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

SUBJECT

  • My March 14, 1972 Meeting with the Chinese Ambassador, in New York

I met with the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, Huang Hua, for an hour and 20 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, March 14, in New York City.2 I had requested this meeting to cover New York City security and real estate concerns which they had raised, and other miscellaneous topics, including Dobrynin’s information that we had given the Chinese military information on Soviet deployments; the functioning of the Paris channel; and Congressional visits to the PRC. At the end of the meeting, the Ambassador—somewhat ill at ease—presented a relatively mild verbal PRC complaint about our alleged bombing of North Vietnam. I said that their information was inaccurate and that we would not escalate unless Hanoi obliged us to do so. Following are the highlights of the session which was otherwise friendly.

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Death of Chinese Official in New York

In early February, a young low-ranking member of the Chinese UN mission in New York died from apparent nicotine poisoning.3 The Chinese are convinced that it was foul play. (It may well have been, but the police now suggest the possibility that the man mistakenly gave himself an overdose while taking it for medical purposes.) They asked us last week for increased protection and a complete investigation by the Police Department once they have the full medical report.

I opened this meeting by assuring them that we will do everything possible to find out the possible culprit and increase the security of Chinese mission personnel. At my instruction, Ambassador Bush has talked to Police Chief Murphy in New York who assures us that a full- scale investigation and increased surveillance measures are being undertaken. We have also contacted FBI Director Hoover to assist the New York police in this effort. I told Ambassador Huang of these measures and suggested that he meet immediately with Bush and representatives of the New York police and FBI. The Ambassador agreed to try to keep this incident as low-key as possible. I believe they will continue to be restrained, and I will continue to monitor developments to make sure that the Chinese are given full cooperation.

New Location for Chinese UN Mission

I have been assisting the Chinese in their efforts to find a new location for their mission. They have now apparently struck a deal for a Lincoln Motor Inn on the West Side and hope to move in promptly once a contract has been signed. Here, too, they have appreciated White House efforts on their behalf.

Soviet Allegations

I told Ambassador Huang, without elaboration, that Dobrynin has alleged that Chinese sources had told Moscow that during my October visit I had given the Chinese information on Soviet troop [Page 852]“dislocations” and missile installations along the Sino–Soviet border.4 I added that John Scali had picked up similar information (although keyed to my July visit) from an ABC executive who had talked to a Radio Moscow correspondent in New York. I said that I had told Dobrynin that I would not discuss any conversations with the Chinese, but that in any event this information was complete nonsense and a provocation. I added that it may have come from Taiwan sources or represent a Soviet fishing expedition. I noted that Prime Minister Chou and Marshal Yeh might wish to look into this matter and we would find interesting any comments they might have. Ambassador Huang was completely inscrutable during this exchange.

Moscow Summit

I informed Huang of this Thursday’s announcement that you will be going to Moscow on May 22 and gave him further tentative planning. I said that I had turned down a Russian invitation to advance your trip in Moscow, and that we were dealing with Dobrynin here on arrangements. I pointed out again that the Soviet tactic was to have agreements in many fields come to a head in May, and I briefly reviewed some of the technical negotiations and ministerial travels underway or in prospect in coming months. I reaffirmed that we stood ready to make any agreements with Peking that we concluded with Moscow.

The South Asian Subcontinent

I told Huang that Indian Ambassador Jha had probed us on the meaning of the Shanghai Communiqué.5 I said that I told Jha that I wouldn’t speak for the Chinese, but the US position was that we reject the hegemony of any outside country over the subcontinent or of any country within the subcontinent. I added that you were now planning the recognition of Bangladesh during the first week of April, but we had not yet informed the bureaucracy so that we could entertain PRC comments with regard to timing.6 I explained that I was filling in the Chinese on conversations with the Soviets and the Indians so as to head off any distorted versions which those countries might give to the Chinese themselves.

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Watson Channel and Travel to the PRC

I outlined Senators Mansfield and Scott’s questions on their travel to the PRC and said that Watson would present Mansfield’s letter in Paris at the next meeting on Monday. I said that we would forward a letter from Speaker Albert a week or so later requesting an invitation for Boggs and Ford (which, as you know, they have already agreed to in principle). Huang indicated that the PRC wishes to continue the system of Americans applying for visa applications at the nearest convenient embassy, in most cases Ottawa. We will have Watson raise this formally on Monday and get confirmation from his counterpart.7

PRC Complaint about US Bombing

After I had run through my business, Ambassador Huang somewhat sheepishly read a verbal message from his government complaining about alleged US bombing of North Vietnam since your visit to China. I consider their message relatively pro forma in language; also it is in the third person and in a channel where they know it will get no further distribution. He did not wish to even hand it over, but I requested it in order to get the precise language, assuring him that only you would see it (text at Tab A).8 The note alleges our recent bombing, said that the Chinese Government “cannot but express grave concern” over this and reaffirms their solidarity with the Indochinese people.

I responded by saying that we had checked into similar allegations which we had gotten from the North Vietnamese and found them to be untrue. I said that we would not escalate military activity unless forced to do so by North Vietnamese offensives. Since he had raised the subject, I pointed out that the North Vietnamese had postponed a scheduled meeting with us in Paris and opined that this was a curious way of proceeding.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. A 17-page memorandum of conversation of Kissinger’s March 14 (4:40–6 p.m.) meeting in New York is ibid. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 114.
  3. Jonathan Howe of the NSC staff and Huang Hua. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges) On June 7 Bush met with Huang Hua to report that “the investigation is at a standstill but that the case is still open.” Bush pointed out that the investigation had been hampered by the lack of access to PRC representatives for fingerprinting or interviews. Bush concluded: “It seems unlikely that Ambassador Huang or his staff will raise this case again with us in the immediate future unless Peking’s reaction to the report given by Ambassador Bush is stronger than that apparently felt personally by Ambassador Huang.” (Airgram A–925 from USUN, June 19; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 17 CHICOMUS) See also Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 113.
  4. Kissinger met with Dobrynin on March 9 and 10. Documentation is scheduled for publication ibid., volume XIV.
  5. For information on Kissinger’s talks with Ambassador Jha, see ibid., vol. E–7, Document 233.
  6. In telegram 55123 to Paris, March 30, Watson was instructed to inform the PRC representatives that the United States would announce its intention of recognizing Bangladesh on April 4. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS)
  7. See Document 214.
  8. The attached statement reads in part: “In the fortnight since the conclusion of President Nixon’s visit, the United States has carried out incessant, large-scale bombings against the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. On March 10, the U.S. Government further proclaimed the week from March 26 to April 1 a so-called ‘national week of concern for prisoners of war’. The Chinese Government cannot but express grave concern over this. The Chinese Government would like to state frankly that the United States will not be able to attain its goal by this line of action. If the U.S. Government truly wants to bring about an early release of its prisoners of war, it should accept the seven-point proposal and the two points of elaboration put forward by Viet Nam and enter into earnest negotiations with the Vietnamese side.” The statement concluded that the Chinese people “can only express their indignation and support the three Indochinese peoples in their war of resistance through to the end. We hope that the U.S. Government will give serious consideration to this view.” A notation on the statement indicates the President read it. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 114.