333. Telegram 139501 From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva 1 2

Following sent Action SecState from Warsaw Jul 31:

Quote Warsaw 2405

Subj:

  • PRC Statement on Soviet Nuclear Disarmament Proposal

Ref:

  • State 139453

Full text PRC statement delivered Embassy July 31 follows:

“Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (translation)

[Page 2]

“July 30, 1971

A.
“On June 15, 1971, the Soviet Government delivered a statement to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, proposing to ‘convene a conference of the Five Powers possessing nuclear weapons—the Soviet Union, the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, France and Great Britain’, at which ‘the problems of nuclear disarmament as a whole should be considered’. In this connection, the Chinese Government hereby makes the following statement:
B.
“All countries in the world, big or small, should be equal. Matters affecting various countries in the world should be jointly discussed and settled by all of them and permit of no monopoly by a few big powers. This is a principle guiding international relations which all countries must abide by. The prevention of nuclear war, the elimination of nuclear threats and the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons are matters affecting the peace and security of all countries of the world, and a few nuclear countries have no right to push aside the majority of countries in the world and arbitrarily hold a conference and decide upon matters of such great importance.
C.
“The history following World War II shows that it is absolutely impossible to settle questions of nuclear disarmament by relying on negotiations only between a few big powers possessing nuclear weapons. In July 1963, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union concluded the ‘Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’. Subsequently, the Soviet Union and the United States jointly concocted a series of treaties on the so-called nuclear arms ‘limitation,’ including the treaty on the ‘non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.’ In November 1969, the Soviet Union and the United States started their ‘Strategic Arms Limitation Talks’. But none of them have restricted in any way the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. On the contrary, the United States and the Soviet Union have continued their nuclear weapon tests without let-up. Their production of nuclear weapons is becoming ever more developed. Their stockpiles of nuclear [Page 3] weapons are becoming greater and greater and they are stationing in many other countries their troops armed with nuclear weapons; this seriously threatens world peace and the security of the people of all countries. The peoples of the world have long lost their confidence in the disarmament talks between the nuclear powers. They rightly hold that it is impossible to settle the question of nuclear disarmament as a whole depending on two nuclear superpowers, nor can it be settled by the addition of some more nuclear powers.
D.
“China develops nuclear weapons because she is compelled to do so under imperialist nuclear threats, and she does so entirely for the purpose of defence and for breaking the imperialist nuclear monopoly and finally eliminating nuclear weapons. China’s nuclear weapons are still in the experimental stage, and at present she is not yet a nuclear power, nor will she ever be a ‘nuclear superpower’ practising the policies of nuclear monopoly, nuclear threats and nuclear blackmail. At no time will China ever agree to participate in the so-called nuclear disarmament talks between the nuclear powers behind the backs of the non-nuclear countries.
E.
“Therefore, the Chinese Government cannot accept the Soviet Government’s proposal on the convening of a conference of the five nuclear powers.
F.
The Chinese Government’s stand on the question of nuclear weapons has always been clear. Firstly, the Chinese Government has consistently stood for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons; secondly, the Chinese Government has declared on many occasions that at no time and in no cicumstances will China be the first to use nuclear weapons; thirdly, the Chinese Government has consistently stood for the convening of summit conference of all countries of the world to discuss the question of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and, as the first step, to reach an agreement on the non-use of nuclear weapons. The Chinese Government hereby once again solemnly reaffirms its above stand.
G.
The Chinese Government holds that in order to realize the [Page 4] complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, the United States and the Soviet Union which possess large quantities of nuclear weapons should issue statements separately or jointly to openly undertake the obligation not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or in any circumstances; and to dismantle all nuclear bases set up on the territories of other countries and withdraw to their own countries the nuclear weapons stockpiled and nuclear armed forces stationed on those territories. Whether this is carried out or not will be a test as to whether they have the desire to realize nuclear disarmament.
H.
“The Chinese people will, as always, continue to make joint efforts with the peoples of the world, persevere in the struggle and strive for the noble aim of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.”

Stoessel
Unquote

Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, DEF 18–3. Confidential; Exdis. It was repeated to USNATO, London, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Canberra, Wellington, and Hong Kong. Drafted and approved by Martin (PM/DCA); and cleared by Farley (ACDA).
  2. The telegram transmitted a statement by the People’s Republic of China that it would not participate in the five-power conference proposed by the Soviets.