97. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Teng Hsiao-p’ing, Vice Premier of the State Council, People’s Republic of China
  • Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Ambassador Huang Chen, Chief of the PRC Liaison Office, Washington
  • Wang Hai-jung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Lin Ping, Director, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • T’ang Wen-sheng, Deputy Director, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Tsien Ta-yung, Counselor, PRC Liaison Office, Washington
  • Ting Yuan-hung, Director, United States Office, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chao Chi-hua, Deputy Director, United States Office, Department of American and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chang Han-chih, Translator
  • Lien Cheng-pao, Notetaker
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant to the President
  • Ambassador George Bush, Chief of the United States Liaison Office, Peking
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State
  • William H. Gleysteen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs
  • John H. Holdridge, Deputy Chief, United States Liaison Office, Peking
  • Richard H. Solomon, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council
  • Peter W. Rodman, National Security Council
  • Lora Simkus, National Security Council


  • Europe; Japan; Middle East; South Asia; Cambodia; Energy and Food; Normalization

Vice Premier Teng: I hope you’re not too tired.

Secretary Kissinger: No, I’m in good shape.

I see the Vice Premier has a list here, which he hasn’t completed [discussing] yet. [Laughter]


Vice Premier Teng: We touched upon the question of Europe this morning.2

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Vice Premier Teng: Actually we believe it is essentially the same with Europe as with Japan. We have often expressed the view that it is our wish that the U.S. keep its good relations with Europe and Japan.

Secretary Kissinger: In fact the Chairman scolded me last year for not having good enough relations with Europe. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: This opinion of ours is based on consideration of the whole [global] strategy. Because now the Soviet Union is determined to seek hegemony in the world, if they wish to launch a world war and don’t get Europe first, they won’t succeed in achieving hegemony in [Page 608] other parts of the world, because Europe is so important politically, economically and militarily. And now that Europe is facing the threat from the polar bear, if they don’t unite and try to strengthen themselves, then only one or two countries in Europe will not be able to deal with this threat [in isolation]. We feel with respect to the United States that when the United States deals with the polar bear, it is also necessary for the United States to have strong allies in Europe and Japan. With these allies by your side you will have more assurances in dealing with the polar bear.

Secretary Kissinger: We agree with you.

Vice Premier Teng: So it is always our hope that relations between the United States and Europe and Japan will be in a position of partnership based on equality. It is only on the basis of equality that you can establish real partnership.

Secretary Kissinger: I agree with you. I always say that the People’s Republic is our best partner in NATO. [Laughter] If you want to arrange seminars here for visiting European Ministers, I can mention a few who would benefit by it. [Laughter] You had a very good effect on the Danish Prime Minister, although his nerves may not be up to your considerations.

Vice Premier Teng: We had very good talks.

Secretary Kissinger: Very good, very good.

Vice Premier Teng: Actually, the Prime Minister of Denmark really fears war very much.

Secretary Kissinger: Anyone who plans to attack Denmark doesn’t have to prepare for a 20-year war or build so many underground tunnels. [Laughter] But seriously, we know your talks with the European Ministers are very helpful and we appreciate them.

Vice Premier Teng: But we also fire some cannons. With respect to our attitude toward Europe, we also say that if Europe wishes to establish relations with the United States on the basis of real equality, they should unite and strengthen themselves. This is in your interest too.

Secretary Kissinger: We agree. The only thing we object to—and you should also—is if they try to unite on the basis of hostility toward the United States, because this defeats the strategy we are discussing.

Vice Premier Teng: It is not possible that Western Europe will separate itself from the United States.

Secretary Kissinger: That is our conviction.

Vice Premier Teng: From our contacts with people from Western Europe, we have this impression—including the Prime Minister of Denmark.

Secretary Kissinger: You will see. Last year we had a period of turmoil, leading to a higher degree of order. [Laughter]

[Page 609]

Vice Premier Teng: I suppose you will start talking philosophy again. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: The President will meet with the German Chancellor on December 5th, and with the French President in the middle of December—the 14th, 15th, and 16th. And I think you will see those meetings will be very successful.

Vice Premier Teng: The Doctor mentioned that the United States fears that the Left in Europe might get into power.

Secretary Kissinger: We have in France and Italy Communist Parties that are substantially influenced from Moscow.

Vice Premier Teng: That is true.

Secretary Kissinger: They are now performing a strategy—which is very intelligent—of appearing very moderate and responsible. On the other hand, I think it has been one of the successes of our foreign policy that they have had to show their responsibility by supporting NATO—at least the Italians.

Vice Premier Teng: But that is not reliable.

Secretary Kissinger: Absolutely unreliable. Absolutely unreliable. When you analyze our foreign policy you have to understand we have to do certain things and say certain things designed to paralyze not only our Left but the European Left as well. But we are opposed to, and we shall resist, the inclusion of the Left in European governments. We shall do so in Portugal because we don’t want that to be the model for other countries. And we shall do so in Italy. And of course in France.

Vice Premier Teng: In our view it is by no means easy [for them] to get into power.

Secretary Kissinger: That is right.

Vice Premier Teng: Even if they do get into power, and they wish to appear on stage and give some performances, it may not be a bad thing.

Secretary Kissinger: I disagree with you.

Vice Premier Teng: For example, in Algeria: The people in Algeria have had a very good experience with the so-called Communist Party of France. After the Second World War in France, with De Gaulle as head of the Government, there was a coalition in which the French Communist Party took part. Some Ministers were from the Communist Party. One of the Ministers who was Communist was the Minister of the Air Force. It is exactly this Communist Minister of the Air Force who sent planes to bomb guerrillas in Algeria. And from then, the Algerians had good [sufficient] experience with the Communists in France.

Secretary Kissinger: You should have no misunderstanding: If the Communists come to power in France or Italy, it will have serious [Page 610] consequences first in Germany. It will strengthen the Left wing of the Social Democratic Party, which is very much influenced by East Germany.

Vice Premier Teng: We don’t like this Left. It is not our liking that they should come into power. What we mean is, suppose they do come into power and given some performances, they will be teachers by negative example.

Secretary Kissinger: If they come into power, we will have to face it. But it will have very serious consequences; it will create a period of extreme confusion. It will have a serious effect on NATO. As long as President Ford is President and I am Secretary of State, we shall resist it.

Vice Premier Teng: That is right. It is true that, should they come into power, it will produce this effect, but even if it happens, it will not be so formidable. We don’t really disagree.

Secretary Kissinger: No, you are saying that if it happens, we should not be discouraged, and it will not be a final setback. I agree.

Vice Premier Teng: This is what I wish to say about Europe.

Secretary Kissinger: One thing more: You know about the discussions on Mutual Force Reductions that are going on, and I know the Chinese views with respect to those.

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: In Vienna.

Secretary Kissinger: In Vienna. And I know the Chinese view with respect to them. It is probably true that troops that disappear from one area will not disappear from the world. We face here the irony that the best way for the United States to keep very substantial forces in Europe is to agree to a very small reduction with the Soviet Union, because this reduces pressure from the internal Left. I see no possibility of very rapid progress, and there is no possibility whatever for very substantial reductions. Right now the negotiations are stalemated, and it is not impossible—but this is based only on a psychological assessment—that before Brezhnev comes to the United States next year they may make some small reduction. There is no indication [of this at the present time]; it is my psychological assessment based on the way they work. But we are talking about only something like 20–25,000 people, nothing substantial. This is just my instinct; it is not based on any discussion [with the Soviets]. So through 1976 I do not see any substantial change in the military dispositions.

Vice Premier Teng: We have not read much of the comments from Western Europe about your Vladivostok agreements with the Russians. But from what we have read, it seems Western Europe is a little worried that the agreements you reached in Vladivostok might lead to a reduction of American troops in Western Europe.

[Page 611]

Secretary Kissinger: I haven’t seen these accounts, but they are ridiculous. We discussed this this morning: as nuclear war becomes more complex, we have to increase conventional forces, not weaken them. There is no understanding about reduction of American forces in Europe. We paid no price for this agreement in Vladivostok, of any kind, in any area.

Vice Premier Teng: Of course this is a question to be discussed among NATO themselves, and between you and your Western European allies.

Secretary Kissinger: I am going to Europe for the NATO meetings on December 12th, and our allies will understand, at least by that time, that the Vladivostok meeting was a sign of Soviet weakness and was not purchased at the expense of concessions in any other areas.

Vice Premier Teng: Next, I wish to say a few words about the Middle East.


Secretary Kissinger: You are finished with Japan? The same principles as Europe.

Vice Premier Teng: I believe we have touched on the things we wish to say about Japan. And we have on many occasions expressed our views concerning relations between the United States and Japan. We have made our position clear.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, and we discussed this this morning, and with the Foreign Minister on a few occasions.

I haven’t seen any new reports about a new government [to replace the Tanaka cabinet].

Vice Premier Teng: We can say it in one sentence, which is what we say to Japanese friends: That first, they should keep good relations with you, the United States; and second, with us. The Chairman said you should stay longer there. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: That is right. He scolded me, and said I should spend as much time in Japan as in China. Actually, after the President’s [recently concluded] visit to Japan, our relations are much steadier. And this is very important for Japan. And as I have said, we will do nothing to interfere with Japan’s improvement of relations with the People’s Republic of China. We have encouraged them to work with the People’s Republic.

Vice Premier Teng: We understand that.

Middle East

Vice Premier Teng: About the Middle East. It is the most sensitive area in the world now.

[Page 612]

We have the impression, starting from early this year, that you have improved relations with Egypt. This is so?

Secretary Kissinger: This is so.

Vice Premier Teng: Then why is the Soviet Union going back to Egypt?

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think the Soviet Union is going back to Egypt. I think Egypt has to show, for domestic reason?, and for inter-Arab reasons, that it also has relations with the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union stopped military aid and has reduced its economic aid.

Vice Premier Teng: It is said you promised to give Egypt something but didn’t keep your promise. Is this true?

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know what you are referring to specifically. We promised Egypt $250 million in economic aid which Congress has not yet approved. But we expect Congress will approve it, hopefully by the end of the year.

Vice Premier Teng: Anyway, our views—as Chairman Mao said to you personally—are that you must use both of your hands. Of course, it is not possible for you to stop aiding Israel. But once you aid Israel, you should use both your hands [and assist the Arabs].

Secretary Kissinger: I completely agree. In addition to the $250 million [in economic aid], we have arranged another $250 million from the World Bank; so it is $500 million. And in addition we have arranged for 500,000 tons of grain, and we may give them more.

Vice Premier Teng: What about military aid? Weapons.

Secretary Kissinger: I think we had better have a small meeting again tomorrow. There were one or two things I neglected to mention.

Vice Premier Teng: Chairman Mao has made very clear our policy on the Middle East question. In the first place, we support the Arabs and the Palestinians in their just struggle; and secondly, we feel that a heavy blow should be dealt to the polar bear in this area. [Teng laughs.] We have this feeling recently—it may not be very accurate—that in the Arab world the Soviet Union has somehow gotten the upper hand on you.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t believe this will be true in three months. I think by February it will be apparent that further progress is being made as a result of American initiatives, and we will then see a repetition of last year’s situation.

Vice Premier Teng: In the Middle East, the basic contradiction is Israel and the whole Arab world and Palestine. That is the basic contradiction in that area. And it is known to all that you are giving Israel an enormous amount of military aid as well as economic aid. As for the Arab world, since you are giving Israel so much aid, in order to resist Israel the Arab people will look to other people for aid, because if you don’t give them some aid, others will. They aren’t able to make [Page 613] what they need. And the Soviet Union will say, “We have things for you.” And by giving them what they need, the Soviet Union gains politically, and by selling arms to the Arab world they gain economic benefits. And you get yourself bogged down in the Middle East.

Secretary Kissinger: But the Soviet Union faces the contradiction that they can give military aid but they can’t promote political progress. And in country after country, once they give arms, they get into difficulty. We are studying the question of giving arms to selected Arab countries now.

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I have a question. Is it possible to encourage the European countries to give some arms to the Arabs?

Secretary Kissinger: Let’s have a discussion of this tomorrow in a small meeting. We are aware of the problem, and we share your analysis. If you look at the Arab countries concretely—in Egypt I think it will be apparent in the next three months that there is no significant change. In Syria, it is my judgment Syria would be prepared to move away from the Soviet Union if Israel were prepared to make any concessions at all in the negotiation.

Vice Premier Teng: The key point is whether you are using only one of your hands or both.

Secretary Kissinger: We are using both our hands, but in a way to minimize our domestic problem. And in Iraq, it is our impression—as you may have noticed, there is some pressure in Iraq from Iran, and this has led to certain strains between the Soviet Union and Iraq. So much will depend on …

First of all, we agree with your basic principle, that we must have an even-handed policy. And I have to confess that because of the Presidential transition in the summer, we lost two months, two to three months. In June, July, and August we could not begin to operate as effectively as we might. After the Syrian disengagement we had to pause because of our domestic situation at that time. We are regaining this ground, although for various reasons we are now using spectacular methods.

Vice Premier Teng: I have also noticed your comment on the Rabat Conference.

Secretary Kissinger: Public comment? Here?

Vice Premier Teng: The comment you made here.

Secretary Kissinger: Oh yes, I remember.

Vice Premier Teng: I am afraid if you adopt an antagonistic attitude toward the Rabat Conference, it will not be conducive to your relations with the Arabs.

Secretary Kissinger: We will not adopt an antagonistic attitude. It is a question of timing.

[Page 614]

Vice Premier Teng: The Arab question is not a question that can be solved in a few months. It will have to go on for a long period.

Secretary Kissinger: Therefore it is important to pick the right time. But you should remember the following principle, no matter how many cannons have to be fired: The United States will not yield to pressure in the Middle East, especially Soviet pressure. No diplomatic progress can be made without the United States. Therefore, everyone who wants progress in the Middle East will sooner or later have to come to the United States, no matter what they say in the interval. Thirdly, the United States is determined to bring about diplomatic progress, and it will succeed. The problem is how to do it so that we can handle our domestic situation in the meantime. But you will see on this matter that President Ford is determined.

We will keep you informed of our methods. But there will be ups and downs, especially when 15 Arabs get together in one room—because they can’t always make a distinction between epic poetry and foreign policy.

I must tell the Vice Premier something about the Arab mentality. After one consultation with the Israelis, we wrote a letter to all the Arab Foreign Ministers, and one said to me, “We know you are not telling the truth.” I said, “How?” “Because we compared letters. You told each of us the same thing. So we know it is not the truth.” [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: But in our view, it is not right to underestimate the strength of our Arab people.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t underestimate it. We have one particular problem. If we propose grandiose schemes, we will be enmeshed in an endless domestic debate. We have to move a step at a time. As long as we move a step at a time, a solution is inevitable.

I have great respect for the Arabs, and have many friends there.

Vice Premier Teng: We believe the Arab people may not be able to win the war in a few months, but they are able to fight.

Secretary Kissinger: That is true. That is the change in the situation. No, we believe it is essential for Israel to make peace.

Vice Premier Teng: Our view is whether soldiers can fight or not depends on the principle for which they are fighting, whether they are fighting for the people. Here I will tell you a story. For the Chinese, it was a long-standing concept that the people of Kiangsi Province couldn’t fight. But Ching Kang Shan Mountain was situated in Kiangsi Province. And at that time in the Red Army, led by Chairman Mao Tsetung, it turned out that most of the cadre were people from Kiangsi Province. I believe among our American friends here there are some who are very familiar with Chinese history and know it was a concept for many years that Kiangsi people couldn’t fight. And it turned out [Page 615] that when the people in Kiangsi knew what they were fighting for, they turned out to be the best fighters. And in America, people had the impression that people in Indochina couldn’t fight. But it turned out that the people in Indochina fixed you up very hard. And the Cambodians—but they can fight too.

Secretary Kissinger: The only ones who have yet to prove it are the Laotians. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: You have a point in that. What I mean is you should never underestimate the strength of the Arabs.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t. We have the practical problem of making progress—which we believe is necessary—in a way that makes further progress possible. And to do it fast enough so the Soviet Union doesn’t reenter the area. We believe we can solve both of these problems.

Vice Premier Teng: Actually the position of the United States in the Middle East, the weakest point of the U.S. is that you support Israel against the Arab world, which has a population of 120 million, and on this point the Soviet Union is in a better position than you.

Secretary Kissinger: Except that impotence never gives you a good position. Israel is both our weakest point and our strongest point. Because when all is said and done, no one else can make them move. Because the Arabs can’t force them, and the Soviets can’t do it. And anyone who wants progress will have to come to us. And this even includes the Palestinians.

Vice Premier Teng: With the Russians, their habit is wherever there is a little hole, a little room, they will get in.

Secretary Kissinger: It is extremely dangerous for the Russians to start a war in the Middle East. They will rapidly face the same dilemma they faced in October 1973.

Vice Premier Teng: So much about the Middle East.

South Asia

Vice Premier Teng: The Doctor mentioned India and the question of the Subcontinent yesterday. On this issue I believe we have exchanged views on many occasions in the past and we don’t have anything new to add. Recently you visited India, and after your visit you improved your relations with India, and we believe that this was a good move. Because if there is only the Soviet Union there [they will be the only ones with influence], it is better to have you in India than the Soviets alone.

Secretary Kissinger: That was the intention of the trip. And it also will make it easier to do things in Pakistan without being accused of an anti-Indian motivation. [Teng spits loudly into his spittoon beside his chair.] And as you know, we have invited Prime Minister Bhutto to Washington, and after that, there will be some concrete progress.

[Page 616]

Vice Premier Teng: I think you said it would be possible for you to sell weapons to Pakistan. But will Pakistan be able to pay?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Vice Premier Teng: That would be good.

As for India, you mentioned earlier that India was hegemonistic.

Secretary Kissinger: It is my assessment. One of my colleagues said he was not only in favor of giving arms to Pakistan, but arms and nuclear weapons to Pakistan and Bangladesh. [Ambassador Huang laughingly leans across the table and wags his pencil at Mr. Lord.] Mr. Lord [laughter], head of our Policy Planning Staff.

Vice Premier Teng: There is something very peculiar about Indian policy. For example, that little kingdom of Sikkim. They had pretty good control of Sikkim. Why did they have to annex it?

Secretary Kissinger: It is a good thing India is pacifist. I hate to think [of what they would do] if they weren’t. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: Sikkim was entirely under the military control of India.

Secretary Kissinger: I haven’t understood Sikkim. It is incomprehensible.

Vice Premier Teng: After the military annexation, their military position was in no way strengthened.

Secretary Kissinger: They had troops there already.

Vice Premier Teng: And they haven’t increased their troops there. We published a statement about it. We just spoke up for the sake of justice.

Secretary Kissinger: Is it true that you have set up loudspeakers to broadcast to the Indian troops on the border? It makes them very tense. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: We have done nothing new along the borders, and frankly we don’t fear that India will attack our borders. We don’t think they have the capability of attacking our borders. There was some very queer talk, some said that the reason why the Chinese Government issued that statement about Sikkim was that the Chinese were afraid after Sikkim that India would complete the encirclement of China. Well, in the first place, we never feel things like isolation or encirclement can ever matter very much with us. And particularly with India, it is not possible that India can do any encirclement of China. The most they can do is enter Chinese territory as far as the autonomous Republic of Tibet, Lhasa. And Lhasa can be of no strategic importance to India. The particular characteristic of Lhasa is it has no air—because the altitude is more than 3,000 meters. During the Long March we did cross the region of Tibet.

Secretary Kissinger: Really.

[Page 617]

Vice Premier Teng: Not the Lhasa area, but the southern part. Our experience was that when we wanted to take one step futher, we couldn’t.

Secretary Kissinger: It is a very dangerous area for drinking Mao tai. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: Frankly, if Indian troops were able to reach Lhasa, we wouldn’t be able to supply them enough air. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think their intention is with respect to Tibet; their immediate intention is in Nepal.

Vice Premier Teng: That is correct. They have recently been exercising pressure on Nepal, refusing to supply them with oil. It is the dream of Nehru, inherited by his daughter, to have the whole South Asian subcontinent in their pocket.

Secretary Kissinger: And to have buffer zones around their border.

Vice Premier Teng: It is not necessary.

Secretary Kissinger: It is like British policy in the 19th Century. They always wanted Tibet demilitarized.

Vice Premier Teng: I believe even the British at that time didn’t make a good estimate of whether there was enough air. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: I think an Indian attack on China would be a very serious matter that couldn’t be explained in terms of local conditions, but only in terms of a broader objective.

Vice Premier Teng: There is no use in attacking Tibet, for the Indians. The most they can do is that the Indians give their troops to fight for a broader objective.

Ms. T’ang [helping with translation]: Provide manpower for a broader objective.

Secretary Kissinger: Very serious. There is no purely Indian objective that could be served.

Vice Premier Teng: We’re not worried about that.

Secretary Kissinger: We’re just analyzing the situation.


Vice Premier Teng: And next, according to the Doctor’s order, is the question of Cambodia. On the question of Cambodia I also made myself clear, and I have nothing to add.

Secretary Kissinger: Your Ambassador [Huang Hua] fired a whole bunch of cannons [on Cambodia] yesterday, at the United Nations. [Laughter]

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: That’s the routine work of our Ambassador. [Laughter]

[Page 618]

Secretary Kissinger: But this time he hit a few fortified positions. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: That proves these cannons are not so formidable—but cannons will have to be fired.

Secretary Kissinger: We understand.

Vice Premier Teng: It can’t be imagined that we will stop supporting the struggle of the Cambodian people.

Secretary Kissinger: Can I give you our analysis? The United States has nothing to gain in Cambodia. Having withdrawn from Vietnam, we can have no interest in a long-term presence in Cambodia. On the other hand, as a question of principle, we do not simply abandon people with whom we have worked. But this is not the key issue right now. The key issue right now is, according to our conception, the best solution of the Indochinese peninsula is one in which easy country can realize its national aspirations. And therefore we believe that solutions in which each of the states in the area can maintain its national independence, without being dominated by one, is quite frankly—though you’re a better judge—in your long-term interest. If Indochina was dominated from one center, an aggressive force, in the context of some of the schemes for Asian collective security, could cause you problems.

Therefore we prefer a national solution for Cambodia. We believe Sihanouk offers perhaps the best possibility for a national solution. We believe that for Sihanouk to act effectively he must be in charge of a balance of forces in Cambodia, similar to Souvanna in Laos. Souvanna Phouma.

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: The situation is not the same.

Secretary Kissinger: It’s of a different nature. I’m just being professorial; I’m not saying it can be achieved. If Sihanouk comes back as the head of the insurgent forces, he will not last long. He will just be a figurehead. And in our analysis the insurgent forces are under Hanoi’s influence. So, curiously, we think it’s in Sihanouk’s interest to govern with some element of—not Lon Nol—but some other forces in Phnom Penh that he can use as a balance to help him preserve his position.

To be concrete, we would be prepared to cooperate in a peace conference whose practical result would be the return of Sihanouk, the transformation of the existing structure in Phnom Penh, and the participation of the resistance forces. And then Sihanouk could have a more balanced structure to govern.

Vice Premier Teng: I’m afraid that your information is not accurate. For example, there is talk that the Cambodian war is being fought by the Vietnamese. The accurate information which I can give you is that there is not a single Vietnamese soldier fighting in Cambodia.

Secretary Kissinger: That I believe, but the supplies come from Vietnam.

[Page 619]

Vice Premier Teng: That’s why I say your information is not accurate. You have to watch out, because the information supplied to you by Lon Nol is not accurate. And then you mentioned that the United States can’t abandon those it has worked with. But, come to think of it, your relation with Lon Nol is only for four years.

Secretary Kissinger: I’ve told you we would be prepared to see a change in the structure in Phnom Penh as part of the solution. [Teng again spits into his spittoon.]

Vice Premier Teng: On this issue, Samdech Norodom Sihanouk has made many statements, and we support his statements.

Secretary Kissinger: With great passion.

Vice Premier Teng: That’s true, and you don’t lack passion either.

Secretary Kissinger: We have no emotional investment. And we don’t oppose Sihanouk. He’ll drive many people crazy before his political life is finished. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: How is that possible? Who will be driven mad?

Secretary Kissinger: He’s rather changeable, if you look at his history. But he’s the biggest national figure in Cambodia, and as I said, we’re not opposed to him.

Vice Premier Teng: Regardless of his changes, he’s a nationalist.

Secretary Kissinger: We agree, and we consider him the leader of the nationalist forces. Perhaps after the UN vote there could be a further exchange of views.

Vice Premier Teng: Well, so much about Cambodia then.

Energy and Food

Vice Premier Teng: Next, the Doctor has mentioned on a number of occasions the questions of energy and food. On these two questions both sides are clear about the viewpoints of the other. We have heard a lot of talk and opinions from the Western world and Japan that the recent economic recession and inflation crisis are due to the recent rise of oil prices. Our view is that this is not the case. Before the rise of oil prices, there already existed a serious problem of inflation. And before the rise of oil prices, many of the products’ prices had already gone up many times. Grain, for example, and many industrial products. With the rise of prices of many products, the losses suffered by the oil-producing countries were very great. And the time since the rise of oil prices is only about one year, starting from the Middle East war in October last year. Actually, the present situation is that the price of oil is falling down.

We agree with the view expressed by many Third World or oil-producing countries. They oppose the talk about the cause of inflation being the rise of oil prices. We agree this sort of talk has no grounds. As for the rising of oil prices itself, it was only after it went up that we [Page 620] knew of that. We didn’t encourage the rise in oil prices and didn’t participate in planning it. But on the question of the Arab countries finding oil as a weapon for their struggle, we support that. Of course it’s also the fact that at the present moment, following the rise of oil prices, the inflation and economic difficulties in consuming countries were also intensified. That’s also true.

There are solutions for this question. One method is the method of confrontation and the other is the method of dialogue. And we noticed the method you’ve adopted is the method of confrontation. [Secretary Kissinger smiles.] Don’t you agree?

Secretary Kissinger: It is contrary to every principle of mine. [Laughter] It is energetic shadow boxing. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: I’ve read articles in your press regarding this question and I believe these reflect the views of the American government.

Secretary Kissinger: No, the views of the American government are reflected in my speech in Chicago. For example, many articles reflect criticism of the Shah. I am totally opposed to criticism of the Shah? because he is the crucial element of the strategy we’ve discussed.

Vice Premier Teng: I was not referring to that part of the press opinion that is against the Shah. They sum up only three methods: The first is psychological warfare; the second is the secret activity—

Ms. Tang: In Newsweek magazine.

Secretary Kissinger:Newsweek is my favorite fiction magazine.

Vice Premier Teng: The third is military intervention.

Secretary Kissinger: That’s all nonsense. [Laughter]

Vice Premier Teng: Anyway, we feel the method of waving a big baton and the method of confrontation may not be conducive to a solution, but will only sharpen the contradiction betwen the consumers and the producers. So when we talk to our friends coming from Europe, we tell them we are in favor of dialogue.

Secretary Kissinger: Are you finished?

Vice Premier Teng: Yes.

Secretary Kissinger: Let me make two observations. First, concerning the Chinese attitude favoring the use of the oil weapon, I recognize the People’s Republic stands for certain principles and these have to be followed. But at some point a contradiction develops between all-out support for this and the necessity of achieving a common front against the threats to international security. It is up to the People’s Republic to decide where this point is reached. But if objectively Europe and Japan are reduced to a sense of impotence, this is something to which one cannot be indifferent from the point of view of international security. But this is a question for the People’s Republic, and I will leave it.

[Page 621]

Let me turn to U.S. relations with the producers. Newsweek is not distinguished for its support of the Administration, and it is the last magazine we would tell what our strategy is. Of the three methods they mention, military intervention on the question of oil prices is out of the question. In the case of a total embargo, that would be another matter, but on the question of oil prices, it is out of the question. Psychological warfare against the Arabs is something I’d like to see. I can’t imagine what it would be like. Anyway, we have no capability for it.

Our policy is quite different.

Vice Premier Teng: Well, if we give another term to psychological warfare, it would be “threats.”

Secretary Kissinger: We’re not making any threats.

We agree there should be dialogue. But I think for leaders who were on the Long March, they will not believe that conversation in the abstract will solve problems. Before the consumers talk to the producers, we think it is important for the consumers to know what they want and to adopt a comparable position. So we’re attempting to organize the consumers precisely so they can have a dialogue in which they can speak with something like a common voice.

We believe it is also important that Japan and Europe should not be left in positions where they feel their future is in the hands of forces totally outside their control.

But our basic approach to the producers will be conciliatory. And we will agree to the French proposal provided there is prior consultation among the consumers.

Vice Premier Teng: I don’t believe we can give you good suggestions on this question.

Secretary Kissinger: But we want you to understand our position. There will not be American military moves on the question of oil prices—or military threats.

Vice Premier Teng: For us, China cannot be considered one of the producing countries, because the oil we produce is very little and we produce just enough for our own consumption. And we can’t be considered an oil-consuming country. And even if we speak on this issue, I don’t think the oil producers will listen to us.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t ask you to speak; we want you to understand. There may be an occasion when visitors come here, but we’re not asking you.

Vice Premier Teng: Whenever visitors ask us, we give the same answer. We want the method of dialogue.

Secretary Kissinger: That is our approach.

Vice Premier Teng: As for food, we don’t have anything to say.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think this is an issue between us.

[Page 622]

Vice Premier Teng: The basic question is to encourage countries to go into production to produce enough grain for themselves.

Secretary Kissinger: That is right.

Vice Premier Teng: For countries not to produce enough and to look to the United States is not the right solution.

Secretary Kissinger: That is exactly right. And the debate that went on at the Rome Food Conference—whether the United States should give a million tons more or less—is irrelevant to the problem. The deficit can be closed only if the countries with a deficit produce more food. The United States alone can’t close the deficit. But we are prepared to help with technical assistance and matters of this kind.


Vice Premier Teng: Last time we talked a lot about normalization of relations, and I have only a few words to add to that. On this issue, the Doctor gave us some concrete formulas. And yesterday I summed up three points as matters of principle that we would not agree to:

The first principle is that we will not accept any form of two Chinas or one-China–one-Taiwan, or one-and-a-half-Chinas, or any formula like that. It can only be the Japan model.

The second principle is that after the United States abolishes the defense treaty it signed with Chiang Kai-shek, the Taiwan problem should be left to the Chinese people themselves to solve; it is an internal matter for China, in which no one has the right to interfere.

The third principle is that in the course of the solution of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves, there should be no other country which should be allowed to interfere in the solution of the problem. Any kind of reviewing or guarantee or any kind of involvement in the process we will not accept.

And if the United States feels the time is not yet ripe for the solution of this problem and you still need Taiwan, we can wait. A so-called transitional period is too complicated. So we can wait until the time is ripe and then solve the problem in one gulp, like with Japan.

On this issue, the Doctor also mentioned that you have some domestic difficulties, the so-called Taiwan lobby or pro-Taiwan elements. Actually, as far as we know, the Taiwan lobby is much stronger in Japan than in the United States. But still, as I said before, if you have domestic difficulties, we can wait.

The second question is the method by which we are going to liberate Taiwan, and also includes the time of the solution.

I just wish to sum up the comments I made yesterday.

I wish to say the reason why the problem can’t be solved as we visualize it should be solved is that on your side you have difficulties. It’s not that we don’t want to solve it.

[Page 623]

Secretary Kissinger: I understand that.

Vice Premier Teng: This is all I want to say. I believe we’ve touched upon all the problems.

The Doctor took 18 days to tour 18 countries. I just took two hours to tour the circle [of global problems on the agenda for discussion]. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: But you talked more sense. [Laughter]

Ms. T’ang: This shows the advanced technology of the Chinese!

Secretary Kissinger: Let me think about your last remarks, and I’ll answer while I’m here in a general way. [Teng spits again into his spittoon.]

Vice Premier Teng: I don’t think we can finish our talks on this issue this time.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think so either.

Vice Premier Teng: So, shall we stop here? And you’ll have a little rest, and I’ll invite you to taste the well-known Peking mutton [at a restaurant for dinner].

Secretary Kissinger: I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never had it. Let me do a draft of what we discussed this morning, and then I’ll bring it to dinner. It will give the Foreign Minister a whole night to tear it to pieces. Or do you have one [draft of your own]?

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I’m entirely with your suggestion, but only don’t give me such a draft that it upsets my appetite for the mutton. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: No more than ten pages. [Laughter] And you won’t know whether we’re going up or down until the last sentence. [Laughter] It’s a brief statement, in the spirit of our discussions.

Vice Premier Teng: You don’t want meetings tomorrow? Some rest, or some work to do?

Secretary Kissinger: We’ll decide tonight.

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: In the morning, or tonight?

Secretary Kissinger: We can do it tomorrow morning.

Vice Premier Teng: You wanted another small group meeting. Should we do it in the morning or afternoon?

Secretary Kissinger: It really makes no difference.

Vice Premier Teng: Shall we say 4:00 in the afternoon? [It is agreed.] So I hope you can sleep more in the morning.

Secretary Kissinger: I will see you at dinner.

Foreign Minister Ch’iao: I’ll come fetch the communiqué.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR; China, and Middle East Discussion, Box 2, China Memcons and Reports; November 25–29, 1974, Kissinger’s Trip. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People. All brackets are in the original.
  2. See Documents 95 and 96.