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[Page 1005]

236. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Winston Lord, NSC Staff
  • Jonathan T. Howe, NSC Staff
  • Ambassador Huang Hua, PRC Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Mrs. Shih Yen-hua, Interpreter

Ambassador Huang: Did you just arrive?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. The People’s Republic is the only country where there are no technical breakdowns.

Ambassador Huang: You are lucky. (laughter)

Dr. Kissinger: At least the airplanes take off in your country.

The President has written a letter to the Prime Minister thanking him for the reception that we were given. It is in his own handwriting. (He hands it to Ambassador Huang attached at Tab A.)2

Ambassador Huang: We will forward it.

Dr. Kissinger: His calligraphy is not exactly the same.

We had a number of items I promised the Prime Minister to let you know about, and since I am going to the West Coast I thought we should meet today. I wanted to thank you on behalf of all my colleagues for the really courteous reception that we received. It added to the warm feelings we already had towards your country.

The Prime Minister raised with me the safety of Prince Sihanouk when he travels and asked me whether we could see whether there is any information on plots to kidnap him. I promised him to do so. Here is an interim report which I received from the Central Intelligence Agency which you can read and I have to have back. (He hands over [Page 1006]the memorandum at Tab B.) It is only a preliminary report. (Ambassador Huang and Mrs. Shih read the memorandum.)3

We have instructed our people that if they find anything, first, to inform us and then to use all their influence to prevent it from happening. Your Ambassador in Paris will remember him (referring to General Walters who signed the memorandum).

Ambassador Huang: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: We have to infiltrate a few pro-PRC people in our government.

Secondly, your Prime Minister told me that German Christian Democratic Union leader Schroeder had been invited to the People’s Republic. Because I know him very well I told the Prime Minister I would establish contact with him and advise him to be as honest as possible when he talks to the Prime Minister. I have been in contact and I will see him. I have to do it somewhat delicately so that he requests the appointment with me rather than my inviting him. But it’s been done. I just wanted the Prime Minister to know.

Ambassador Huang: You have not met him yet?

Dr. Kissinger: I will inform you when I meet him. I will meet him in the next couple of weeks, and in any event before he comes to the People’s Republic.

When we were in the People’s Republic, we went to see again some treasures in the Forbidden City which you showed us.

On my last day Assistant Minister Chang mentioned to me that you were concerned about the listings for the ground stations by Intelsat.

Apparently they are listing the Taiwan station as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Shanghai station as the People’s Republic of China (Shanghai). You know the problem. He asked me if there is something I can do to change this to China (Taiwan) and China (Shanghai). Officially we can do nothing since it is an international organization, but unofficially we can do something. It may take a month or two so that it looks like an administrative decision and not a government action, but it will be done in the very near future.

[Page 1007]

Then you have a visit this week from Congressmen Boggs and Ford. You will have a merry time with one of them when you serve a lot of mao tai.

Ambassador Huang: They are already in Peking.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. We gave some very general information about my trip. They may imply that they know a lot, particularly if you treat them as well as you did us. They don’t know anything of any consequence. We told them nothing. In fact we told them less than what I said in my press conference (June 24). Do you have it?

Ambassador Huang: No.

Dr. Kissinger: I said nothing in a half an hour. (He hands over a transcript of the June 24 press conference.)4 They were told less by far than what is in this.

The Prime Minister raised with us the question of arms smuggling, including from Taiwan. We are checking into that. We don’t have any report yet.

(For the next 15 minutes there was a discussion of some special matters which are reported in a separate memorandum of conversation. The discussion then picked up as follows.)5

Dr. Kissinger: I want to go over two other things before I leave. Could I interrupt this discussion for a minute?

Ambassador Huang: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: One, we understand that there are some negotiations going on between the Boeing Company and your government for the sale of airplanes. It requires some export licenses. We have done this and are doing it quietly without a public announcement. But the licenses will be published in a register and we cannot exclude that someone going through the register will find it, and I wanted you to be aware of this. This is not done in order to create an embarrassment to you, if it does happen, and I am not sure that it will happen.6

[Page 1008]

Secondly, we … a member of the Rockefeller organization, has been approached by Henry Liu.7 Rockefeller organization and said that your government might look with some favor on an enterprise between him (Liu) and the Rockefeller interests in China. Before the Rockefeller people do anything, they asked me whether Liu was operating on his own or whether he is being encouraged by you. If you tell me that you have no interest we will tell the Rockefeller people to ignore him. If you do have an interest we will then go ahead, and they will deal with it by their own criteria.

Ambassador Huang: We have no information on this question.

Dr. Kissinger: There is no hurry. Would you like to check into it?

Ambassador Huang: Yes, we will check it.

Dr. Kissinger: We are not dealing as the government, but simply as a personal friend of the Rockefeller family. We just didn’t want to embarrass you or him.

Ambassador Huang: What was Mr. Liu’s suggestion?

Dr. Kissinger: He didn’t make any suggestions except to say that he has approached a Mr. Warren Lindquist. Here, you can read this. (He hands over the memorandum at Tab C. Ambassador Huang and Mrs. Shih study it carefully and write down notes.)8

I am not raising this as a governmental matter. (Mr. Lord signals Dr. Kissinger that they are also reading the telcon attached to the memo.) What is this? (He takes back the memo.) That’s just my conversation.

Ambassador Huang: Well, we will check it.

Dr. Kissinger: There is no need to give me an answer. You can let nature take its course. We are not interested. But if you want to say something to me or to let Mr. Marshall know, either way.

Ambassador Huang: Up to now we know nothing about this, I personally.

Dr. Kissinger: We have no interest. We’ll just leave it alone. The only reason I raised it is on the off chance that you are interested and then we will encourage it.

There are two other things.

The evening before I left, looking through my notes, while we were on the boat ride with the Prime Minister at the Summer Palace, he made some remarks about the need to accelerate the normalization of our relations.9 Since it was in a social context it didn’t permit discussion. [Page 1009]When I thought about it, frankly I don’t know what he was talking about. If he has any specific proposal we will look at it very sympathetically. We have made all the proposals that we can think of, but if the Chinese side has any specific project we will be willing to discuss it.

The second problem has to do with Vietnam.

Ambassador Huang: The other matter came up on the boat trip?

Dr. Kissinger: In a general discussion. It had nothing to do with Vietnam.

We had a full discussion on Vietnam, and I can add nothing to our general position. Since my return there was an enigmatic broadcast from Hanoi that new forces were entering their country. What that means we don’t know.

Ambassador Huang: New American forces?

Dr. Kissinger: No, new allied forces. And I feel duty bound to point out that we understand the requirement that you feel to give support and we have never raised any question about that. But if any organized Chinese units appeared in Vietnam, even if only support units, that would put us in a very difficult position in terms of our relationship. We have no evidence that this is the case, nor did the Prime Minister indicate this could happen. I raise it only because of what Hanoi said, not what you said, and they were not referring to you.

(To Mrs. Shih) You don’t have to translate it.

Ambassador Huang: No.

Dr. Kissinger: Finally, again with respect to Vietnam, you might tell the Prime Minister we are checking the evidence he gave us very carefully and are tracing the fragments of the bombs. We have traced one as far as the Philippines. Now the next step is to see what carrier it was on. If we find responsible people then they will be punished.

I might also call the Prime Minister’s attention to the New York Times yesterday which called attention to the specific regulations on operations in proximity to the Chinese border that our planes now fly [Page 1010]in order to avoid unfortunate events.10 And that is the result of the phone call we made to you. I didn’t give him the exact details, but you might call his attention to it. That is all I have. (He indicates that Commander Howe will continue the discussions.)

We will be on the West Coast for two weeks, but Commander Howe will be in Washington. General Haig will be with me. You can call Commander Howe. If there is any urgent reason simply call the White House and you can reach Mr. Lord, or General Haig or me on the West Coast. They are in direct contact with us.

One final Vietnam matter I wanted the Prime Minister to know about. We have agreed after internal study to resume the plenary sessions with North Vietnam on July 13 and the private meetings a few days afterwards. We will do so on our side with a constructive spirit and an attitude of bringing the war to an end. Our discussions in Peking were one factor leading us to this decision.

Ambassador Huang: I will relay all this.

Dr. Kissinger: Certainly. At this point only North Vietnam knows about this decision though it may be public in the next few days.

I can tell you again that we all have the warmest memories of our visit in the People’s Republic. They made us all feel very comfortable as always. Will you be able to go back on vacation?

Ambassador Huang: I am still waiting for instructions from Peking.

(Dr. Kissinger then left the meeting and Messrs. Howe/Lord remained behind to continue the discussion.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No summary memorandum for the President has been found.
  2. A copy of the 2-page handwritten letter is attached but not printed. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 148.
  3. Attached but not printed is an undated memorandum from Walters to Kissinger that reads in its entirety: “Reference is made to Prince Sihanouk’s present trip to eastern Europe and Africa. A thorough search reveals no information of any sort, not even rumor, that anyone is planning to initiate hostile action against the Prince or interfere with the progress of his trip. A requirement has been sent abroad to areas where such information might become available to report intelligence or rumor that might reflect hostile intent against the Prince or an immediate precedence. Any information received will be passed on to you immediately.”
  4. Not found.
  5. The supplemental memorandum of conversation has not been found. Kissinger’s talking points for this meeting, attached but not printed, contain a short entry: “6. J. Howe Material (separate)”.
  6. In an undated attached memorandum, Hormats informed Haig that the Commerce Department would publish information on the export license. In a June 27 memorandum to Haig, Hormats reported on a meeting attended by himself, Froebe, and three representatives of Boeing. Boeing was negotiating with the PRC to sell 10 707 aircraft, with delivery scheduled to begin in August 1973. The Boeing representatives were also meeting with Representatives Ford and Boggs. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 525, Country Files, Far East, People’s Republic of China, Vol. IV)
  7. Ellipsis in the source text.
  8. Attached but not printed is a June 24 memorandum from Lord and Rodman to Kissinger that discusses Henry Liu and Rockefeller.
  9. In the memorandum of conversation of Chou and Kissinger’s June 22 meeting at the Summer Palace, Kissinger stated: “After the election actually would be a good time to have more talks. Prime Minister Chou: Yes, that will depend on your efforts. Dr. Kissinger: In the election? Prime Minister Chou: Including that. I had a double meaning. One is that you should make your efforts to get your President re-elected. The second is your efforts to normalize relations between China and the United States. Because if you consistently refuse to normalize relations and then if I follow you at the Palace, the masses will be cursing me—they won’t applaud me when I come if that happens. You understand, of course, the sentiments of the people. Dr. Kissinger: Oh, yes, but I think we are making major efforts to normalize relations. Prime Minister Chou: Yes, but they haven’t been enough yet.” A bracketed note indicates that Prime Minister Chou then switched the discussion to the scenery there and in Hangchow. (National Archives. Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 97, Country Files–Far East, China, Dr. Kissinger’s Visit July 1972 Memcons Originals))
  10. The New York Times, June 27, 1972, pp. 1, 15.