37. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Huang Chen, Chief, PRC Liaison Office, Washington
  • Han Hsu, Deputy Chief, PRC Liaison Office
  • Chi Chiao-chu, Interpreter
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Operations
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

Huang Chen: You are very busy.

Dr. Kissinger: With your allies here! We took out three paragraphs of a speech he wanted to make last night. I will show them to you. [Page 273] [These were later delivered to the Ambassador. Tab A]2 He wanted to attack countries who were opposed to the improvement of US-Soviet relations, because it showed warlike intentions. We told him he couldn’t criticize third countries in the White House.

[Dr. Kissinger then hands over an autographed picture of the President and Huang Chen, signed by the President.]

Huang Chen: Thank you.

Dr. Kissinger: We have yesterday asked Ambassador Bruce to request an appointment with the Prime Minister, and we have asked him to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister, which we telegraphed to him. And I wanted to give you the original of the letter. Why don’t you read it? And if you have any questions, I can explain it to you. [He hands over the letter at Tab B.3 The Ambassador examines it.].

I knew the Ambassador was learning English!

Huang Chen: It is progressing slowly.

Dr. Kissinger: Oh, really. How is your search for a house coming?

Huang Chen: Han Hsu can tell you.

Han Hsu: We have been looking at a large building and apartment house north of 16th Street.

Dr. Kissinger: Near the Soviet Embassy!

Han Hsu: No, much further north. Past the bridge.

[Chi then translates the letter for the Ambassador.]

Dr. Kissinger: Notice I am on a one-man campaign to change the Premier’s title [to Prime Minister]. It is because I can’t pronounce Premier. It is the Assistant Minister’s fault; he gave him the title in Yenan. [Chi translates the letter.] And we have asked Ambassador Bruce to hand the telegraphic copy to the Prime Minister. We sent it last night. In case he has any questions.

But I think we have stated our policy here quite clearly.

Huang Chen: It is very clear.

Dr. Kissinger: And we consider that an obligation.

Huang Chen: And I believe Ambassador Bruce will see the Premier today.

Dr. Kissinger: I am amazed by your communications. I cannot find out what Eagleburger does in 24 hours.

[Page 274]

Huang Chen: Your communications are very rapid.

Dr. Kissinger: Yours seems to be extremely efficient. Another thing that impresses me in China is that one is in a continuous conversation. Anything one says—first of all, the Prime Minister knows about it, and second, it is likely to be answered by another Chinese. [Laughter]

Huang Chen: We have the practice of what you call briefing. Don’t you have this, this briefing of correspondents?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but we don’t do it so elegantly. Once, when I first took Jenkins there, the Prime Minister came to visit the Guest House within one-half hour of our arrival, and he already knew about the house Jenkins had stayed in twenty years ago and whether it was still standing.

When I write my biography, I will ask for the Chinese file on me. It is probably better than my own.

Huang Chen: If Dr. Kissinger agrees, I would like to give you a message from our Government. [Tab C]4

Dr. Kissinger: If I don’t like it I won’t give you this one! [referring to UNCURK note in his hand]

[The Ambassador hands over the note at Tab C, and Dr. Kissinger reads it.]

Dr. Kissinger: They are doing to you what they are trying to do to us.

We appreciate the communication. And it is within the spirit of our mutual consultation. And I will keep you fully informed about our discussions here, and I will talk to you in a minute about them.

I have a paper on the Korean situation. [He hands over note on UNCURK/UNC at Tab D.]5 Let me fix one word. [He takes it back, crosses out phrase in fourth paragraph.] It is not “at least.”

[Chi translates the note for the Ambassador.]

Specifically, Mr. Ambassador, to make it slightly more concrete, we are prepared to bring about the termination of UNCURK during the 1973 UN General Assembly and the United Nations Command by the session of the 1974 General Assembly.

Han Hsu: You handed me another note on the 14th.6 This one is more specific.

[Page 275]

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. This is an elaboration of the other one. The other one was more preliminary.

Also, we have reason to believe the Seoul Government would be prepared to establish some contacts with your government, and if we can be helpful in this respect we are willing to do this. At the same time, to the extent that you have contacts with Seoul, we are prepared to have this with Pyongyang.

Huang Chen: We will report this to our Government.

What you said about the termination of UNCURK this year and of the UNC next year, it is not in here [in the note].

Dr. Kissinger: It is an elaboration. And we will encourage the Government of South Korea to make some of these proposals publicly, in the near future. Not about the United Nations Command.

One other matter, about Senator Mansfield’s visit to the People’s Republic. Everything being equal, we would prefer it if he came after I have been to Peking.

Huang Chen: That is up to you, to your convenience.

Dr. Kissinger: It is up to your skill in managing. You can do it more tactfully than I can!

Huang Chen: Last Thursday, when Senators Mansfield and Scott invited me to lunch, they said they had invited Dr. Kissinger but Dr. Kissinger had not been able to attend.

Dr. Kissinger: I had just returned from Paris.

Huang Chen: Senator Mansfield mentioned this. He said there were various factors involved.

Dr. Kissinger: We are in favor of his going.

Huang Chen: Didn’t you speak with him?

Dr. Kissinger: He mentioned last night that he was thinking of August. Why don’t you just schedule it after mine?

Huang Chen: Have you preliminarily decided on the date of your visit?

Dr. Kissinger: Would you like a proposal? We will do it soon. I will make a proposal within a week. Maybe when you come to San Clemente. [Laughter]

I want to tell your Prime Minister that if by the time I get to Peking a ceasefire exists in Cambodia, I would be prepared to meet Prince Sihanouk to have political discussions. But it should not be announced in advance.

Huang Chen: I will convey this view of yours to the Prime Minister. In talking about the visit of Senator Mansfield, you mentioned the interest of Senator Jackson. We welcome him to go but we would welcome him to go with the present Congressional delegation.

[Page 276]

Dr. Kissinger: I think the Prime Minister and Senator Jackson will get along very well. Another person who would like to go, whom the Prime Minister and I discussed, is Govenor Rockefeller of New York.

Chi Chiao-chu: Nelson Rockefeller.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. David you know.

Huang Chen: I invited his brother to lunch.

Dr. Kissinger: He may be an important factor in 1976.

Huang Chen: David Rockefeller, at a luncheon with me, said his house in Maine is near Ambassador Watson’s house.

Dr. Kissinger: That is right.

Huang Chen: Ambassador Watson has invited me to visit Maine. So Mr. David Rockefeller invited me to visit him in Maine if I come to visit Watson in August. I don’t know whether I can visit Maine in August because I don’t know whether our housing situation will be solved by then.

On this subject, I would like to come to your suggestion. We have so far called upon various people in Washington, according to a list provided by the State Department. We called upon Senators Mansfield and Scott, the Vice President, and we will call on the Secretaries of Finance and Agriculture. So far there are many other friends who would like to contact us, but we have had to say we are busy. We would like to ask your advice of which friends we should visit.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you have a list? We can give you our suggestions. Or we can give you our recommendations. In 48 hours.

Huang Chen: There is no need for such a hurry.

Dr. Kissinger: We will do it. But you are of course free to see anybody you like.

When you speak of friends, do you mean private people or people in government?

Huang Chen: In government, or members of Congress or the Senate, or well-known personages.

Dr. Kissinger: We will make a list of recommendations for you.

Huang Chen: As for the list provided by the State Department, we told it to General Scowcroft over the phone.

Then about the call on the Vice President. I would like to tell you that the Vice President gave us a very friendly reception but didn’t mention his wish to visit China as had been indicated by General Dunn.

Dr. Kissinger: We would like to defer that until we have settled the time of the visit by the President—and of the visit of the Prime Minister to America. [Laughter]

Huang Chen: These are all questions we should discuss in August.

Dr. Kissinger: Maybe he should come on a secret visit. [Laughter]

[Page 277]

Huang Chen: As I told Dr. Kissinger some time ago, as of my departure from Peking the Prime Minister had no plans to go abroad.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand. Have you any decision on whether you can visit us in San Clemente?

Huang Chen: Personally speaking, of course I would be happy to have the chance to visit you. But there still is some time.

Dr. Kissinger: Of course. You can let us know. It would be better for us, actually, the week after next.

Huang Chen: The week after next. The beginning or the middle?

Dr. Kissinger: It is up to you. Next week the French Foreign Minister will visit me in San Clemente.

Huang Chen: Jobert.

Dr. Kissinger: Jobert. You know him! Very cynical and very intelligent. We are counting on the Prime Minister to help us with the European program when Pompidou comes [to Peking] in September.

Huang Chen: Mr. Pompidou is coming here? Or to China?

Dr. Kissinger: China.

Huang Chen: Many questions will be discussed.

Dr. Kissinger: On the meeting with Brezhnev, I don’t know whether you know him, but he doesn’t have the same precision of mind as your Prime Minister. So the President asked him yesterday if he wanted to make any opening remarks. He started, and 2½ hours later he said he would make a brief conclusion, and then 1½ hour later he finished his opening remarks. [Laughter] And they were very emotional and very general. And really less precise than what I had already told you from Zavidovo.

His basic strategy is to attempt to prove there are no differences left between the United States and the Soviet Union and that there is total solidarity on a global basis.

Huang Chen: So he thinks there is a relationship of partnership, as he said.

Dr. Kissinger: That is the impression he is trying to create. But that is not our policy. On very practical grounds it makes no sense to support the stronger against the weaker. And we will not do anything practical to support that policy.

Huang Chen: I don’t know this man personally. I only know Gromyko.

Dr. Kissinger: Gromyko is very precise. But Brezhnev is very emotional. And very brutal. I will give you a full report as the discussions develop.

Huang Chen: You mentioned there are three paragraphs you wanted him to delete.

[Page 278]

Dr. Kissinger: I will send them to you this afternoon. They don’t mention China but it is obvious. They sent us over a text, and we said it was inappropriate to deliver at the White House. It is not exactly according to protocol, Mr. Minister. [Laughter]

I will in any event try to see you before we leave, but if you come to San Clemente we can have a long talk. And we will arrange housing for you when you are there.

Huang Chen: How many hours will it take?

Dr. Kissinger: If you wanted to, you could use one of our planes. But about 4½ hours. You are welcome to stay as long as you can. It can be done in two days. It can be done in one day but it is very exhausting. You should stay one night. If you think it is appropriate, I could invite some California friends for a dinner with you.

Huang Chen: Certainly if I go I would be happy to have dinner with you. And I thank you in advance for arranging if I go.

You are very busy, so I won’t keep you.

[The meeting then ended.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 95, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, June 14–July 9, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in Kissinger’s office at the White House. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Attached but not printed. Tab A is a copy of Brezhnev’s speech on the evening of June 18. The three paragraphs, which criticized those who cast aspersions on U.S.-Soviet cooperation, were delivered with a covering letter from Scowcroft to the PRC LO on June 19. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 38.
  4. Attached but not printed. Tab C is a message from the Chinese Government about the Soviet Union’s proposed “Treaty of Non-Aggression Between the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China.”
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. See Document 36.