150. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Philip C. Habib, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
  • Arthur Hummel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • William H. Gleysteen, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • China: Comments on Taiwan by Chang Chun-chiao and Ch’iao Kuan-hua


  • Peking 1282, 1283, 1284; Peking 161 (Voyager Channel)2

Kissinger: They have made the same points that they made to us in November of 19743 Whenever it was. After Vladivostok.

Lord: But they never have been pressed like this. On two successive days, by a Congressman carrying a letter from the President.4 It’s like Magnuson on Cambodia.5

Gleysteen: We all had misgivings about Barnett [Robert Barnett, Director of the Asian Society, accompanying Senator Scott].

[Page 940]

Lord: I took him aside after breakfast and told him not to raise the Taiwan issue. He mumbled as if he wouldn’t.

Kissinger: They all have this idea in their heads that we are going to do this between the election and the inauguration.

Gleysteen: If you look at the succession of three conversations with Chang Chun-chiao—one with the New Zealand Ambassador, then with the Congressman Price group, and this. He is tough as nails. And he is becoming more prominent in dealing with foreigners.

Kissinger: Have we met him?

Lord: He was the host in Shanghai for Nixon in 1972.

Kissinger: What is your judgment, Art?

Hummel: I am afraid it is significant. This is the first time we have seen a direct reflection of the leftists.

Gleysteen: I think so.

Hummel: This could be the first reflection of a divergence of opinion.

Kissinger: In tone, it’s the sharpest. In substance, it’s the same thing Mao said to us. But Mao used to say also: “But we can wait 100 years.”

Hummel: Ch’iao said the day before: “We are in no hurry.”

Kissinger: The first thing to do is calm Gates down. Send him some analysis. Tell him our analysis is that the tone is tougher but in substance it was the same thing as the last time we raised it formally—which was in December of 1974. They can’t but be annoyed that we raise it when they don’t raise it.

I am not sure they want us out of Taiwan now. Suppose we leave, and they can’t take it?

Lord: They have always lately been tougher in tone but said they were patient.

Gleysteen: If I were Chinese and read all these newspapers—the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and then see Scott coming out, all puffed up, it would be logical to take a tough line.6

Kissinger: It would be logical to make clear that these terms that are being talked about are unacceptable. They are just as inflexible now as with the Japanese on the anti-hegemony clause.

Gleysteen: They have been expecting the fall of the Miki Government.

[Page 941]

Kissinger: And here they are expecting the fall of the Ford Government. So why should they screw around with a Senator who is leaving office?

Gleysteen: There is a disturbing aspect. This is a leftist talking. There is more anti-Taiwan talk. And there are these maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait.

Kissinger: That could be interpreted both ways. The maneuvers are threatening, but the statements could be a way of compensating for not doing anything. They are showing what they could do.

Habib: The substance is the same as before.

Kissinger: No, what bothers me is the increasing element of disdain. On Angola, he says: You didn’t handle it beautifully.

Habib: When they read Miyazawa’s statement about the “division of labor” between us and Japan on Taiwan—after he’s been in Washington—it will look like we set it up. Could they have seen Miyazawa’s statement by that time?7

Gleysteen: Yes.

Kissinger: The Olympic thing must look like we are setting up two Chinas.8

Lord: Next year, if we look like a strong power…

Kissinger: But the White House is making a little defeat into a big one [on the Olympics]. Gates is sending back-channels to the White House saying it is going to explode domestically—that Scott will come back saying they have toughened their terms. They will put something in the Republican Platform demanding a peaceful transition.

They are all counting on our accomplishments and adding to it anti-Communism. [Laughter]

Gleysteen: We have seen this tone since October, in Angola.

Kissinger: In October, we looked pretty good about Angola.

Hummel: There is increasing disdain about the value of the U.S. relationship.

[Page 942]

Kissinger: I am worried about Gates. Could you give him our analysis?9 A realistic analysis. We see increasing leftist trends. Give him the context—with the Miyazawa statement; the Olympic flap; why it must have looked like a gratuitous insult to them. But make them calm down. Basically they need the relationship more than we do.

Gleysteen: That is true. Once before, Chang said: “The only common interest we have is the fear of the Soviet Union.” This time he said “We have many international interests.”

Kissinger: Each time they tried to turn the discussion to them, he [Scott] wouldn’t let them. [Laughter]

[The Secretary takes a call from Secretary Simon on the Olympic flap.]10

Simon used to be a member of the Olympic Committee. He says this could have been solved if someone had gotten to the key people on both sides at an early stage. Now it is hopelessly screwed up. He says it was almost impossible to screw it up like this but they did it. There were 100 ways it could have been solved.

I would like a message sent to Gates. Send a back-channel to the White House saying it will have severe domestic repercussions. Can you do it? For tomorrow. Also get to Scott to keep his mouth shut.

Habib: Barnett will write articles on it. He will mine this for weeks.

Kissinger: He will say we screwed it up by not doing it when Chou En-lai was alive.

Hummel: Chang made a point of confidentiality. Maybe we can get to them.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–1977, Box 6, China, unnumbered items (31), 7/12/76–7/14/76. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Secretary Kissinger’s office. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Telegram 1282, July 13, described a meeting between Senator Scott and Zhang Chunqiao. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) Telegram 1283, July 14, provided a verbatim transcript of the ScottZhang meeting. (Ibid.) Telegram 1284, July 14, contained a transcript of a conversation between Scott and Qiao. (Ibid.) Backchannel message 161 was not found.
  3. Kissinger was referring to his November 25–29 trip to China in 1974, during which Deng Xiaoping articulated three principles regarding Taiwan and the normalization of U.S.–PRC relations. see Document 97.
  4. Pennsylvania Senator Hugh Scott (R), visited China for two weeks in the summer of 1976. On July 13, he met with Zhang Chunqiao, who told Scott that Taiwan could only be liberated by force. Afterward, Scott told President Ford, “they kept repeating the Taiwan line. It was rather chilling.” (Memorandum of conversation, July 28; Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–1977, Box 6, China, unnumbered items (32), 7/16/76–7/31/76)
  5. U.S. officials believed that Senator Magnuson angered Zhou Enlai in 1973 by advising him to be “patient” while the United States intensified its bombing of Cambodia. see Document 43 and footnote 7 thereto.
  6. Telegram 1288 from Beijing, July 14, discussed “the jelling of American editorial opinion in the most prestigious and influential papers behind the need to normalize with the PRC while preserving a relationship with Taiwan.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Box 15, People’s Republic of China, State Department Telegrams)
  7. An account of Miyazawa’s conversation with Senator Mansfield was transmitted in telegram 10553 from Tokyo, July 13, and telegram 10624 from Tokyo, July 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  8. Canada, the host of the Olympics, prohibited Taiwanese athletes from competing under the name “Republic of China.” As a result, the International Olympic Committee threatened to withdraw its support for the Montreal Olympics, while the United States threatened to pull its athletes out of the games. (Steve Cady, “U.S. Threatens to Quit Olympics Over Taiwan,” The New York Times, July 3, 1976, p. 47)
  9. In telegram 177799 to Beijing, July 17, the Department sent an analysis of Zhang Chunqiao’s meeting with Senator Scott. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Box 14, People’s Republic of China, State Department Telegrams)
  10. No transcript of this telephone conversation was found.