67. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Sino-US Negotiations in Warsaw

Secretary Rogers has sent you a memorandum forwarding State’s proposed guidance for the February 20 Sino-US meeting in Warsaw and a memorandum on US strategy (Tabs A, B and C).2

[Page 179]

The guidance instructs Ambassador Stoessel to:

  • —State that we are prepared to discuss with the Chinese a joint declaration incorporating the position that we would not interfere in any peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question reached between the PRC and the GRC and affirming our adherence to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence;
  • —Indicate our intention to reduce those military facilities which we have on Taiwan as tensions in the area diminish;
  • —State our intention of dropping our remaining travel restrictions applicable to Mainland China (these restrictions come up for renewal on March 15);
  • —Offer specifically to discuss and settle blocked accounts and arrangements for an expansion of trade relations;
  • —Authorize our Ambassador on rebuttal, if the subject arises, to refer to a possible amnesty for Richard Fecteau, an American whose prison sentence expires in two years.

The strategy memorandum assumes that the Chinese as well as ourselves will want to reduce the chances of a Sino-US conflict, and would be interested in bilateral talks on issues such as trade if the stumbling block of Taiwan can be overcome. For this purpose, the memorandum says that Peking will want some acknowledgment that we regard the Taiwan question as an internal Chinese matter, that we do not support “two Chinas,” and that we will reduce our military presence on Taiwan; for our part we will want assurances that Taiwan will not come under attack and that we can maintain our commitments to the GRC. The recommended initial negotiating position on Taiwan is therefore to blur the issue of Taiwan’s status by reiterating the position (taken at the last meeting) that the relationship between Taiwan and the mainland should be settled by those directly involved.

You should have no problem with the general direction of the immediate strategy and guidance (including the removal of the remaining travel restrictions). You may wish, however, to consider Secretary Rogers’ suggestion that we pull slightly back from our proposal in January to send representatives to Peking or receive Chinese representatives here.3 (The new guidance would have Ambassador Stoessel refer the question without showing interest.) Shortly after the talks began in 1955 the Chinese proposed raising the level, to which we responded by insisting that there had to be progress at the Ambassadorial level before we could agree. Our negative reaction to Peking’s bid was probably one [Page 180]reason why the talks slipped into sterility, and we might now want to avoid going over the same ground again. If the talks should move to Peking or Washington and go to a higher level, Peking might in fact consider it had more to lose by not discussing bilateral issues than would otherwise be the case. I suggest that if you agree on these reservations, I pass them along to State.


That you authorize me to inform State that you have reservations concerning its recommendations on responding to a Chinese proposal on talks in Peking or Washington and that it adopt a more positive approach to such a proposal.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 700, Country Files, Europe, Poland Vol. II Warsaw Talks 2/1/70–6/30/70. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action. An attached February 10 memorandum from Holdridge to Kissinger contained a lengthy analysis of the recent Warsaw meeting by Holdridge and indicated that he was the drafter of the memorandum.
  2. Attached but not printed. These documents were drafted by Kreisberg, cleared by Swank, then forwarded by Green to Rogers on February 6. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS) The documents were prepared in part to respond to Kissinger’s February 3 memorandum to Rogers, in which Kissinger wrote: “The President has requested that a game plan be developed for the evolution of the Warsaw talks.” Kissinger continued, “The plan should spell out our objectives in the talks, and should address itself to the tactics which the Department of State plans to use.” (Ibid.)
  3. See Document 61.
  4. Nixon initialed his approval. Instructions to Stoessel in Warsaw were sent in telegram 24493, February 18, and telegram 25648, February 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS) Stoessel was also informed of the White House’s stance in a February 19 letter from Hillenbrand, which reads in part: “The White House believes that it would be preferable to take a more positive approach to a favorable Chinese response on the question of higher level meeting.” Hillenbrand suggested, “Evidently, the view is that holding out too stringently for progress at the Ambassadorial level before agreeing to have representatives meet in Peking or Washington might invite a repetition of the deadlock which developed in earlier stages of the talks.” (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 82 D 307, Files of Walter J. Stoessel, China Talks (Warsaw))