136. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Teng Hsiao-p’ing, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China
  • Ch’iao Kuan-hua, PRC Foreign Minister
  • Wang Hai-jung, Vice Foreign Minister
  • Huang Chen, Chief of the PRC Liaison Office in Washington
  • Lin P’ing, Director, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • T’ang Weng-sheng, Deputy Director, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ting Yuan-hung, Director, United States Office, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chao Chi-hua, Deputy Director, United States Office, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Tsien Ta-yung, Political Counselor, PRC Liaison Office in Washington
  • Shih Yen-hua (Interpreter)
  • Lien Cheng-pao (Notetaker)
  • Sui Chu-mei (Notetaker)
  • Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • George Bush, Chief of the United States Liaison Office in Peking
  • Philip C. Habib, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State
  • William H. Gleysteen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Richard H. Solomon, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council


  • The Soviet Union; Europe; the Middle East; South Asia; Angola

[The press was escorted into the room.]

Vice Premier Teng: Did you have a good rest?

The President: Yes, I rested very well. We had a walk through the garden.

Vice Premier Teng: Yesterday Mr. President had a very successful conversation with Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

The President: Yes, I agree. It was a very significant conversation which covered a very wide range of matters involving the international scene of great importance, and bilateral topics.

I am looking forward to the visit this afternoon to the agricultural center.

Vice Premier Teng: You will see our tradition of learning from Tachai. I presume that during your last visit you did not have a chance to visit there.

The President: But we did visit several agricultural communes in Liaoning Province.

Vice Premier Teng: Tachai is a very important model in our agriculture. It involves the whole country. It was the poorest [agricultural region] in the past, and now the average food grain—there is now a surplus of about 500 kilos for every person. In addition to accumulation for the commune and brigade, they can deliver 250 kilos of food grain as commodity grain for the state.

[The press is escorted from the room.]

The President: It is very encouraging to us, Mr. Vice Premier, that our relations are good and that the talks have been very beneficial and cover a wide range of subjects. And I am looking forward to the additional talks we will have before we depart.

Vice Premier Teng: Yes, we can continue our talks of yesterday. Mr. President, what subject do you have in mind for today’s talks?

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, I thought we could have you lead off the discussions this morning. I would be very glad to have your observations and comments on the matters we discussed yesterday.

Vice Premier Teng: I think in your conversation with Chairman Mao yesterday we almost covered all the international issues. And yesterday our two sides talked about the strategy and tactics against the Soviet Union. And during the meeting with Chairman Mao yesterday afternoon, Mr. President, you also discussed with the Chairman the [Page 878] strategy regarding the Soviet Union. We have noticed that it seems recently the Soviet Union has adopted a tougher position—a fiercer position. And I believe that Mr. Secretary made a statement with regard to the problems in Angola and a warning to the Soviet Union. We have also noticed that the Soviet Union has given a tit-for-tat response.

Flaunting the banner of supporting the national liberation forces of the oppressed peoples, the Soviet Union is using [this banner] as a cover for gaining access to strategic ports in many places. And, of course, this has something to do with [Soviet] domestic politics because in February the [25th] Party Congress will be held. And the agenda for that Party Congress has been adopted in which Brezhnev will make a political report. And Kosygin is going to make the report on the five-year economic plan.

It is worth it to pay attention to the response of the Soviet Union with regard to the problems of Angola. In effect, in plain language it is their belief that détente should not prevent the Soviet Union from seeking hegemony.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, I agree we covered a great deal of territory in our discussions with the Chairman yesterday. And in our talks I went into the things that the United States has done and is doing in our efforts to meet the expansionist efforts of the Soviet Union. And I noticed as you did that Mr. Brezhnev and Mr. Kosygin are going to make two significant talks at their Party Congress. Would it be appropriate for me to ask if you are sending a delegation [to their Congress]? (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: I went to Moscow seven times. I know almost all of the old-age leaders in the Soviet Union—of course, except those of relatively young age. As the Chairman told you yesterday, there is not a single time in our dealings with the Soviet Union that our minds have met.

The President: That is encouraging. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: In 1963 I led a Chinese delegation to Moscow, and that was our last delegation. But even then we didn’t give up hope. When Khrushchev fell and Brezhnev took power [in 1964] the Premier went to the celebration of the October Revolution anniversary to see if there was any change there. When the Premier arrived in Moscow the first sentence he heard from the Soviet leaders was that the policies of the Khrushchev time would not change. So Premier Chou did not fulfill his original itinerary and came back earlier than planned. To speak frankly—and I hope that it will not offend you—in the dealings with the Soviet Union, perhaps we are a little more experienced than you.

The President: Let me say, Mr. Vice Premier, we have had some experience in dealing with them and we met and challenged them in a number of cases as I indicated yesterday, and we will continue to do so. But I think it would be helpful in this frank talk with you if you could indicate the various places and ways—whether in Southeast [Page 879] Asia, the Middle East, or Africa—what your country is doing to meet this challenge so we can better understand how we can act in parallel.

Vice Premier Teng (with some visible tension in his face): We have done only two things: One is to make preparations for ourselves—to make solid down-to-earth preparations. Second, we fire some empty cannons. The empty cannons include encouragement to Japan to strengthen its relations with the United States, and our encouragement of European unity and for the European countries to strengthen their relations with the United States.

And I believe you also understand that we told the Europeans that at present the total military strength of the Soviet Union is stronger than that of the United States and Western Europe put together. In view of this assessment, we have told our friends from Western Europe that the United States is not strong enough to deal with the Soviet Union alone; and the strength of Europe and Japan together are still not enough put together with that of the United States to be adequate.

The President: The Western alliance is not an empty cannon, and we believe the NATO alliance is being strengthened and will continue to be so, even though we think several of the countries are less vigorous than they should be in expanding their military capability. I think it is beneficial that you speak frankly to some of our allies and thereby help to strengthen ties between some of the Western European countries. This is the same as far as Japan is concerned.

And we think it is important also that you urge Thailand to strengthen its relations with Japan; and we also feel that we can and will under the proper circumstances take action as far as Cambodia is concerned.

Vice Premier Teng: That is good. As far as we know, Cambodia will not refuse to have relations with the United States.

Secretary Kissinger: We have approached them in New York— after my conversation with the Foreign Minister [Ch’iao]2—and we also sent them a message through Thailand.

Vice Premier Teng: Probably you have noticed that Cambodia has first of all established relatively good relations with Thailand.

You are always saying we are criticizing you, but I must say we think you have overdone it [in the Mayaguez affair] with regard to that small island. And according to our information, the Cambodian leaders did not know about the incident—it was the people on that small island themselves. And then the United States began the bombing after the Cambodian leaders agreed to return the boat.

[Page 880]

Secretary Kissinger: We didn’t know this until after our military operation had begun. (Laughter from the Chinese side.)

The President: It is accurate to say we made diplomatic efforts at the very outset, in order to find an answer without taking the military steps; and we were very disappointed those diplomatic efforts were not responded to. [Huang Chen laughs, and Foreign Minister Ch’iao points at him in mock blame.]

Vice Premier Teng: Well, you should know that at that time they [the Cambodian leaders] were scarcely able to take care of their own affairs. But the Cambodian leaders were very sensible.

Secretary Kissinger: But the Vietnamese have solved the problem anyway by taking over the island. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: Anyway, you have slightly overdone it with that incident. Because you are such a big country and Cambodia is such a small country.

During Chancellor Schmidt’s visit to China we had very good talks. And, of course, we had a number of differences. And also on the issue of détente and on the assessement of the Helsinki Conference. But we have a common point—that is we worry about the Soviet Union. They are most worried about the development of the Soviet navy, more than Soviet nuclear weapons. But they hold a very clear view—they are aware of the role that NATO can play. That means they are placing their hopes on the strength of the United States to some extent.

In our talks with leaders of other countries, including France, we have found that they hold similar views. And to speak frankly, and also I suppose you know it, leaders of Western European countries are worried whether the United States will fight for Europe. Of course, they haven’t raised such worries with us directly; we just sense them.

The President: The countries in Western Europe have no need whatsoever to worry. They have been told explicitly that we have not only the capabilities but also the will to fight for the countries of Western Europe. Just as you have advised some of our allies to strengthen their ties with us, I would like to also say that we have told Japan and we have told Thailand to strengthen their ties with you. And we also feel that the Soviet influence in Laos is a disturbing phenomenon in Southeast Asia as far as we are concerned.

Vice Premier Teng: Yes, that is the case with Laos. But the Soviet Union can only exert that much influence.

As I have said to you just now, the Europeans have worries on two things: that the United States and the Soviet Union are talking too much about so-called détente; and they worry they may start deals over their heads. Second are the domestic problems, and I presume you know there are the so-called leftist forces. They worry about the strength of the left.

[Page 881]

The President: That, of course, was one of the primary reasons for meeting at Rambouillet. The six countries—four from Western Europe, Japan, and ourselves—met primarily for the purpose of coordinating our economic plans because if our economic recoveries are not coordinated or are not moving ahead at a reasonable rate, there is the possibility that the leftist forces might increase their strength. But it is our overall view in the United States that economic recovery is moving ahead very well, and I believe at Rambouillet there was a consensus— many of the economic plans were coordinated.

Vice Premier Teng: The problem I have raised just now, perhaps I can also by way of suggestion say that if the United States has such relations with the Soviet Union that get the Western European countries worried, and if the European countries are under the impression that they are not in an important position, then the role they may play in détente with the Soviet Union may go inappropriately too far or they will do too much with their relations with the Soviet Union. And the United States is in an important position politically and economically— and these tactics you have mentioned will affect Western Europe and Japan. And this tactic will surely lead to creating a favorable situation for the Soviet Union. It is favorable for the Soviet Union to disintegrate the European countries one-by-one, to so-called “Finlandize” the countries of Western Europe one-by-one.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, you should have no apprehension as to our attitude and feeling toward the Soviet Union. The Secretary of State is meeting regularly with Ministers of four Western European countries to coordinate our diplomatic and other matters so that we are working together and we are not, through détente with the Soviet Union, going to—

Secretary Kissinger (interrupting): We meet secretly once a month to coordinate plans for Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Yugoslavia—and we are even making joint plans, for your information, for common action regarding Yugoslavia. But we don’t announce the meeting to spare the feelings of the others. We will meet again next week in Brussels.

Vice Premier Teng: We are of the view that the top priority is that the United States should pay more attention to Europe, because this problem is relatively difficult, because the European countries are many and their problems are different, and they are not all in agreement.

We have disagreement on the point that the focus of the Soviet Union’s strategy is in Europe. That doesn’t matter, but the fact is the Soviet Union is paying more attention to the Europeans. In case war breaks out in Europe, as Chairman Mao mentioned yesterday, several countries in Europe would fight—West Germany, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Sweden. And even when our Chairman talked with some [Page 882] friends from the West, he told them the unification of the two Germanies is nothing to be feared. Germany, I believe, is Doctor Kissinger’s first homeland.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, the relations between the United States and Western Europe are today better than they have been for a number of years. Take France for example: Our personal and bilateral relations are far better, and I certainly believe that in case of any military activity in Europe France would be strong. And I agree with you that Western Germany would be strong. And they know our military coordination today is better than ever.

We are developing and strengthening our anti-tank capability. In the new budget I approved earlier this year the United States is increasing the M–60 tank capability. This tank is capable of handling any Soviet tank available. And General Haig in NATO is working closely to improve the overall capability of Western Europe.

We have no objection to the reunification of Germany, and as a matter of fact consider it inevitable.

Secretary Kissinger: The only problem in Sweden is that the army is stronger than the government.

Vice Premier Teng: During Chancellor Schmidt’s visit he said that they are making efforts to strengthen their tank and anti-tank weapons, and their surface-to-air missiles. But I told him to be careful as the Soviet Union might not try to break through the center. It might attempt the tactic of outflanking Europe. There are not only problems in the northern wing, but also in the southern wing, and these are more complicated and important. We have learned from you that recently the situation in Portugal has improved, but it is possible there might be reversals and trials of strength again.

The President: We are working closely with various governments in West Europe, urging them to take strong action in Portugal; and we ourselves, as I indicated yesterday, are helping to strengthen the anti-Communist forces in Portugal. I recognize that the situation is not yet stable, but the progress has been significant in the past several weeks.

As I told you yesterday, the United States is working with the government forces against the Communists in Italy and France. And we think these problems must be recognized by the governments themselves; and they must be able to take action against the elements in their own countries. For example, when Mitterrand came to the United States, we had no contact with him under any circumstances.

Secretary Kissinger: When he came I saw him, not the President, and only in the presence of the French Ambassador so that he could make no propaganda. And we told him we would not deal with him unless he broke with the Marchais group.

[Page 883]

Vice Premier Teng: And I believe you can do more solid work to help Yugoslavia. And, of course, in Yugoslavia they had domestic problems: the pro-Soviet forces are considerably strong. These are what we called in the past the International Communist Intelligence Agency. But this nation [Yugoslavia] can fight.

The President: We had a very successful visit to Yugoslavia. We strongly feel they should take the strongest action possible to meet the challenge of this element that you indicated; and we were impressed with the recognition on the part of Tito that the nation must be kept together and the need to prepare a proper succession when he leaves the scene. We were impressed with his recognition of both problems.

We have a long record of helping Yugoslavia be independent going back to the 1950s; and we feel strongly as you do that they not only did fight but also that they will fight. And we would welcome any actions on your part to encourage or help Yugoslavia.

Vice Premier Teng: We have a very good (pu-tso) relations with Yugoslavia now. Not long ago their Prime Minister came to China for a visit, and we had good talks. And they told us that they had done much work to eliminate pro-Soviet forces, including an open trial; and they told us that they would conduct not just one open trial but others.

The President: We are resuming the sale of military equipment to Yugoslavia.

Vice Premier Teng: Very good.

The President: And we are having our military work closely with Romania as well.

Vice Premier Teng: I believe we have relatively covered the problems of Europe. Perhaps we can proceed to the problems of the Middle East.

I believe Doctor, Mr. Secretary, you may recall that during your conversation with Chairman Mao he told you that our position on the Middle East is two-fold: The first point—and I’m afraid we will have disagreement on this point—we must support the Arab countries against Israeli Zionism. The Soviet Union is trying to fix, get the United States in that area.

Through the Doctor’s recent shuttle diplomacy several problems were solved, but it is still far from settling this [entire] problem.

It seems to me that in matters with the Soviet Union, more and more countries have come to realize that the Soviet Union is not reliable. Those countries which have had long dealings with the Soviet Union have come to realize this. They are distrustful or disillusioned.

The President: That is the feeling in the case of Egypt. They have been disillusioned with relations with the Soviet Union, and because [Page 884] of Dr. Kissinger’s successful efforts relations between Egypt and the United States are closer than they have been in many years. Egypt is an important country in the [Middle East] region, and I intend to develop relations with Egypt in an economic and military sense.

Vice Premier Teng: In the past, when Vice Premier Shafei came to visit China, Chairman Mao encouraged him to improve relations with the Soviet Union—

The President: The Soviet Union?

Secretary Kissinger: That would be an amazing development!

Miss Tang (corrects the interpreter): The United States.

Miss Shih: The United States. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: At that time they were not quite willing to do that, and later Chairman Mao told Doctor to use both hands. One for helping Israel, and the other one to help Egypt.

The President: And Mr. Vice Premier, we are doing both, and also urging some of our Western European friends to help Egypt break its military dependence on the Soviet Union. We have made some progress.

Vice Premier Teng: And we must pay attention to changes in the Arab countries: Iraq and South Yemen. Somalia cannot be included. We don’t have sufficient knowledge of Somalia. And as far as we know, Syria is not monolithic [in their support for the Soviets]. They are on their guard against the Soviet Union too.

The President: Let me make a comment, and then Secretary Kissinger—who knows more about the Middle East than just about any person—can speak. We have been disturbed about Somalia. There is some evidence that it may not be as big a problem as we thought; but Somalia, if it stays with the Soviet Union, could cause serious military problems in that area.

Secretary Kissinger: In the Middle East, Mr. Vice Premier, we look at the various countries. We have a good relationship with President Assad. He has a complicated domestic situation. Some of his advisers, including the Foreign Minister, are closer to the Soviet Union than he is. But they are very suspicious of the Soviet Union, and they are using it only for military equipment. They are not a satellite of the Soviet Union. In fact, I am quite confident that when we are prepared to move in Syria, we can do to the Soviet Union in Syria what we did to the Soviet Union in Egypt. But we cannot take decisive action in Syria—to speak here among friends—until after our elections. But we will take decisive action some time after that. So we must give Assad some face-saving formulas for the next ten months; that is why we supported his resolution in the UN.

But on the other hand, we must not get pushed too hard in the Security Council debate in January, because it is an empty victory to get a resolution for the Arabs if our domestic support [for this policy in [Page 885] the Middle East] is eroded. We don’t want that kind of a situation to exist in the next ten months. So we will, of course, have a bland resolution. You might keep this in mind in the Security Council.

But our direction is clear, and President Assad understands it. He just sent a message to President Ford thanking him for our recent action in support of his position.

With respect to Iraq, we brought great pressure on them in combination with Iran and other countries while they were very pro-Soviet. Partly as a result of this pressure, and partly because the Soviet Union seems unable to gain political support without an army of occupation, Iraq is moving away somewhat from the Soviet Union. We have many unofficial contacts with them, and I expect our relations will improve over the next year.

With respect to South Yemen, we again have a combination of pressure from Oman and somewhat from Saudi Arabia. I met with their Foreign Minister at the UN and we agreed to open diplomatic relations. We are only waiting for Saudi Arabia to do it first, so that the wrong impression is not created.

Somalia: The Soviet Union has military bases, as you know. But we are working—and you can help perhaps also with the Organization of African Unity—and we will use the influence of Saudi Arabia. In Somalia, influence usually means money.

The Soviet Union has put much military equipment into Libya. This is the most dangerous [situation] right now. And we think that Egypt will look after that in some period of time.

We will have about ten months of a defensive policy, but after that we will move decisively. But we can oppose Soviet actions as they are afraid of war in the Middle East, and because they can’t achieve anything in the Middle East without our cooperation. As the President said yesterday to the Chairman, he will not have a period of stagnation, and it will be evident we will be working with both our hands.

Vice Premier Teng: In the past, I talked to some of your American friends—I don’t remember if I told [this to] Doctor: The greatest reality in the Middle East is that there are 3 million Israelis fighting against 120 million Arabs. In this regard, the position of the United States has some advantages, but also considerable disadvantages. The Soviet Union has a lot of openings they can squeeze into.

Secretary Kissinger: But they can’t produce anything—they can only talk.

Vice Premier Teng: It is important to pay attention to the national sentiment [of the Arabs]. In this perhaps we are more sensitive than you. If Mr. Sadat had gone beyond a certain limit, he would have lost the sympathy of the Arab countries.

[Page 886]

Secretary Kissinger: But looking at it historically, it is the United States who can realize the aspirations of the Arab states. As the President said to Chairman Mao yesterday, he will move to an overall solution as soon as conditions permit—in about a year. And nobody can do anything better in the interim.

Vice Premier Teng: If no solution is arrived at for the Palestinian problem, it is far from a total settlement of the Arab problem. And the Doctor is complaining that sometimes we criticize the United States; but we must fire cannons sometimes. If we do not, we will not be in a position to do work with the Arab states.

Secretary Kissinger: We understand, but the Foreign Minister gets carried away with his barrages. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: This is not going too far.

Regarding Iraq, we are advising them to be on the alert against the Soviet Union. We told this to the Iraqi Vice Premier when he came to visit China last September. And we told the same to Chairman Robaya of South Yemen when he came to China.

Secretary Kissinger: We are willing to deal with them in good will when they are ready to deal with us.

Vice Premier Teng: This has to be done slowly because we know how they feel about you. But Iraq is ready to improve relations with Iran, and they have adopted some good measures already. But you must be aware of the fact that these countries have very strong national pride.

So much about the Middle East issues. Should we proceed to the issue of South Asia?

The President: Very much so; and I might make a comment: It seems to me that we want to encourage the independence of Laos and Cambodia. And at the same time we will work with Thailand to strengthen its relations with those countries.

Vice Premier Teng: So that is the issue of the Southeast Asian countries. With regard to the issue of South Asia, we have advised you on many occasions to aid Pakistan.

The President: We had significant discussions—and we made an announcement that we were lifting the arms embargo with regard to Pakistan. And the Pakistani Air Chief is coming to Washington very shortly to negotiate the equipment and delivery.

Vice Premier Teng: You shouldn’t give the Pakistanis the impression that the United States attaches more importance to India than to Pakistan. They [the Paks] are very much worried about dismemberment.

The President: As I indicated before, we are moving to help Pakistan militarily. At the same time we are seeking to move India away from the Soviet Union. This is not easy, but it may pay dividends if it’s [Page 887] possible to achieve. And we strongly warned India not to pressure Bangladesh.

[Vice Premier Teng and his side converse.]

Vice Premier Teng: After your [Secretary Kissinger’s] second visit to China, Pakistan was dismembered. And Premier Chou En-lai told the Doctor—and it might be counted as criticism, but with good intention—that you took no effective action, because your tone was of advice and not the tone of warning.

When the Soviet Union took action with regard to India, it paid attention to the attitude of the United States because it knew China’s capability was quite limited. We have good relations with Pakistan and also have rendered some help to Pakistan, but our equipment is backward. Only the United States can give them some good things either directly or indirectly.

Secretary Kissinger: First of all, at that time the President was not in office. I agreed with Chou En-lai’s analysis and I did not consider it an unfair comment. But our situation was complicated by two factors: One, the Vietnam war and the domestic difficulties caused by it; and second, President Yahya Khan was not the greatest leader of which history informs us. He made great mistakes politically and militarily. So he made it very hard for us, but you will [also] remember the difficulties President Nixon and I had in America. But President Nixon and I had made the decision—for your information—that if you had moved and the Soviet Union had brought pressure on you, we would have given [China] military support—even though the Shanghai Communiqué was not yet issued. We understand why you didn’t, but you should know our position, our seriousness of purpose.

Vice Premier Teng: These are historical views. On the other hand, the Soviet Union has not given up its plan for Baluchistan.3

The President: We had discussions with the Shah in Washington on that particular problem. We understand that situation, and are working both with Iran and Pakistan on it.

Vice Premier Teng: That’s good.

On the question of Bangladesh, Chairman Mao already discussed this question with you yesterday. We have established diplomatic relations with Bangladesh, and will send our Ambassador there at a later date. The only consideration we should make is to seek an opportune time which is favorable to the present government of Bangladesh. And according to our information, Pakistan has the same consideration.

[Page 888]

About India, recently Mrs. Gandhi has also assumed the post of the Minister of Defense. What implications do you think it has?

The President: I can’t give you any categorical answer, but I think it is probably indicative of a more aggressive attitude. Of course, it may be indicative that she is fearful of a coup within India itself.

Secretary Kissinger: She may have seen what General Scowcroft did. (Laughter) He did it while I was in China. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: We could well hope that she did it out of domestic considerations.

The President: I would like your estimation of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We note a growing tension between the two.

Vice Premier Teng: In Afghanistan there are two tendencies: One is that Afghanistan cannot but rely on the Soviet Union; and the other is Afghanistan is vigilant against the Soviet Union. In this respect, maybe Iraq can do work with Afghanistan. It seems to be difficult to improve the relations of Afghanistan and Pakistan for the time being. There is still a long way to go.

Secretary Kissinger: The major thing is to keep the Indians out of Pakistan.

Vice Premier Teng: As a matter of fact, the Soviet Union in collusion with India, is trying to influence Pakistan from two sides.

The President: Do you feel there is any threat of an Indian invasion of Nepal?

Vice Premier Teng: Nepal itself feels the threat, but at the moment there are no indications that India will make open military actions.

Secretary Kissinger (in an aside to the President): Pressure.

Vice Premier Teng: The key element is that the King of Nepal and the Nepalese government has—can control the situation there. As a land locked country, Nepal has all its communications through India. This is the greatest practical difficulty for Nepal. And I believe that you can do more things with Nepal. We are doing what we can with our capability. We have established good relations with Nepal—we have mutual confidence—but what we can do is quite limited. Perhaps things will get better when our railroad into Tibet is accomplished.

The President: I am sending a personal friend [as Ambassador] to Nepal, Mrs. Maytag.

Secretary Kissinger: This shows the significance we attach to Nepal.

Vice Premier Teng: It is necessary to help Nepal. The Nepalese are a nation that can fight. Nepal isn’t Sikkim or Bhutan.

So much about the issue of South Asia. Now to Southeast Asia?

Just now Mr. President discussed the situation in Southeast Asia. As far as Southeast Asia as a whole is considered, we feel that the [Page 889] situation there is relatively good. Three Indochinese countries have different attitudes. The attitude of Cambodia is relatively good. Undoubtedly the Soviet Union will increase its influence in Vietnam and Laos. But we also believe that it is not such a simple thing for a nation which has fought three wars to forget its independence so lightly. But the possibility should not be ruled out that the Soviet Union will try by every means to get the bases in Camranh Bay which you so painstakingly established. (Laughter)

The President: You may have noticed that the Secretary of State in Detroit last week opened the door a crack as far as Vietnam is concerned.

Vice Premier Teng: Yes, we have noticed. It is beneficial to have dealings with the Soviet Union over a long period of time. And we also believe that someday India will eventually rebel against the Soviet Union. Because the deeper the Soviet involvement, the more problems they [the client state] will confront. We know very well the way the Soviet Union is doing things. The salient characteristic of the Soviet Union is that it is very stingy. Anything it supplies will have some political conditions attached.

Secretary Kissinger: On the other hand, gratitude is not a characteristic India is famous for. The combination of these two factors is likely to produce some tensions.

Vice Premier Teng: The Soviet Union at present is pushing its collective security system in Asia, and particularly in Southeast Asia. I believe it will not succeed; even Vietnam will not agree to it. As to the five countries in ASEAN, they are very clear about it.

The President: We are totally opposed to it.

Vice Premier Teng: Because it is primarily those countries which are concerned. Those which accepted it would become the victims of the so-called collective security in Asia. Even India does not dare to give open support to the Soviet proposal.

The President: In my visit to Indonesia and the Philippines, I will make this very clear. We are vigorously opposed to it.

Secretary Kissinger: But it warrants attention that India has a treaty with the Soviet Union, and India wants to establish treaties with these countries.

Vice Premier Teng: We have seen that India is making efforts to sell the so-called collective security system of Asia, but to no avail. Their Vice President has made a round of trips to Southeast Asian countries especially for this purpose.

We have established diplomatic relations with a majority of the ASEAN countries. Indonesia does not have good relations with us, but we are in no hurry.

[Page 890]

The President: When I am in Indonesia, we will speak very forcefully to them concerning this effort.

Vice Premier Teng: It seems not to be easy for the time being. The diplomatic relations between our two countries were suspended in 1965. And that [situation] also involves several million Chinese descendants. As far as China is concerned, we are willing to improve relations with Indonesia, but we have patience.

Finally, we may discuss the issue of Angola. Actually this issue was already discussed in Mr. President’s conversation with Chairman Mao. We hope that through the work of the two sides we can both bring about a better situation there. The relatively complex problem is the involvement of South Africa. And I believe you are aware of the feelings of the black Africans toward South Africa.

Secretary Kissinger: We are prepared to push South Africa out as soon as an alternative military force can be created.

The President: We hope your Ambassador in Zaire can keep us fully informed. It would be helpful.

Vice Premier Teng: We have a good relationship with Zaire, but what we can help them with is only some light weapons.

Secretary Kissinger: We can give them weapons. What they need is training in guerrilla warfare. If you can give them light weapons it would help, but the major thing is training. Our specialty is not guerrilla warfare. (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: In the past we trained the three organizations—including Neto.

Secretary Kissinger: Like NATO! (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: And we helped to train the soldiers of FNLA for some time.

Secretary Kissinger: They needed it most.

Vice Premier Teng: And in the past, we assisted all three organizations, and more so to Neto. And the organization which we helped earliest was MPLA. With respect to UN ITA—Savimbi—we supplied them with weapons by way of Tanzania, but they were not delivered.

The President: Both UN ITA and FNLA need help particularly.

Vice Premier Teng: We have no way of transferring weapons into their hands.

Secretary Kissinger: Zambia or Zaire?

Vice Premier Teng: Zambia does not support Neto and the MPLA. If we asked them to allow our weapons to pass through their territory they wouldn’t allow it.

Secretary Kissinger: Really?

Vice Premier Teng: Yes. As I mentioned to you just now, the primary problem is the involvement of South Africa. In those countries which [Page 891] originally did not support the MPLA, there is now a change in attitude exactly because of the involvement of South Africa. Some independent countries have begun to support Neto. I think through Zaire. If you can get South Africa out of Angola as soon as possible, or find some other means to replace South Africa on the southern front, this would be good. We are in no position to help except in the north through Zaire.

The President: We had nothing to do with the South African involvement, and we will take action to get South Africa out, provided a balance can be maintained for their not being in. In addition, if you would like, we can talk to Zambia with regard to transshipment.

Vice Premier Teng: I am afraid it is very difficult. Yesterday I said we could try with Mozambique, but we don’t expect great results.

Secretary Kissinger: I talked with their Foreign Minister in New York. They feel very close to China.

Vice Premier Teng: Yes, we have good relations with Mozambique, but on this particular issue it is another matter, because Mozambique takes a very strong position on Zimbabwe—Rhodesia—and South Africa. I believe the better way is for you to help through the southern front, and I believe you will find the way.

There is one point which is evident. Since Nyerere would not permit transshipment through Tanzania, how could Zambia account to Tanzania if it accepted transshipment of weapons?

Secretary Kissinger: Can we talk to Kaunda and see what he thinks? We have some influence with him.

Vice Premier Teng: Please understand this with regard to African countries—even the small ones: they are extremely sensitive on matters involving national pride. [Because of this] we have not raised the suggestion with them, despite all our assistance to them—as in Tanzania and Zambia in railway construction.

The President: You have been effective. Will you move in the north if we move in the south?

Vice Premier Teng: But you should give greater help in the north too. As far as I know, you have many ways to help. Also through third countries.

The President: We have and will.

Vice Premier Teng: Good.

Secretary Kissinger: We are working with France. They will send some equipment and training.

The President: I just approved before I left Washington $35 million more above what we have done before; and that [amount] is on its way as I understand it.

Vice Premier Teng: It is worth spending more money on that problem. Because that is a key position of strategic importance.

[Page 892]

The President: Yes. They have an important port; and their natural resources are vital.

Vice Premier Teng: So should we call it a morning and continue our talks tomorrow? We spent two and a half hours making a round the world trip.

The President: It has been very beneficial and encouraging to work with you, Mr. Vice Premier, to be very frank, and to see how our interests are similar in many, many areas of the world.

Vice Premier Teng: We have said we have many things in common.

Secretary Kissinger: What should we say to the press?

Vice Premier Teng: We may say that we have continued significant discussions on a wide range of international issues.

Secretary Kissinger: All right.

Vice Premier Teng: We will see you tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: We will actually see you—does that mean you are withdrawing your invitation for tonight? (Laughter)

Vice Premier Teng: No, we will see you at the performance tonight!

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions, Box 2, China Memcons and Reports, December 1–5, 1975, President Ford’s Visit to Peking. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in Guest House 18. All brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 119.
  3. Deng is referring to charges that the Soviet Union was seeking to create a Soviet-dominated greater Baluchistan, which would combine the Baluch tribes of Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan.