36. Editorial Note
On June 13, 1973, Henry Kissinger, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, visited Ji Pengfei, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the residence of the Chinese Ambassador in Paris. Kissinger requested that the Chinese Government assist American efforts to stabilize the situation in Cambodia, but Ji replied that he could do little until Prince Norodom Sihanouk, head of the Cambodian Government in exile, returned to Beijing. A memorandum of conversation of the meeting is in National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 94, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, May 16-June 13, 1973.
The following day, June 14, Kissinger met in his White House office with Huang Zhen, Chief of the PRC Liaison Office in the United States. Kissinger gave Huang a memorandum that explained U.S. support for the dissolution of the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK) and the decision to postpone discussion of the future of the United Nations Command. (Memorandum from Kennedy to Kissinger, June 14; ibid., Box 99, Country Files, Far East, PRC–UNCURK/UNC)
On the subject of Southeast Asia, Kissinger remarked, “We can’t reiterate enough that the key element in Indochina is now Cambodia, and everything else will be easy once that is settled.” Kissinger also described the agenda for the upcoming summit with Brezhnev, which was to begin on June 18. Concerning the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, Kissinger stated that there would be an “agreement on the principles,” but no “concrete agreement.” Kissinger also addressed the Chinese Government’s displeasure with U.S.-Soviet plans for an “Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War.” Two weeks earlier, the Chinese Government had decried this agreement as an attempt to establish a “U.S.-Soviet nuclear hegemony.” (See footnote 2, Document 34.) Kissinger noted, “We have decided to proceed [with the agreement] even though we take your views extremely seriously. It is important for you to understand our position. If we want to establish hegemony with the Soviet Union, we don’t need an agreement. We have many offers [Page 272] without an agreement.” (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 95, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, June 14–July 9, 1973)
In response to Kissinger’s position, Huang produced a note from the Chinese Government rejecting the proposed U.S.–PRC accord requiring the two countries to consult each other before engaging in negotiations that could affect the other nation. Kissinger and Nixon had suggested such an accord in order to alleviate Chinese concern over U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the prevention of nuclear war. (See footnote 2, Document 34.) The Chinese note stated, “the joint declaration proposed by Dr. Kissinger on May 29 does not go beyond the scopes [sic] of the Shanghai Communiqué in principle, but on the contrary would, in effect, provide the Soviet Union with a pretext to peddle its bilateral agreements and Asian security system.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 95, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, June 14–July 9, 1973)