78. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Teng Hsiao-p’ing, Vice Premier of the PRC
  • Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Vice Foreign Minister of the PRC
  • Ambassador Huang Hua, PRC Permanent Representative to the UNGA
  • Chang Han-chih (F) (Acted as Interpreter)
  • Lo Hsu (F) (Acted as Notetaker)
  • Kuo Chia-ting (Acted as Notetaker)
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Joseph P. Sisco, Under Secretary of State
  • Brent Scowcroft, Major General, National Security Council
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State
  • Arthur W. Hummel, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary (EA) Department of State
  • Charles W. Freeman, Jr. (EA/PRC M), Department of State (Acted as Notetaker)


  • Secretary’s Dinner for the Vice Premier of the Peoples Republic of China

(The Chinese party arrived at 8:05 and were escorted to suite 35A by Mr. Freeman. When the party was seated, the conversation began.)

Secretary Kissinger: It is a very great pleasure to meet you, Mr. Vice Premier. I understand that the Vice Foreign Minister has taken up the same step recently as I …2

(At this point the press was admitted to take photographs and the conversation was broken off briefly.)

Vice Premier Teng: This is a very large group of press we have here.

Secretary Kissinger: They are asking me to shake hands. (Shakes hands with the Vice Premier and the Vice Foreign Minister.) They want us all three to shake hands at once. Your photographers are much better disciplined than ours, I’m afraid.

Vice Premier Teng: We shouldn’t listen to their orders.

Secretary Kissinger: But we have to listen to their orders. Otherwise they will print the worst picture that they take.

(The press was escorted out of the room.)

How long will you be staying in the U.S.?

Vice Premier Teng: We will be leaving the day after tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: Will the Vice Foreign Minister be going wit you?

Vice Premier Teng: We will be traveling together.

Secretary Kissinger: How will you be going? By way of the Pacific or by way of Europe?

Vice Premier Teng: We will be going through Europe. Do you mind if I smoke?

Secretary Kissinger: Please go ahead. I have never taken to smoking myself, I’m afraid.

Vice Premier Teng: You’ve missed something. You ought to try it.

Secretary Kissinger: I concentrate on other vices. How is your back coming along, Ambassador Huang?

Ambassador Huang: So-so.

Secretary Kissinger: Have you used the doctor that I arranged for you?

[Page 481]

Ambassador Huang: I am keeping him on standby.

Secretary Kissinger: He’s afraid if he uses our doctor he will install a microphone in his back.

Vice Premier Teng: I believe of all who are present here tonight your earliest acquaintance was Ambassador Huang.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. He met me at the Peking Airport in 1971. He may have forgotten this but he gave me some very valuable lessons on how to negotiate. When we meet with the Russians to discuss a communiqué, they suggest that each side put forward its maximum position and that we then try to discuss a way of bridging the difference. But Ambassador Huang suggested that we write our real positions down at the outset, and that in this way we could more easily reach agreement. And it was as he said it would be.

Vice Premier Teng: You’ve had quite a few years of experience in dealing with the Soviet Union.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. Quite a few years. It is always very fatiguing and always the same. On the first day the atmosphere is very pleasant. On the second day there is an explosion. On the last day, two hours before the departure, when they see that we will not abandon our position, they become accommodating and pleasant. It is always the same.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: (In English) Dialectics!

Secretary Kissinger: Well, I don’t want to get into that with the Vice Foreign Minister. You still owe me a poem.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: That’s right.

Vice Premier Teng: I also have quite a bit of experience with the Soviet Union.

Secretary Kissinger: Oh, in what years?

Vice Premier Teng: Well, I have been to the Soviet Union seven times.

Secretary Kissinger: Then you have been there once more than I have. Tell me, are they always so very difficult? Do they yell at their allies as well as at others?

Vice Premier Teng: In my experience we could never reach agreement.

Secretary Kissinger: We can reach agreement but only very slowly. Their idea of arms control is that we should start from the base which we have now, but they should have five years in which to do what they want.

(At this point Mrs. Kissinger entered the room and was introduced to the guests.)

We’ve just been talking about negotiations with the Soviet Union. The Vice Premier has been to the Soviet Union on seven occasions. His [Page 482] experience has been that the Soviets never agree to anything. We have reached some agreements with them.

Vice Premier Teng: You are more advanced than I am.

Secretary Kissinger: But I know that, now that I have explained all this, the next time I am in Peking the Vice Foreign Minister will yell at me just to see what the result is.

Vice Premier Teng: You must have had quite a few quarrels with him by now.

Secretary Kissinger: Negotiations with him are always hard but reasonable. And we can reach agreement. For example, on the Shanghai Communiqué, we spent many, many nights going over the details of the language together.

Vice Premier Teng: Each side should speak its mind. That is what is most important.

Secretary Kissinger: But in those negotiations I had had so much mao tai that I was negotiating in Chinese.

Vice Premier Teng: Then you have that in common with the Vice Foreign Minister. He also likes to drink mao tai.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: If you had drunk a lot, it was not my fault.

Secretary Kissinger: But you were not defeated in those negotiations.


You know, I have had some complaints from Mr. Gromyko about your speech the other day.3

Vice Premier Teng: Was he very dissatisfied?

Secretary Kissinger: He felt he was being attacked and he wanted me to answer on both our behalfs.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: (In English) Very clever tactics!

Secretary Kissinger: But even if you listen very carefully to what I am going to say tomorrow, you will not hear much criticism.

Vice Premier Teng: I got acquainted with Mr. Gromyko in 1957 for the first time.

Secretary Kissinger: Has he changed much since then? What is your opinion?

Vice Premier Teng: He is not one of the people who decide policy in the Soviet Union.

Secretary Kissinger: That’s right. In my experience he has been used as a straight man for Brezhnev. He never expressed an opinion [Page 483] himself on the negotiations except on technical matters. Lately he has become somewhat more assertive because he is now on the Politburo.

Vice Premier Teng: Brezhnev was also not one who decided policy before 1964.

Secretary Kissinger: Correct. And he was not supposed to understand foreign policy at that time. After what he did to Khruchshev he has been very, very careful about going away on vacation.

(The party went into the dining room and was seated.)

Whenever you need any advice, you just ask Mr. Sisco.

Ambassador Huang: Mr. Sisco is an expert on the Middle East.

Secretary Kissinger: I’m sure that you know all my associates here tonight. Sisco handles political affairs for us. He is the number three man in the Department of State. And, of course, you know General Scowcroft of the National Security Council. Commander Howe, you remember, worked for him. I wanted him here because he handles all matters connected with my work at the White House. And Mr. Sisco is my alibi on the Middle East.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: You mean if you achieve success, it belongs to you but if you fail, the failure is Sisco’s!

Secretary Kissinger: But the one who is really responsible for what has happened in the Middle East is the Vice Foreign Minister. Last year we talked about the Middle East question, and I have followed the outlines of that conversation since in what we have done.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Last time I met you, we talked according to what Chairman Mao had said to the Egyptian Vice President. You have two hands. You should use both. Give one to Israel and one to the other side.

Secretary Kissinger: We have been following the policy we discussed then.

Vice Premier Teng: That is true. Both hands should be used.

Secretary Kissinger: Exactly!

Vice Premier Teng: In your view is there any hope for disengagement now between Syria and Israel?

Secretary Kissinger: I hope that in the next three weeks we will make considerable progress on this. As you know, I talked yesterday with the Chief of the Syrian Military Intelligence and today I talked to the Israeli Ambassador. In about two weeks, I will go to the Middle East and try to do for the Syrians and the Israelis what I did with Israel and Egypt. And for your information, the Syrian has told me that after disengagement has been achieved, they will turn towards Iraq and work to reduce the Soviet Union’s presence in Iraq. You remember that I discussed this with Chairman Mao and Premier Chou as a long-term strategy.

[Page 484]

Vice Premier Teng: Exactly so! President Asad of Syria has visited Moscow lately. What influence do you think that will produce on the situation?

Secretary Kissinger: The Soviet Union has been very eager to play a major role in the negotiations, and they have been conducting themselves with the delicacy for which they are well known. For example, when I was in Moscow, Brezhnev yelled at me for three hours, saying that they must take part in the negotiations. The difficulty is that the Arabs and Israelis do not want the Soviets in the negotiations. While I was in Moscow I sent Asad a telegram asking what he wanted. He replied he wanted the same handling as we had given in the case of the Egyptians. I believe he went to Moscow to balance off the visit of his representative to Washington. But we have no impression of any change in the Syrian position. In fact, Gromyko suggested that I should meet him in Damascus, but when I asked the Syrian in Washington what he thought about this, he said he was not in favor of it. Everything now depends on whether we can succeed in getting the Israelis to agree to withdraw from part of the Golan Heights. (Note: The Chinese interpreter omitted the words “part of” in the Chinese.)

Secretary Kissinger: This is mao tai. Mr. Vice Premier, we welcome you to New York. It is a very great pleasure to see you here.

Mr. Sisco: This is the first time I’ve had it.

Secretary Kissinger: If you were like the Vice Foreign Minister you would drink it bottoms-up every time.

Mr. Lord: I believe that with mao tai we could solve the energy crisis!

Vice Premier Teng: But could we also solve the raw materials crisis?

Secretary Kissinger: I think if we drink enough mao tai we can solve anything.

Vice Premier Teng: Then, when I go back to China, we must take steps to increase our production of it.

Secretary Kissinger: You know, when the President came back from China he wanted to show his daughter how potent mao tai was. So he took out a bottle and poured it into a saucer and lit it, but the glass bowl broke and the mao tai ran over the table and the table began to burn! So you nearly burned down the White House.

Actually, in about two weeks I’ll be in the Middle East again.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Do you think that the change in the Israeli Cabinet will affect your mission?

Secretary Kissinger: It will make it more difficult. I have relied most in the past on Madame Meir and Defense Minister Dayan. Both now will be replaced. Nevertheless, I believe we will succeed. It is, of [Page 485] course, an extremely difficult negotiation because the Israelis are very difficult to deal with. But if the Syrian disengagement succeeds, then we can go back to the Egyptians and seek a peace agreement. The Egyptians are very determined to separate themselves from Moscow as much as possible. Do you have much contact with the Egyptians? Have you seen them recently?

Vice Premier Teng: We’ve not seen them in recent months. It seems as though your success to date is mainly the result of your method of using both hands. Will it be the same with Syria?

Secretary Kissinger: Syria does not have quite as strong a leadership, so it is different. It will be more difficult but we hope for success.

Ambassador Huang: What is the attitude of the Syrian Defense Minister, Mr. Mustafa Talas?

Secretary Kissinger: I do not believe I have met him. I know the Foreign Minister and the President, of course, and the Chief of Intelligence. It is possible that the Defense Minister would be more pro-Soviet. All Syrian military equipment comes from the Soviet Union. But, they have to pay for it! Our strategy is that after settling the Syrian problem, we will go back to the Egyptians for a peace agreement. And then, after that, we will go back to Syria.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: The key point is that we hope you will give more word to the Israelis so that they will be persuaded to withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Secretary Kissinger: We have to do this in stages. What we want to do now is to withdraw from part of Golan. This way we can get them to do it. If we ask too much at this point, this would lead to a stalemate, and the Soviets would come back in. We do not support the Israeli position on staying on the Golan Heights.

Vice Premier Teng: This is a very important point.

Secretary Kissinger: We have not supported it.

Vice Premier Teng: Otherwise, there would be no progress and then the Soviets would certainly come back in.

Secretary Kissinger: If we are successful in these disengagement talks, we can hope to reduce Soviet influence in Syria, as we did in Egypt. And, we intend to do more with Egypt.

Vice Premier Teng: If the Soviet Union succeeds in Syria, then the Soviets will have three places in the Middle East on which they can rely: Syria, Iraq and Southern Yemen.

Secretary Kissinger: We are trying to prevent this from happening in Syria. And, we are already working on Southern Yemen. We think the Egyptians will help us in this.

Vice Premier Teng: Chairman Mao touched on this point in his discussions with you. Our attitude is that, on the one hand we support [Page 486] the Arabs, but, on the other hand, we work with you to fix the bear in the north together with you.

Secretary Kissinger: That is exactly our position. If we can get into a position in which we can disagree on the Middle East, that would show there had been progress. Afterwards, that is after there has been a settlement, of course, we can expect to have some disagreements.

(The Chinese interpreter had some difficulty with this sentence and there was a brief discussion in Chinese over how to interpret it.)

Secretary Kissinger: I have not seen Ambassador Huang Chen since he returned, but I plan to see him next week.

Vice Premier Teng: There has been no change in the relationship we have so far. (Note:The Vice Premier’s original statement did not contain the words “so far.” These two words were added by the Chinese interpreter.)

Secretary Kissinger: We continue to attach the utmost importance to good and friendly relations between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China. We intend to pursue the course of normalization of our relations, as I have said in my talks with Chairman Mao and Premier Chou.4

Vice Premier Teng: This policy, and the principles on which it is based, are personally supported by Chairman Mao. I believe that from your two long talks with Chairman Mao you ought to have this understanding. The last time you met him you talked for three hours, I believe.

Secretary Kissinger: We went into great detail in those discussions, so I never pay any attention to the newspaper accounts of our relationship. In our experience, the Chinese word always counts.

(The Secretary toasted the Vice Foreign Minister.)

Vice Premier Teng: Now that you have drunk all this mao tai, your speech tomorrow is bound to be excellent.

Secretary Kissinger: It will be moving! I shall probably attack the superpowers! I am glad that the Vice Premier has confirmed what the Vice Foreign Minister has already said to Ambassador Bruce in Peking. Our relationship has not changed.

Vice Premier Teng: I have read the record of your talk with Chairman Mao Tse-tung. It was very explicit. You had a discussion of the relationships between the United States and China from a strategic [Page 487] point of view. The only difficulty is on where the Soviet strategic focus is. On this point, we have some differences, but these differences do not matter, for practice will show where the true focal point is.

Secretary Kissinger: Exactly. Wherever the first focal point is, the next focal point is obvious. If the focal point is in Europe, then the next is on China. If the focal point is China, then the next one is Europe. If the focal point is on the Middle East, then the next is also obvious.

Vice Premier Teng: In the East we have talked to the Japanese—our Japanese friends—about this. They do not seem to realize this point. They seem to think that the Soviet intentions in the East do not include them. For example, in our discussion of the Tyumen project—the exploitation of oil fields in Siberia—the Japanese said they would have to reconsider their position so as not to offend the Chinese. But they did not really think that their interests would be affected by this development.

Secretary Kissinger: The Japanese do not yet think in strategic terms. They think in commercial terms.

Well, I am particularly glad tonight to see my old friends from China. Speaking from our side, we can confirm every detail of our discussions with Chairman Mao and with Premier Chou, and we can confirm the direction on which our policy is set. We have had some debate with our European allies to make them realize the facts and to be realistic. But this does not influence our long-term strategy. It does not influence our desire to construct a strong Europe. But you, as old friends, understand this. The French have been taking a rather short-term viewpoint. You have talked to them recently, I believe. But this cannot influence the realities of the United States and the Soviet position vis-à-vis Europe. This is nothing but a quarrel within the family.

Vice Premier Teng: Just so. There are minor quarrels, but the unity remains.

Secretary Kissinger: Well said!

Vice Premier Teng: But if you were to show more consideration for the Europeans, would there not be a better result?

Secretary Kissinger: Depends to whom. They are very much divided.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: What we mean—we are not much qualified to speak on the European question—what I mean is, mostly consideration for France. Speaking frankly, we know that you have some opinions against the French. But must it be so open? That’s the first point. The second is that we wonder whether you could show more consideration to the French. They have a very strong sense of self-respect and national pride.

[Page 488]

Secretary Kissinger: The problem is that we started out working with France because we have believed the French were in many ways most supportive of Europe and they were the best on this point. So with regard to every move we made in the Middle East we went to the French and got their approval. Then we discovered they were opposing us on every point—every detail—behind our backs. In our last conversation the Vice Foreign Minister said that we have a coordinated strategy. But the French have no strategy, only tactics. So in the Middle East they have been working to undermine us. This is of no advantage to anyone, not even to the French. So we decided that it would be useful to make it public—to bring it out in the open where the issues could be clarified.

Vice Premier Teng: That is good—if it does not continue in the open.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I tell you quite frankly that when I read your talk to the wives of the Congressmen I was very alarmed.

Secretary Kissinger: You know, I have never persuaded anyone of what really happened on that occasion. It is the perfect example of what happens in an unplanned ceremony. I arrived at my office and found that I was scheduled to talk to the Congressional wives, so I screamed at my colleagues and objected. But it was on the schedule, so I went to see them. I thought that no three of them could ever agree on what I said and that I would be safe. About two-thirds through the talk I joked that I was glad to see no press there. It was then that I found that there were press there. Everyone thinks this was very carefully planned. But you are right. I do not intend to repeat that particular speech.

(The Secretary rose to give a toast.)

Mr. Vice Premier, Mr. Vice Foreign Minister, Friends:

This is an informal occasion and not one for formal speech-making. But as I look back on my experience in government, I continue to believe that the most important mission I have engaged in was my first trip to Peking. The normalization of relations between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China is the most important event of our Administration, and it is a major factor in the protection of world peace. Many things have happened in this country and in the world since that first trip, but each time we meet we confirm our commitment to each other. The United States remains committed to all the undertakings and all the strategies which we have discussed. We believe that the progress and independence of the Peoples Republic of China is a fundamental factor in world peace. We appreciate the constructive and frank nature of all our discussions. I would like to express the joy of all my colleagues in welcoming another friend from the Peoples Republic of China.

[Page 489]

Now I ask you to drink with me to the health of Chairman Mao, to the health of Premier Chou, to the health of our honored guests here tonight, and to the friendship between the American and Chinese peoples!

(The party was seated.)


I am always at a disadvantage with the Vice Foreign Minister. The Vice Foreign Minister has studied philosophy. And he has studied Hegel, but I have only studied as far as Kant. I am sure that it’s all right with the Vice Foreign Minister if I criticize France, but not Germany. He would not let me get away with that!

Vice Premier Teng: Why is there still such a big noise being made about Watergate?

Secretary Kissinger: That is a series of almost incomprehensible events, and the clamor about it is composed of many people who for various reasons oppose the President.

Vice Premier Teng: Chairman Mao told you that we are not happy about this. Such an event in no way affects any part of our relations.

Secretary Kissinger: I assure you we have carried out our foreign policy without regard to the Watergate incident, and we will continue to carry it out regardless of Watergate.

Vice Premier Teng: We do not care much about such an issue.

Secretary Kissinger: In our foreign policy we continue to have very wide support from the American public. When I first met the Prime Minister I spoke of China as the land of mystery. Now the U.S. must seem a very mysterious country.

Vice Premier Teng: Such an issue is really incomprehensible to us.

Secretary Kissinger: It has its roots in the fact that some mistakes were made, but also, when you change many policies, you make many, many enemies.

(The Vice Premier rose.)

Vice Premier Teng: I should like to propose a toast.

First, I should like to thank the Doctor for giving us a dinner with such a warm welcome. Since the President’s visit and Dr. Kissinger’s visits to China, and since the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué, relations between our two countries can be said to be fine. Of course, our hope is that basing our relations on the Shanghai Communiqué we can continue to develop our relations. I should like to propose a toast to Dr. Kissinger and to the friendship of the American and Chinese peoples.

(Everyone was seated.)

Secretary Kissinger: Of course, we always read a great deal in the Hong Kong papers about Chinese domestic developments.

[Page 490]

Vice Premier Teng: There is much news in the newspapers, of course. But it is not reliable at all, as you just said. I touched on this point in my speech the other day at the U.N.

Secretary Kissinger: We do not pay much attention to newspaper reports.

Vice Premier Teng: Doctor, are you familiar with Confucius?

Secretary Kissinger: Well, generally, but not in detail.

Vice Premier Teng: Confucius, in short, was an expert in keeping up the rites, and very conservative. His ideology has been binding the Chinese for over two thousand years. These ideas have a deep influence on the ideology of the people. If we wish to emancipate the people’s ideology from old thinking, we must remove Confucius. This is a move to emancipate the people’s thinking.

Secretary Kissinger: Our newspapers have said that this is directed against individuals, living individuals, and not against ancient individuals.

Vice Premier Teng: There is some ground in what they say. When you criticize a conservative ideology, then, naturally, it will affect some working staffs—some people who represent the conservative ideology being attacked.

Secretary Kissinger: I have been observing your foreign policy for a long time, and I conclude that it has always been consistent. We, of course, do not comment on your internal policies and your internal situation.

Vice Premier Teng: Those comments in the newspapers are not reliable.

Secretary Kissinger: Of that, I am sure.


Mr. Gromyko asked me about the situation in China, and I told him we see no change in your foreign policy.


You know, one reason I never take Sisco to China is that I never fail in China, so I don’t need him. But I did take one of his associates, Mr. Atherton, last time.


Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: [in Chinese to Mr. Freeman] How is your reading of the 24 Dynastic histories coming along?

Mr. Freeman: [in Chinese] I haven’t yet finished them. We all have little time for reading now.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: [in Chinese] Well, nobody could read those books through to the end.

Secretary Kissinger: What is this—a private negotiation going on?

[Page 491]

Mr. Freeman: The Vice Foreign Minister asked me whether I had been reading the 24 Dynastic histories, and I was about to tell him that you leave us no time for that kind of reading.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, they have no time for any reading, not even reading of my instructions. Where are the books kept?

Mr. Freeman: They are in the Department of State library, displayed prominently in the handsome case in which they were stored when the Government of the Peoples Republic of China presented them to us.

Secretary Kissinger: I must go down and see them. Perhaps I will do it this week.

Well, shall we go out to the sitting room and have some coffee and tea?

(The party adjourned to the sitting room.)

The last time I was in this room was when the Arab-Israeli war started. Sisco woke me up at 6:00 a.m. He said, if you can get on the telephone you can perhaps stop it. I thought anyone with this kind of judgment deserved to be promoted.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: The last time we met here also, didn’t we?

Secretary Kissinger: I have this for when I come up to the U.N. Mr. Lord is still working on my speech for tomorrow, but I tell you if I say anything significant at all that will be a mistake.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Not because of the mao tai!

Secretary Kissinger: I thought with your permission, Mr. Vice Premier, we might review a few problems. We have already talked about the Middle East, and now I would summarize our discussion as follows: We agree with your assessment that the three Soviet strong points in the Middle East are Syria, Iraq and South Yemen. We are bringing about substantial changes in Egyptian foreign policy. For your information we have reason to believe that the Egyptians will abrogate their treaty with the Soviet Union this year. This is, of course, very confidential. But I have never read a leak in a Chinese newspaper! We will start soon to give some economic assistance to Egypt. We are thinking in terms tentatively of about $250 million and the World Bank at the beginning may add another $200 million. And we are organizing support in Europe for Egypt as well. We are working with Chancellor Brandt on this. Next week, as you know, he will visit Egypt. We are also approaching the British and the Dutch.

The Egyptians may need some help if the Soviet Union cuts off its military assistance. We plan to give some assistance through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We hope Yugoslavia will be willing to give the Egyptians some spare parts. I do not know whether China—they would like to build MIGs themselves. It is up to you, but I think they would be [Page 492] responsive to discussion of this point. They are working with us on the South Yemen problem. Syria will work on the Iraq problem, and so will Iran, which is also active in Oman. We think we can reduce Soviet influence in the area systematically.

The Soviets are extremely anxious about our efforts. I may agree with them to some face-saving thing, which would not, however, affect the substance. For example, I may agree to meet Gromyko in Geneva before I go to the Middle East. I will not tell him anything and, in fact, I will not be able to tell him anything because I will not yet have gone to the Middle East. I will do this to prevent them from agitating their supporters in Syria.

I also had a very good talk with Boumediene last week. He was very impressed with his visit to China. This did not surprise me at all. I believe he will also help us in Syria.

That is about where we stand on the Middle East at the moment. I will be going to the Middle East in about two weeks, depending on the situation in Israel. I will probably also go to Iran and to Kuwait and to one or two of the little sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf. We will probably deepen our bilateral cooperation with Iran. This is all in line with what I have discussed with Chairman Mao and Premier Chou.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Where do we stand on the Pakistani tanks? Has the Shah agreed to supply them?

Secretary Kissinger (to Sisco): What is the status of that?

Mr. Sisco: The Shah is looking at it very systematically.

Secretary Kissinger: We are trying to do what we can to modernize their tank inventory.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: But hasn’t Iran helped India recently more than it has helped Pakistan.

(Mr. Lord mentioned to Secretary Kissinger Iran’s efforts to ease India’s problem on oil prices.)

Secretary Kissinger: It has provided some economic, but not military aid. This has to do with oil and the energy situation. The Shah is a very tough-minded individual.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Is there any new situation in Iraq?

Secretary Kissinger: We are leaving them to sit there. We are keeping them occupied so they can’t intervene in Syria. We told President Boumediene that at the right moment we were prepared to make a move toward Iraq but it is a little premature at the moment. After Syria is a little closer to us we can approach Iraq.

Vice Premier Teng: When the Vice President of Egypt visited China, we touched on this question of giving some assistance but we never got into details. They did not raise it directly with us.

Secretary Kissinger: Because they are not ready yet.

[Page 493]

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: But, they raised the question of light weapons.

Vice Premier Teng: In this respect, our power is very limited.

Secretary Kissinger: We recognize that. Should the Egyptians talk to you? Or do you want to stay out of it?

Vice Premier Teng: We adopted a positive attitude when we talked to them.

Secretary Kissinger: Wouldn’t it be better to talk directly with the Egyptians than through us?

Vice Premier Teng: We’ve kept very good relations with the Egyptians, so that would be easy.

Secretary Kissinger: That is very useful! Very good!

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Isn’t there some way in which you can provide more military help to Pakistan?

Secretary Kissinger: On the military side, we have a domestic problem—the problem of Congressional opposition. But, we are encouraging Iran and attempting to ease Iran’s problems in helping them.

Vice Premier Teng: Why has Iran rendered more help to India than to Pakistan?

Secretary Kissinger: That is inconceivable! Is it possible?

Mr. Sisco: No.

Secretary Kissinger: I will look into it.

Mr. Sisco: The Iranians have tried to ease the Indian situation with regard to oil—to calm them down.

Secretary Kissinger: In all my discussions with the Shah he has always considered India a major threat to his security.

Vice Premier Teng: The reality probably is so.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. But now there is so much money in the Moslem countries we will see what we can do to get Pakistan military aid.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: Let me be frank with you. Our Pakistani friends feel that the indirect assistance (since you have problems giving them direct assistance) comes too slowly.

Secretary Kissinger: They are right. There are so many legal restrictions which we face. But, we are doing everything which we can.

Vice Premier Teng: I feel that you could do much more.

Secretary Kissinger: If you have some concrete suggestions on how to accomplish that, we would be happy to consider them.

Vice Premier Teng: I have no concrete suggestions. But, we understand that our Pakistani friends are a little anxious.

Secretary Kissinger: You are right. This is the case of a curious and complex situation in our own country.

[Page 494]

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I might mention another problem. In the last few days since we left Peking, the tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have reached agreement. I wonder how you feel about this. We think this is a good thing. The issue of the Pakistani prisoners has finally been settled.

Secretary Kissinger: We think Bangladesh is not an Indian satellite. When relations are normal between India and Bangladesh, contradictions between them will emerge. I have also always believed that India will live to regret what it did in 1971. Do you plan to establish relations with Bangladesh now?

Vice Premier Teng: There is no obstacle to that now.

Secretary Kissinger: We are trying to move India further away from the Soviets.

Vice Premier Teng: There have always been good relations between the peoples of Bangladesh and China.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I have a question. How do you view the current situation between the Soviet Union and India? Are relations looser or has there been no change?

Secretary Kissinger: I think there has not yet been a significant change, but India is trying to loosen its relations with the Soviet Union. It is trying hard to get closer to us. It is my impression that their policies are not so closely coordinated with the Soviet Union as they were before. So, the situation is not like before in that respect.

Vice Premier Teng: How was your trip to Moscow?

Secretary Kissinger: That was the next question I wanted to discuss. You know that the President will be going to Moscow in June. We discussed arrangements for the visit and the agreements we might reach during it. The trip followed the pattern I have described to you. That is, there was a very good first day and the last half day was very good. But, the day and a half in the middle was not so good at all. It is very curious. I have been to the Soviet Union six times. I have always had the experience of being yelled at, but I have never made any concessions after having been yelled at; so I conclude that Mr. Brezhnev does it for the Politburo and not for any concrete purpose.

Vice Premier Teng: Why did they suddenly hold a long session of the Politburo?

Secretary Kissinger: Let me review what is being planned for the Summit. There will not be any major agreements this year, in my opinion. But, we plan agreement in the following areas: First, on medical research, primarily in the area of heart disease. I think this will not change the course of history. Another agreement which we plan is in the area of space flight. As you know, we have planned a joint space [Page 495] flight for 1975. Now we are planning one for 1977. The second agreement I wanted to mention is on the exchange of long-term economic information. This is called a long-term economic agreement, but it does not involve any quantities. Just an exchange of statistics.

They have proposed to us also that we agree to stop all underground testing and appeal to all other countries to stop. We totally rejected a joint appeal to any other country. We may agree, however, to limit underground tests but not to ban them. We think this will not affect the Peoples Republic of China, since you do not test much underground anyway.

Vice Premier Teng: Even if you signed an agreement with the Soviet Union that would not affect us.

Secretary Kissinger: Whatever we do with them will be bilateral, and there will be no appeal to the Peoples Republic of China.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: (In English) You have done it right.

Secretary Kissinger: The level of permitted underground tests which we fix will be set above 100 kilotons. Frankly, we have set a limit above what we want to test. Since we hadn’t planned to test anything above that limit anyway, there will be no effect on us. This is not a major move. That leaves the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Oh, one other agreement which they have proposed to us is not to build—you see under our Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement, each side can build two defensive sites. They have suggested that we not build the second. At the moment each side has one.

In the field of Strategic Arms Limitations, I personally do not expect any agreement. The position of the two sides is too far apart. In effect, what the Soviet Union has proposed to us is that they give us a limit but not have one immediately for themselves. The limit they have picked for us is what we already have in our arsenal. Their limit, which they propose for themselves, is what they will have in five years. On the basis of this proposal, no agreement is possible. There would have to be a radical change in positions for an agreement to take place. I think that is unlikely. So this is why I have been speaking as I have to the press about this question.

Incidentally, you may have read in the American newspapers that we are behind the Soviet Union in strategic weapons. This is nonsense. In the number of warheads, that is, the number of warheads in our strategic forces alone, not including our Air Forces in Europe and Korea and elsewhere, the U.S. superiority to the Soviet Union is approximately four and a half to one. Simply counting the warheads on missiles we are ahead three and a half to one. If you add the B–52s, then we are four and a half to one. If you add aircraft carriers, tactical fighters and our Air Forces, we are ahead five and a half to one. Also, our missiles are much more accurate than theirs. But you read so much [Page 496] nonsense in the American press. Even I sometimes get scared when I read these reports! So far the Soviet Union does not have any multiple warheads on its missiles. They are testing them, but they do not have them. I will give you some figures sometime on this in a smaller group. I can’t have Hummel find it out!

Vice Premier Teng: I also feel in this respect it is hardly possible that you could reach agreement.

Secretary Kissinger: I may be wrong, but I see no sign that an agreement will be concluded. We may be able to achieve an optical agreement. The issue of inspection is very hard. We have made an interim agreement. Frankly, the number of launchers is not so very important. Each launcher has many weapons on it. For example, each missile on our submarines has 10 warheads that can be independently targeted with very great accuracy. So you can’t make judgments on the basis of the numbers alone any more. Therefore, an agreement is quite difficult. The Soviets have still not started to test multiple warheads on their submarine-launched missiles. On land, they are testing three types. We think that by year-end they may complete the testing of one of these. But, then they must produce it. They have not done so yet.

Vice Premier Teng: As far as we are concerned in our relations with the Soviet Union, that is, on the eastern part of our border, there has been no change. It is still the same. There seems to be no change in deployments.

Secretary Kissinger: I think there has been a slight change, but I am not sure. I thought they had added three divisions recently, but I will check.

Maj Gen Scowcroft: Yes. That’s right.

Secretary Kissinger: Three divisions are not significant.

Vice Premier Teng: Basically, they have not changed.

Secretary Kissinger: That is our impression as well.

Vice Premier Teng: There are one million Soviet troops deployed on our very, very long border, and they are scattered all over the place. They use this simply to scare people with weak nerves! I believe that, when you discussed this with Chairman Mao, he said even one million was not enough for defensive purposes and for an offensive purpose they must increase them by another million.

Secretary Kissinger: It depends on what they want. If they want to take all of China, that is right. It depends on what their objective is.

Vice Premier Teng: If they occupy some places on the border, what is the significance of that? They would simply get bogged down.

Secretary Kissinger: I have no estimate that they have any such intent, but it could be that, at some point, they would try to destroy your [Page 497] nuclear capacity. I’m not saying that they definitely plan it, but I say that that would be conceivable.

Vice Premier Teng: Chairman Mao has said that our nuclear power is only that much (holding up narrow gap between thumb and forefinger). But, we thank you very much for telling us all this.

Secretary Kissinger: Are there any outstanding problems in our bilateral relations which we should discuss?

Vice Premier Teng: Ask the Vice Foreign Minister if there are any outstanding problems.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: There is nothing significant. The departure and the return of the heads of our respective liaison offices is a normal occurrence.

Secretary Kissinger: Chairman Mao told me that he would call Ambassador Huang Chen back to Peking for consultations. We were not surprised.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: When I met Ambassador Bruce before leaving Peking I told him that this coming and going by him was something normal and it had no significance.

Secretary Kissinger: No, it was not significant. I wanted his advice on some European matters. And, we announced it that way.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I said to Ambassador Bruce once, wondering about his involvement with Europe—he said—I liked his answer—that just because he knew the grandfathers of the European leaders, this was no reason to put him in charge of European affairs. But I am sure this was not a criticism of you.

Secretary Kissinger: Ambassador Bruce is a good friend of mine.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I asked Ambassador Bruce if this was true and he said yes.

As for our bilateral exchange program—in cultural exchange, that is in our people-to-people cultural exchanges, there have been some slight delays, but just for normal reasons.

Vice Premier Teng: Anyway, we are going along the track of the Shanghai communiqué.

Secretary Kissinger: So are we.

Vice Premier Teng: Do you think of any issue on bilateral affairs which we should discuss?

Secretary Kissinger: (To Hummel) Is there anything else? … (To Teng) On Korea, we are now talking with the South Koreans about the removal of the UN Command. We think you and we should stay related to the armistice in order to influence our friends in this situation. (Note:The Chinese interpreter rendered the sentence simply as “we should influence our friends in this situation.” She did not mention the armistice agreement in this context.) We are also prepared in principle [Page 498] to make a statement on the withdrawal of our forces along the lines of the Shanghai communiqué statement. But, we cannot withdraw immediately. After we have worked out the details with South Korea, we will let you know informally. We appreciate your acts with respect to the UN Command last year very, very much, and particularly appreciate the meticulous way in which you carried out our understanding. Our Ambassador to the UN is a little excitable—Scali—but Ambassador Huang will understand. He had several heart attacks along the way. He has very great respect for Ambassador Huang.

I want you to know I have been thinking about the phrase in the last communiqué which we issued in Peking. We can discuss the meaning of this through Ambassador Huang Chen, or later in the year, if I take my annual trip to Peking.

Vice Premier Teng: (The Vice Premier indicated inconclusively that this topic could be discussed with Ambassador Huang Chen.) What is to be done on the Taiwan question?

Secretary Kissinger: We are continuing to reduce our presence there as I told you. We are thinking of methods of how we can give effect to the principle of one China as expressed in the last communiqué. We have not worked out all our thinking yet, but we are willing to listen to any ideas you have. You drafted the phrase.

Vice Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I think on this question, I understand the essence of the question. I participated in the drafting of the communiqué and in the drafting of this language. The essential meaning is as Chairman Mao told you. The normalization of our relations can only be on the basis of the Japanese pattern. No other pattern is possible. So, I might also mention that, with regard to the present relations between our two countries, my view is that our relationship should go forward. It should not go backward. I talked frankly on this with Ambassador Bruce. We had a friendly talk on this.

Secretary Kissinger: I am aware of what you said to him. We keep this very much in mind.

Vice Premier Teng: With regard to this question, there are two points. The first point is that we hope we can solve this question relatively quickly. (Note:Chinese interpreter rendered this in English as “as quickly as possible.”) But, the second point is that we are not in a hurry on this question. These points have also been mentioned to you by Chairman Mao.

I suppose we have discussed everything that we have to discuss tonight. We have taken up a great deal of your time. You must be tired. Tomorrow, you must speak at the UN.

Secretary Kissinger: I must make sure to say nothing at all. I think I am on the verge of achieving success in this—with the dedicated assistance of my associates. Please give my regards and those of the President [Page 499] to our friends in China and especially give my respects to Chairman Mao and the Prime Minister.

(The dinner ended at approximately 11:00 p.m. The Secretary escorted his Chinese guests to the elevator.)5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 96, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, April 1–August 8, 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place at the Secretary’s suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. On April 12, Kissinger received a memorandum from Solomon discussing the political background of Deng Xiaoping’s trip. Solomon suggested that his trip was part of a campaign to make China the leader of the “have not” nations. In addition, Deng was “to take the temperature of the Sino-U.S. relationship while in New York.” (Ibid.) The same day, Lord and Hummel also sent Kissinger a memorandum in anticipation of his meeting with Deng. (Ibid.) All brackets are in the original.
  2. Qiao, like Kissinger, had recently gotten married.
  3. A translation of Deng’s UN speech, in which he condemned both superpowers, is excerpted in The New York Times, April 12, 1974, p.12.
  4. When Kissinger later recounted this conversation to Nixon over the telephone, he said, “I have the feeling Chou is on the way out. They didn’t mention him once during the evening. And every time I brought him up they changed the conversation to Mao.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telcons, Box 25, 2 March–April 1974)
  5. Afterward, Kissinger told Nixon, “I had a good talk with the Chinese last night. You know the highest-ranking official ever was here. They fully reaffirmed our policy and he went on and on about your visit. And he strongly reaffirmed the course that was outlined.” (Ibid.)