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261. Message From the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the Government of the United States 1

The Chinese side has on many occasions made clear its consistent stand on the Viet Nam question. It has been closely following and seriously studying the recent developments and the public documents of the various sides. Now it further has the following comments to make on Dr. Kissinger’s conversation of October 24 (EST), the U.S. message of October 27 and the three messages of the U.S. side to the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam that were delivered to us:2

The nine-point agreement made public by the Vietnamese side has been confirmed by Dr. Kissinger. After repeated consultations and [Page 1102]amendments, the Vietnamese and U.S. sides had reached agreement on all the provisions of the agreement and mutually agreed on the schedule for its signing. However, on October 24 Nguyen Van Thieu came out with violent abuse and refused to accept the agreement. The U.S. side followed with further demands for amendments in the provisions and unilaterally upset the original schedule, so that the already worked-out agreement cannot be signed. This is the root cause of the present state of affairs.

The U.S. side says that the changes that are necessary in the agreement are “minor”, “procedural”, and “do not touch its essence, and can all be accommodated within its present framework.” But in fact this is by no means the case. For example, what is termed the demand that northern Viet Nam withdraw its “troops” from southern Viet Nam, that the ceasefire in Viet Nam be made more nearly simultaneous with ceasefires in other parts of Indochina, etc., are all pretexts deliberately created by the Saigon authorities to disrupt the agreement. The U.S. side has taken over these unreasonable demands and is trying to make people believe that such changes do not touch the essence of the agreement. This can in no way hold water.

The U.S. side stresses that it must adhere to its principles, and that any agreement must be discussed with and approved by Saigon before it can be signed. But Saigon has made statements openly rejecting the nine-point agreement. Then how can the U.S. side guarantee that the final text can be completed in only three or four more days of negotiation and make itself responsible for the fact that no additional changes will be raised? If the U.S. guarantee is not empty words, it can only serve as proof that the U.S. side was able to negotiate and sign an agreement on behalf of Saigon in the first place, but it did not wish to do so.

Although we are willing to believe that the U.S. side has the tendency to keep its promises, we cannot but note that the U.S. side twice proposed on October 24 and 25 that a meeting be held on any day of the Vietnamese side’s choosing during the week of October 30, yet only two days afterwards, it changed to say that the meeting should be held beginning on November 1 and would last as long as required, but Dr. Kissinger would not be available between November 4 and 9. Dr. Kissinger will naturally understand that such practice is of no help to the increase of mutual trust.

The issue is quite clear. As Dr. Kissinger has said, the Vietnamese side has made very significant concessions. According to statements by the Vietnamese side, President Nixon also expressed that the agreement had solved all outstanding problems. The Vietnamese side has abided by the agreement already reached, but the U.S. side has gone back on its own word, created offshoot issues, reached out for a yard [Page 1103]after taking an inch and continued to put forward new demands. It is only natural for the Vietnamese side to express indignation at this.

The Saigon authorities are wantonly pouring out abuse, openly creating trouble and bent on sabotaging the agreement. If the U.S. side does not put a firm stop to this, but on the contrary exerts pressure on the Vietnamese side, prolongs the war and consequently sacrifices all that has been achieved in the negotiations, then how are people to view the U.S. statements about its preparedness to make efforts for the relaxation of tension in the Far East?

Please give earnest consideration to the above views.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 850, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. No classification marking. A handwritten notation on the first page reads: “Handed to J. Fazio by Mrs. Shih, 10/31/72, NYC.” According to Fazio’s memorandum for the record, at the October 31 meeting Mrs. Shih announced that Ch’iao and Huang would not be able to attend the November 1 dinner, “Since the invitation came on short notice, the Vice Foreign Minister had made other plans.” (Ibid.) See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–13, Document 167. Ch’iao and Huang attended a dinner with Kissinger and Rockefeller on November 13. (See footnote 6, Document 254)
  2. See Documents 258, 259, and 260.