137. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • PRC
    • Teng Hsiao-p’ing, Vice Premier of the State Council
    • Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    • Amb. Huang Chen, Chief, PRCLO, Washington
    • Wang Hai-jung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
    • Lin P’ing, Director of American & Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • T’ang Weng-sheng, Deputy Director of American & Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (Interpreter)
    • Chien Ta-yung, Counselor, PRC LO, Washington
    • Ting Yuan-hung, Director for U.S. Affairs, American & Oceanic Affairs Department
    • Chao Chi-hua, Deputy Director for U.S. Affairs, American & Oceanic Affairs Department
    • Mrs. Shih Yen-hua, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (Interpreter)
    • (Plus two notetakers)
  • U.S.
    • President Ford
    • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
    • Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    • Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    • Amb. George H. W. Bush, Chief of the USLO, Peking
    • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
    • Amb. Philip C. Habib, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    • William H. Gleysteen, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff
    • Bonnie Long, Sec. Kissinger’s Office (Notetaker)


  • Taiwan; bilateral relations;MIA; trade (oil and computers); Dalai Lama; Korea;
  • Chinese minorities; agriculture; Amb. Bush

[A press pool was admitted at the beginning]

Vice Premier Teng: Did you have a good rest?

The President: I certainly did. I have had three beneficial, friendly, and I think, constructive days. I am looking forward to the final session and I think it will be as helpful as the ones before.

Vice Premier Teng: I am sure they will be, Sir, and we are also very pleased that our two sides are now setting a new style this time. That is, we do not think we are compelled to issue a communiqué. We think the importance lies in the visit itself, and that our two sides have had significant discussions. We don’t think importance lies in such superficial things as a communiqué.

The President: I agree. Actions and agreements are much more important than the words, and the discussions far more significant than a piece of paper.

Vice Premier Teng: But perhaps the ladies and gentlemen of the press won’t be so satisfied by that. [Laughter] And perhaps they will also notice that I have begun smoking again. [Laughter]

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, the relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China—this relationship has been strengthened by the visit and the meeting with Chairman Mao and yourself, the kind of meetings that can be meaningful in the months and years ahead.

Vice Premier Teng: I agree with that.

The President: I have my pipe out too. [Laughter] But they all know I do that.

[Page 894]

Helen Thomas (UPI): We want a rebuttal some day.

The President: She always has the last word. [Laughter]

Helen Thomas: I want a translation of that.[Laughter]

[The press was then ushered out.]

Secretary Kissinger: That made my press briefing a lot easier.

The President: That performance at the gymnasium last night was one of the finest things I have ever seen.

Vice Premier Teng: It is more relaxing, and we did not want the time to be too tiring.

The President: I am envious of those young people who can do all those things.

Secretary Kissinger: General Scowcroft was so moved that even though he fell asleep, he applauded. [Laughter] [To Foreign Minister Ch’iao:] You saw him.

Vice Premier Teng: Mr. Scowcroft is a Lieutenant General and I, after having fought twenty years in a war, still don’t have a rank. I am only an ordinary soldier. You are my superior! [Laughter]

President Ford: Mr. Vice Premier, the Battle of the Potomac sometimes gets a little rough.


Vice Premier Teng: So we now enter our third session and I think the final session for this visit. I believe in the talks we had yesterday, we have covered almost all the ground, and I think especially the deep going conversation you had with Chairman Mao shows we have touched upon all aspects.

And the Taiwan issue that both sides are concerned about actually was also discussed during your wide-ranging conversation with Chairman Mao. And we have understood Mr. President’s point; that is, that during the time of the election it will not be possible to make any new moves.

As for our side, we have told the Doctor many times that we are very patient. And in our relations we have always put the international aspect first and the Taiwan issue second.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, you are absolutely correct. We have covered the globe in detail, ourselves as well as the discussions with the Chairman, and we did touch on the question of Taiwan. We are very grateful that you are understanding of the domestic political situation in the United States.

But I think it is important for us—and for me, I should say—to speak quite frankly about the political commitment that I feel the United States has concerning Taiwan. Although we understand and have discussed the situation, I think it is beneficial that I reaffirm for [Page 895] the record of these meetings what in the first instance President Nixon said in 1972. There were five points that were made:

  • —Number one, that we support the principle of the unity of China.
  • —Number Two, we will not support any independence effort by the Taiwan Government.
  • —And that we would actively discourage any third force from seeking to take some expansionist activities concerning Taiwan.
  • —Of course, you do know that we have significantly reduced, as President Nixon said, the military forces that we have on Taiwan. As I recall the figure in 1972, there were roughly 10,000 American military personnel on the island. That has been reduced, so that at the present time we have roughly 2,800. And it is my intention within the next year that we will reduce that by 50%, down to a figure roughly of 1,400. I want you to know that we have no offensive weapon capabilities on Taiwan.
  • —So, with the total reduced figure from 10,000 to 1,400, and the fact that we have no offensive military capability, there is a clear indication that the commitments made by President Nixon are being carried out by myself.

And, we do understand and we are grateful for the patience that your government has had. On the other hand, we want to say after the election we will be in a position to move much more specifically toward the normalization of relations, along the model perhaps of the Japanese arrangement, but it will take some time, bearing in mind our domestic political situation.

Teng: We have taken note of Mr. President’s well-intentioned words, that is, that under suitable conditions you will be prepared to solve the Taiwan issue according to the Japanese formula. And of course, when the normalization of relations is realized, we are sure that will be in accordance with the three principles we have stated many times: It will go along with the abolishing of the so-called U.S.–Chiang Kai-shek defense treaty, and the withdrawal of United States troops from Taiwan, and the severing of diplomatic relations with the Chiang Kai-shek government. Of course, we can also realize the Japanese formula which also includes the remaining of some people-to-people, nongovernmental trade relations with Taiwan, as Japan maintains at the present time.

Other issues pertaining to Taiwan will be settled in accordance with the principle that it is the internal problem of China.

And under these conditions we are not worried about any third country, particularly Russia, being able to do anything of consequence on Taiwan.

[Teng bends over next to his seat and spits into a spittoon under the table.]

[Page 896]

The President: We would certainly anticipate that any solution would be by peaceful means as far as your government and Taiwan are concerned. We certainly have to look at it from the point of view that we can’t just cast aside old friends. It would have to be a peaceful solution, which I understand is the understanding President Nixon made at that time. I would agree that we would perhaps retain trade relations, etc. which would continue.

But I might add that I would hope that in our own relations, Mr. Vice Premier, we could move in a broadening sense, as friends, in the direction of trade relations, and educational and cultural exchanges. They are very meaningful, as the Ambassador [Huang Chen] knows, in the support that comes from the American people for the forward movement of our overall relations.

Teng: Of course, I believe the Doctor will well remember the talks he had with Chairman Mao during his recent October visit in which the Chairman has very explicitly discussed our position. And with regard to the thing you mentioned just now, to put it frankly, we do not believe in peaceful transition. Because there is a huge bunch of counterrevolutionaries over there, and the question of what method we will take to solve our internal problem is something that we believe belongs to the internal affairs of China, to be decided by China herself. And in his conversation with the Doctor, Chairman Mao mentioned five years, ten years, 20 years, 100 years. While the Doctor continued stressing the point that “you had mentioned 100 years.” [Laughter] So, I think that is about all for that question.

The President: You can argue that 100 years is a peaceful transition. [Laughter]

Teng: But I think it is clear that the Chairman’s meaning was that even in 100 years a peaceful transition would be impossible. There is still time left.

The President: But I would reiterate, Mr. Vice Premier, how it is beneficial for us to expand the visits and exchanges from our country to yours and your country to ours. The good will that has been engendered by the many groups that come to the United States has been very helpful, and we hope that those who have come to the People’s Republic likewise are helpful, whether they are educational, agricultural, scientific or otherwise. It is a step that strengthens the ties between our two countries.

Teng: I believe our two sides have already discussed the specific programs that we will be exchanging next year. And we believe that the strengthening of mutual exchanges is always for the good.

There is another issue that your side has mentioned many times. That is the question of missing in action.

The President: Very important.

[Page 897]

Teng: We have conducted many searches once again, and we have found out about what has happened to seven of them. And we have the ashes of two. But the remains of the others have not been able to be obtained. As for the others, there have also been cases in which planes have been shot down, some into the sea, and the remains have not been able to be found.

So we can hand over the information to you. [He hands paper at Tab A to the President.]2

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, this is very helpful. [Teng spits into his spittoon.] Of course, I have not had a chance to read it, but the fact that you have responded to something that is of deep concern to the American people will be greatly appreciated. And I would hope that if any other developments take place in the future, either a plane shot down or ashes or remains, and means of identification are found, that you would do the same in those cases as you have done in these. This will have a very beneficial impact on the reaction in the United States.

And I notice on the last page here that you do indicate that if we wanted we can take back the remains of two Americans, Kenneth Pugh and Jimmy Buckley. My quick reaction is we perhaps can do it through the Red Cross or some way; that probably would be the best way to handle it. But the news will be very well received in the United States.

Teng: We agree then, if you want it handed over from the Chinese Red Cross to the American Red Cross.

Secretary Kissinger: Maybe at the briefing today, without giving names, can I say that you have informed us of seven missing in action? But we want to notify their families, so we will not release the names.

Teng: All right. In the future, if similar events occur, I think it will be much easier to handle because we can deal with it directly.

Secretary Kissinger: Do you mean overflights? There are no such … [Laughter]

Teng: Do you think you envisage such overflights? [Laughter

Secretary Kissinger: No.

Teng: So there will not be the question arising. [Laughter]

The President: I notice, Mr. Vice Premier, that the Cambodians have indicated that they hold no American prisoners and have no information. I think this attitude on their part is helpful in trying to make some progress on relations if we can, as far as they are concerned. If you have any influence on other friends in Indochina it might be helpful in that regard to indicate to them that any information would [Page 898] be very beneficial in the improvement, in the movement towards relations.

Teng: I think you mean Vietnam. [Laughter]

The President: You are very perceptive!

Teng: And as I believe we discussed with Dr. Kissinger during his recent visit, we mentioned that you have many channels leading to Vietnam. [Laughter]

The President: We do thank you for this information. It will be very helpful.

Teng: As for the question of oil and equipment and so on, as Mr. President mentioned, we think this can be conducted through trade channels.

The President: Very good.

Teng: And under our present relations we believe it also conforms to reality that the volume of trade between our two countries has not been very stable. Of course this also includes our ability to pay for certain things. And I also believe that with the developing of our economy, the prospects will be better.

The President: I admire …

Teng: For instance, under the present situation, some things we are interested in perhaps you find it impossible to supply. Like for instance computers of a speed of 10 million times. We do not think such issues are of great consequence.

Secretary Kissinger: Our problem is we have refused certain computers to the Soviet Union. [Teng spits into his spittoon.] I think we could approve computers to the People’s Republic of China that would be of considerable quality. As long as we can at the same time maintain our policy with the Soviet Union.

Teng: I think that such issues can be discussed through trade channels. And we do not think it matters if perhaps you at the present will find it difficult to proceed; it would not be of very great consequence.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, in principle we would be very anxious to be helpful in the computer area, and I think we can be. And certainly those matters can be discussed by the trade people, but I think with the overall attitude that we have, progress can be made in that regard.

Teng: Fine.

Secretary Kissinger: Could I make a suggestion, Mr. Vice Premier?

Teng: Okay.

Secretary Kissinger: I know your normal procedure is to do it through trade channels. But this has the consequence that you may ask for a particular model that then comes to us for decision and we [Page 899] refuse it for a reason that may have to do with our Soviet relationship and not the Chinese relationship. If your Ambassador could tell us informally ahead of time what you have in mind, we may be able to find a model of good quality which meets your needs which you can be sure will be approved, and we could work with the companies. Because there are many varieties which could be effective to you. If we can just find a model with technical differences to preserve the principle with the Soviet Union, then we can give it to you, and we can certainly work that out.

Teng: To our understanding, what we term trade channels actually are controlled or influenced heavily by the governments.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, but there are two ways it comes to our attention. One is if you go through the technical channel, and we do not know until you have already made a specific proposal. If you tell us informally, I can … For example, the other day I had dinner with the President of Burroughs Corporation, and he told me of your interest in some computers. He said there are many computers he could give you, various models, if he knew your needs. If we could have some preliminary talks with your Ambassador, or whoever you designate, I could talk to Burroughs Corporation or whoever you want to deal with, and then we could give an appropriate model and we would not be made to get into the position of having to accept or reject a specific model, once we know what you have in mind.

Teng: We can think over that suggestion. And the Chairman said that our Ambassador will be staying in your country for one or two more years. [Laughter]

Kissinger: It will be with the intention of approving it, not refusing it.

The President: The Secretary has suggested the better procedure for the handling of the matter, and I would like you to know, Mr. Vice Premier, that we are very anxious to be helpful in this area. If we follow the right procedure it makes it very possible that we can cooperate.

Teng: Fine. So we think that, first of all, we can study the issue and then further consider it. And we think that the solving of specific issues like this, or their all remaining unsolved, will not be of great effect to our general relations. [The Chinese all laugh.] There are also many small issues like this between us.

For instance, the question of the Dalai Lama having set up a small office in your country. And during my discussions with some of your visitors, I said that was like chicken feathers and onion skin. [Laughter] Do you have such an expression?

Ambassador Bush: We have an impolite one.

Teng: In Chinese it means something of very little weight. Feathers are very light.

[Page 900]

The President: Let me assure you, Mr. Vice Premier, that we oppose and do not support any governmental action as far as Tibet is concerned.

Teng: Things might be easier if you refused them visas.

The President: No United States governmental action was taken. This was done privately, Mr. Vice Premier.

[Teng spits into his spittoon.]

Teng: It is not so important.

Kissinger: When they become Communists, then we have a legal basis to refuse them visas. [Laughter]

Teng: The present Palace of Culture of Various Nationalities, which I pointed out to you in the car and which your daughter visited, was built for the Dalai Lama. And in 1959, when the Dalai Lama came to Peking, he stayed there for one period. After he went back to Tibet he staged a rebellion and left, fled the country. At that time actually it was possible for us to have stopped his leaving the country. It was entirely within our capacity to stop him from leaving. But Chairman Mao said it is better to let him go. [The Chinese all laugh.]

You can see the difference in Tibet now. Recently a woman writer, Han Suyin, visited Tibet. She is of British citizenship, but very often visits the United States. And the standards of living in Tibet are much higher than before, and in comparison to other areas in China it can not be considered very low.

So that is all the bilateral issues we can think of.

The President: I think we have covered the bilateral and I think we have covered the international issues in great depth.

I may just add that we do not approve of the actions that the Indians are taking as far as Tibet is concerned.

Teng: We do not pay much attention to that because it is of no use. And to put it in more explicit terms, the Dalai Lama is now a burden on India. [The Chinese laugh.] If he should want to come back to Tibet, we might even welcome him back for a short visit. And perhaps he can see what changes have been wrought by the serfs that he had so cruelly ruled.

The President: I do not think you want to relieve India of any extra burdens that it has.

Teng: We do not want to. Let them carry it for 100 years! We will think about it after that. The Dalai Lama must be in his 30’s, at the most 40. He was very young at that time. He might still live another 60 years, to 100. So let India carry that burden for another 60 years at least.

The President: We are very grateful, Mr. Vice Premier, for your warm welcome. We feel very strongly that the discussions both on bilateral, as [Page 901] well as international matters, have been very fruitful and significant. I think the opportunity to meet you personally and meet the Chairman will be very productive in the long run in our efforts to make possible affirmative action on a parallel basis. And on behalf of myself and my family and all of the delegation from the United States, we are very grateful for the frank and significant, fruitful discussions that we have had.

Teng: I agree with the words of the President, and I would like to take this opportunity to once again express our thanks to the President for the visit.

So, do you think we have come to the end of our discussion?

The President: The only apprehension that I have, Mr. Vice Premier, is that we have gotten along so well that we have not had to take as much time this morning as we anticipated. And our friends in the press might misconstrue that, and they often times do. [Laughter] So if there is anything that we could discuss, informally, or otherwise, it might be helpful. [Laughter]

Teng: Fine.

Kissinger: See, if the meeting runs longer than planned, it proves we quarreled. If it runs shorter than planned, it also proves we quarreled. [Laughter]

Teng: Yes, the press people do not seem to have any particular noses or ears. I wonder how they get so sensitive.

Kissinger: There were two British correspondents here, Mr. Vice Premier, who wrote articles that there was great tension in our first meeting here.

Teng: I sometimes think perhaps that is due to inspiration. [Laughter]

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, the Secretary has told me that the two Foreign Ministers did discuss Korea, and their discussions I think will not require that we discuss the situation, but I think it is important for them to have a dialogue on this issue.

Teng: As for the Korean issue, during the Doctor’s previous visit we discussed that with him, and this time Foreign Minister Ch’iao has discussed it with him again. So I think that our position is very clear and both sides understand each other very well on this issue. We have noticed that there seems to be an idea that various parties, including ourselves, should participate in the discussion of this question. This is something that we cannot agree to. Because we no longer have any military forces in Korea. Only your side has. But we are in favor of your side having a dialogue with Korea. You also have your channels, for instance, in the United Nations; they have an observer there.

But we can say that we are not of the same impression that you seem to be under. We are not worried like you are about a military attack [Page 902] by the North against the South. But we hope that the American side will keep an eye on Park Chung Hee. Not now and neither in one or two years. The question is that you must keep an eye over him when he gets in a particularly difficult position.

The President: Mr. Vice Premier, we are encouraged when you say that the North has no intention and I can assure you that we will keep our eye on the South. We think it would be very ill-advised and very harmful for any military action in that area whatsoever. As a matter of fact, we would not tolerate it. [Teng spits into his spittoon.]

Teng: When Mr. Cyrus Vance led a delegation of world affairs organization people to China, we discussed this with him.

Kissinger: That is like the Dalai Lama. [Laughter] A government in exile. [Laughter]

Teng: They stressed that South Korea should be linked with Japan. They stressed the linkage that should be maintained between Japan and South Korea. Of course, if that is perceived from a purely geographical point of view, that might be of some sense. But if you are speaking from a political point of view, Japan and Korea are issues of two different natures. We are always reminding our friends that one must pay attention to the question of national feeling, national sentiment. And to be very frank, on this issue we find that your people, and including European friends, do not seem to have such acute and deep feeling about this issue as we have. Because we have passed through that period.

Take our situation, our state of affairs, pertaining to Taiwan. Some people are saying this is a two-China issue. And so we can feel very acutely the feelings that others have on other similar issues. And we feel that the question of the so-called two Koreas, two Vietnams, and two Germanies, are all issues of the same nature. And although the Soviet Union is now in control of East Germany, we believe that not only the West German people, but also the East German people have the same desire to reunify their country, and we feel certain that such an aspiration will eventually be realized.

There are a lot of people who have taken a lot of notice to our mention of 100 years. We think even if it takes 100 years, or even if it exceeds 100 years, this desire will finally be realized. Such a national urge cannot be resisted. Take for instance the question of the two Vietnams. One part of the nation has fought for reunification for 30 years. In Korea, the war did not go for so many years but shows a basic feeling there too.

President: With respect to the reunification of Germany, as I said the other day, we feel the reunification of Germany is inevitable. How soon I would not predict, but it would surprise me if it were 100 years, Mr. Vice Premier.

[Page 903]

As for Korea, I think it might be helpful if the Secretary made an observation.

Kissinger: Only on the relationship between Japan and South Korea, Mr. Vice Premier. I think we both have an interest to prevent Japan from becoming militaristic. If there is turmoil in Korea and if South Korea is threatened, then there is a danger Japan will move in a more militaristic direction. On the other hand, we do not favor Japan having a more political and military role in Korea, and this is why we have attempted to move in the direction we have.

Teng: Japan’s interest in South Korea is no lower than that of the United States.

Kissinger: It is greater.

Teng: There is some sense in those words. And there indeed exist forces in Japan that want to restore militarism. These are also forces that are most enthusiastic about South Korea and Taiwan.

Kissinger [to Ch’iao]: My student.

President: You mentioned Mr. Nakasone.

Teng: Your student is such a man.

Kissinger: I just said it to the Foreign Minister.

President: You mentioned earlier Mr. Cyrus Vance. He was a classmate of mine in Law School. I don’t expect he will be back in government for some time. If ever.

It was mentioned to me several months ago when Mr. Paul Miller of AP came to see me following his visit to your country—and I understand he had talked with your people—about the possibility of setting up an AP bureau here. I would hope you would seriously consider that, Mr. Vice Premier. Mr. Vice Premier, they might be more constructive than the British correspondents.

Teng: But under the present state of affairs, it perhaps will be difficult for this to be. Perhaps it will be more appropriate for us to consider this after the elections, when there will have been a change in the situation.

President: I mention again, we are very grateful.

Teng: We still have some time left, though. Perhaps we can chat about Tibet. [Laughter] The features of Tibet today are completely different from what they were before. In history, in Tibet, almost 40% of the population were lamas, that is, Buddhist priests, including very small children, who were also lamas. These lamas first of all could not till the land. Secondly, they did not reproduce the human race, because they were not allowed to marry. And they relied completely on the other 60% of the population, the serfs, to feed them. And their rule was very cruel. It was very cruel oppression of the people. They had very many varieties of torture.

[Page 904]

They only produced a kind of barley, a different strain that perhaps you may not have found in any other place in the world. It is a kind of barley which has a very low yield. Now they are growing wheat. In the past it was thought impossible. But now they are having very high yields.

Kissinger: Are any Chinese settling there?

Ch’iao: You mean of the Han nationality?

Kissinger: Yes.

Teng: There are. After our army went in, some of them settled down there. And there are also people engaging in a lot of construction there. But the new generation of Tibetans has also produced a new generation of specialists, in new fields, and workers that they never had before because they did not have the industry. In the past they did not grow vegetables. Now they have successfully grown new varieties of vegetables in an area of such high altitude that was not thought possible before, and of such growth that the turnips they grow there are much larger than those grown in our area.

President: Do you have a Tachai project there? That was very impressive yesterday.

Teng: Yes. In Tibet, one of the characteristics of the agriculture in Tibet is that they have done a lot of work in water conservancy. Because that is an area in agriculture, and we found that though it is very high and lacking in air, it is closer to the sun and is therefore more bountiful, and it has more sunshine.

So, no matter what the Dalai Lama can boast about himself, he cannot affect the prospects of Tibet. They have begun to develop a bit of industry there too.

President: He should stay in India.

Teng: Yes, and we wish him a long life and a long stay there. [Laughter]

On the whole, our country is still very backward. But we pay attention to the policy towards the different nationalities, and no matter whether it is in the Tibetan area. The area where the Tibetans live is larger than Tibet itself. In Kueichow Province, and on the western borders, also in Sinkiang Province, there are many Tibetans. It is populated with Hans too. Where we have dozens of Khazaks and other peoples of minority nationalities, we have tried to provide a standard of living for people of minority nationalities that is slightly higher than the other ones.

Our country has a weakness in that it has too large a population. We have had to pay attention to birth control. And the increase in the population is lowering down a bit in some provinces. But in the minority nationality areas we have encouraged an increase in the population. [Page 905] Because in the places that they live in, they have large areas and few people.

President: In the three years since I was here in the first place, I have noticed on this trip tremendous progress. And I have seen a tremendous amount of new construction and new developments. [Teng spits into his spittoon.] So I think your initiatives have been quite successful. We of course compliment you and your people for the progress that has been made. It is very evident to someone who has been away for three years and comes back.

Teng: Still not very great. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. For instance, in agriculture we are only barely sufficient in food. And on the average we only have the per capita of output of food grain of only 335 kilograms. It can only be said that that is barely sufficient. We have only barely sufficient food and clothing.

So now the whole country is trying to learn from Tachai agriculture. This means that whole counties are trying to learn from the standards adopted in Sian county, where Tachai is. And if only one-third of the counties of the nation are able to do as well as they have done, that would make a great difference. And if, say, 200 million of our population would have been able to learn from Tachai and do as well as they do—on the average section they are doing 250 kilograms per person— then these 200 million people should be able to produce something around 50 million tons.

That is commercial grain that they now produce. That is excluding what they use for their own purposes. If they are able to increase a bit over that, that will be something around 60 or 70 million tons.

What we are concerned about in our country, first of all, is agriculture, because we have a population of 800 million and first of all they have to eat. And food and clothing and the things that we use mainly come from agriculture. So it seems that there is hope.

President: It is very obvious that you are doing far better than the Soviet Union in meeting the needs of your people for food as well as clothing, particularly food. That is a great achievement.

Teng: But there is still quite a lot to do. To achieve the standard, or just to get close to the standard of the West in various fields, will take years, at least 50 years. That is speaking of the overall situation. But if you cut it down to the income per capita, then it will take more than 50 years.

President: When I was here in 1972, in a meeting with the Foreign Minister, we talked bout the mechanization of agriculture in the United States, and he indicated that you were moving forward to further mechanize. And I noticed in the exhibition concerning agriculture there has been great progress in agricultural mechanization, irrigation and all of the modern methods of increasing the productivity of the soil. Over-coming [Page 906] the problems of floods on the one hand and drought on the other. A very impressive demonstration.

Teng: But mechanization alone will not be able to solve our problems. We also have to till the land scientifically and intensively. In this aspect we are different from your country, because in our country 7½ people share 1 hectare of cultivated land. You have wide and vast cultivated lands.

President: You should come and see our agricultural lands, Mr. Vice Premier.

Teng: Maybe I will have the chance in the future. It would be quite interesting.

But I do not think your methods in agriculture would be entirely applied to ours. In some typical places in the South, on one plot we would grow seven different crops.

President: Seven, one after the other? Or mixed?

Teng: Seven times in rotation. That is, before the first one is harvested, you sow in the second, between the rows.

President: We are trying to integrate, in some areas of the United States, fruit, and put in the rows between the trees another crop. And it is developing very successfully. We have been trying to diversify crops for the farmers so that he will not depend solely on fruit, and can have another crop that will bolster their income.

Teng: Your agriculture has been doing very well.

President: I can see the Vice Premier has a deep interest in and a deep knowledge of agriculture.

Teng: Once, during wartime, I was for a long time in the countryside, and therefore I have some feeling for the land. I am also familiar with it, to a certain extent.

President: Mr. Vice Premier, our Ambassador is leaving, as you know.3 He is a very close colleague and close personal friend of mine, and has been for many years. When he comes back to the United States he will be very capable and effective and very helpful in explaining to the American people the relationship that we have and the importance of that relationship. I can assure you that his successor will be an equally capable and high-level individual and a person in whom I have the greatest personal confidence and trust as I have had with Ambassador Bush.

Teng: You have given him a post that is not considered to be very good. [Laughter]

Bush: You’re talking like my wife, Mr. Vice Premier. [Laughter]

[Page 907]

Teng: But it won’t matter so very much. If you deal with it correctly, it might not be of such great harm.

President: Mr. Vice Premier, it is a post of great importance in the United States, and I picked him because I know that he has great competence and great abilities. It will be a sacrifice for him because he has enjoyed very greatly his opportunity to be in your country. But for handling a very difficult job I wanted the best person that I could find.

Teng: So perhaps I was impolite in interfering in your internal affairs. [Laughter]

So do you think we can call it a day now? Thank you very much for coming.

President: And thank you for giving us the opportunity to be here.

[The meeting ended.]

  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; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Not attached and not found.
  3. Bush left Beijing on December 7.