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

SUBJECT

  • Personal Letter to You from President Chiang Kai-shek Protesting Warsaw Talks2

At Tab A is a personal letter to you from President Chiang Kai-shek expressing his “shock” at the position which Ambassador Stoessel allegedly took with the Chinese Communist representative at the February 20 Warsaw meeting and in effect protesting the course which the talks are taking.3 The specific issue which concerns President Chiang is the possibility that we might consider “accepting the so- called Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence first publicized by the Chinese Communists at the Bandung Conference 15 years ago and discuss with them how to settle the so-called Taiwan problem.” He states that this would be infringing upon the sovereign rights of the Republic of China.

In making these points President Chiang reviews the record of US involvement with the Chinese Communists during World War II and subsequently; submits that their objectives in Asia have not changed (he takes the Vietnam war, the fall of the Plain of Jars and Muong Soui and the Chinese road building activity in Laos, and infiltration of the Philippines and Thailand by Communist elements as cases in point) and warns you to be on your guard. He declares that he supports the Nixon Doctrine, but adds that this should mean strengthening the free nations against aggression, and by inference, not giving in to [Page 188]the Chinese Communists. He concludes by saying that his letter backs up a Ministry of Foreign Affairs démarche on the same subject.4

President Chiang’s letter is not unexpected. It illustrates the deep concern which he and others like him in Taiwan undoubtedly feel with respect to the possible implications of the Warsaw talks. I believe that we will need to be very careful in replying to President Chiang so that our continued commitment to the Republic of China is re-emphasized to him and that due deference is given to his sensitivities. While we of course do not hold to his analysis of developments in East Asia and rejection of the changes which have taken place during the last generation, we must accept that his views are characteristic of many in that part of the world.

A draft reply to President Chiang’s letter will be ready for you next week.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 520, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. IV. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Drafted by Holdridge and forwarded to Kissinger on March 5. According to a handwritten notation on the first page, the memorandum was “OBE’d.”
  2. In the letter attached at Tab A, Chiang wrote that he did not object to the talks per se, but added, “I hope you will carefully consider the consequences and take timely measures to prevent any distortion of your well-meaning policy during its implementation.”
  3. Guidance for informing the ROC Government of the Warsaw talks is in telegram 27045 to Taipei, February 24, and telegram 28259 to Taipei, February 26. These telgrams, approved by Green and Brown respectively, stated that the first briefings were to be held for ROC Embassy personnel in Washington. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHICOMUS)
  4. On March 2 (Taipei time), Foreign Minister Wei presented a note to McConaughy which reads in part: “During the said meeting [February 20 meeting in Warsaw], the so-called ‘Taiwan problem’ was brought up for discussion. As this is a matter which directly involves the territorial sovereignty of the Republic of China, the Chinese Government cannot possibly tolerate its discussion and it must therefore register its most vehement objection.” (Telegram 916 from Taipei, March 2; ibid., POL CHINATUS) Ambassador Chow presented a note to Green on March 2. (Telegram 30838 to Taipei, March 3; ibid.) In his March 3 daily briefing memorandum to the President, Kissinger discussed a “stiff note concerning the Warsaw talks.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 19, President’s Daily Briefs)
  5. Document 74.