9. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Chou En-lai, Premier, State Council,
- Chi P’eng-fei, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
- Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs,
- Wang Hai-jung, Assistant Foreign Minister
- T’ang Wen-sheng, Interpreter
- Shen Jo-yun, Interpreter
- Two Notetakers
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Richard T. Kennedy, NSC Staff
- Winston Lord, NSC Staff
- Jonathan T. Howe, NSC Staff
- Miss Irene G. Derus, Notetaker
PM Chou: Mr. Kennedy has a sprained waist. How is it now?
Mr. Kennedy: Much better through the help of your doctors.
Dr. Kissinger: He hasn’t had so much attention since he joined my staff. You’re spoiling him.
PM Chou: I have read your draft. I received your draft of the Act of Paris. We haven’t received the views of our Vietnamese friends yet.
Dr. Kissinger: We haven’t either. They were going to give them to us either today or tomorrow.
PM Chou: Yes.
Dr. Kissinger: We just had a general discussion.
PM Chou: Yes. Let us continue with the topics we discussed yesterday according to your order, but I would like to take up the topic of the Soviet Union first. It is just a restricted meeting.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, I wanted to do two things with the approval of the Prime Minister. One, I wanted to make a comment about a press conference which our Secretary of State gave yesterday.2
PM Chou: [laughs] I have read it today, but I have not paid any attention to it because that is for just dealing with those journalists.
Dr. Kissinger: Exactly. And I also wanted to talk about Soviet policy to the Prime Minister also in the context of his remarks of yesterday that we are “standing on your shoulders.”3 [Chou laughs] All I want to say about the press conference remark about Formosa is to tell you what we actually intend to do. We will withdraw five squadrons of airplanes, of C130 airplanes, this year. They are transport planes. And the total number of men that this will involve is at least 4,500. This will cut the formal strength on Formosa by over half. We will reduce next year by at least two squadrons of F-4s.
PM Chou: That is the planes you sent in last time.
Dr. Kissinger: That is right. They will be withdrawn next year, and they will not be turned over to the Taiwanese.[Page 50]
PM Chou: Yes, you mentioned it last time, and its nickname is “Phantom.” Actually it is called F-4.
Dr. Kissinger: That’s right—F-4 is the right name. “Phantom” is its nickname.
PM Chou: Why it is called “Phantom?”
Dr. Kissinger: I have no idea. I think because of its speed.
PM Chou: And the shape, too, perhaps.
Mr. Kennedy [to Mr. Kissinger]: It gets in before it can be heard.
Mr. Kissinger: Like a phantom, yes. But we will also reduce in addition to these two squadrons other units next year, but we will not know—we are studying this. We will let you know during this year what they will be. So regardless of what official statements may say, this is our firm intention and will be carried out.
PM Chou: It doesn’t matter whether you carry this out sooner or later because we have already fixed our principles during our discussion.
Dr. Kissinger: That is right.
PM Chou: It is all right what the State Department would like to say in order to deal with those journalists.
Dr. Kissinger: Well, this is—however, we have told the Prime Minister on previous visits that after the end of the Vietnam War we would take specific measures on reduction of forces. And we want him to know that these are our intentions. [Chou discusses with his interpreter.]
Interpreter: The Prime Minister was reminding us that after you mentioned the component parts to be assembled by Chiang Kai-shek, this was translated into spare parts, so the Premier said how could the spare parts be put together into a single plane.
Dr. Kissinger: Oh, they transferred some. Now, but I also—I am going to look into this problem when I return to the U.S. We have no intention of augmenting the military strength of Taiwan. What we want to do is to reduce our direct relationship of supplying military equipment. And I will have to—this is a matter that was decided at a period when we were all very occupied with the Vietnam war. But we want to solve the issue during this term of the President.
So now does the Prime Minister wish to discuss Soviet matters, or …?
PM Chou: Yes.
Dr. Kissinger: Do you want me to talk or does the Prime Minister have something to say?
PM Chou: Shall we say a few more words on the Taiwan issue? Do you envisage that there will be a definite time limit for your aid to Taiwan, military aid? Is there going to be another contract after this contract? I don’t mean that if you do this for their armed forces that it will mean a great deal. I just want to know something about it so we [Page 51]can coordinate our action during our work. I can assure you that we don’t mean that we are going to liberate it by the armed forces. We have no such plan at the moment.
Dr. Kissinger: But what I envisage for this and I must—he [referring to Mr. Kennedy] pointed out to me the technical ways by which we are giving aid but that is not the concern. [Dr. Kissinger and Mr. Kennedy confer.] Mr. Kennedy pointed out that we are not giving military equipment. We are selling it or giving it on some credit.
PM Chou: Yes, we imagined this.
Dr. Kissinger: But that does not change the Prime Minister’s basic concern. He doesn’t care about … I will talk frankly how we envisage the evolution. We think that over the next two years we will have a very substantial reduction of our military forces. We are even now going very slow about giving new military equipment. We do this through administrative means, not as policy measures. For example, as I told the Prime Minister yesterday we have refused the sale of two squadrons of F-4s. During that period we are prepared, depending on what the Prime Minister’s preference is, to establish some more visible forms of contact between the PRC and the U.S., a Liaison Office or some trade office. We have to discuss the method. This is for two reasons. For the Taiwan reason and for the Soviet reason which we will discuss later this afternoon. In the next two years we would be prepared to move to something like the Japanese solution but we have not worked this out.
PM Chou: What is the time limit?
Dr. Kissinger: The first two years is the reduction of our forces. Then after 1974 we want to work toward full normalization and full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China before the middle of 1976.
Now we would like to keep some form of representation on Taiwan, but we haven’t figured out a formula that will be mutually acceptable. And we would like to discuss with you, in the spirit of what you have always discussed with us, some understanding that the final solution will be a peaceful one. In that context we will exercise great restraint in our military supply policy. It is our intention, but I will review … I frankly [to Kennedy: Can we find out what contracts we have with them?] I will find out while I am here what contracts we have for the supply of military equipment and which are contemplated and then I can be absolutely—then you will know exactly. But this is the direction in which we are determined to move, and these other details are not really decisive.
PM Chou: Just now you mentioned in passing that aside from the Taiwan question you also mentioned the question of relations between our countries.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes.[Page 52]
PM Chou: So you still envisage there is going to be a Trade Office or a Liaison Office?
Dr. Kissinger: Yes. We would prefer a Liaison Office because we could send better personnel for that.
PM Chou: Does it mean that it will cover a wider range?
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, the Liaison Office could handle the things that are now being discussed in Paris plus a few political things. We believe that the very sensitive matters between us, about which no one outside the White House knows, should continue to be handled in the channel of Huang Hua and me. But if we establish a Liaison Office we would put Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Holdridge into it, and they are two friends who have worked with me and whom we trust.
PM Chou: Do you envisage that this is going to be two-way traffic, that is both sides will establish offices?
Dr. Kissinger: We would be prepared to let you establish a Liaison Office in the U.S.
PM Chou: It is easier for you to establish an office here because in name maybe it is an unofficial one, but actually it may be an official one. But our office in Washington needs to be a nonofficial one which will enjoy various diplomatic immunities. And they wouldn’t be able to take part in any diplomatic activities because it would be difficult for them to do so.
Dr. Kissinger: Well, you can set up any office that you think is appropriate in Washington. We would see to it that they would enjoy diplomatic immunities. They perhaps couldn’t engage in formal diplomatic activities, but they could be a convenient channel of communication to the White House.
PM Chou: So your Liaison Office would cover a wider range than trade?
Dr. Kissinger: That would be our preference, but we could also have a trade office and in fact give it liaison functions. But I think it would be more appropriate to have a Liaison Office.
PM Chou: We have envisaged both. Since Doctor has mentioned it, it can be discussed after we have reported to Chairman Mao.
Dr. Kissinger: We are prepared to do it either or both together— we are prepared to have a PRC office in the U.S., and you could give it officially a non-official character but it will have diplomatic immunities and will be treated on a diplomatic level, and we will continue whatever business you wish through that office. You could call it a trade office or a new agency, whichever you wish. But if you have other ideas, we will follow your suggestions.
PM Chou: So much for this question.
Dr. Kissinger: All right.[Page 53]
PM Chou: Speaking of the Soviet Union question, last time you told us something about the nuclear treaty. How is the situation now?
Dr. Kissinger: The Soviet Union … we thought that if we delayed long enough the treaty would just go away. It is a heroic posture … [laughter] but sometimes a necessary one.4
But since the end of the Vietnam war they have raised it again. You remember we put a series of questions to the Soviet Union of hypothetical cases. And I asked one hypothetical question: whether, if this treaty were signed and if the U.S. would then attack India, some third country like India which would affect the balance, whether then nuclear weapons could be used. And the Soviet Union gave us a written reply which was cautious. The first situation was what happens in case there is a war in Europe. I asked a series of hypothetical questions. I said, “What happens in case there is a war in Europe, can nuclear weapons be used?” The answer was, “Yes, but not against the territory of the Soviet Union and the United States. Only on the territory of each other’s allies.” But they said … do you want me to read what they said with respect to that situation?
PM Chou: Yes, to add to our interest.
Dr. Kissinger: Their English is not as clear as their intention. So they said “we would like to emphasize that the idea of the Treaty would be served by such a mode of actions in that presumed situation when both the USSR and the U.S. firmly proceed from the necessity to localize the use of nuclear weapons and undertake nothing that could increase the danger of our two countries mutually becoming objects of the use of nuclear weapons.” In other words they should be—it is almost incomprehensible in English. It is not the fault of your interpreter. You see, in Article 3 of the treaty it says nuclear weapons can be used in defense of allies. So we asked what happens in case of an attack in Europe, of a war in Europe? Now I will read the sentence again. “We would like to emphasize that the idea of the Treaty would be served by such a mode of actions in that presumed situation”— namely a war in Europe—“when both the USSR and the U.S. firmly proceed from the necessity to localize the use of nuclear weapons and undertake nothing that could increase the danger of our two countries mutually becoming objects of the use of nuclear weapons.” It is perfectly clear.[Page 54]
And then they say in the next paragraph that if such a treaty is signed a war in Europe becomes much less likely. When I asked the question “what happens to allies?”, to that they gave this answer.
Then I said, second, “What happens to friends who are not allies who are being attacked?” And to that they said in the same bad English: “If to assume that the USSR or the U.S. might use nuclear weapons (Middle East was mentioned as an example) also to assist states with regard to which neither the USSR nor the U.S. have direct treaty obligations, this would devalue our Treaty.”
PM Chou: Does that mean that they wouldn’t use …
Dr. Kissinger: It means nuclear weapons would not be used. Then I said the third question is: “What happens in situations where a country who is neither ally nor a friend is attacked, but whose weight would affect the balance of power in the world such as, for example, India? Can nuclear weapons then be used?” To that they said the following: “These same views and arguments of ours may be fully applied as well to a third situation, which the American side termed as seriously upsetting the global balance and to illustrate which a most hypothetical example of introduction of Soviet or U.S. troops into India was used.”
I will read it again, section by section: “These same views and arguments of ours”—namely the ones applied to other areas where friends are involved—“may be fully applied as well to a third situation, which the American side termed as seriously upsetting the global balance and to illustrate which a most hypothetical example of introduction of Soviet or U.S. troops into India was used. Thus the Soviet side believes that the Treaty should exclude a possibility of using nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union and the U.S. against each other in the two situations outlined above.” Colonel Kennedy is new to my diplomatic methods. He has not seen me do these things before.
PM Chou: We have got to know each other very well since we have met each other five times.
Dr. Kissinger: That is right. We have met with each other openly and honestly.
PM Chou: Not only openly but also highly confidential.
Dr. Kissinger: Exactly.
PM Chou: And we mean what we have said.
Dr. Kissinger: Your word has counted, and I think so has ours and since so much …
PM Chou: You mean President Nixon and you yourself.
Dr. Kissinger: Our word has counted and so has your word. We have been able to count on what you have said. What I meant to say is we have had a relationship of confidence in each other.[Page 55]
In an attack on a friend who is not an ally, or an attack on a country who is not an ally nor a friend, but whose attack would create a change in the balance, nuclear weapons would be excluded. In other words in the case of the Middle East and the case of India, nuclear weapons could not be used under this Treaty.
PM Chou: Do you mean that you wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against each other in such two cases?
Dr. Kissinger: I asked three questions: If the treaty is signed, can nuclear weapons be used in these three cases. Attack against allies. Yes, they can be used but not against the territories of the U.S. and USSR. The second case is against a friend who is not an ally, such as the Middle East. There they say they cannot be used. The third case against a country which is neither an ally nor necessarily a friend, but whose fate could affect the world balance of power, and I gave the theoretical example of India. And they said in that case nuclear weapons cannot be used. Then they asked us a question which we have never answered—we have never answered this communiqué. They have asked us what we would do if another country, for example, a U.S. ally or friend would attack an ally of the Soviet Union? They said in that case they would certainly react, but they asked us what we would do in such a case if they would react. I will read you the sentence if you are interested.
PM Chou: Yes.
Dr. Kissinger: “The kind of reaction of the USSR with regard to the state that made such an attack is not to be questioned—it will be determined by the allied duty of the USSR. But a question suggests it-self—how in that situation matters would stand directly between the USSR and the U.S., having in mind that the Treaty on the non-use of nuclear weapons would be in effect between them?” We have never answered this.
PM Chou: Is the word from Mr. Gromyko? Perhaps the thought belongs to Brezhnev.
Dr. Kissinger: This was given to us as a communication from Brezhnev, but we cannot tell. It was unsigned, but we were told it was for the President from Brezhnev. And the treaty was first presented to me by Brezhnev.
Now, in our government, Mr. Prime Minister, nobody knows about this except the President, myself and my staff, and this should never be discussed in any other forum.
Now the present situation is that they have again proposed this treaty and they have again—they have said they would like to sign it when Brezhnev visits the United States. And I have told them we would consider it and let them know.[Page 56]
Now it is perfectly clear that we cannot accept this intention and this policy, so there is no possibility whatever that we will agree to a treaty that contains an obligation not to use nuclear weapons. The only question is a tactical question for us—whether we should reject it completely or whether we should reject it evasively. For example, as we have told Ambassador Huang Hua, we were considering last fall the possibility of a draft in which we would agree to create conditions in which nuclear weapons would not be used and then to define these conditions in such a way that they would amount to the renunciation of force altogether, or to create a commission to study when these conditions will be realized. This is what we are now considering, but to assess that I would be very anxious to have your views. But to make a final judgment one must I think assess the basic strategy towards the Soviet Union because only then can the judgment be made.
So I don’t know whether the Prime Minister would like to talk about this immediately or whether we should discuss the basic strategy and then come back to this, or whether he would like to express a preliminary view and then go back to it.
PM Chou: Let us continue our discussion on the strategy.
Dr. Kissinger: Should I? [Chou indicates to go ahead.]
Let me make a few observations which were suggested to me by a half-facetious question of the Prime Minister about whether we intend to stand on the shoulders of China to come closer to the Soviet Union. But since I have learned in five meetings that the Prime Minister never says anything without an intention and perhaps it is a good question, I would like to discuss it while we are discussing strategy.
It just occurred to me. We have had a very unequal relationship in one respect in that your interpreters have had to carry the entire load at every meeting. We are very grateful. [Chou laughs]
Now on the strategy with the Soviet Union—and I think we might begin with your question. There is no doubt that our relations with the Soviet Union accelerated after my visit to Peking in 1971. We expected the opposite actually. So our judgment was wrong. And therefore obviously there is merit in the fact, in the Prime Minister’s suggestion that our relations with the PRC have given the Soviet Union an incentive to improve their relations with us. This is not our purpose but this has been a result. But then that in itself is irrelevant because the question is why? What are they trying to accomplish?
Now there are two theoretical possibilities. One is they generally want to bring about a relaxation of tensions in the world. If that is true, it is in our common interest and it will not be against the interests of either—I don’t believe it is their intention but if they really want to bring about a relaxation of tension in the world, we would welcome it.[Page 57]
The second possibility is, and the evidence seems to point more in that direction, that the Soviet Union has decided that it should pursue a more flexible strategy for the following objectives: To demoralize Western Europe by creating the illusion office peace; to use American technology to overcome the imbalance between its military and economic capability; to make it more difficult for the U.S. to maintain its military capability by creating an atmosphere of dtente and isolate those adversaries who are not fooled by this relaxation policy.
PM Chou: Such as China.
Dr. Kissinger: I was trying to be delicate. [Laughter] Five, to gain time to accelerate its own military preparations.
If all of this succeeds, then eventually the U.S. will be totally isolated. If they can demoralize Europe, improve their military situation, neutralize those countries which are politically opposed but are militarily too weak, then sooner or later the U.S. will be completely isolated and become the ultimate victim.
Now what is our strategy? Because I think that is important for the Prime Minister to understand so that he can separate appearance and reality. He can do it anyway, but so that he understands it more fully.
We believe that the second interpretation of Soviet intentions is by far the most probable one. Now first, very candidly, as you must know from your own reports, we have had a very difficult period domestically as a result of the war in Vietnam. So on many occasions we have had to maneuver rather than to have a frontal confrontation. But now the war in Vietnam has ended, especially if the settlement does not turn into a constant source of conflict for the U.S., we can return to the fundamental problems of our foreign policy. Even during this period, which the Prime Minister must have noticed, we have always reacted with extreme violence to direct challenges by the Soviet Union. I don’t know whether the Prime Minister followed in 1970—that was before our meetings—the attempt by the Soviet Union to establish a submarine base in Cuba, and we reacted very strongly; less theatrically than President Kennedy, but very strongly, and that submarine base has never been completed. And in September 1970 during the Jordanian crisis we also reacted very sharply. And during the crisis on Berlin. I am just giving them as an example of our basic method. Our experience has been that the Soviet Union has always shied away from a military confrontation with the U.S.
But then what is our strategy? First we had to rally our own people by some conspicuous successes in foreign policy, to establish a reputation for thoughtful action. Secondly, we had to end the Vietnam war under conditions that were not considered an American disgrace. Thirdly, we want to modernize our military establishment, particularly [Page 58]in the strategic forces. We will talk more about this if you want to in a separate meeting. Ultimately we want to maneuver the Soviet Union into a position where it clearly is the provocateur. Fifthly, we have to get our people used to some propositions that are entirely new to them.
Now in Europe right now there is a paradox. In Europe the psychological situation is very poor, but the moral basis as far as U.S. action is concerned is very good.
In Asia the psychological situation is very strong. I speak frankly. In China there is no problem about the willingness of defense. But for Americans to understand that maneuvers such as Czechoslovakia and China, leaving aside the much greater strength of China, affects America directly is a new idea and requires time for preparation. You haven’t asked us for any of this. This is our own judgment of the situation. Our interests are determined by our own necessities.
Therefore we have to some extent cooperated in these Soviet maneuvers. But up to now we have made only two kinds of agreements with them, or three kinds: One, those that we thought were on balance unilaterally to our advantage, such as Berlin—we paid nothing for that. So, of course, we did make that agreement.5
PM Chou: We don’t quite understand that.
Dr. Kissinger: The Berlin Agreement improved the situation for us, and it cost us nothing and those are the best agreements to make. [laughter] No one ever gets them from your Vice Minister. [laughter] Second—but that was really—they did not make that for us—that agreement was made to keep Brandt in office. The Soviet Union made this agreement for Berlin’s domestic policies. It is not an international agreement.
The second type of agreement we would be prepared to make …
PM Chou: [Interrupting] But it can also be said that this is consistent with the Soviet policy which is meant to lull, to demoralize Western Europe.
Dr. Kissinger: It is consistent. It is very consistent.
The second kind of agreement we would make, of which there is perhaps only one, is an agreement that would be in the interest of all countries such as the limitation on strategic arms. The difficulty with that agreement is that it establishes quantitative limitations at a time when the real dangers come from qualitative improvements.
PM Chou: That is why when you were signing the agreement in Moscow where Mr. Laird said quite a lot in Washington, that is why I [Page 59]was very interested in him. You said that he had talked too much, but I think there is a good point in doing it.
Dr. Kissinger: He talked too much. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a good point in it.
PM Chou: This is a good point because it shows that on this point an American must speak from trust.
Dr. Kissinger: We have accelerated it. In fact, Laird said it all. We have, since the Agreement, greatly accelerated the qualitative improvements of our strategic forces.
PM Chou: On this one he has also spoken out.
Dr. Kissinger: Who has?
PM Chou: Mr. Laird. Although the Soviet Union didn’t say anything about that, but Mr. Suslov as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, he said something about it.
Dr. Kissinger: About Laird?
PM Chou: No, about the position of strength to increase the military budget. Of course, the figure of the budget is furnished, but what he said, those words are true.
Dr. Kissinger: We don’t pay any attention to the budget because we have very good photography of the Soviet Union.
PM Chou: But Suslov’s words are true by saying they depart from the position of strength.
Dr. Kissinger: They depart?
PM Chou: They proceed.
Dr. Kissinger: They are making very major efforts in every military category. Actually the Prime Minister—one amusing anecdote on a personal basis. When we were in the Soviet Union we were discussing the problem of putting—we were putting limitations on the holes in the silos. And I also pointed to Mr. Brezhnev that even with limitations on the holes of the silos it was possible to put larger missiles into the existing holes, and Mr. Brezhnev said it was totally untrue and started drawing diagrams. He said that there were three ways of doing it, all of which are entirely impossible. In fact there are four ways of doing it, and they are using the fourth, and they are putting larger missiles into the holes. [Chou laughs]
So in almost every significant military category there are major preparations going on. I am not saying for what, but that is a fact. But we learned many things during these negotiations also because in the process of preparing for them we had to study many things in particular detail, and they’re being implemented now in our new preparations.[Page 60]
The third type of agreement we are making is on matters that are generally useful but of no major political significance, such as environment, scientific exchange, trade within certain limitations. I admit both sides are gambling on certain trends. The Soviet Union believes that it can demoralize Western Europe and paralyze us. We believe as far as Western Europe is concerned that as long as we are present there is a wide fluctuation possible in their actual attitudes without enabling the Soviet Union to bring military pressure. And we believe that through this policy we are gaining the freedom of maneuver we need to resist in those places which are the most likely points of attack or pressure. And our judgment of the Soviet leaders is that they are brutal, but not necessarily farsighted.
Now to apply this to the nuclear treaty—our tendency therefore is not to have a direct confrontation, but to play for time. But not to give away anything of substance while we are playing for time.
Now this is our general assessment, and that is our general strategy and therefore it is in this context that we have to understand whether we are standing on your shoulders. It would be suicidal for us to participate in a policy whose ultimate objective is to isolate us. We will use certain tendencies or fears as they develop, but that will be for the objections that I have described to the Prime Minister or the goals that I have described to the Prime Minister.
Now I have given you a more candid exposition of our views than we ever have to any foreign leader or for that matter to any of our own people.
PM Chou: The European Security Conference and Mutual Balanced Force Reduction Conference moved toward this direction too.
Dr. Kissinger: Could we have a five-minute break? I want to talk to you about this because here we have a problem with the shortsightedness of our European allies. I want to discuss with you our strategy.
[The group broke briefly at 3:45 p.m., and the meeting resumed at 3:53 p.m.]
Dr. Kissinger: Now about the European Security Conference and the Mutual Balanced Force Reduction. First a few words about the history.
You have to remember that the European leaders have dealt with both of these conferences entirely from the point of view of their domestic politics. When the Soviet Union first proposed the European Security Conference many years ago, the Europeans said that they were more for it than the U.S. so that they could blame us for its not coming into being vis-á-vis their own domestic opposition. So that the principle of it became established. Then when there were some pressures in the American Congress, Senator Mansfield, who incidentally wants to come back here—we will be glad …[Page 61]
PM Chou: [Interrupting] And during the conclusion of the general elections you said he would like to come the day after the votes were cast.
Dr. Kissinger: We will be glad to send him if you promise to keep him. [Laughter] No, but it is up to you. It may be a good idea. But that is a different question.
But when Senator Mansfield proposed the reduction of American forces then the Europeans developed the thought of a force reduction conference in order to prevent us from withdrawing forces unilaterally. When we then accepted this proposition they became nervous. [Chou laughs] Then they started pushing the European Security Conference in order to kill the Mutual Balanced Force Reduction Conference, and then we decided that we were getting into a never-never-land of demoralization, confusion and maneuvering and that we should tackle it head on and bring it to some concrete conclusion because it was more demoralizing to talk about it than to deal with it. It is perfectly clear what the Soviet Union wants with the European Security Conference. They want to create an impression that there is no longer any danger in Europe, and therefore they want to create an atmosphere in which the military relationships are replaced by some general European security order. Therefore, it is in our interest, one, that the Conference is as short as possible and as meaningless as possible so that nobody can claim a tremendous result was achieved. It is in the Soviet interest to give the impression that it is a great historic event. It is in our interest to have a meeting that affirms some generally desirable objectives like free travel and cultural exchange, but that cannot be used as a basis for historic transformation.
With Mutual Balanced Force Reductions the problem is exactly the opposite. If one analyses the problem of force reduction seriously one has to study the actual relationship of forces. Now any study of the actual relationship of forces seriously conducted must lead the Europeans to the realization of the extent of their danger. We are in the strange situation where if we discuss military defense with the Europeans directly they will always reject the reality of the danger and our conclusions, because they are afraid we will ask them for more money. But when we discuss force reductions they are so afraid that we will reduce our forces that they have an interest to study the danger. [Chou laughs]
When I was in Moscow last September I made a condition with Brezhnev that we would attend the European Security Conference only if they would attend the Conference on Force Reduction. And therefore whatever marginal benefit they can gain from European Security Conference we can substitute by the kind of investigation that will be produced by the Force Reduction Conference.[Page 62]
Now let me say a word about the actual state of these negotiations. Our biggest problem right now, to be very honest with you, is not the Soviet Union but the Europeans. What we want is a brief description of the agenda items, the European Security Conference to be as meaningless as possible, a short Conference and an exalted but meaningless conclusion. The Europeans … every European Foreign Minister is already rehearsing the speech he is going to give at that Conference. Every European Foreign Office has submitted an endless agenda for each session. And so that produces a certain confusion, but we can manage that.
Now with respect to the force reductions, we will work very seriously with our European allies and the real problem for that is the temptation to have some general conclusion quickly. The reality is that we must have a very careful study of the actual balance of forces so that we do not make the situation worse as a result. If we do not make this study the Soviet Union someday is going to make a very plausible sounding proposal which for whatever reason everyone will want to accept. But if we have a study of the actual balance of forces we can resist on the grounds of this. This is how we handled the SALT negotiations. If we use these negotiations intelligently, we can use them to strengthen the defense of the West rather than to weaken it. In any event any foreseeable reductions will not exceed 10 to 15 percent and will not occur before 1975. They will be marginal to the global geopolitical balance. They will be on the Soviet side—two divisions maybe [Chou laughs] and they have now …
PM Chou: [Interrupting] They even want to leave out the two words “mutual balanced.”
Dr. Kissinger: They want to leave out the word “mutual.”
PM Chou: No, they want to leave out the word “balanced.”
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, “balanced,” they want to leave out the word “balanced.”
PM Chou: They want to leave these words out from the name of the Conference.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, because they have larger numbers so that if you have equal reductions the relative importance of the gap becomes greater. They also want to leave out Czechoslovakia now. They have already said they want to leave out Hungary, but we also got information they also want to leave out Czechoslovakia. [Laughter]
PM Chou: And to start with, Belgium and Rumania will not come to the …
Dr. Kissinger: [Interrupting] But there are no Soviet troops in Rumania. So this is our general approach to those two conferences. And we will keep you informed. If we have some easier means of communication, if for example, you do get some sort of office in Washington, [Page 63]we can let you see our study. But we can also do it via New York and while we are here we have some material here which, if your technical experts are interested, we could discuss with you on mutual force reductions. Just to give you a feeling of how we approach it.
PM Chou: What is the possibility for the Western European countries to strengthen their own military capabilities?
Dr. Kissinger: This is not the heroic period of European leadership. We are working with the British right now to improve their nuclear capability. And there may be some possibility of the Germans improving their capability, their conventional not nuclear, and actually the German army is now certainly the largest in Europe, conventional army in Western Europe. In France, a great deal depends on the outcome of the election.
PM Chou: Has Mr. Schumann told you that Chairman Mao advised him to dig tunnels?
Dr. Kissinger: No.
PM Chou: Perhaps he doesn’t believe it altogether.
Dr. Kissinger: This is too epic for him. [Chou laughs]
PM Chou: Perhaps the Maginot Line wouldn’t work so they think it wasn’t good for him to do so. Because they don’t understand that during the time when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union the underground did play a part.
Dr. Kissinger: The French are making an effort in the nuclear field, and they have actually modernized their army fairly well. What the Europeans lack is political vision and conviction that what they do makes a difference. So they pursue very cautious policies.
PM Chou: They are nearsighted.
Dr. Kissinger: Very.
PM Chou: Let us come back to the East. Not long ago you mentioned that it would take a long time to settle the questions in Indochina and Southeast Asia. Don’t you waste your energies in this region?
Dr. Kissinger: No, I think it is important, however, that the transition between the present and what will work in Southeast Asia occur gradually.
PM Chou: And the same applies to Indochina—that is a gradual …
Dr. Kissinger: I am talking about Indochina. When the Prime Minister talked about Southeast Asia what did he mean?
PM Chou: Including Indochina. Because when we refer to Southeast Asia we speak about it in the context of Dulles’ policy, because your commitments came from his policies.
Dr. Kissinger: Our objectives in Southeast Asia are quite different from the Dulles objective. Our policy in Southeast Asia is not directed against the PRC obviously.[Page 64]
PM Chou: Then you will have to change the atmosphere in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Kissinger: What concretely does the Prime Minister mean so that I can respond intelligently?
PM Chou: Because SEATO still exists.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but as I said at a briefing of Senators, it is not the most vital institution which is now known to the political life of the world. The major problem in Southeast Asia now is the transition in Indochina from a war situation to a peace situation—to do it in such a way that it does not lead to the intrusion of other countries. I was interested to see, for example, that there was an article in Izvestia in recent days warning against economic assistance to North Vietnam. It was sent to me from Washington.
PM Chou: Thank you for your information because I hadn’t noticed it.
Dr. Kissinger: It was sent to me from Washington this morning. I think it was February 6.
But with respect to Southeast Asia it is our intention to reduce our involvement gradually. But in terms of the strategy which I have outlined, it is important to remember that all the political forces in America who are opposing the philosophy which I have described, including one of your future guests, Miss McLaine, would like nothing more than a total collapse of the settlement that we negotiated. [Chou laughs]
PM Chou: I know nothing about Miss McLaine and thank you for your information.
Dr. Kissinger: I have no objection to her coming. It will be very good for her.
PM Chou: This is a matter concerning our Foreign Ministry, I know nothing about this. I had some contacts with Mrs. Jarvis from NBC.
Dr. Kissinger: Oh, Mrs. Jarvis. She did a very good film. She was very active. She did a very good job. I don’t know whether you were pleased with the result, but it really made a very good impression in America.
PM Chou: Yes, I was told by comments from the Foreign Ministry it is not bad.
Dr. Kissinger: It is good.
PM Chou: And the Ministry helped her find a family of three generations—that is what she said in her article. She didn’t put it in that speech made to me. She knew very much how to seat herself when she met a Premier in a television interview but which was not included in the film.
Dr. Kissinger: They want to do it separately, I am sure.[Page 65]
PM Chou: She made a very long interview which was not included in the film. Perhaps she was excluded.
Dr. Kissinger: That is her great opportunity to become famous.
So Southeast Asia—our Southeast Asian policies will be put on a new basis, and we will try to avoid a situation where it absorbs all of our energies. On the other hand, if we should be challenged very rapidly then in order to protect the possibility of conducting a strong foreign policy, we will have to react very strongly. So if there can be a gradual evolution, as we have discussed on Taiwan, then many things are possible and we will not be actively involved. But we should have, any time the Prime Minister wishes, a longer talk on Southeast Asia.
PM Chou: Let us touch upon those major questions in Southeast Asia. As for the ending of the war in Vietnam, so far as we know both North and South Vietnam are willing to implement it. As you know the war has been going on for more than ten years and if the time period for the war against Japanese invasion is counted in, then it is a country which has carried on a war for thirty years, so they don’t refrain from having the desire to realize peace. And secondly, since we have had contact with the Vietnamese friends for quite a long time, you know they have a strong character of independence. And although the country is not very large, with not a large population, they necessarily have a strong sense of self-dignity—it is a small country with a small population because compared with us their population is not very big.
Dr. Kissinger: Compared with you no population is very big.
PM Chou: But if you count in terms of 100 million then it can’t be said it is a big country.
Dr. Kissinger: I agree with the Prime Minister.
PM Chou: And thirdly, they have a very strong inclination towards unity, and the first Geneva Conference bears witness to this point. And the Paris Agreement has covered all the three points. And as far as Thieu is concerned, he has a greedy personal ambition and is bound to fail. Of course, as you said, if the political evolution comes to that point you can do nothing about it, and, of course, if you talk about this to him he will be enraged, but the fact is like that. And just as if you said to the dying Chiang Kai-shek that he no longer hopes to go back to the Mainland any longer, he will also be angry. There is no way to deal with such an ally.
We can leave Chiang Kai-shek as what he is at the moment because this question is bound to be settled finally, because in principle we know each other well. So we won’t be very put out about whether you withdraw your troops early or later in that place. But as far as Vietnam is concerned, the fact is that sooner or later the aid you provide will be lost eventually. It is not so easy for our Vietnamese friends to [Page 66]come to see immediately that Thieu will lose all the assistance he has been given, but as long as your country and Vietnam will be able to control the situation then the war in Vietnam will be able to stop. So we think this is the best for your country and Vietnam to be the Chairman of the Conference. This is the best way because if the other side is in charge of the Conference they will not be able to bring the situation under control.
Dr. Kissinger: Which others?
PM Chou: The U.S. and DRV.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but which others cannot control?
PM Chou: For instance, if you get into the five major countries in the UN then they will get into a quarrel.
Dr. Kissinger: Particularly if your Vice Minister and Malik are there.
PM Chou: But if Mr. Gromyko goes then Minister Chi P’eng-fei will be able to deal with him.
Dr. Kissinger: I have no question.
PM Chou: And then if this question is left to the four supervisory countries it will be again a difficult question to them because they will lead again to bickering. But sometimes when it is necessary to get into some quarrel they don’t do so because so long as the Soviet Union points its finger then Poland will change its position, although Poland does not listen to it completely. So the development of the world situation is changing.
And you see for the ICC in Korea it is—during the Korean War one of the members of the supervisory control on behalf of the U.S. was Sweden. This indicates how quick the psychological situation changes. But in Korea as the result of Dulles’ policy there was only an armistice agreement without a peace agreement. But since both North and South Korea don’t intend to engage in a fight, and since we don’t intend to fight, there isn’t anything happening there for the last 10 years. Of course, it is a different situation there from South Vietnam.
In South Vietnam it is the situation in which the two sides are engaged in sort of jigsaw pattern, but only the DRV and the U.S. can talk over this question. So this is the Vietnam question. If you shoulder the responsibility then the ceasefire can be realized. Of course, there are bound to be constant small conflicts. I am not very clear about the situation in Laos. Perhaps the Soviet Union has had a hand in it to a certain extent. We don’t know what you learn about this. Can there be any ceasefire there in Laos?
Dr. Kissinger: We have had an understanding with Hanoi that there would be a ceasefire by the 12th—February 12th. That did not happen. Then when I was in Hanoi we made a firm understanding that [Page 67]there would be a ceasefire on the 15th. That apparently has not happened, and we find that very difficult to understand.
PM Chou: Your Ambassador is very active there.
Dr. Kissinger: In Laos he is very active. We had reached a clear understanding with the Democratic Republic on Laos and obviously having reached that understanding our Ambassador would not get in the way of it. That understanding was that both sides would avoid clauses in the agreement that would be humiliating and the terms would be phrased in general language, and the DRV and we agreed on it. We even prepared joint instructions to our Ambassador and their Ambassador. Now the Pathet Lao keep calling the U.S. an aggressor and maybe it is the Soviet Union who has interfered. I can’t believe your friends in North Vietnam would make an agreement with me on Monday and then break it on Thursday.
PM Chou: I am not very clear about the reasons.
Dr. Kissinger: I will make an inquiry tonight. Insofar as I know the only obstacle now is that the Pathet Lao now say the U.S. must stop the bombing, and Souvanna Phouma says it should be expressed that all bombing should stop, and we had an understanding on this in Hanoi. They did the same thing about the withdrawal of foreign forces. We want to say all foreign forces should withdraw; they want to name the U.S. separately and Thailand separately.
PM Chou: And what is the opinion of the Vietnamese side?
Dr. Kissinger: The Vietnamese side, when I was in Hanoi, agreed with us. We had no disagreement with them on these points, and therefore I am puzzled why it has not happened.
PM Chou: Yes, we also don’t know very well what happened. We only know that the Soviet Ambassador is carrying on certain activities. And the Soviet Ambassador to Phnom Penh has gone back to Phnom Penh.
Dr. Kissinger: As Ambassador?
PM Chou: The Soviet Ambassador.
Dr. Kissinger: They have had a Chargé there.
PM Chou: Recently there was a Chargé there, and according to information they are going to send an Ambassador there.
Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t know that.
PM Chou: That is recent information. As for the Cambodian country, why can’t you accept to have negotiations with Norodom Sihanouk as head of state?
Dr. Kissinger: I don’t know him as well as the Prime Minister. I understand it is a nervewracking experience. [Chou laughs]
PM Chou: Did Senator Mansfield say any words or discuss with you?[Page 68]
Dr. Kissinger: Oh, yes, Senator Mansfield is prepared to conduct negotiations with Sihanouk.
PM Chou: But unfortunately Prince Sihanouk wasn’t in Peking. He was elsewhere. So your people say that after the President was elected for a second term, then Senator Mansfield would come again to China.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but he is not qualified to discuss that for us, and he would only confuse the situation. He is too emotional about this. This is not an emotional problem. I will—is the Prime Minister finished with his observation?
PM Chou: I have just raised this question and see what you have.
Dr. Kissinger: Can I make comments about Indochina in general, including Cambodia, or would you prefer that I talk about Cambodia first?
PM Chou: Either way will do.
Dr. Kissinger: I would prefer to do the general thing first. The basic problem for us is that the Agreement is kept and that the Agreement does not collapse, or if it collapses that it does not collapse quickly. This will affect our ability to conduct any effective foreign policy, and it is therefore of world interest. And therefore, we will have to defend the Agreement if it is fundamentally challenged. You have seen often enough that no matter what our press says, no matter what our Congress says, when we determine that something is vitally important, we do it.
But conversely if despite our efforts it should happen it would lead to consequences that would make it very difficult for the U.S. to be very active internationally and this may be one reason why I think the Soviet Union is now moving into a position of now undermining the Agreement. Another is to establish its position in Hanoi.
We have no direct interest in Indochina. If we can co-exist with Peking, we can certainly co-exist with Hanoi. Hanoi can never be a threat to the U.S., and we are prepared to deal with Hanoi as openly and honestly as we have dealt with you. And we have made a good beginning on my visit.
Now here is how we understand the Agreement with respect to Vietnam. Our understanding is that it should stop the military conflict, and that it should start a political process, and we will accept the political outcome, especially if it goes on over a reasonable period of time.
So it is possible for us—it seems to us also that the DRV has two choices. It can either use the Agreement as an offensive weapon in the short term and constantly use it to undermine the existing structure, or it can use it in the long term, the way we have handled our relationship, in which we both understand what will happen but in which [Page 69]the situation is tranquil for a period. If they do the second, we will cooperate with them. If they do the first, we will resist them. So they have to be patient. They have to be somewhat patient.
PM Chou: And your analysis is correct, but you should take into account another element. Thieu is more afraid of the occurrence of the second situation you referred to. So Thieu is devoting all efforts to engage in all kinds of unreasonable conspiracy in violation of the Agreement, and we think you should pay attention to it.
Dr. Kissinger: We are paying attention to it. I have told the DRV that we would investigate all violations of the Agreement, and I have sent Ambassador Sullivan to look into the matter in South Vietnam.
PM Chou: And the Two-Party Joint Military Commission hasn’t yet been established.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, we are going to use our maximum influence to bring it about.
PM Chou: And perhaps you have had very clear contacts with both Thieu and his special representative, Duc, his Special Adviser.
Dr. Kissinger: My secret dream is to see Duc and Xuan Thuy in a negotiation. I know him. He has the worst qualities of Harvard University and Hanoi University. On the other hand, Hanoi also has made very many, very serious violations of the Agreement. We know that they are sending in 300 tanks into South Vietnam right now.
PM Chou: Not that many. How can there be so many?
Dr. Kissinger: I assure you. We know it from our sources, not from the Vietnamese.
PM Chou: How can there be 300? It is true that they have buried some in South Vietnam.
Dr. Kissinger: No, they are moving them; that is a different matter. They are moving them from North Vietnam to South Vietnam which is illegal. Now how can we refuse under those conditions when they violate the Agreement? We have not done anything, but if this keeps up we will be forced to send tanks in. On one road, along Route 1068 in the western part of the DMZ, they have sent in 175 tanks which is totally prohibited by the Agreement. I have said this to them also.
PM Chou: But the number of weapons you sent to Thieu during the 100 days after October is also very great.
Dr. Kissinger: But that is a different problem; that was legal.
PM Chou: And this made Vietnam the country with the fourth largest air force.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but the Agreement prohibits the introduction of military supplies in South Vietnam. We have not sent anything else in since January 27th.[Page 70]
PM Chou: And how do you carry out the replacement in the future?
Dr. Kissinger: That is another problem. According to the Agreement the two sides were to agree on six points of entry for the replacement.
PM Chou: This is set down in the protocols.
Dr. Kissinger: In the protocols, but they were not mentioned. They were supposed to agree within 15 days.
PM Chou: You have read the protocol many times, whereas I have seen it once.
Dr. Kissinger: I think 15 is right, but I cannot face the humiliation when the Prime Minister is correct.
PM Chou: They have not mentioned the points of entry yet.
Dr. Kissinger: We have named three; they have not named any.
PM Chou: As to 15 days, then the date is already over. (Chinese side member confirms it is 15.)
Dr. Kissinger: 15, I know it was 15. So the 15 days is already over.
PM Chou: Because when you were in Hanoi, it was already 15 days.
Dr. Kissinger: That is right. So they say until these points are mentioned, they can bring in equipment any place, which is an interesting theory. [Chou laughs]
PM Chou: This is a new point in the protocol.
Dr. Kissinger: And we didn’t bring any in. I knew what would happen.
PM Chou: But would that be that after your departure in Vietnam you leave the weapons to Vietnam? This is possible and also some military installations there. It is possible because we have been engaged in wars before so we know about it. Especially we have had dealings with Chiang Kai-shek.
Dr. Kissinger: Technically anything we leave we have turned over before January 27.
PM Chou: But it is still possible that in the documents it was signed as January 27, but actually you did it much later; that is February 10th.
Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, there is no sense in making— there is no doubt that for an interim period after an armistice both sides are going to engage in shady maneuvers.
PM Chou: Yes, you are fair in saying that.
Dr. Kissinger: And therefore for an interim period we can be understanding, and I talked openly with your friends in Hanoi on this subject. But if it continues, then it becomes serious.[Page 71]
PM Chou: Then it would be necessary to send the people from the ICCC earlier from the different places and fix the ports of entry.
Dr. Kissinger: The ports of entry must be fixed very soon. This is essential, and we will use our influence, and if anybody else can use their influence it would be very helpful. That is a very important question.
Now with respect to Vietnam our intention is to have a constructive relationship with Hanoi and to move rapidly towards normalization. And our intention is to extend economic aid without any political condition.
PM Chou: Since the Economic Joint Commission has already been announced the Soviet Union is not very satisfied with it.
Dr. Kissinger: I have been told that [pointing to a paper being held by the Chinese side]. Is this the article? I haven’t read the text. I just read a summary. Actually the Prime Minister, Pham Van Dong, was astonished when we said that once we give them money for certain categories they can use it for anything within that category. He apparently wasn’t used to treatment like that from other countries. [Chou laughs]
But it is important for us to be able to do this. We want the countries of Indochina to be independent. We have no other interest in that area. We don’t need any bases in Indochina. But for us to be able to establish this relationship, the DRV must cooperate to some extent. If there is no ceasefire in Laos and no withdrawal of forces, how can we ask our Congress to give money? It is psychologically impossible. Article 20(b) of the Agreement says foreign forces must be withdrawn from Laos and Cambodia without any condition. And we are prepared to withdraw our forces, and we have talked to Thailand, and it will withdraw its forces. So the DRV must live up to this obligation. Now they are very close to a ceasefire in Laos, and I frankly do not understand what is delaying it. Perhaps they will conclude it today.
PM Chou: We will be able to get information every day from official sources as to whether or not it has been signed.
Dr. Kissinger: Well, I will find out when I get back.
Now about Cambodia. It is obviously a very complex situation, and we have no particular interest in any one party.
PM Chou: From the very beginning you would not admit that. I refer to the coup d’etat. It was not done by the CIA. So after you examine your work, you will find how it was not done by them.
Dr. Kissinger: It was not done by them.
PM Chou: Like the situation in Laos.
Dr. Kissinger: It is a different situation.
PM Chou: Then who did it?[Page 72]
Dr. Kissinger: I have told the Prime Minister once before when I first learned of the coup d’etat I thought Sihanouk had done it, that he would come back after three or four days. I thought he had done it so he could show Hanoi that his troops there made the population very unhappy. That was my honest opinion.
PM Chou: Yes, you have told me about it.
Dr. Kissinger: That was my sincere conviction.
PM Chou: But I was quite skeptical about the CIA so I asked you to make a study of it.
Dr. Kissinger: I did make a study of it. Why should I lie to you to day? It makes no difference today. the CIA did not do it.
PM Chou: So it was done by France?
Dr. Kissinger: It could have been done by France. It could have been done by other interests. It could even perhaps have been done independently by Saigon. But it was not done by America nor did we know about it. At that time our policy was to attempt to normalize our relations with Sihanouk, and you will remember that the Prime Minister and I exchanged some letters at that time. We have always been opposed to the presence of North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia. We are opposed to that today. We think the North Vietnamese should withdraw their troops into Vietnam. We did not think they had the right to maintain troops on foreign territory.
Now we believe that there should be a political negotiation in Cambodia, and we think that all the political forces should be represented there. And that does not mean that the existing government must emerge as the dominant force, but how can we, when we recognize one government, engage in a direct negotiation with Sihanouk? This is out of the question. But if there were a ceasefire and if North Vietnamese forces were withdrawn we would encourage a political solution in which Sihanouk would play a very important role. We don’t want necessarily Hanoi to dominate Laos and Cambodia, but we will not support in either of these countries, and certainly not in Cambodia, one political force against the others.
But if the war continues—first of all, if the North Vietnamese— they are violating Article 20(b) of the Agreement. Secondly, it will be almost impossible for us to go to our Congress and ask for economic support for a country that has its troops on foreign territory. It is difficult enough as long as they have troops in the South, but that we can treat as a special case. We believe a solution consistent with the dignity of Sihanouk is possible, and we have so far refused overtures from other countries that have different views. But there has to be some interruption in military activity because otherwise our Air Force will continue to be active on one side, and there is no end to it. My difficulty [Page 73]in meeting with Prince Sihanouk is no reflection on Prince Sihanouk. It has to do with the situation there.
PM Chou: France has maintained relationships with both sides. And the same is true of the Soviet Union, so things have been so complicated.
Dr. Kissinger: France wants to pick up what is left over without any risk and without any investment. [Laughter]
PM Chou: Three years ago during the time of the occurrence of the Cambodian incident, the French had sent Prince Sihanouk to the Soviet Union so Lon Nol at the time took a further step to announce the overthrow of the Cambodian monarchy and to abolish the royal system. So as a result Kosygin sent Sihanouk to Peking. So in standing on the just side we should give them support. Further, Lon Nol at the time counted on us to maintain the original relationship, and Lon Nol even said that it was permissable to use Sihanouk Harbor to transport weapons to South Vietnam as was done by Sihanouk before. And prior to that Sihanouk also asked Lon Nol to be in charge of this matter—that is to transport weapons to South Vietnam, and he gained money out of that. So Lon Nol was most familiar with this matter. And now after engaging in subversive activities he wanted to directly collect the taxes so that was too unreasonable and unjust so we rejected him. During that month—more than one month, they continued their initiative—our Ambassador proved that. At the beginning he refused to let our Ambassador leave Cambodia.
Dr. Kissinger: Well, I have always believed that if Sihanouk had returned to Phnom Penh rather than Moscow, he would still be King or Prime Minister.
PM Chou: And he might be arrested.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, possibly.
PM Chou: Because Lon Nol would do anything he wished to.
Dr. Kissinger: Well, we will never know this, but in any event …
PM Chou: Do you know Lon Nol very well?
Dr. Kissinger: Once. I didn’t think he is an extremely energetic man.
PM Chou: He is half paralyzed.
Dr. Kissinger: He is actually very anxious still to establish relations with you.
PM Chou: No, we wouldn’t do that with such a person. You should also not deal with such a man who carries on subversive activities against the King. It is just for you not to support India in dismantling Pakistan. On that one we stood together because you supported justice. But we think it is not very—it is not fair for you to admit Lon Nol.[Page 74]
Dr. Kissinger: But I think it might be possible to find an interim solution that is acceptable to both sides and I think, for example, that the Lon Nol people would be willing to negotiate with the Chief Minister of Sihanouk here. [To Mr. Lord: What is his name again?] Penn Nouth. And that might lead to an interim government which could then decide who should be Chef d’etat. This possibility has also occurred to us.
PM Chou: Would that do if you go without Lon Nol?
Dr. Kissinger: The end result could well be without Lon Nol.
PM Chou: Not only the Prime Minister of Sihanouk wouldn’t engage in such a negotiation, but there is the Khmer resistance in the interior area in Cambodia.
Dr. Kissinger: What would not be acceptable?
PM Chou: To take Lon Nol …
Dr. Kissinger: Well, it doesn’t have to be Lon Nol himself. It could be somebody from that government.
PM Chou: Have you had any contact with the Soviet Union and French on this point, or would they go to you for that?
Dr. Kissinger: No we have not talked to France at all. The Soviet Union had very vague conversations, their Ambassador with me. But I thought they were leaning more towards Lon Nol than the other side. They were certainly not leaning towards Sihanouk.
PM Chou: Because he is not so fond of Sihanouk at all.
Dr. Kissinger: But they made no concrete—because I said to the Vice Minister when he was in New York, “I want to talk to the Prime Minister. I have talked to Le Duc Tho about it, and he said he is in favor of negotiation. He said they wouldn’t make the final decision in Hanoi, but, of course, you will be in direct contact with them.
PM Chou: And he told me that you said that you would go to me and talk.
Dr. Kissinger: That is right. He said to me first, that it would be best if I talked to you, and then I said I would be glad to. Le Duc Tho always has a slight problem with his time sequence.
PM Chou: So this question is quite similar to the question of the Secretary General. [Laughter] Of course, since Sihanouk is in China we cannot but tell him your opinion in our wording, but of course, we have our own position on this question.
Dr. Kissinger: We would appreciate it if he would not repeat it in newspapers and interviews. His self-discipline isn’t up to Chinese standards.
PM Chou: It is impossible. He often told others what I had told him, and also some times when I hadn’t told him. [Laughter] So the [Page 75]word wouldn’t be very clear what the Premier had actually told him. So after learning about your ideas and what we learned about it, we wouldn’t tell him all about it. Perhaps he would broadcast it and it would be carried in Chinese newspapers, and it wouldn’t be all right for us not to carry it in our newspapers. The freedom our People’s Daily has given to Sihanouk is much greater than any freedom granted to any Heads of State by any country at all. General De Gaulle didn’t get freedom like that when he was in Britain. He would be sure to include it in his message if he was told something.
We support his Five Point Declaration of March 23, 1970. That time you were not involved. And we also supported the declaration issued jointly by the Head of State, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia which was issued on January 26. And later the three other Ministers in the interior area of Cambodia also supported this declaration. This is still our position. Do you know the Five Point Declaration of March 23, 1970?6
Dr. Kissinger: No.
PM Chou: At that time you were not involved with it.
Dr. Kissinger: This is an extremely unusual event. None of my colleagues have ever heard me admit I didn’t know something, but I will know it as soon as I can get a copy. Have you English or French copies?
PM Chou: Both.
Dr. Kissinger: Either one I can read. I have not studied it, but the major problem, frankly, is not the formal position but what evolution we foresee. And from our side we are prepared to cooperate with you, if we can find a way with him to come up with a solution consistent with his dignity.
PM Chou: You have told us your ideas, and we have learned about it, but at the moment perhaps this is not possible. We will consider it again, and next time I will tell you our ideas.
Dr. Kissinger: All right.
PM Chou: The French and the Soviet Union are indeed engaged in activities there. What about the question of the neutralization among those five countries; Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines? If this is going to be a very long discussion perhaps we should leave it until tomorrow.
Dr. Kissinger: I think we should leave it until tomorrow but I have one brief point about Indochina. When I talked to the Prime Minister [Page 76]last June about the war in Vietnam, he said after the war in Vietnam ended it would help China to send its MIG19’s to Pakistan instead of Vietnam, and we hope that this will now happen.
PM Chou: We have given some to Pakistan, but we haven’t given the number of the planes they want. We gave some to them last year, and we will continue to give them some this year.
Dr. Kissinger: The major concern we have is to see that there is some restraint about the importation of arms by all countries into Indochina.
PM Chou: But here there is a question, that is, Thieu is in possession of large numbers of military equipment although he may not be able to use them.
Dr. Kissinger: But we are not going to send in any additional …
PM Chou: But according to the Agreement the DRV will not supply any more weapons to South Vietnam, and you will not supply any more military arms to Thieu. That was laid down in the Agreement and is a joint agreement. You can only replace them piece by piece.
Dr. Kissinger: That is correct, but if there is a large influx of military equipment into the North and the overall balance changes, it will be very dangerous. It has nothing to do with the Agreement.
PM Chou: You mean supply of weapons to North Vietnam?
Dr. Kissinger: Yes.
PM Chou: But the point is the one who helped Thieu is the powerful U.S. You can supply the weapons to the South not only through points of entry, but also through air and sea and by land.
Dr. Kissinger: Not legally.
PM Chou: So legally you can supply weapons through the points of entry.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes.
PM Chou: But is it North Vietnam who supports the PRG in South Vietnam, so they can only do so through North Vietnam and only through points of entry.
Dr. Kissinger: No, we are not saying that there should be no armaments sent into North Vietnam. We recognize that some will be, but now that the war is over we believe that some restraint in the sending of armaments would contribute to the tranquilizing of the situation.
PM Chou: Tranquility is necessary. But logically how is it possible for the DRV to be in possession of such massive arms as the U.S. has, and they don’t have the strongest means of transportation. They depended on those trails to transport those supplies previously. And, for instance, in the 100 days from October to January you had very intensive [Page 77]transportation of supplies sent into South Vietnam, and the Pentagon has always been very active.
Dr. Kissinger: That was your friend Secretary Laird.
PM Chou: That is why, although I have never met Mr. Laird but I say I appreciate him, because he has always been very outspoken. As to our supplies to Vietnam, as you know, it is very limited so how can it be compared to those given to Thieu? So we are not clear about this.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, I understand. I am not criticizing the past. We are talking about the future, and we think that all countries, including the U.S., should contribute to the tranquility. We will be very careful in how we define replacement, and what we replace if other countries act the same way.
PM Chou: According to the Agreement it would be legal to supply arms only through the points of entry. This is the legal way of doing things.
Dr. Kissinger: That is to the South. We are talking of the North.
PM Chou: We support this Agreement, but it is quite another matter for North Vietnam because when they need weapons the emphasis is not here in China. You know this very clearly.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but our point is they should need less weapons now than they did when a war was going on.
PM Chou: It depends how you put it. Because for ordinary weapons, they were easily worn out, but as for those sophisticated weapons, we don’t have them. So this is again a matter that concerns replacement. If they really want to establish their own system they will have to engage in producing themselves, and this takes time for them.
Dr. Kissinger: I am not talking about the Agreement. I’m talking about acts of restraint and there is no formal agreement on that. I think the Prime Minister understands our general intention, and this is all I want to get across.
PM Chou: It seems that you have put these ideas—you have included this idea in the Act of Paris—your draft.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, yes.
PM Chou: I have read it. So much for today. I will continue this tomorrow.
Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister never wastes an idea.
PM Chou: This evening there will be a banquet and you have to rest now.
[The meeting ended at 6:00 p.m.]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 98, Country Files, Far East, HAK China Trip, Memcons & Reports (originals), February 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at Villa 3. All brackets are in the original.↩
- The text of Secretary Rogers’ news conference of February 15 is printed in Department of State Bulletin, March 5, 1973, pp. 249260.↩
- See Document 8.↩
- In his memoirs, Kissinger describes the diplomacy leading to the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War. He states that Brezhnev first proposed a U.S.-Soviet treaty to renounce the use of nuclear weapons during Kissinger’s trip to Moscow in April 1972, to which the U.S. Government responded with stalling tactics that continued into 1973. (Years of Upheaval, pp. 274286)↩
- The text of the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin, signed September 3, 1971, are printed in Department of State Bulletin, September 27, 1971, pp. 318325.↩
- After this sentence, a notation in unknown handwriting reads: “[Attached]”. Both declarations are attached but not printed.↩