42. Memorandum for the President’s File by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Meeting with Ambassador Huang Chen, Head of the PRC Liaison Office in Washington, Friday, July 6, 1973, 11:30 a.m.


  • The President
  • Ambassador Huang Chen
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Chi Ch’ao-chu (Interpreter)
[Page 297]

The President welcomed Ambassador Huang to the Western White House. He told the Ambassador that he expected the sun to be returning in the afternoon. Ambassador Huang Chen thanked the President and expressed his happiness to be in the Western White House to pay his respects. The President told the Ambassador that he would drive the Ambassador over there to see the President’s house. The Ambassador noted that looking across the Pacific, we realize China is just on the other side.

The President pointed out that it was from here in July 1971 that he had announced his visit to China.

The President then said that he wanted to reaffirm the matters that Dr. Kissinger had discussed with the Ambassador. These assurances all had the President’s complete support. Sometimes one may wonder which assistants speak for the President. But Dr. Kissinger never spoke for himself alone. He always reflected the President’s own views.

[At this point in the conversation there was a break for picture-taking.]

The President continued by saying that he wanted to re-emphasize the point made in his letter to Premier Chou En-lai regarding the President’s meetings with Brezhnev.2 The Ambassador and the Premier would recall the President’s first meeting with Huang Chen in Washington when the President said that nothing would be done with Brezhnev in derogation of our relations with the PRC.3 We had kept both the letter and the spirit of this commitment, the President stressed. Any interpretation that this nuclear agreement set up a condominium or inhibited the United States from doing what it required if there was an attack, nuclear or otherwise, on third countries was inaccurate. When Dr. Kissinger had had his press briefing on the nuclear agreement, the President had asked him to say that an attack on the PRC would endanger international peace and security.4 This President wanted this point made, not because we feared an attack or because we have good relations with the PRC, but because we had determined on the basis of the security interests of the United States that the PRC should be free, independent, and secure. One could have tried to put [Page 298] it on the basis of a personal relationship, but this was a lasting national interest. Each country had an interest in the survival of the other. We could sign a piece of paper with great fanfare and clinking of glasses. But we knew from history that every war has started with the breaking of a treaty.

Our interests today coincided and would continue to coincide for many years to come, the President continued. These personal discussions with the Ambassador, while not reduced to a formal agreement, represented the policy of the United States, which would be implemented without question in the years to come. We did not say things privately to the PRC and another thing publicly to the Russians. Our interests required us to meet with the Soviet leaders and find ways to agree. But we totally rejected a condominium of the two superpowers. And we totally rejected the idea of giving the Soviets a free hand to move against their neighbors. So the United States would work hard for continuing to develop its relations with the PRC, having in mind the personal warmth which characterized this relationship but also that our interests required that we be inseparable on security matters.

Ambassador Huang wanted again to express his happiness to come to the Western White House. He would surely report to Chairman Mao and Premier Chou En-lai what the President had said. He would be returning to China but he will see Dr. Kissinger again in August in Peking. The President pointed out the importance we attached to taking care of our confidential channel. The Ambassador repeated that he would report all this to Premier Chou En-lai.

The President then turned to Cambodia. At the present time it was our judgment, he said, that the Chinese Government held the key, through the influence it may exert on Sihanouk. The situation was urgent, because if it continued to deteriorate, the possibility of the conflict spreading was real. The war in South Vietnam was over, and in Laos. They were continuing to negotiate in typically Laotian fashion. But in Cambodia the war was going on, and the President felt very strongly that it did not serve our mutual interest to be dragged into differences and even a confrontation about Cambodia. The United States had no desire to retain a special position of influence or to retain any military forces there. Our desire was to have a government in Phnom Penh to bring peace. If our two countries could work together it would have a good effect not only in the relations of our two countries but also on world opinion. There were many danger spots, like the Middle East. The small country of Cambodia was the only one where a war was going on. We therefore felt a way must be found to settle it. The United States had no unilateral solution, but rather it took the influence of all interested parties.

The President then said he was not asking for an immediate comment from the Ambassador. But the President hoped the Ambassador [Page 299] would convey these ideas to Premier Chou En-lai so that the US and PRC could discuss it if it was not settled by the time Dr. Kissinger got to Peking. Ambassador Huang responded that he would carefully convey the President’s words to the Premier. He added that China, too, wished for an early end to the war.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 95, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, June 14–Jul 9, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the President’s office at the Western White House. Kissinger provided Nixon with talking points prior to the meeting. (Briefing paper from Kissinger, July 6; ibid.) Brackets are in the original.
  2. Document 38.
  3. See Document 34.
  4. A transcript of Kissinger’s press conference of June 25, in which he discussed China, international peace and security, as well as the nuclear agreement, is in Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1974–1977, China Exchanges, Box 4. When asked whether the United States was signaling “the Russians that they have a free hand where China is concerned,” Kissinger replied, “it is difficult to conceive a military attack by anybody on the People’s Republic of China that would not endanger international peace and security and, therefore, it would be thought to be, from whatever direction it came, not consistent with our view of this treaty.”