3. Memorandum From President Nixon to his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

I noted in your January 31 report the interesting comments from a Polish source.2 I think we should give every encouragement to the attitude that this Administration is “exploring possibilities of raprochement [sic] with the Chinese.” This, of course, should be done privately and should under no circumstances get into the public prints from this direction. However, in contacts with your friends, and particularly in any ways you might have to get to this Polish source, I would continue to plant that idea.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 341, Subject Files, HAK/President Memoranda, 1969–1970. No classification marking. A typed note, attached but not printed, reads: “Copy sent red tag to Dick Sneider on 4 Feb 69 by Col Haig.” The memorandum was not initialed or signed.
  2. Apparent reference to the President’s January 31 daily briefing memorandum, in which Kissinger informed Nixon of a CIA report on a “Polish source.” This source claimed that his government believed the “Americans ‘know the Chinese are now more anti-Soviet than anti-American’ and are exploring the possibilities of rapprochement with the Chinese.” (Ibid., Box 1, President’s Daily Briefs) The Daily Briefs file contains materials from the Department of State and CIA. These reports were summarized by the NSC staff into a memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, which often included the original submissions from CIA or State, along with important telegrams or intelligence reports as attachments. For more information on intelligence and other documents provided to Nixon, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume II. Haig’s review of “Handling Information for President Nixon” is in his January 17 memorandum to Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1319, NSC Unfiled Material, 1969, 1 of 19)
  3. Nixon’s handwritten notes from meetings held January 20–21 covered a wide range of domestic and international issues, including China. He wrote in part: “Chinese Communists: Short range—no change. Long range—we do not want 800,000,000 living in angry isolation. We want contact—will be interested in Warsaw meetings. Republic of China—cooperative member of international community and member of Pacific community.” (Ibid., White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 1, President’s Handwriting File, January 1969) Nixon had hinted of his interest in better relations with the mainland government prior to becoming President. For example, see his 1967 article, “Asia after Vietnam,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 46, no. 1, October 1967, pp. 111–125, and “Nixon’s View of the World—From Informal Talks,” U.S. News and World Report, September 16, 1968, p. 48. In his memoirs, Nixon points to his April 1967 trip to Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia as the time when his views on a new policy toward China began to coalesce. See Richard Nixon, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, vol. I (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978), pp. 280–285.