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[Page 1081]

254. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Huang Hua
  • Mrs. Shih Yen-hua
  • Notetaker
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
  • Peter W. Rodman

Dr. Kissinger: Did you give us hell today in the General Assembly? [Laughter]2 Please give my best regards to your Vice Foreign Minister.

Ambassador Huang: I have already conveyed your regards to him.

Dr. Kissinger: He was very kind to my friend Professor Galbraith.

If he is free sometime while he is here, I’d be glad to invite him to dinner.

Ambassador Huang: On the 5th, the Vice Foreign Minister will have an informal dinner on the invitation of Secretary Rogers.3 Ambassador Bush will also take part. Tentatively, he’ll stay here 10 days or 2 weeks.

Dr. Kissinger: So he won’t be here very long.

Ambassador Huang: He appreciates your invitation very much. As to the concrete time, we can discuss.

Dr. Kissinger: We have not fully normalized relations with the State Department, so I may not be able to attend that dinner. But we will have our Cultural Revolution after the election. [Laughter] And we will not let 100 flowers bloom before then! [Laughter]

I am sorry I made you come at a bad time for you. But I’m going to Paris soon, so it’s very busy for me.

[Page 1082]

Ambassador Huang: We have a message. It’s nothing particular. It’s about the visit by Prime Minister Tanaka.4 The message is [reading]:

“The results of the Sino-Japanese high-level meeting can be seen from the September 29 Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and the Foreign Minister’s interview with the press. The Foreign Minister wanted to hold an interview as Dr. Kissinger had done in Shanghai. As pointed out in the Joint Statement, the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations is not directed against third countries. Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia–Pacific region. It not only is in the interests of the two peoples but is also conducive to the relaxation of tension in Asia and the safeguarding of world peace. We trust that the U.S. side holds the same view.

“The Sino-Japanese talks embodied the spirit of the August 14 message sent by the Chinese side to Dr. Kissinger. The Chinese side expressed that it respected the relations between Japan and the United States. Although the Chinese side has its own views about the Japan- U.S. Security Treaty, it did not make any demands.

“In his September 19 message, Dr. Kissinger mentioned the Soviet side’s concerns over Sino-Japanese relations. Actually that was merely a pretext used by the Soviet Union to sow discord between Sino-U.S., U.S.-Japanese, and Sino-Japanese relations. The U.S. side has probably noted these Soviet intentions.

“With regard to the question of Taiwan, besides severing its diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Japanese side pledged that it would not support the Taiwan independence movement and that it had no ambitions towards Taiwan. The Chinese side expressed appreciation for this. The Japanese side expressed the hope that its economic links with Taiwan would not be cut immediately, and the Chinese side answered that allowance could be made on the matter but that there should be advance consultations.

“The Chinese side wishes to point out here that under the new circumstances of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, it appears that the Chiang Kai-shek clique may not dare to create major troubles but there will be minor ones. We believe that since the U.S. troops in Taiwan have not yet been withdrawn, the [Page 1083]United States will still be responsible for actions taken by Taiwan. The Chinese side has noted that during the September 8 meeting Dr. Kissinger reaffirmed the pledges the U.S. side has made on the Taiwan question.

“Besides, the Japanese side expressed concern over the Soviet attempt to expand its spheres of influence into this region. The Chinese side pointed out that Taiwan Province belongs to China, that China will liberate Taiwan, and that of course the Soviet Union cannot be allowed to reach out its hands.”

That’s all of the message I am entrusted to convey.

Dr. Kissinger: We appreciate the message and the spirit which it reflects. As I told you before, we have placed no obstacles in the way of normalization. And in the spirit of understanding of each other’s requirements, we see no long-term danger to us in this normalization. Indeed, Japan is traveling on a road which it is our intention to take ourselves.

Now, as long as we are here, let me raise a few additional matters.

  • First, about the visit of Foreign Minister Gromyko. We have had a number of formal requests to inform the Soviet leaders what we know about the Tanaka conversations in Peking. And what attitude we would take in case of a Sino-Japanese alliance. We have answered that the second issue does not arise, that is, the alliance, and that with respect to the first, we thought the communiqué covered the subject.
  • Secondly, Gromyko brought yet another version of this nuclear treaty. Every time we turn it down we get another version. It’s the same as the old one except that it includes a phrase that there should be no attack on third countries. I’m assuming your position remains the same. We have not replied.

We expect to conclude a Maritime Treaty with the Soviet Union this week, and a trade agreement next week or the week after, but it will contain the provisions I’ve already told you. I think I gave you the package—it’s a combination of Lend-Lease, technical facilities, and certain credit arrangements.

I want to make a comment at the end about Vietnam, but let me first raise a few other items.

We have some very sensitive intelligence information in which a very senior Indian official made the following comment: “China should not forget that the Tibetan question has not been resolved and that dissident movements in this vast plateau are still numerous. The refugees we have welcomed from these icy and inhospitable highlands adjust poorly to the heat of the large tropical valleys of India.”

This is an extremely sensitive comment of a very high Indian official.

[Page 1084]

Ambassador Huang: That is like the language of a writer.

Dr. Kissinger: I give it to you exactly as we received it.

I had a talk with Sir Alec Douglas-Home and he is looking forward to his visit to the Prime Minister. I’ve explained to him what I believe Chinese concerns are about maintaining the strength and unity of Europe and he is prepared to talk to you in a forthcoming spirit.

With respect to Senator Mansfield: If we send him to the People’s Republic, we’d like him to discuss our longer-term relationship, from a philosophical point of view, especially the field of exchanges and the general atmosphere of our relations. We believe it would be useful on the other hand that we conduct a more detailed exchange of views on concrete aspects of our relationship in our channel, by whatever method you would prefer. Because as we begin a second term we want to discuss the long term issues—relations with the Soviets, and so forth. And we wouldn’t want Mansfield to get into that.

Ambassador Huang: Do you have any views on the manner in which we would exchange views in this channel?

Dr. Kissinger: We’re prepared to send another mission to China— or any other proposal you might care to make.

Ambassador Huang: Do you have any concrete ideas of that mission?

Dr. Kissinger: This is informal now. I think that the first set of talks we had, except the last one, really dealt with the immediate issue of normalization. This time, as we think longer ahead, as we see Soviet moves and other things taking place, before we settle our policy we would like to exchange views with the Prime Minister or whomever he designates. I think in early January—or any time before the inauguration— we would send a group of the same nature as the previous groups—except that Peter Rodman will be part of the group!

Ambassador Huang: So you will go there personally?

Dr. Kissinger: I’d be prepared to go there, yes. Assuming I’m reappointed. [Laughter] I would be prepared to go there personally, yes.

Ambassador Huang: We will convey this back.5

[Page 1085]

Dr. Kissinger: If the Prime Minister has other ideas, we will of course examine them carefully.

Ambassador Huang: What is Inauguration Day?

Dr. Kissinger: January 20. It doesn’t absolutely have to be before then but there are certain advantages.

Now a word about Vietnam. We have had a two-day meeting last week. I’m returning for a three-day meeting next Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. And as you know, my deputy General Haig is in Saigon now. We will make, on this occasion, the most generous offer of which we are capable. But it is absolutely our last offer. And if this offer is rejected then we have to conclude, reluctantly, that a political solution is impossible.

We will maintain all the proposals with which you are already familiar, and expand some portions of them.

On Sunday we will convey our proposal to you after we have conveyed it to Hanoi, so you will see it.6

Mrs. Shih: On Sunday?

Dr. Kissinger: On Sunday we’ll call.

We’re seriously interested to end the war. Not because of the elections— we do not need it for elections. But we have also our principles. And it cannot be in anybody’s interest that we adopt the position that we will betray our friends or other countries completely, or at all. We have in our relations started a process the implications of which were quite clear to us when I visited Peking in 1971. But you gave us an opportunity to maintain our honor and our principles.

I do not know what your relationships are with North Vietnam, and as I told the Prime Minister, we prefer closer relations between you and North Vietnam than for the Soviet Union to have a major influence there. But this is the decisive moment for peace. They have made some proposals which go in a positive direction, though not far enough. If this opportunity is now missed, I can only see expanded conflict. And after the elections, you know as well as I do that we are domestically in a very strong position.

I go there in a constructive spirit, in order to end the war and to start a new relationship. And you are in a position to judge what advice if any you may want to offer in these circumstances.

We will call you Saturday to fix a time for delivering this document.

[Page 1086]

Ambassador Huang: All right.

Dr. Kissinger: That is all that I have, Mr. Ambassador.

Ambassador Huang: Will you return back to the U.S. on the 10th of October?

Dr. Kissinger: About the 10th.

If there should be a very important development, I might go on to Saigon. But my plan is to return here the 10th. In my absence, you can call Commander Howe, because I have Mr. Lord with me. And I may take General Haig with me this time too.

Ambassador Huang: I appreciate that you have arranged this meeting, and we will certainly convey what you gave us, and we will convey your regards to the Vice Foreign Minister.

We will have to arrange a time after you return, for a meeting.

Dr. Kissinger: I call him “Mr. X” because I can’t pronounce his name.

Ambassador Huang: The sounds in it are like German!

Dr. Kissinger: I always confuse the nuance between his name [Chiao] and the Prime Minister’s [Chou]!

A word about your meeting with the Secretary of State. For a number of reasons he knows nothing at all about our exchanges, nor about the details of the Vietnam negotiations. So if there should be a discrepancy between what I have said and what you may hear, you should guide yourselves by what I have said. But you have experience with this situation already.

Ambassador Huang: There’s no fixed item for the talks. The two sides haven’t raised any questions to talk about.

Dr. Kissinger: I will look into it.

Good. Can we call the car? [The car is called.]

Were there any films made of my June visit?

Ambassador Huang: I don’t know. I will check.

Dr. Kissinger: I showed the film of my July visit to the Soviet Ambassador. It was not one of his best moments!

We have found it impossible to turn down this treaty. We have had four versions now! I thought when we turned it down in Moscow we would end it.

With respect to their proposal at the UN, by the way, we will oppose it.

Ambassador Huang: In today’s speech by our Vice Foreign Minister, Mr. Chiao Kuan-hua, he made a clear exposition of our position.

Dr. Kissinger: How did Mr. Malik behave? Was he calm?

Ambassador Huang: We’ll see his reaction tomorrow.

Dr. Kissinger: He will speak tomorrow?

[Page 1087]

Ambassador Huang: He has not entered his name yet.

Dr. Kissinger: The Vice Foreign Minister has the ability to raise the blood pressure of the Soviet Ambassador.

Mrs. Shih, is your husband here in New York?

Mrs. Shih: Yes. He speaks French.

Dr. Kissinger: Your mission is getting larger.

Ambassador Huang: We need many interpreters, because many comrades, colleagues, don’t speak a foreign language.

Dr. Kissinger: When we arrange a meeting with the Vice Foreign Minister, let us know whether we should have other people there or just have a small working group.

Ambassador Huang: Who would you have in mind?

Dr. Kissinger: It is up to you. We could invite my friend Governor Rockefeller. I would check with you first. I would not invite anyone without checking with you first.7

[The Ambassador’s car then arrived and the meeting ended with friendly handshakes.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Attached but not printed were Kissinger’s talking points.
  2. All brackets except those indicating declassification decisions are in the source text.
  3. A record of the October 5 dinner for Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao Kuan-hua is in telegram 3725/Secto 65 from USUN, October 6. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS) See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 160.
  4. A September 28 memorandum for the record by Lord reads in full: “At 10:50 p.m. this evening, Mrs. Shih called me from New York and read me the following message: ‘The Chinese and Japanese sides have already reached an agreement on the normalization of relations between the two countries, and the ceremony for the signing of the Sino- Japanese Joint Statement was held at 10:00 a.m. Peking time, September 29, in Peking. The full text will be published immediately thereafter. Neither the agreement nor the statement is directed against 3rd countries.’ I thanked Mrs. Shih for her message and said I would transmit it immediately to my leader.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges)
  5. On October 12 the PRC representatives in New York handed over the following message. “1. The Chinese side agrees in principle to the idea put forward by Dr. Kissinger on October 3 about the U.S. side sending a mission to China to discuss the prospects of the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations. Premier Chou En-lai welcomes Dr. Kissinger to come personally again on this mission to China. The specific date of the visit can be discussed and decided upon through this channel after being suggested by the U.S. side. 2. The U.S. side is aware of the position of the Chinese side on the Viet Nam question. The Chinese side hopes that the U.S. and Vietnamese sides will be able to reach an agreement on the settlement of the Viet Nam question.” The message is attached to James Fazio’s memorandum for the record, October, 13, ibid. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 161.
  6. Fazio delivered a message to New York on Sunday, October 8. The materials delivered to PRC diplomats have not been found. The message is attached to Fazio’s memorandum for the record, October 9, in National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 165.
  7. Kissinger and Nelson Rockefeller hosted a dinner for Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Huang Hua, and other PRC diplomats on the evening of November 13 in New York. A memorandum of conversation is in National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 166.