Documents on China, 1969-1972


1. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, December 19, 1969

Pakistani Ambassador Agha Hilaly and President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger discussed the role of the Pakistani Government as a backchannel between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Kissinger indicated that the Pakistanis could inform the Chinese that the United States appreciated this type of communication. National Security Council staff member Harold Saunders also attended the meeting.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders. All brackets in the source text. The conversation was held in Kissinger's office at the White House. There is no indication as of the time of the meeting.


2. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, December 23, 1969

Following Pakistani Ambassador Hilaly and President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's December 19 meeting, Hilaly received a letter from Pakistani President Yayha Khan. Yayha wanted Hilaly to convey to President Nixon that the Pakistanis believed the Chinese were interested in resuming talks at Warsaw “without insisting on preconditions” and were concerned about “Japanese militarism.”

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders. The conversation was held in Kissinger's office. There is no indication as to the time of the meeting. Tab A is a letter from President Nixon to Pakistani President Yayha reiterating Nixon's desire to stay in communication with Yayha. Tab B is a second letter from Yayha thanking Nixon for helping to meet Pakistan's food needs. Both are attached but not published.


3. Airgram A-25 From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State, January 24, 1970

The Airgram transmitted the context of the January 20, 1970, Sino-U.S. ambassadorial talks between Ambassador Walter Stoessel and Chinese Chargé de Affaires Lei Yang. Stoessel communicated President Nixon's desire to improve relations with China. The United States also would not stand in isolation from China or join in “any condominium with the Soviet Union directed against China.” Lei Yang commented that the PRC had consistently stood for “peaceful settlement of disputes” and welcomed constructive “studies and explorations” on this issue.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL CHICOM-US. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Paul H. Kreisberg and Donald M. Anderson on January 20; cleared by Thomas W. Simons; and approved by Stoessel. The meeting was held at the PRC Embassy in Warsaw.


4. Airgram A-84 From the Embassy in Poland to the Department of State, February 21, 1970

After calling for Washington to cease its support of Taiwan, Chinese Chargé de Affaires Lei Yang said China would be open to a visit from an envoy representing President Nixon in order to discuss “questions of fundamental principle.” Ambassador Stoessel noted that the U.S. position was that “the question of the relationship between Taiwan and the mainland of China is one to be resolved by those directly involved.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL CHICOM-US. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Kreisberg and Anderson on February 20; cleared by Simons and approved by Stoessel. The meeting was held at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw.


5. Memorandum From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon, Washington, May 5, 1971

Haig reported on his meeting with Pakistani Ambassador Hilaly, who relayed PRC criticism of Secretary of State Rogers' public statement about “two Chinas.” Hilaly indicated that the Pakistani Government had transmitted a message to the PRC that Nixon's “hands would be tied,” if other American officials commented on U.S.-PRC relations.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A notation on the memorandum indicates that Nixon saw it. A handwritten notation reads: “Special File in HAK's Office.”


6. Memorandum of Conversation, Palm Springs, California, May 7, 1971, 2:50-5:45 p.m.

President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Farland discussed the arrangements necessary for a secret preliminary trip to China that would pave the way for an official, public visit by the President.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. Drafted by David R. Halperin. The conversation was held in Palm Springs, California, at the home of Mr. Theodore Cummings. For more information about the Blood report, see Foreign Relations, 1969-1972, volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971.


7. Backchannel Message TOSIT 26 From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), July 11, 1971, 1330Z

Kissinger called his 17 hours of discussions with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai “the most intense, important, and far reaching of my White House experience.” He reported that the Chinese agreed to a visit by President Nixon “before May 1972,” and noted that the joint announcement of the visit was scheduled for July 15, 2230Z. Kissinger instructed Haig to inform President Nixon to keep the visit secret.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.


8. Backchannel Message SITTO 88/WH 12696 From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), July 11, 1971, 1920Z

Haig communicated President Nixon's commentes regarding Kissinger's earlier message. The President instructed Kissinger to prepare a highly sanitized version of discussions. Nixon noted that “certain allied governments” would be informed of the visit prior to his announcement of it on national television.

Source: Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 432, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, Very Sensitive Trip Cables-Not Held by Sit Room. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.


9. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, July 14, 1971

Kissinger summarized his 2-day talks with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1032, Files for the President-China Material, Polo I Record, July 1971 HAK Visit to PRC. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Tabs A and B were attached but not published.


10. Letter From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, July 20, 1971

Haig informed Walters that President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger would be visiting Paris on July 25 and 26 and would like to meet with the Chinese Ambassador at his residence on July 25.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Attached but not published are the two messages, which were to be handed to the Chinese ambassador for transmission to Chou En-lai.


11. Letter From the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters) to the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), Paris, July 22, 1971

Walters described his late afternoon meeting with Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen on July 21.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at Chen's residence in Neuilly. Kirschman is in reference to Kissinger.


12. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, undated

Description of Kissinger's July 26 meeting with Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen focusing on Kissinger's possible October visit.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent under a July 30 covering memorandum from Winston Lord to Kissinger for inclusion in Kissinger's files. Kissinger's memorandum to Nixon was not sent.


13. Letter From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, August 5, 1971

Haig instructed Walters about the delivery of a written message to the PRC Ambassador and an oral message to the North Vietnamese representative. Haig indicated that a third message contained information about the President's trip to China.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive. Attached at Tab A and B are two of the notes. Attached but not published at Tab C is the memorandum containing logistical details about the trip.


14. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, August 6, 1971, 1530Z

Military Attaché Walters and Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen discussed details of President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's upcoming August 16 trip to Paris.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.


15. Letter From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, August 8, 1971

Haig instructed Walters to orally deliver two messages to Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen. The first message communicated President Nixon's shared belief with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai and President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger that the reopening of the Warsaw channel “would be unwise at this time.” The second message focused on Kissinger's August 16 Paris visit and his desire to meet with the Ambassador in order to discuss recent events in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Published from a copy that indicates Haig signed the original.


16. Letter From the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters) to the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), Paris, August 9, 1971

Walters indicated that he had delivered the messages he had received from Haig to Chinese officials on August 8. Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen agreed to meeting with President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger on August 16.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. See Document 15 for the text of the two oral messages.


17. Memorandum of Conversation, Paris, August 16, 1971, 9:05-10:45 a.m.

President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger informed Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen that the United States and the Soviet Union would soon conclude an agreement that would lessen the dangers of accidental nuclear war between the superpowers, predicted that the Soviets would propose that President Nixon visit the Soviet Union, and assured Huang that Nixon would visit China before visiting the Soviet Union.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Lord on August 19. All brackets in the source text. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.


18. Letter From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Chinese Ambassador to Canada (Huang Hua), Paris, August 16, 1971

Kissinger welcomed Huang Hua to his new post in Ottawa and provided his White House telephone number as well as the home telephone number of NSC staff member Lord.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. No classification marking. A handwritten note reads: “8/16/71-handed by HAK to Amb. Huang Chen in Paris for transmittal to Huang Hua.” Published from a copy that indicates Kissinger initialed the original.


19. Memorandum of Conversation, Paris, September 13, 1971, 8:45-10:40 a.m.

After confirming his upcoming 4-day interim visit to China in October, President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger predicted that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko would formally invite President Nixon to visit the Soviet Union during his visit to the United States to address the United Nations on September 19.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File—China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Lord, who sent it to Kissinger under a covering memorandum. All ellipses in the source text. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy. Attached but not published are Tabs B-C. Tab A is published in its entirety as Document 20.


20. Message From the Government of the People's Republic of China to the Government of the United States, Beijing, September 13, 1971

The message discussed whether or not the two countries should announce President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's October 20 interim visit before or upon his arrival.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.


21. Letter From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, August 31, 1971

Haig instructed Walters how to deliver three messages to Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Published from a copy that indicates Haig signed the original. At Tab A is an oral note for Huang. At Tab B is a statement Walters was to deliver orally after he read Huang the first message. Attached but not published at Tab C is an announcement concerning proposed dates for Kissinger's and Nixon's upcoming visits to China.


22. Memorandum From the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters) to the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), Paris, September 1, 1971

Walters recounted his delivery of the three messages he had received from Haig on August 31. Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen reiterated China's fear of the revival of Japanese militarism but reaffirmed China's commitment to peaceful coexistence.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The meeting was held at Chen's residence in Neuilly.


23. Memorandum of Conversation, Paris, September 3, 1971, 11 a.m.

Military Attaché Walters and Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen discussed the negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States aimed at preventing incidents at sea.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. A handwritten notation reads: “Secret/Sensitive.” The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.


24. Message From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, September 13, 1971

Haig instructed Walters to inform Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen that President Nixon wanted his Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's trip announced during the third week of September in order to avoid the impression that the announcement was a reaction to Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko's visit to the United States.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation on the message reads: “9/13/71.”


25. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, September 23, 1971, 5 p.m.

Military Attaché Walters recounted his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen concerning the American submission of a “two Chinas” resolution to the United Nations. Chinese officials indicated that the resolution prompted them to delay announcement of President's Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's visit until October 5.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. No classification marking. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.


26. Memorandum From the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, September 24, 1971

Walters raised the possibility that the Chinese were truly world revolutionaries who would turn on President Nixon after his visit.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Eyes Only. Ellipsis in the source text. Walters was in Washington, September 24-September 28.


27. Message From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, September 28, 1971

Kissinger instructed Walters to inform the Chinese on September 29 concerning the technical aspects of President Nixon's trip. He also noted that on October 2, Walters should inform the Chinese of the content of President Nixon's September 29 conversation with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko. Kissinger also suggested that Walters inform the Chinese that Walters had been in Washington for consultation, September 24-28.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A handwritten note reads “HK Handed to Walters 9/28/71.” Not published is the oral message to the Chinese.


28. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, September 28, 1971, 5 p.m.

Military Attaché Walters and Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen discussed the China Lobby in the United States, supersonic transport, and the American fight against illegal drugs.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Walters on September 30. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.


29. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, October 2, 1971

Military Attaché Walters orally delivered a message to Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen regarding President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger's meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Gromyko's probable invitation for Nixon to visit the Soviet Union. The two also discussed the probability of a trip by Nixon to China and Nixon's personal and political courageousness.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Walters on October 4. The lunchtime meeting was held at Chen's residence in Neuilly. The precise time of the conversation is not indicated on the memorandum.


30. Instructions for the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters), Washington, October 8, 1971

Walters was instructed to announce that President Nixon would visit the Soviet Union in May 1972, inform the Chinese that they are the first to be notified, and discuss logistics about Nixon's visit to China.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the instructions. Although a handwritten notation on the document reads “10/9/71,” Walter's memorandum for the record indicates that he received these instructions while in Washington on October 8. See Document 31. Attached at Tab A is the joint announcement. Tabs B, C, and D are attached but not published.