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188. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Defense Attaché in France (Walters)1

Please request appointment at first opportunity with Chinese Ambassador and convey to him the following message:2

“The U.S. side wishes to respond as rapidly as feasible to the question raised in the response of the People’s Republic of China to the U.S. communication dealing with its eight-point peace proposal for Southeast Asia.3 The U.S. side affirms that there is no reciprocal obligation between the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the United States with respect to this problem. The use of the term ‘commitment’ was intended to convey that in Dr. Kissinger’s discussions with the Prime Minister, he had revealed that the U.S. side had developed [Page 657]an eight-point plan for the settlement of the conflict in Southeast Asia and that at an appropriate time, it might be published. Dr. Kissinger had also pointed out that pending publication of its eight points, the U.S. side could not divulge the details of its proposal to the People’s Republic of China but that it would inform it of the details as soon as appropriate. Thus, the term ‘commitment’ merely referred to the fact that the U.S. side was completing that portion of the conversation dealing with the eight-point peace proposal. The term ‘commitment’ in this context connotes a unilateral promise rather than reciprocal obligation. Nevertheless, the U.S. Government believes that it has offered through its eight-point proposal a fair and honorable formula for the solution of the conflict in Southeast Asia.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. By wire. A handwritten notation on the document reads: “WH 20114 [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]
  2. According to Walters’ 1-page memorandum for the record, he delivered this message to Huang Chen in Paris on February 1. (Ibid.) See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 84.
  3. See Documents 186 and 187.