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181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China 1

27. For Ambassador. Please deliver soonest following letter from President Nixon to President Chiang Kai-shek. Signed original follows by pouch. USG does not intend make text public and requests GRC respect confidentiality of message. GRC may, however, announce receipt of letter of assurance from President. Further, Department will consider possibility of authorizing release certain extracts from letter if GRC [Page 635]wishes to do so. These extracts should be cabled back for clearance prior to release. Signed original is dated Dec 31.

Begin message. Dear Mr. President: As I prepare for my forthcoming trip to meet and talk with leaders in Peking and Moscow, I would like to share with you some thoughts concerning the conversations I expect to have there.

It is my earnest hope that the visit to Peking will contribute to the development of a more stable and peaceful situation in East Asia and in the Pacific area. I recognize, of course, that the principles which move the leaders in Peking are in many cases diametrically opposite to our own. I hope, however, that my conversations with them will be a step toward relaxing the longstanding tensions between Peking and Washington.

Gradually and over a longer period, such discussion can result in a reduction of tensions in Asia, which would benefit all nations in that area.

You may be absolutely certain, Mr. President, that in taking steps toward the goal of a peaceful Asia, the United States will not overlook the interest of its allies and friends nor seek any accommodations at their expense. I have very much in mind the interests of your government. We intend to honor all of our treaty commitments, including that with the Republic of China. As I said in assuming office, and have frequently repeated since, the United States has no intention of disengaging from Asia.

The talks in Peking will focus on bilateral questions affecting that government and ourselves, of which there are many. Given the existence of the deep and complex differences which exist in our relationship, the question of establishing formal diplomatic relations between our two governments most assuredly will not arise.

The events which are now taking place in East Asia will have a profound effect on the nations of the Pacific for the remainder of this century. I look to your continued understanding of our purposes, Mr. President, to help ensure that these events will move us all in the direction of a stable and enduring international order.

It is my hope that my visit to Moscow in May 1972 will also contribute to greater international stability. In Moscow, as in Peking, the United States will not deal over the heads of its friends and allies in any matter where their security interests might be involved. For example, there have been no, and there will be no, bilateral United States–Soviet negotiations on mutual withdrawal of forces from Europe. I hope, however, that some concrete progress might be made, either before or during my Moscow visit, in such bilateral areas as arms control and economic relations.

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May I assure you, as always, of my highest personal regards and warm good wishes for your continued excellent health.

Sincerely,

Richard Nixon

End message.2

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/NIXON. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Text received from the White House on December 15.
  2. McConaughy delivered the message to Acting Foreign Minister H. K. Yang on January 3. (Telegram 5 from Taipei, January 3: ibid.) On January 9 Yang gav. McConaughy a copy of Chiang’s January 6 reply, which reads in part: “I am confident that, with your wisdom, rich political experience, and your thorough understanding of the true nature of the Chinese Communist regime, you would certainly have full cognizance of Peiping’s treacherous tactics and intrigues in its international activities, and would not be beguiled. I am also confident that in all decisions vis-à-vis the Chinese Communists you will not only take into account both the traditional friendship and common interests of our two countries, but also bear in mind the long-term national interest of the United States and her position in world history.” (Telegram 132 from Taipei, January 10; ibid.) The signed original was delivered by Ambassador Shen on January11. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 751, Presidential Correspondence File, Republic of China, Corres. Pres. Chiang Kai-shek) Shen apparently delivered the letter in his meeting with Rogers, where they discussed the summit in San Clemente between Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Sato. (Telegram 7012 to Taipei, January 12; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/NIXON) Kissinger informed Nixon of the contents of Chiang’s response on January 11. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 38, President’s Daily Briefs)