Memorandum of Conversation
DATE: February 27, 1972
SUBJECT: Call by Premier Chou on Secretary Rogers in Shanghai
Premier Chou En-lai
Foreign Minister Chi Peng-fei
Chiang Chiung-chiao, Chairman of the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee
Wang Hung-wen, Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee
Tang Wen-sheng, Interpreter
Secretary of State William P. Rogers
Marshall Green, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Alfred le S. Jenkins, Director, Office of Asian Communist Affairs
Nicholas Platt, Assistant to the Secretary
PLACE: Guest House, Shanghai, PRC
WH - Dr. Kissinger[Page 2]
Premier Chou paid a call on the Secretary just after he had arrived at the guest house, explaining upon arrival that he wished to welcome the Secretary personally to Shanghai.
After discussing the merits of different types of tea, the Secretary told Premier Chou that he hoped for the opportunity to meet with the Foreign Minister in third countries. He traveled often and would welcome a chance for contact whether it be at the UN, in Canada, or any other mutually convenient place. He also said that he would welcome an arrangement that would enable him to get into direct telephone contact with the Foreign Minister.
The Premier asked the Foreign Minister whether he had made any progress on this.
The Foreign Minister replied that he had not.
The Secretary said he marvelled at the Premier’s grasp of detail.
The Premier replied that he also paid attention to broad issues as well.
The Secretary responded that one could not be effective on broad issues unless one had mastered the details. If you don’t know the details you don’t know how things work.
The Secretary then asked the Premier how he felt the trip had gone so far and whether or not he had had a reaction from the people within the PRC who had opposed it.
The Premier replied that he felt the trip had been beneficial. From his channels he knew that there are still some that do not understand the significance of the visit. He had made very careful efforts to explain the significance of the trip before the President came and was continuing these efforts.
The Secretary asked the Premier whether there had been wide TV and radio coverage of the visit.
The Premier answered there had been news coverage all over the country. The PRC reads the world press very carefully, the Premier continued. Two publications, a [Page 3] restricted newspaper called Reference News with a circulation of 5-6 million and a more tightly held daily 2-volume survey called Reference Materials carry daily excerpts from the world press. Chairman Mao is the most careful reader of Reference Materials. It was he who spotted in Reference Materials the 1967 Foreign Affairs article by Mr. Nixon which advocated closer ties with the PRC, and pointed out its significance to us. Though he did not approve of all President Nixon’s policies, of course, Chairman Mao voted for him in spirit in 1968.
The Secretary remarked that the President might need another such spiritual vote in 1972.
The Secretary said he wished to underscore the President’s statement to Premier Chou that controversy equals news in the United States. There will be attacks on the visit and adverse commentary, but these will neither reflect US policy nor affect it.
Premier Chou said that he understood.
The Secretary told the Premier that Assistant Secretary Marshall Green will be visiting several countries after the visit to explain American policy. The Secretary will be briefing Ambassadors and appearing before Congress. It will be important to tell America’s allies and the elected representatives of the American people that the United States stood up for its principles during its visit to Peking.
Premier Chou commented that he had heard that the Secretary had been very busy on the telephone the day after the July 15 announcement. He said he understood that the Secretary would have to discuss his policies with others. He reiterated that the PRO is interested gradually in normalizing its relationship with the US.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 US/NIXON. Secret; Nodis; Homer. Drafted by Platt and approved in S on March 8. Copies were sent to S, S/S, U, J, EA, and Kissinger at the White House. The meeting was held in the Guest House Hotel, Shanghai. The time of the meeting is not indicated on the memorandum.↩
- Secretary of State Rogers and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai briefly discussed how both President Nixon and Chairman of the Communist Party of China Mao Tse-tung had overcome, but would continue to face, domestic opposition in order to continue the normalization process.↩