Learn about the beta

191. Message From the Government of the United States to the Government of the People’s Republic of China1

The U.S. side would like to comment on the Chinese message of February 11, 1972.2

1.
As the Chinese side is aware, the U.S. side has voluntarily undertaken to keep the People’s Republic of China informed of significant events that could affect the People’s Republic of China. This has been done without any request for reciprocity but rather with the intention of placing the relationship between our two peoples on a new basis. The U.S. side has meticulously implemented this unilateral undertaking concerning several areas of the world. Given this general policy it was natural for the U.S. side to continue this procedure with respect to a U.S. peace overture in Indochina.
2.
As for previous conversations, both sides have undoubtedly kept careful records; they make clear what transpired on specific issues such as the degree of specificity concerning the U.S. approach in its eight point plan. There is no need to continue further exchanges on this matter.
3.
The U.S. side would like to reiterate that it has engaged in these exchanges not to enmesh the People’s Republic of China but rather to symbolize the new approach necessary to effect the fundamental change in relationships that it is U.S. policy to pursue. At the same time, this attempt to bring about trust requires a measure of mutual confidence and becomes difficult if isolated phrases assume an exaggerated significance which was never intended.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The date was handwritten. Another handwritten notation at the top of the page reads: “Gen. Walters, Per our conversation the following message should be passed to the Chinese.” According to Walters’ undated memorandum for the record, he passed this message to PRC diplomats in Paris at 6 p.m. on February 17. (Ibid.) See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 87.
  2. See Document 190.