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96. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • China and Arms Control

Under Secretary Irwin has sent for your clearance a telegram to USUN and Embassy Bucharest on the above subject (Tab A).2

Also attached is an explanatory memorandum from ACDA Acting Director Farley (Tab B).3

The telegram would authorize, after the Chirep votes, hints to the Romanians in New York and Bucharest that Romania might wish to invite Communist China to participate in the 1971 Pugwash meetings, which will be held next year in Romania.

Farley comments that the Chinese response to the suggestion is likely to be negative but the approach would support our stated intention of seeking improvement in our relations with Peking. Should [Page 245]the Chinese agree to attend next year’s Pugwash meeting, the U.S. would have an opportunity on an unofficial level to explore arms control questions with them.4

Comment

This seems to me to be the sort of discreet pressing of the Chinese of which we should be doing more. I see no likelihood of any negative repercussions. Hal Sonnenfeldt concurs.5

Recommendation

That you authorize me to clear the attached telegram.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 520, Country Files, Far East, China, Vol. V. Secret; Limdis. Sent for action.
  2. Drafted in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency by D. Linebaugh on November 5. Attached but not printed.
  3. Undated. Attached but not printed.
  4. This was not the first time arms control talks with the PRC were discussed. In July 1970 the Department of State and ACDA forwarded to the White House a 34-page report on arms control discussions with the PRC. (Memorandum from Eliot to Kissinger, July 8, and undated ACDA report; ibid., RG 59, S/S-NSC Files Lot 73 D 288, General Files on NSC Matters, NSC Miscellaneous Memoranda, July 1970) No action was taken. A copy was also forwarded to the Department of Defense. Packard provided the Department’s response, writing to Farley on October 24 that “My principal concern is that initiation of arms control discussions with the CPR for the sake of whatever political advantages might possibly be derived from such discussions could seriously damage our relationships with other Asian nations, the neutrals as well as our allies. A renunciation of force agreement, in the absence of any substantive change in the CPR’s conduct toward its neighbors, could be interpreted as an indication that the United States is prepared to ignore Communist expansion which falls short of overt attack.” He added, “Such [arms control] measures will, I believe, have to be worked out in the context of a general improvement in relations based on substantial change in the attitude and actions of the CPR toward us and toward her Asian neighbors.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 76 0067, China (Reds), 1970)
  5. “Hal Sonnenfeldt concurs” was added in Holdridge’s hand.
  6. Kissinger initialed his approval. The issue of arms control and the PRC was revisited in 1971. See Document 109.