98. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1

9593. Eyes Only From Ambassador for Secretary and White House for Dr. Kissinger. Subj: President Yahya on U.S.-China Relations. Ref: Islamabad 9587.2

During a wide-ranging conversation with President Yahya on December 12, he made the following observations with reference to his recent trip to Peking:3
Yahya said that quite early in his conversation with Chou En-lai he specifically made mention of those matters which President Nixon had discussed with him during his visit to Washington.4 (He did not spell out the subject matter to me.) He said that Chou En-lai listened with unusual attention and interest and upon conclusion of this conversation observed that the comments made by President Yahya were extremely interesting and deserved full consideration. Chou En-lai added that he would convey the gist of the conversation with both Mao and Lin Piao.
Later during the state visit, Chou En-lai again alluded to this particular conversation and advised Yahya that he had pursued the subject with both Mao and Lin Piao; as a result he was prepared to state that while there were considerable difficulties between China and the U.S., particularly on the matter of Taiwan, his government was hopeful that a more amiable attitude could develop between the two countries.

Yahya told me that his personal observations during the course of these conversations indicated there was a much more relaxed disposition this time among the Chinese official hierarchy on the whole concept of China vis-à-vis United States than heretofore evidenced.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis; Eyes Only. Kissinger relayed the contents of the telegram to the President in his December 15 daily briefing memorandum. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 29, President’s Daily Briefs) A notation on another copy of this telegram reads: “HAK: This cat is out of the bag. You may get a call from Secy Rogers asking what the President’s discussion was about. JHH. I called Eliot per your request and told him Pres. simply said we [were] interested in finding ways to improve relations. JHH.” (Ibid., Box 1031, Files for the President—China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK’s Trip to China, December 1969–July 1971)
  2. In telegram 9587 from Islamabad, December 12, Farland reported on his meeting with Yahya. They discussed bilateral relations and disaster relief for East Pakistan. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK)
  3. Yahya Khan was in Beijing November 11–15, 1970.
  4. See Document 94.