61. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1


  • Guidance for Sino-U.S. Ambassadorial Meeting, January 20, 1970

I attach for your approval guidance we have prepared for Ambassador Stoessel’s use at the 135th Sino-U.S. Ambassadorial meeting in Warsaw, January 20, 1970.2 The message contains the text of Ambassador Stoessel’s opening presentation as well as general guidance for responses to issues we believe the Chinese are likely to raise. The emphasis is on a new beginning in Sino-U.S. relations and this Administration’s new approach to Asian policy.

Among the points not previously raised with the Chinese are:

Guam Doctrine. Although this has been amply spelled out in public statements, we think it important to convey it privately to the Chinese along with its implications for improvement in our bilateral relations.
U.S. assumption that the People’s Republic of China does not intend to undertake overt aggression against other Asian states. We think this useful to dispel earlier characterizations of China as a potential aggressor and threat to its Asian neighbors.
Our intention to reduce U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia and hence in the neighborhood of China’s southern border. This is intended to make clear to the Chinese that we do not seek a permanent military [Page 166]presence on the Asian mainland and that China can best ease her own security worries over U.S. “encirclement” through cooperating in a reduction in tension in the area around her southern border.
Offer to discuss both our goals in the area and their limits. Although, in a sense, the Warsaw talks have centered around mutual discussion and accusation concerning each other’s goals in Asia, we have never proposed that we undertake a genuine dialogue on this subject, particularly concerning the limits of our objectives.
Offer to discuss the whole range of trade questions including the settlement of outstanding obligations. It is unlikely the Chinese will want to enter into concrete trade discussions at this meeting. Nevertheless, we know that they are curious about our unilateral actions and may be interested in any expression of U.S. willingness to open this entire issue to discussion.

Three new formulations on Taiwan:

The U.S. does not seek to impose its views concerning Taiwan on either side and does not intend to interfere in whatever settlement may be reached.
A strengthened commitment not to support a GRC offensive action against the mainland.
Expression of hope that we can reduce U.S. military presence on Taiwan as peace and stability in Asia grows.

The issue of Taiwan is the key to any improvement of relations with the PRC and the Chinese will be most interested in our statements on this subject. These three formulations are as far as we should be prepared to go at this time, but they are most important as a signal that we genuinely seek an improvement of relations.

Offer to enter bilateral discussions on disarmament. This offer has the double advantage of enabling us to refute Chinese charges of U.S.-Soviet “collusion” on nuclear disarmament matters while indicating that we believe the Chinese to be a major power and an essential element in the disarmament picture.
Offer to send a special representative to Peking or have a Chinese representative come to Washington to discuss any of the subjects mentioned in the statement. Should the Chinese wish to signal their willingness to improve relations, they could accept this offer without compromising any of their principles. Acceptance of such an offer at present is unlikely, but they will find it interesting as evidence of U.S. interest in further development of relations.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Anderson (EA/ACA) on January 13, and cleared by Swank, Green, and U. Alexis Johnson. A typed notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “Cable cleared and sent WH—Mr. Kissinger cleared. Changes made in cable per Green/Kissinger telcon 1/17/70. (RLBrown to FHess)” According to a January 17, 11:40 a.m. telephone conversation between Green and Kissinger, Kissinger’s major problem with the draft instruction—and the President endorsed Kissinger’s view—was with the “tone.” Kissinger told Green, “It seems we are trying a little too hard to prove our good intentions.” Green replied, “You mean we are defensive?” Kissinger agreed, “that is a better word—we are protesting too hard. I think we will be more impressive to them if we give the feeling of moderation produced by strength.” Kissinger then went on to suggest a number of specific language changes. Kissinger also told Green that he had checked “this idea of eventually reducing our presence on Taiwan with the President, and he thought that was fine.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
  2. Not printed. Sent as telegram 8061 to Warsaw, January 17. The telegram was drafted by Anderson on January 14; cleared by Kreisberg, Brown, Green, Swank, Farley (ACDA), Johnson, and Kissinger; and approved by Rogers.