156. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • September 13 meeting with the Chinese Ambassador in Paris2

I met with Huang Chen, the Chinese Ambassador in Paris, for almost two hours on September 13 before my other session, primarily to lay the groundwork for your trip to Peking and my interim visit. This meeting, the third that we have had, was once again extremely cordial.

Announcement of Trips

The Ambassador read an oral note from Peking, the full text of which is attached at Tab A.3 In response to our messages of August 16 and September 1 the Chinese made the following points:4

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  • —They propose a four-day visit to Peking to make concrete arrangements for your trip. This should begin on October 20 (Peking time). I accepted this as it matched our proposals for length and timing.5
  • —The Chinese proposed announcing my visit on October 14. I made clear why we had suggested September 21 or 22: in addition to making the necessary arrangements for my travel, we preferred to announce my trip before Gromyko came to the U.S. on his annual visit to the UN. I explained that we did not want our announcement with the Chinese to look like a reaction to Gromyko’s visit, during which the Soviets might well pin down your trip to Moscow, now that the conditions for it have been met in various negotiations. I said that I would have to check with you regarding the October 14 date for the announcement and asked them to let us know if they had any different views (i.e. moving it up) as a result of this discussion.
  • —The Chinese proposed that the date of your trip be fixed during my visit rather than being included in the October announcement. I did not dispute this, but pointed out that given the complexity of your schedule we would want to know if they had any date in mind other than the two we had given them (February 21 and March 16); that it would be very difficult to arrange another completely different date; and that we would hold open the two alternatives we had suggested pending my trip to Peking. The Ambassador thought that this problem could be easily solved during my visit.
  • —I said that we would respond to the Chinese proposals and suggested text for an announcement within the next few days.
  • Comment. I believe the Chinese think that setting a date now for your trip would have overtones of collusion. They prefer to have a date fixed as a result of my trip so that they can say it was for that purpose. I see no problem in waiting until late October and giving the interim trip a concrete outcome. Thus I think we can accept the text of the proposed Chinese announcement.
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From their point of view a late date for the announcement puts it beyond their national day (October 1) and that of the Nationalists (October 10), and cuts down on the period of speculation. They are, of course, unaware of our October 12 announcement.6 We have complex scheduling problems, and I want to discuss personally with you our response to the proposed date of October 14.

Preparations for Peking Trips

In order to get the Chinese to do advance thinking, to pave the way for my trip, and to begin to shape a successful outcome for your trip, I gave the Chinese some technical questions and substantive suggestions.

  • —On the technical side, I explained and handed over lists of questions which I had gone over with Bob Haldeman and a few others on the White House Staff. I suggested that my party would number about 10 people, both substantive and technical. I explained the responsibilities of each of the latter (advance man, press, White House Communications Agency, Secret Service). I said we were prepared to begin the technical advance work later, but it was preferable to get going on this during my visit. I added that we believed that a minimum of 100 to 150 press were needed for your trip and asked for their views both as to minimum and maximum numbers. They seemed clearly taken aback even by the minimum number. For this reason I did not raise the issue of the ground station.7
  • —I outlined the topics that the Prime Minister and I should cover concerning your visit, including: the length (up to seven days); itinerary (Peking and perhaps two other stops); party composition (small working group); and agenda (subjects that Chou and I covered plus more technical issues like trade and exchange programs). I said that private meetings between Chou and me would be necessary for particularly sensitive subjects and that similarly you would want private sessions during your visit.
  • —Among the subjects Chou and I should discuss are the concrete results that could emerge from your trip. I gave as illustrations periodic special envoys between our two countries; a return visit by Chou to the U.S.; agreements we have already made with the Soviet Union such as accidental war and hot line communications; and various types of cultural, scientific, and other exchange programs.
  • —The Ambassador commented that we certainly had thought of everything concerning these trips, a specific indication of the fact that they seem genuinely impressed by our meticulousness.
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Other Topics

  • Romania. I summarized our policy that I had outlined to the Romanian Ambassador and that you would reaffirm personally to him: that the U.S. has a major interest in the independence and autonomous policy of Romania, that we would not contribute to a collusion that would allow another great power to infringe on these principles, and that we would make clear that pressures for military action are not consistent with a relaxation of tensions.
  • Pakistan. I briefly indicated the new assistance we were contemplating for Pakistan, i.e. arranging for debt relief of $75 million and providing 75 percent of the $250–300 million that would be needed for relief in East Pakistan.
  • Taiwan. In view of intense press speculation (in particular concerning the UN question), I said that we stood by all that I had said on this issue to Chou when I was in Peking.
  • Kissinger Trip to Japan. I noted that the Japanese press speculation of my visiting Japan was wrong and that I had no such plans.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. According to the memorandum of conversation, the meeting was held from 8:45–10:40 a.m. at the PRC Embassy in Paris. (Ibid.) See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 19. Attendees were identical to the August 16 meeting in Paris; see Document 155.
  3. Attached but not printed. The note’s contents are essentially recounted in the following three paragraphs. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 20.
  4. Apparent reference to the August 16 meeting in Paris. On September 1 Walters met with PRC Ambassador Huang Chen. Based on instructions received from Haig on August 31, Walters informed the Chinese that an Accidental War Agreement would be signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on September 20 and that the United States hoped to announce Kissinger’s and Nixon’s upcoming trips to the PRC on September 20, 21, or 22. Walters also explained that the United States wanted to make these announcements prior to the visits of the Japanese Emperor who was scheduled to meet Nixon in Alaska on September 26 and other state visits in late September. On September 3 Walters and the Chinese met again, and Walters passed on a message concerning future negotiations with the Soviets regarding incidents at sea. Haig’s instructions an. Walters’ reports on these meetings are in National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Documents 1921.
  5. On September 13 Haig instructed Walters to inform the PRC that the 4-day visit beginning October 20 and the Chinese version of the trip announcement were acceptable, but that the United States hoped the announcement would be made on September 23, 24, or October 4. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges) The Chinese informed Walters on September 22 that the announcement would be made on October 5 because “the United States will, around September 23, put forward to the United Nations General Assembly its draft resolution designed to create ‘Two Chinas’ which the Chinese Government firmly opposes.” (Attachment to Walters’ memorandum for record, September 23; ibid.) See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Documents 24 and 25. On September 22 Bush submitted the U.S. draft resolution for consideration by the General Assembly. (Department of State Bulletin, October 18, 1971, p. 425–427) See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. V, Document 412.
  6. At a press conference on October 12, the President announced plans for a Soviet- American summit in May 1972. (Department of State Bulletin, November 1, 1971, p. 473)
  7. Apparent reference to communications equipment required for Nixon’s visit.