistan. However, China also has a part there. You said you were pressing India not to provoke a disturbance, and we also believe that you would like to improve your relations with Pakistan. I believe that you probably did say to India what you told us. We also support your opinion, that is advise India not to provoke such a disturbance, because President Yahya Khan is most concerned about the situation. For its part, Pakistan would never provoke a disturbance against India because in all military fields Pakistan is in a weaker position than India. There is still one special characteristic in [Page 408] this situation: the morale and fighting capacity of Pakistan is greater than India. We can bear witness to that because we have had contacts in such a sense with India, and if India is going to go ahead and provoke disturbances in the subcontinent, then India itself will be the victim. India, I believe, is one of the countries most heavily in debt, and it is also well known that the life of the Indian people is not easy—if such a disturbance is created, they will be the victims. Those who will suffer will also be the rulers of India. That is the fourth issue.
On the fifth issue, communications between us, I would like to speak later on.
The sixth issue is arms control. You cited as an example of this question the proposal for a five-nation nuclear conference. I can answer Your Excellency now officially. The Chinese Government completely disapproves of the proposition of the Soviet government to hold a five-power nuclear conference. They are trying to lasso us. We didn’t take part in the tripartite treaty on partial nuclear test bans in 1963 and we didn’t take part in any later treaties or agreements on outer space, etc., because we do not believe that this is in accordance with the basic problem, which is the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons which we advocate. Some people have asked us, since we have taken such a stand, why we are testing nuclear weapons. We must say very frankly that we do so to break the nuclear monopoly and to fight against the nuclear blackmail of certain great powers. All our nuclear tests have been held under the condition that they are necessary, and are limited. We do not engage in indiscriminate nuclear testing and every time we test, we make a statement that we will never be the first to use them. What we say counts. What we propose is that all nations of the world, whether large or small, should come together to discuss this problem and reach agreement on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and as a first step, should reach agreement on the non-use of nuclear weapons. It won’t do to try to lasso us. The Soviet Union has such a scheme. That is our answer to the sixth question.
I would like to say a few words about the disarmament conference.
Dr. Kissinger: Which one?
PM Chou: The Geneva Conference, which, of course, includes the SALT talks. We don’t know the content in your SALT talks, and the only thing we know is that your defense budget rises every year and the result is that the more you talk about disarmament, the more armaments expand and that adds to the disquiet, the turmoil of the world. I am not prepared, I do not intend, to go into any more detail on that.
I would like to go back to the fifth issue, further communication. Since Your Excellency has come to China in the capacity of the President’s special envoy to have a free exchange of views, we would be [Page 409] willing to continue in such a manner of a free exchange of views. But to have these communications in the capital of a third country, no matter how much care is taken, secrecy is hard to maintain.
Dr. Kissinger: I agree completely.
PM Chou: Therefore, we would welcome Your Excellency coming again, and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you yourself or the President picks another representative in whom you also have confidence, we would be willing to welcome him as your representative, to stay maybe not only two days but to remain a longer period of time. He could discuss things for a period and then go back. Or if he would like to stay here for a period and investigate things in China, we would welcome this too. Aren’t there Soviet representatives in China talking over the border question? However, I feel it would perhaps be easier for us to talk, because we have told you everything. And I believe you will also tell us your opinion. The question between us is particularly that of Taiwan, the only question between us two, although of course there are other issues. We are raising what the President said in his first message about our moving toward friendship. Because we are moving towards friendship we believe we should normalize our relations and should be able to continue our discussions in accordance with such relations.
The final issue you mentioned yesterday is how to draw up an announcement which could be made public after you go back to the U.S. on a date which both sides could release simultaneously and with the same wording. I would like to hear your opinion on that.
What I have just now said is the answer I would like to give to what was said yesterday.
There are two ways we can now proceed, if you would like to consider them. We could first have lunch and then continue discussions after that. Or we could continue immediately. Or you could say one half of what you want and then take a break for lunch. I don’t want it to be a one-sided talk. That would be unequal, and therefore we could hear some of your words first before we have our meal.
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, I appreciate the frankness with which you have spoken and the completeness of your presentation. Perhaps, if you agree, I will give my answers to you now. Given the scope of your presentation, it is conceivable that something will occur to me during lunch, and I hope you will permit me to speak also later. One of my personal tragedies is that ideas occur to me after the occasion to use them has past.
PM Chou: It doesn’t matter—you can say what you want later on.
Dr. Kissinger: But I would like to reply now. You, Mr. Prime Minister, followed very faithfully the presentation which I made yesterday, and dealt with both topics, that is the visit of the President, and each [Page 410] of the other topics I put down to narrow our differences on substantive matters.
As for the visit of President Nixon to Peking, you will remember that this idea resulted first from your initiative which we are happy to accept, and therefore, of course, you must decide when the time is opportune and when it is not opportune. If you judge that the time is opportune now, then this is a better opportunity to agree on it than through whatever other channels which we will need to rely upon after my departure and which would be more complicated, bureaucratic and less related to the general direction of our policies. But since this is your invitation, I will say no more about it and we will have to decide at the end of our discussion whether this is an item we would wish to include in our announcement if there is an announcement.
With respect to the specific issues we have discussed, there are several categories—some issues where we disagree in principle, and some issues we agree upon in principle but disagree on the timing of events. There are issues where I believe we agree in substance but where you seem to blame us for an evolution of events which we are not directing, for instance the possibility of Japanese expansionism. And there are also issues of the general philosophy of where the world finds itself, which you, Mr. Prime Minister, have put in every eloquent and very moving terms.
It is obvious that two countries which have been isolated from each other as we have for such a long period of time face a major problem in re-establishing first, normalcy, and then friendship. In this, it is necessary to be both patient and understanding with each other. We should not destroy what is possible by forcing events beyond what the circumstances will allow.
With this as background, let me turn to your points with respect to Taiwan. First, I would like to remind you, Mr. Prime Minister, that during this Administration both in your communications to the President and in the two Ambassadorial meetings at Warsaw, you mentioned only our military presence on Taiwan and in the area of the Taiwan Straits, and I have come with what we believe is a forthcoming answer to the demands which you made on this issue.
PM Chou: But does that mean you are only prepared to withdraw your military presence, and are not prepared to move toward friendship between two countries, that is diplomatic relations? It seems to me that this is a contradiction, because a normal consequence of improving relations is diplomatic relations. This was also mentioned in the Ambassadorial meetings. Recently you have in fact been referring to us as the People’s Republic of China, and we refer to you as the United States of America. Doesn’t that imply normal relations? Your President refers to us publicly in these terms.[Page 411]
Dr. Kissinger: I haven’t finished what I have to say, and the Prime Minister is criticizing me for incompleteness, and not for the substance of my views. To answer your question, we deliberately referred to you as the People’s Republic of China for the first time in a public document of the United States as a symbol of the direction we want to go, and therefore you understand us correctly, that is we want normalization and we want friendship.
While I have been here, the Prime Minister has mentioned four other points:
- —Recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China;
- —Recognition of Taiwan as belonging to China;
- —Accepting the proposition that we do not support two Chinas or one China, one Taiwan;
- —Not supporting the Taiwan Independence Movement.
PM Chou: In your words yesterday, you said that you did not support two Chinas or the policy of one China, one Taiwan.
Dr. Kissinger: That’s correct.
PM Chou: And when I mentioned yesterday that when the State Department spokesman referred to Taiwan as territory whose status was not settled, you said he had not repeated that.
Dr. Kissinger: This was not by accident.
PM Chou: Precisely.
Dr. Kissinger: Is this your fifth point?
PM Chou: It is also your answer to what I mentioned, and you can count it as a fifth point. If you are going to move toward friendship and normal relations, the logical outcome is that we must recognize each other; otherwise how would we be able to have exchanges? But when you asked me yesterday whether we considered recognition of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government as a precondition to the President’s visit, I said this was not absolute.
Dr. Kissinger: Let me state my view.
PM Chou: What must be determined is whether you are willing to move toward the establishment of normal relations.
Dr. Kissinger: Therefore, let me state our views. I will say something on each of the five points, but let me say something more fundamental first; we’ll never be able to escape the morass of all the issues we have mentioned unless we separate fundamentals from details. If you, Mr. Prime Minister, and I, or even more importantly, Chairman Mao and the President, agree on a fundamental course, then we will know what will happen and then the only issue remaining is “when.” A visit by President Nixon to Chairman Mao has, of course, a considerable substantive significance, but it also has a tremendous symbolic significance because [Page 412] it would make clear that normal relations were inevitable; otherwise there would be no point of such a visit. It would be our understanding that they would agree on the timing, with some steps to be taken in this term and the remaining steps in the first half of the next term.
Of the five points which the Prime Minister mentioned, four can be accomplished within the near future. I am sure that the President would be prepared to repeat to Chairman Mao, as I have told you, that we will not support the Taiwan Independence Movement. I am sure that he will repeat that we will not support one China, one Taiwan.
PM Chou: Nor a policy of two Chinas.
Dr. Kissinger: I was coming to that—the Prime Minister is always one step ahead of me.
PM Chou: Because it is a serious issue for us, an outstanding issue for 25 years.
Dr. Kissinger: I am sure that the President will repeat he will not support a two Chinas solution. And therefore with respect to the Prime Minister’s second point, that Taiwan belongs to China, this will take care of itself as a result of the other three points.
Therefore, the only issue that we will have to leave until after the elections is the formal acceptance of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China. Nevertheless, the direction is obvious.
PM Chou: But there will be a contradiction in this, which I don’t know how you will solve. There will be people among you who will want to recognize the People’s Republic of China, while in the world arena the number of countries which have recognized New China or wish to recognize it is increasing. Even a greater number of people in various countries wish to do so. Such a situation will also appear in international organizations. What are you going to do?
Dr. Kissinger: I wanted to raise this point as a practical matter with the Prime Minister, as a matter of fact. First, let me say—
PM Chou: But I was just going to say that this is a substantive matter.
Dr. Kissinger: It means the same thing. Obviously, if our two heads of government determine to move toward normal relations and friendship, they will do so without trickery because on this matter of great import and on all other matters we must deal on a basis of good faith because so much else depends on it.
What has occurred to us with respect to the international organizations issue is the following formula: we would be willing to agree that the admission of the People’s Republic of China can be by a majority vote, and we would withdraw our view that it should be an important question. We would say that the expulsion of other countries [Page 413] now in the UN, with seats now in the UN, should be by a two-thirds vote.
In this manner, you would be able to take the Security Council’s seat allocated to China, and as soon as you can get the two-thirds vote for expulsion, you would be the only representative of China in the UN. Indeed, you would get the China seat now.
In other words, we would solve the contradiction before our public by withdrawing our opposition to entry of the People’s Republic of China. But we have not yet announced this because as a sign of our good will, the President wanted me to discuss this matter with you before we adopted a position.
PM Chou: Your Excellency must know that we do not consider the matter of reclaiming our seat in the UN as such an urgent matter. We have gone through this for 21 years, and we have lived through it. Even if war should break out again, we should be able to live through it. Therefore, we do not attach any importance to the UN question, and I didn’t mention it yesterday. But as you analysed it just now, we find that you will be in a contradiction if it is not solved.
Dr. Kissinger: There is no question that the course I have outlined will present us with a dilemma and a surface contradiction. The important point is that if both countries know where we are going, it will only be a question of time until the end result is acknowledged.
PM Chou: There is also the question of world public opinion. It’s easier for us here, because we don’t have to hold a press conference every week and can wait maybe a half year before giving our answer. Although perhaps now the situation may change.
Dr. Kissinger: If our decision is to adopt the course which you and I have discussed, whatever formal public position we would take, would be free of the hostility toward the PRC which has prevailed over the past because we would be working toward cooperation and friendship and not isolation. That we can guarantee.
PM Chou: But the following question will come up. If you adopt such a formula, we won’t pay much attention to it, but to people who ask for our attitude we will of course say that all of China’s legitimate rights in the UN must be restored. Even in your country many correspondents and politicians will agree with our attitude, and the result is that you will call for a two-thirds majority in order to expel a regime which represents no one. You will be criticized by public opinion for that. We will not be able to agree to such a formula. How could we agree?
Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t think that you could agree. This is simply a stage on the way.
PM Chou: But when people come to ask for our attitude, we will have to proclaim to the world that we are against it, and then where [Page 414] will you be? First of all, when the proposal of countries which support us is put forward, there will naturally be debate. Yesterday I didn’t want to raise this question, but since today you are willing to confirm these points, that you are willing to let relations between our two countries move toward normalization, therefore we will have to face the objective facts which will occur later in the latter half of this year. For example, if your well-known friend Mr. Reston asks me about this, of course I will have to say to him what I have said to you. He isn’t coming now. He’s on the way.
Dr. Kissinger: I understand that his journey to Peking will take him just as long as my presence here.
PM Chou: He’s coming by rail.
Dr. Kissinger: He will probably complain about the slow train service.
PM Chou: No matter. We can say that we are more backward.
Dr. Kissinger: Let me tell you first my assessment of American public opinion. Under this formula, we would vote for the admission of the People’s Republic of China, but against the expulsion of Taiwan. We could also stick to the present formula, just changing nothing. On this, frankly, I can tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, what a diplomat couldn’t tell you, if he were here.
PM Chou: We are not engaged in a diplomatic dialogue.
Dr. Kissinger: Right. For us there is a practical problem of how to reach normalization of relations which cannot be done this year or next year, but which can be done in the first two years of the President’s next term. As I have pointed out, the readiness of the President to accept your suggestion is itself symbolic of where we want to go. If Mr. Reston asks you about this matter, you will of course express your opinion; that’s all right with us. (Chou nods.) That is, as long as you don’t use too many adjectives to describe the President (laughter on the Chinese side). Have I made myself clear on the issue of Taiwan, or is there anything more I should say?
PM Chou: You were just now mentioning one thing—that Taiwan began to be put under the protection of the U.S. under President Truman. In other words, that is how the occupation occured. Now, however, when you withdraw military forces, you need to do so in steps, and you will also have to establish normal diplomatic relations with us in steps. Then you will have the responsibility of not letting Taiwan loose, not letting Japan have a hand in meddling in the affairs of Taiwan, and not letting an independence movement break out in Taiwan.
Dr. Kissinger: Let me answer with a number of views. I was going to come to the question of Japan’s relations with Taiwan anyway. We will strongly oppose any Japanese military presence on Taiwan.[Page 415]
With respect to the Taiwan Independence Movement, we will give no support, either direct or indirect. If you have any reliable information to the contrary, get it to me and I will see that whatever is going on is stopped. (Chou nods.) We cannot be responsible for things which may happen without American encouragement, without American support, without American participation. But we will give it no support in any form whatsoever. I repeat, if you have information to the contrary, get it to me and we will stop whatever is going on.
I would like to make one other U.S. domestic political point. The only President who could conceivably do what I am discussing with you is President Nixon. Other political leaders might use more honeyed words, but would be destroyed by what is called the China lobby in the U.S. if they ever tried to move even partially in the direction which I have described to you. President Nixon, precisely because his political support comes from the center and right of center, cannot be attacked from that direction, and won’t be attacked by the left in a policy of moving toward friendship with the People’s Republic of China. You can see that I am speaking to you with great frankness. If you repeat this to Mr. Reston, I will have to ask for a job as an adviser in your Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Considerable laughter from the Chinese.)
PM Chou: Would you imagine that I would say such a thing to him?
Dr. Kissinger: I have complete confidence in you.
PM Chou: And you will also understand why it was when President Nixon expressed willingness to come to China for a visit, we expressed willingness to invite him. You have read Edgar Snow’s article and from this will know that we believe the President does have the desire to resolve issues of relations between China and the U.S. Of course, he must rely on his advisers, such as you, to work out the ways to do so. Therefore, you can see a lot of politicians we have not invited to come here. I have a great pile of letters from them on my desk asking for invitations, which I have not answered.
Dr. Kissinger: What you have done is greatly appreciated by President Nixon.
PM Chou: This is done under the instructions and wisdom of Chairman Mao.
Dr. Kissinger: I think to get this new course firmly established, this is a wise policy. We think, in fact, that the new direction toward cooperation and friendship should be inaugurated personally by President Nixon, after which all other contacts could take a normal pattern. This will prevent this issue from becoming a political football. (Chou nods.)
PM Chou: And there are many such things like that in your country.[Page 416]
Dr. Kissinger: Yes.
PM Chou: After Chairman Mao heard of the directions set by your President, he particularly wanted to meet with him because he could be able to talk about anything with him.
Dr. Kissinger: This is exactly our view. This is also why President Nixon believes that fundamental changes in our relationship should be inaugurated at the highest level. Then there will be full confidence on both sides that the things talked about will be carried out.
PM Chou: So I believe the second item which you wanted to go into is Indochina, which is also very long. I suggest rest now and relaxation. Otherwise, you will be under tension and the duck will be cold.
Dr. Kissinger: That would be the most calamitous. Tension we can take.
(The two sides then broke for lunch at 2:35 p.m.
During the roast duck luncheon Prime Minister Chou wanted to know if Dr. Kissinger had heard about China’s Cultural Revolution. When Dr. Kissinger remarked that this was the internal affair of the People’s Republic of China, Chou said that, no, he wanted to tell about it.
He called attention to Edgar Snow’s interview with Mao Tse-tung in LIFE as being generally accurate concerning the purposes and results of the Cultural Revolution, even though Snow had not been correct on some other points in this article. As Snow had said, Chairman Mao and others had not foreseen the extent of the disturbances, and in fact some members of the People’s Liberation Army had sacrificed their lives. The struggle between the two lines had indeed been very serious. However, the opponents of the Cultural Revolution had ultimately been struck down, including Liu Shao-chi who was the leader of the oppositionists, with the result that China was now firmly guided by the thought of Mao Tse-tung.
In conveying this message Chou was deadly serious. He appeared to be genuinely anguished when talking about the difficulties which had cropped up during the Cultural Revolution, and sincere in his belief that whatever had occurred, it had been all to the good, in terms of keeping alive the revolutionary spirit and striking at bureaucratization.
The formal meeting then resumed at 4:10 p.m.)
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, let me continue with the points you raised, which actually followed the ones I mentioned first yesterday.
With respect to the problem of Indochina, I believe I have already explained to the Prime Minister what our essential position is. But I would like to add that this is one of the cases where other nations, particularly those with whom we are beginning to cooperate, might look at our problem with understanding and patience.[Page 417]
We realize your experience in 1954 leads you to the belief that if there is any of what the Prime Minister calls a tail left behind, it will leave us with an opportunity to re-enter the situation. But in view of the experiences we have since made, and in view of the changed philosophy which I explained to the Prime Minister last evening, this is not, and cannot be, our purpose.
What we require is a transition period between the military withdrawal and the political evolution. Not so that we can re-enter, but so that we can let the people of Vietnam and of other parts of Indochina determine their own fate.
Even in that interim period, we are prepared to accept restrictions on the types of assistance that can be given to the countries of Indochina. And if no country of Indochina is prepared to accept outside military aid, then we are even prepared to consider eliminating all military aid.
I have told the Prime Minister yesterday, and I am willing to repeat this, that if after complete American withdrawal, the Indochinese people change their governments, the U.S. will not interfere.
The United States will abide by the determination of the will of the people.
The Prime Minister spoke of the million people that the Vietnamese will be prepared to lose. What I am trying to tell the Prime Minister is that there need not be another million people lost.
We are prepared to make peace quickly if it can be done within the framework I have mentioned. But if the Prime Minister has another proposal regarding the transition period, or if Hanoi has another proposal, we are prepared to consider it.
PM Chou: I discussed this matter just a moment ago, and also yesterday. That is we support the seven point proposal put forward by Madame Binh of the PRG of South Vietnam. And Your Excellency mentioned yesterday that you are willing to set a fixed time limit for the withdrawal of forces and the dismantling of all military bases. I would just like to say that how you fix this time, that is for you to negotiate with the people of Vietnam and not for us to speak on their behalf.8
Our hope, however, in this problem is that you will leave completely and not leave behind any tail, including any technical advisers. And, secondly, the demand of the Vietnamese that the regime fostered [Page 418] by you be removed, as to how to remove it, this also is for you to discuss with the Vietnamese, and we won’t interfere.9
Yesterday, you expressed appreciation for point 5 of Madame Binh’s seven point proposal. That of course is a matter for you to solve in talks with them. As for us we support their proposal.
We support them. So long as the war does not cease, we will continue our support. This support is not only for the people of Vietnam, but also the people of Cambodia and Laos. Of course, you are aware of comments they have made that they fight together on the same battlefield.
But, as for what system they adopt, and what final solution they achieve after they overthrow reactionary regimes, that is a matter for them to decide themselves and we will not intervene.
We advocate that all foreign troops should be withdrawn from those countries where they are stationed and that the people of those nations be allowed to solve their problems any way they choose, whether there is a revolution or not. That is the right of these people and not outsiders. This is our basic position whether you like it or not. On this point there is a difference of principle between us. You said that if a regime should be subverted by an outside force, then you would intervene.
Dr. Kissinger: No.
PM Chou: Then there must be a mistake in the record.
(At this point there was some confusion on the Chinese side and some discussion of what the U.S. had said the day before.)
You mean that this was your position in the past? You mentioned yesterday that when a country could not stand up to a super-power, then you would intervene. What is the scope of this statement?
If we follow this principle that you put forward yesterday, then you are engaged in a war in Vietnam now which we consider aggression, and it could spread to Cambodia and Laos. Then, accepting your same principle, we could send in troops; and then we would be face to face. That is the problem.
Our way is to ask you to go and to let them choose by themselves their own system through negotiations.
If there is no possibility of negotiations, we are opposed to any aggression, for example, as did the Soviets against Czechoslovakia. Or, as you say, if in circumstances where the victim is weak and unable to resist, you should send troops to another country, we would also express opposition to this.[Page 419]
For example, now, Soviet troops are in the Mongolian People’s Republic. We are opposed. They pose a threat to us. We are opposed to that, but we do not adopt the practice of also sending troops to fight. But if these troops pass through the territory of the MPR to invade even one inch of our territory, then we would immediately resist and fight back.10
Korea is somewhat different. Up to now there is only an armistice agreement. So now China is meeting every week at the military demarcation line. There are still constant incidents and clashes along the DMZ.
On the side of South Korea are your representatives and also the representatives of Park. On the North Korean side there are the representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and also China. So the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a point in feeling that it is a rather tense truce. Your troops are still in South Korea. And other countries still have token forces, though probably not many.
Under these circumstances, of course, the Democratic Republic of Korea would find it rather tense. Originally, a peace treaty was to be concluded in 1954 at the Geneva Conference but it was opposed b. Dulles and then by his deputy, General Walter Bedell Smith.
And so the roots of discord are left there. So the Democratic Republic of Korea has grounds for feeling ill at ease. Because they don’t know when the other side will attack them.
So the situation is such as I said before lunch, that the world is still in upheaval, and that is why we emphasize again and again why it is not possible to relax in Indochina.
But at the same time we made clear that if the situation does not relax in Indochina, we must continue to give aid to Indochina and first of all Vietnam. Because they indeed have suffered very serious losses the past ten years and are very heroic people.
Indeed, we hope very much you can come to some real understanding in your Paris discussions. But we cannot say that it will be possible for you to reach resolution very quickly.
Although you are occupying Taiwan, yet there is not war there. So we can go on discussing with you for over 15 years. Of course, such a state of affairs should not continue.
But in Vietnam there is still a war there, and people die and are wounded every day. So you must consider both possibilities: One is success in negotiation and the other is failure.[Page 420]
And we believe that through putting forward the seven point proposal by Mme. Binh the positions of the two sides should get closer together.
Dr. Kissinger: May I ask the Prime Minister a question? Does the Prime Minister also consider North Vietnamese troops in Laos and Cambodia as foreign troops that should also be withdrawn?
PM Chou: That is their matter. You made them fight together.
Dr. Kissinger: But under conditions of peace?
PM Chou: That will be solved by them. It is stipulated in the Communiqué of the Summit Conference of the Indochinese People, which said that after the war questions of peace will be settled by the people of those countries themselves and territorial limits restored to what they were beforehand. This can be decided only after the civil war stops in those countries.
Why are the Indochinese people so interested in your getting rid of Thieu and Lon Nol–Sirik Matak? Because they are archcriminals with regard to the people of their own country. In a general sense, it is you who are responsible for them. As for the Indochina Accords, they were long ago torn up by the U.S., and there is no possibility of any discussion of that.
So we can only discuss our two principles which I mentioned and it is impossible to return to the Geneva Agreements. From the very beginning the U.S. sabotaged them. It would be ludicrous to want us to guarantee something you had already torn up. So we can only guarantee formally that all foreign forces should withdraw from Indochina and the three Indochinese people should solve their own questions by themselves.11
Dr. Kissinger: It is probably not very fruitful to pursue this discussion because we have stated our points of view. There are two things the Prime Minister should keep in mind. One is a technical issue. There are two proposals from the other side. One is the seven point proposal of Madame Binh, and the other is the secret nine point proposal which Hanoi has recently made. They are not exactly identical. I will not bother the Prime Minister with that difference because they are substantially the same.
The second point is this: I will talk to the nine points when I see the North Vietnamese because this is what they presented to me. We believe that either the nine or the seven points, if interpreted in a flexible spirit, can offer many bases for negotiations.[Page 421]
So we will not reject the whole program. We believe that if the other side approaches the negotiation in good spirit, good will, and some understanding of common purposes, negotiations can succeed.
We are not asking the People’s Republic of China to stop giving aid to its friends, nor am I asking the Prime Minister what he may discuss privately with his Allies.
I do want you to understand that the two principles he mentioned to us, or that the seven or nine points given to us, could offer a basis for negotiation, if there is some flexibility and some willingness to look at the needs of the other side.
We are in complete accord with the Prime Minister that a rapid end to the war in Indochina would ease all the other problems we are now discussing. We will approach negotiations in that spirit.
Does the Prime Minister want to say something, or should I go to the other issues he raised?
PM Chou: There are still some different points of view on our two sides on Indochina.
Dr. Kissinger: That is quite correct.
PM Chou: We have expressed our views.
As for the seven point proposal of Madame Binh, our newspapers expressed our country’s support. We believe that it is possible to bring about a rapprochement on the basis of this seven point program.
It is because, as Your Excellency said, that there would be incalculable consequences if the war is not stopped, that I discussed the possible turmoil that could continue.
Dr. Kissinger: I understand, Mr. Prime Minister.
PM Chou: As for guarantees, we only express our political attitude toward the two points. We consider the Geneva Agreements a thing of the past. As for the other matters, it is best that you settle with the other party. We’ll continue our support to them so long as agreement is not reached.
Dr. Kissinger: I understand and you understand our position. That is all we can do. (Chou nods.) I hope this will become a moot issue in a period of time, because it will be solved.
PM Chou: Yes, because the Indochina question is indeed a crucial problem, both for the Indochina people and for the world. For example, the American people have a very strong reaction, even stronger than ours to this issue.
So if you are able to solve this question, of course, we will be happy. If not, we can only continue to give them support.
What is more, we must be ready to meet the consequences of possible expansion.[Page 422]
Dr. Kissinger: I understand your position. There’s no misunderstanding. As I said in my opening remarks, we understand you are a man of principle. (Chou nods.)
Mr. Prime Minister, you discussed the issue of great power relations, specifically Japan and the Soviet Union, and you used the very striking phrase that there is chaos under the sky.
With respect to Japan, we are of the view that Japan must have the ability to defend itself. We will not encourage, and indeed we would oppose, any military expansion by the Japanese. Indeed, I believe that in the area of relations between large countries, our interests and yours are very parallel. If Japanese military expansion takes place, we would oppose it.
With respect to Soviet intentions, contrary to some of my American friends, I do not exclude the possibility of Soviet military adventurism. In fact, speaking personally and frankly, this is one of the new lessons I have learned in my present position. I had not believed it previously.12
But that is a problem essentially between you and the USSR. As far as the U.S. is concerned, I can tell you flatly that there is no possibility, certainly in this Administration, nor probably in any other, of any cooperation such as you have described between the U.S., the Soviet Union and Japan to divide up China.13
We are facing many potentially aggressive countries. How could it conceivably be in our interests, even for the most selfish motives, to encourage one superpower to destroy another country and even to cooperate with it? Particularly one with which, as the Prime Minister has himself pointed out, after the solution of the Taiwan issue, which will be in the relatively near future, we have no conflicting interests at all.
While I do not want to presume to tell the Prime Minister how to dispose his troops in his own country, I want to tell him that such forces as are prepared to defend the area you think the U.S. would occupy, he could employ more usefully elsewhere.
PM Chou: But to deal with Taiwan, we must still have them there.
Dr. Kissinger: I understand but I consider this problem will be solved.
PM Chou: Do you know anything about Taiwan?
Dr. Kissinger: I have never been in Taiwan. Only Mr. Holdridge of my staff. I only know what I read in diplomatic and other reports.[Page 423]
If we are looking at the future in an historical context, and if we want to reduce some of the chaos in the world, then I believe that in relations among large countries the United States will be your supporter and not your opponent.
As I pointed out yesterday, we will not participate in efforts to lasso you. Now, as long as I am talking about Japan, I might as well comment on news reports I got this morning about remarks which Secretary Laird is supposed to have made in Japan.14
If he was accurately reported to have said that Japan should look to its own nuclear weapons for protection, then he was acting contrary to White House policy and you will find that these phrases will never be repeated or implemented, as in the case of the State Department spokesman.
So I repeat the offer I have made to you—that we attempt to discuss with you, if we can find the means, any proposal made by any other large country which could affect your interests, and that we would take your views very seriously. Specifically, I am prepared to give you any information you may wish to know regarding any bilateral negotiations we are having with the Soviet Union on such issues as SALT, so as to alleviate any concerns you might have in this regard. So while these negotiations will continue, we will attempt to conduct them in such a way that they do not increase the opportunity for military pressures against you.
I think that is all I want to say on great power relations.
Should I turn to South Asia or has the Prime Minister any questions?
PM Chou: You may go on to South Asia.
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, with respect to South Asia, I think our analysis is not too different from yours. We have, of course, friendly relations with India, and we have given, in conjunction with other countries, substantial economic assistance. We have not given any military assistance of any kind since 1965. In connection with East Pakistan, we have given some humanitarian aid to help the refugees.
You know from President Yahya Khan the strong friendship we feel for him and his country. We strongly oppose any military action to solve the problems of East Pakistan. And if India takes military action in East Pakistan, we would strongly and publicly disapprove of it. Furthermore, we would under no circumstances encourage Indian military adventures against the People’s Republic of China. Nor would we permit the indirect use of our aid for such purposes.[Page 424]
We want the people of India to develop their own future, but we also want them to leave their neighbors alone.
With respect to arms control, I have understood the Prime Minister’s views. We understand that the People’s Republic of China will not participate in the five power conference. Our own intention is to respond very slowly. Because of the pressure of other countries we may accept it in principle, but we will spend a lot of time on preparations, and we will conduct it in such a way that it offers no framework for pressures against the People’s Republic of China.15
In nuclear matters, we will put principal emphasis on negotiations which concern us and the USSR primarily, mainly the limitation of nuclear strategic arms. And on these, as I have pointed out, we are prepared to keep you informed, as we have attempted through the rather inadequate means of communication we now have.
Now let me say a word about the communications between our two countries, unless the Prime Minister wants to raise questions about what I just said.
PM Chou: Please go ahead.
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, the problem of communications has several aspects.
One, with which, of course, you are familiar, is just physically how do we get in touch with each other. The other, which is bureaucratic, is with whom in our government should you deal. If the Prime Minister can be patient with me for a few minutes, I would like to give him a little explanation of our bureaucratic processes.
We have not had the benefits of the Cultural Revolution which the Prime Minister described at lunch time. So we have a large, somewhat undisciplined, and with respect to publicity, not always reliable bureaucracy. A bureaucracy which, as you found out in Warsaw, operates in a very formalistic manner. Therefore, anything which goes through regular diplomatic channels goes through a very cumbersome bureaucratic process and we cannot guarantee that it will be fully protected from publicity.
Each President deals with this problem in his own way. President Nixon deals with it by handling the most sensitive matters directly in the White House, attempting, in matters of extreme importance, to reach agreements in principle with the senior leaders of other governments and then using the bureaucracy essentially for implementation. Until there is such an agreement in principle, it is his policy not to attempt to control every last thing that every official does. On the other [Page 425] hand, once there is agreement in principle, he makes very certain that it is implemented.
Therefore, if we are to move to an era of cooperation and friendship, it is important to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and Chairman Mao and others to understand with whom you should deal on what issue. It is easy to get a lot of activity started in regular diplomatic channels, but if you want results, the procedures we have now adopted are the best.
As a practical matter, it simply is not possible for me to come to Peking often enough, and impossible to come secretly this way again, to make this our only channel for communication.
Also, although we hope not, it is conceivable that there may be an emergency at some time in which either of us may wish to contact the other immediately, reliably and secretly.
On the other hand, it is not satisfactory—I agree with the Prime Minister—to use a third party, no matter how friendly, for these detailed exchanges.
I was, therefore, wondering whether the Prime Minister could designate some official of the People’s Republic of China in some acceptable capital, such as Paris, or London, or Ottawa, whom we should contact to pass communications for the Prime Minister, and in some rare cases, for Chairman Mao, and who in turn could pass some communications to us directly.
In our government, these communications would be known only to President Nixon and myself, and perhaps to one or two staff members, but in any case to nobody outside the White House.
This does not exclude sending an emissary here on some occasion, although the problem of finding one in whom the President has full confidence and who will respect those channels of communication is not easy.
The best man we have for this purpose is Ambassador Bruce, who is now in Paris for the Vietnam negotiations. But he will retire from there soon, and after that he might be available for some mission such as this. That can also only be occasional.
For other normal matters, we can use any embassy convenient to you, Warsaw or anywhere else. But we consider that a subsidiary problem.
That is all I have on the subject of communications, but I would be grateful for the Prime Minister’s reaction.
PM Chou: I would like to ask Your Excellency what you meant when you said you might send Ambassador Bruce on some rare occasion to Peking. Would you make it public?
Dr. Kissinger: We could make it public. We have no specific proposal, but the Prime Minister said if I could not come, we could send [Page 426] somebody we could trust. That would be Ambassador Bruce, and he could come perfectly openly.
But openness introduces an element of bureaucracy and he would not have quite as much latitude with you as I have enjoyed. But he is still a very good man.
PM Chou: He would have to report to the bureaucratic apparatus.
Dr. Kissinger: He could separate his reporting but have to do some for the bureaucracy. He would also have to bring interpreters, etc. It is thus more difficult to control than the other means I have suggested.
PM Chou: Is the Civil Service System in the United States as strict as that in Britain? It seems to be more liberal in the U.S. than in Britain.
Dr. Kissinger: It is much more liberal and less disciplined.
I have spoken with great frankness to the Prime Minister.
PM Chou: So I told you of our transformation during lunch. We do not cover up the facts of our transformation.
When your President comes and talks to Chairman Mao he will speak much more. We sometimes wonder whether we can talk about such things. But Chairman Mao speaks completely at his will.
Dr. Kissinger: That is a sign of great inward strength.
PM Chou: That is true and that is something we are not up to.
Maybe you have not had time to read the editorial on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. I will send you the English or French copy and you can look it over while you are resting. It is the summary of the struggle between the two lines in our party over the past 50 years. It is most instructional. Our party has gone through many trials and tribulations. Our party has gone through many victories and defeats, twistings and turnings, and more victories and defeats to final victory. The correct line of the party was replaced by a mistaken line which was surmounted. Then another mistaken, then another correct, line. Then even after we won one great victory, we were defeated again. Finally, the bogus reactionary line was defeated, and we won the final victory of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
An individual is bound to experience success and failure. So it is with the party. Only then can we surmount our experiences and continue to advance.
Our country was fortunate to have found such a great leader with tremendous strength to carry us through so many great struggles. The Chairman has been leading us since the founding of the party. Fifty years have passed. But in this process there were several occasions when persons in the party excluded Chairman Mao from the top leadership and carried out a mistaken line, but they were defeated.[Page 427]
So we don’t care if the leadership makes mistakes, so long as the cadres want revolution. Leaders will surely come who will follow the correct line.
If the masses do not want a revolution, it is not possible for a revolutionary leader to arise. Man is influenced by his time and his environment. There have been times in the history of the Chinese Communist Party when the leadership was very bad. But the revolutionary momentum did not fail to advance because of that.
The first leader was Chen Tu-hsin, who went with the Trotskyites and is now dead. Then, sometime later, there was Wang Ming, who first had leftist tendencies, then rightist deviation, and now has become the biggest traitor and renegade. He is now in Moscow. He was trained by the Russians and has returned to Moscow.
The third was a man who caused a split in our armed forces. He was known as Chang Kuo-tao. Your CIA knows him.16
Mr. Holdridge: I have met him.
PM Chou: He served as a living dictionary for a time. I am sorry to say that it was only after 17 years in the party that he went against it and went to Chiang Kai-shek. During the Long March he commanded quite large sections of the Red Army, but when he ran off he could not bring even one soldier. He could only write about his 17 years in the party. He made various distortions and sowed discord. You gave him royalties on his book. Once he used them up he had no more to do. He left Hong Kong. Now he is in Canada.
The next one is Liu Shao-chi. You know something about him.
So in every party, where bourgeois or revolutionary, there are bound to appear some renegades against that party.
We are fortunate that out of our great people has risen the great leader Chairman Mao. So in this sense we agree to have President Nixon come to China and to have conversations with Chairman Mao.
After President Nixon expressed a desire to come, this was put forward by Chairman Mao himself. At that time the President said he might come in his capacity as President, or maybe after he had retired. In fact, President Nixon even said that his daughter might spend her [Page 428] honeymoon here. Shortly after your President said that, our message was sent to you.
That is all I have to say to you.
Dr. Kissinger: On the issue of communications, I am not clear. I will turn to the Summit later. On communications, what is your pleasure? Is there any place where it is possible for the White House to leave messages with you other than through the courtesy of President Yahya Khan?
PM Chou: We will study this matter and tell you either tonight or tomorrow morning. Anyway, we will certainly establish some means of contact.
Dr. Kissinger: If the President is to come here, we must agree beforehand on procedures, an agenda and other things. We would prefer to do this through private channels rather than publicly.
PM Chou: That’s right.
Dr. Kissinger: Would you like to say something on the matter first?
PM Chou: Communications?
Dr. Kissinger: No, on the visit of the President and the communiqué.
PM Chou: The communiqué will be covered tonight or tomorrow.
Dr. Kissinger: It sounds like one of my staff meetings. On my staff only the masochists are left.
PM Chou: Would you like to say something about the President’s visit?
Dr. Kissinger: On the question of the visit, I would like to say, as I pointed out in my discussion, that to move toward a relationship of cooperation and ultimately friendship between the PRC and the U.S. is an historic opportunity.
Therefore, President Nixon welcomes this invitation and is in principle prepared to accept the invitation.
On the basis of the discussions we have had, I am prepared to proceed with discussions concerning details. But since you are the host, I think the specific suggestion of when it would be convenient should come from you.
PM Chou: We first knew that President Nixon wanted to visit China when he announced it publicly in an interview to the press. That is, he expressed his wish. However, for the Chinese Government to issue an invitation, it would be a formal invitation. That, of course, as we have made clear, is a serious matter. As Your Excellency said in his analysis of developing events, we estimate the timing might be a bit later. That is after a number of matters have been thrashed out, and various things have occured.
This raises the following questions.
For example, has your President ever considered the possibility of visiting the Soviet Union, or having leaders of the Soviet Union come [Page 429] to the United States, or to have the President and the leaders of the Soviet Union meet somewhere else?
If there is such a possibility, it would be best for President Nixon and the Soviet Union to meet before President Nixon visits China.
We are not afraid of a big turmoil. With the objective development of events, this might be possible. But we would not want to deliberately create tensions.
You saw, just throwing a ping-pong ball has thrown the Soviet Union into such consternation. So many Americans going to the Soviet Union, and Russians to America, did not create such a stir. We paid no special attention to that.
Dr. Kissinger: I will be candid. This subject has been discussed. The President has received an invitation to visit Moscow.
As you know from your own dealings with the Soviet Union, there is a tendency on the part of Soviet leaders to attempt to squeeze every advantage out of any situation. (Chou laughs.)
Therefore, after extending the invitation, certain conditions were attached which we can meet as a matter of fact, but as a question of principle it is now held in abeyance.
It is not a question that we cannot meet them, but that we believe that if the President talks to the Head of State of another government it must be on its own merits. The same is true in your case.
But the principle of a meeting between the President and the Soviet leaders has been accepted. The visit [invitation?] has been extended by the Soviet leaders and a visit may still take place within the next 6 months.
PM Chou: In that case, we might set the date of the President’s visit sometime in the summer of next year, say after May 1. That might be a more appropriate time for your President.
Dr. Kissinger: One difficulty with this is that after May the political campaign begins in America. While it would be advantageous from a political point of view to have the visit during that season, I think, frankly, for our mutual interest, that we would not start our relationship under the suspicion that it has this short-term motivation.
So it should be somewhat earlier; a few months earlier would be better than in the summer. March or April.
PM Chou: Fine. I will report this to Chairman Mao and then give you a reply. But you do agree to the principle that it would be good for the President first to visit Moscow and then China? Would this be better for you?
Dr. Kissinger: The problem in our relations with the Soviet Union is different from the problem of our relations with the People’s Republic of China.[Page 430]
I understand your hesitation to begin with. In our relations with the Soviet Union we have a number of concrete issues but no overwhelming political issues.
PM Chou: Much more concrete issues.
Dr. Kissinger: But no overwhelming philosophic issues. You have had your own experience in negotiations with the Soviet Union, so I need not describe it. They lend themselves less well to meetings at a very high level because they always get lost in a great amount of detail. And some very petty detail.
Our relations with the People’s Republic of China are at an historic turning point which requires the intervention of top leaders who can set a basic direction and then let the details he worked out later.
So the problem is that with the Soviet Union we can do a lot of business in regular ways, while with the People’s Republic of China we can do the most important business really only between Chairman Mao and the President. That is the difference. (Chou nods.)
But in principle, I repeat, there is a formal agreement that makes clear we are prepared to meet with the Soviet leaders, and they have expressed their willingness.
In all honesty, I cannot promise you it will happen no matter when we set a date. We shall try, but we will not meet prior conditions either with Moscow or with Peking; but you haven’t made any prior conditions.
PM Chou: That’s right. We agree.
What is your thinking on an announcement of the visit?
Dr. Kissinger: What visit?
PM Chou: Would it cover only your visit or also President Nixon’s visit?
Dr. Kissinger: We could announce my visit and say that Chairman Mao has extended an invitation to President Nixon and he has accepted, either in principle or at a fixed time, next spring.
What is your pleasure? I think there are advantages in doing both together.
PM Chou: Then would it be possible for the two sides to designate some of our men to draft an announcement?
Dr. Kissinger: We should draft in the context we have been discussing.
PM Chou: Both visits.
Dr. Kissinger: That would be all right.
PM Chou: We shall try it. For our side, it can be Ambassador Huang Hua and the Marshal.[Page 431]
Dr. Kissinger: Could I say myself? This is undemocratic centralism. (Laughter from the Chinese.) The Prime Minister has given me an idea at lunch and now I have to see how I can reduce my staff to two.
PM Chou: I have an appointment at six o’clock that will last until ten o’clock. My office is free to you. Or you can go to your residence for discussions. You can have supper and rest and a film.
Dr. Kissinger: We will meet at 10:00.
PM Chou: Yes, I will come to your residence. We will work deep into the night.
Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister keeps hours which make me look like a softie. But I want to work as long as is necessary.
PM Chou: Yes, I understand.
- 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 Great Hall of the People.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- Submitted to President Nixon on April 26, 1971, and published in part in Department of State Bulletin, August 2, 1971, pp. 128–136. See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume V.↩
- Apparent reference to the efforts of Sainteny and Walters to deliver messages to PRC representatives in Paris. No record of Walters’ contact with the Chinese in 1970 has been found. See Documents 89 and 90 and footnote 2 thereto.↩
- All ellipses in the source text.↩
- A handwritten correction changes “in” to “is.”↩
- Apparent reference to the joint statement made by Nixon and Sato, November 21, 1969. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 953–957.↩
- Nixon drew parallel lines beside this paragraph.↩
- Nixon underlined the final clause in this sentence.↩
- Nixon drew parallel lines beside this paragraph.↩
- Nixon drew parallel lines beside this paragraph.↩
- Nixon drew a line beside this paragraph.↩
- Nixon drew parallel lines beside this paragraph.↩
- Apparent reference to statements made by Laird during and after his trip to Japan and Korea. See Takashi Oka, “Laird Advises Japanese to Spur Defense,” The New York Times, July 8, 1971, p. A–3.↩
- Nixon drew a line beside this paragraph.↩
- CCP, purged from major posts in 1927 and expelled from the party in 1929; Wang Ming (Wang Ming), pseudonym of Ch’en Shaoyu (Chen Shaoyu), CCP representative to the Comintern from 1931 to 1937, generally powerless after his return to China, returned to the USSR in the mid1950s; and Chang Kuo-t’ao (Zhang Guotao), founding member of the CCP who defected to the Chinese Nationalists in 1938, then fled to Hong Kong after the establishment of the PRC in 1949.↩