March 14, 1972
MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION
Huang Hua, PRC Ambassador to the the United Nations
Shih Yen-hua, Interpreter
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Winston Lord, NSC Staff Member
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 14, 4:40 - 6:00 p.m.
PLACE: New York City
Ambassador Huang: I am sorry we are late. I was caught in traffic.
Dr. Kissinger : That often happens. I missed you in Peking.
Ambassador Huang: I watched television every day and saw much of the President and Dr. Kissinger.
Dr. Kissinger : Many people saw more details than I did.
I spent a lot of time with the man who headed your delegation here. I am waiting to meet the first stupid Chinese. There has got to be one among 800 million.
Let me mention a few things to you. First, on the death of your official here. We have taken a direct interest at the White House. We have talked to the police department. I talked personally to Governor Rockefeller. I told Ambassador Bush first to keep it in White House channels so as to see what the problem was. We have … our [Page 2] concern was to get minimum publicity in order not to give any crackpots any ideas.
Normally the protection of the Mission is the responsibility of the New York Police; they have to pay for it from New York city funds. But we have told them to take any additional measures that are necessary, and if it is a question of money we will pay out of confidential funds. Mr. Bush doesn’t know this. I recommend that you have a meeting anytime after today with Ambassador Bush, the local FBI representative, and the local police representative. We will keep a personal eye on it from my office, and if there is anything that is lacking, will you let us know. Ambassador Bush has been instructed to develop a specific plan together with you. We are going to have undercover people in the mission and we will take other measures. If there is anything you can think of that is not being done, and you will let us know, if it is humanly possible we will do it.
Do you have any special ideas now that I could take care of?
Ambassador Huang: I agree with what Dr. Kissinger has just said, that we prevent as far as possible publicity to prevent any uproar in the public, because it would help the unveiling of the plot. I once briefed Mr. Phillips… .
Dr. Kissinger : On Saturday.
Ambassador Huang: He originally hoped to have a discussion with us earlier, but I preferred to wait until today’s meeting. I told Ambassador Phillips that we have made a very careful study of the life history of Mr. Wang Hsi-tsanh and the internal situation of our Mission, and we have completely ruled out the possibility of suicide by Mr. Wang Hsi-tsanh or any other internal reason related to it. It seems to be that it is a deliberate murder.
Dr. Kissinger : But why him?[Page 3]
Ambassador Huang: It is aimed at creating a political event. With regard to the security issue, I told Mr. Phillips that it is not necessary to strengthen security measures just on the appropriate number of policemen; it is necessary to strengthen other fields.
Dr. Kissinger : We have to get undercover people in the kitchen and find other undercover people so we can find who might have done this.
Ambassador Huang: I wonder if you have received the report by Dr. Helpern, the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. We have given the report to Mr. Phillips.
Dr. Kissinger : I have not actually seen the report, but I have seen the report of Mr. Phillips. There is no question about what has happened.
Ambassador Huang: As to what kind of security measures to enforce, we leave that to you to decide.
Dr. Kissinger : Mr. Ambassador, first of all we are embarrassed and outraged. Second, the White House will take a personal interest in the matter. You can be sure that even though you are dealing with others, we are fully involved. We will do everything humanly possible to prevent a repetition.
Ambassador Huang: That is all I want to say about this question.
Dr. Kissinger : Feel free to call me any time, and if anything at all is needed, you can be sure that it will be done. So you will call Ambassador Bush tomorrow or set up a meeting with Ambassador Bush, and he will be prepared. (Ambassador Huang nods)
Incidentally, Ambassador Bush doesn’t know about our meetings any longer. I will bring him in only if United Nationè business is involved.[Page 4]
The second point I want to mention is real estate.
Ambassador Huang: (smiles) Thank you for your concern.
Dr. Kissinger : I understand from my sources that you have not made a definite offer.
Ambassador Huang: Yesterday our lawyer told us that he had struck a final bargain on the Motor Inn on prices. They are now preparing the final document.
Dr. Kissinger : Good. Here is the problem, and I will be honest with you about the two months delay. My friend, a member of the Rockefeller organization, tells me that your lawyer is not experienced in real estate, but an old friend. Therefore, according to my friend, it will take your lawyer a little longer than it would an expert to get the matter completed. If you want to—this is entirely up to you—we could find an expert in real estate law if your lawyer were willing. Mr. Marshall thinks that it could save you between three to four weeks. It is entirely up to you. It would speed it up a little, but, it will take four weeks anyway to complete the formalities. My people think it would take your, lawyer about eight weeks. You don’t have to change lawyers; only your lawyer would have to be willing to take an expert as an adviser.
Ambassador Huang: When we go back we will consider this ‘question.
Dr. Kissinger : It is entirely up to you.
Ambassador Huang Because according to our lawyer in a day or two we can sign a contract.
Dr. Kissinger : But there…
Ambassador Huang: And the owner of the Inn says that within ten days they will be cleared out.[Page 5]
Dr. Kissinger : You could move in?
Ambassador Huang: Yes.
Dr. Kissinger : There is no problem then. You may have a better lawyer than anyone recognizes.
(Dr. Kissinger then asked the local intermediary who was serving refreshments to stay out of earshot during the next portion of the conversation.
Dr. Kissinger : I want to report two conversations to you that I had with the Soviet Ambassador which I think will be of some interest to the Prime Minister and Vice Chairman Yeh Chiengying. The Soviet Ambassador came to see me on Thursday, March 9 and said that they had information from Chinese sources that I had given, during the October visit to China, that I had given to Chinese authorities information about the “dislocation”—I am giving you his words—of Soviet forces on your border and the location of Soviet missile installations on your border. He said that if this were true, it would be taken with the greatest gravity in Moscow. I said to him that it must have been Chinese sources from Taiwan, and made no other comment.
He came back the next day and said that they were Chinese sources from the mainland who thought that matters were going too far. I said one, I never discuss my conversations with him, and two, it was complete nonsense, and a provocation. This is the position we will maintain. But I thought the Prime Minister might want to know this. That’s really all I need to say about it. (Ambassador Huang nods)
I think this could be what we call a “fishing expedition.” (Ambassador Huang smiles and explains the phrase to the interpreter.) That is, he is simply trying to see what my reaction was.[Page 6]
They are also spreading rumors to this effect about the July visit, but that is on a low level. You can take a look at it - this is an internal memo. (Dr. Kissinger loans the Ambassador a copy of the John Scali memo to him - attached at Tab A.) This man does not know anything about our relations he is one of our public relations advisers. (Ambassador Huang reads the memo slowly and carefully.)
Dr. Kissinger : This sort of thing I don’t propose to pay any attention to. (Ambassador Huang chuckles.) But the other point might be worthy to be looked into in Peking. (Ambassador Huang nods.) If they want to make any comment, it would be interesting.
While we are preparing for … we will announce this Thursday—we have already talked to the Prime Minister but wanted you to know—that we will go to Moscow on May 22. I have refused an invitation to go to Moscow prior to the summit similar to the visit I made to Peking. So I am doing preparations in Washington with the Soviet Ambassador.
Now, as you know, we agreed in Peking that after the summit I would come to Peking and talk to the Prime Minister in greater detail about it. (Ambassador Huang nods.) I wanted to let you know our present impression is that the Soviet strategy, is to conclude a very large number of agreements with us. Every agreement that has been negotiated for three years, every negotiation that has been going on for years, is suddenly moving simultaneously. As the President told the Prime Minister, we will conclude those agreements which we think are in our interest, and we will conclude no agreement which is directed at the People’s Republic.
For example, France has wanted to join the agreement on nuclear accidents that we have concluded with the Soviet Union, and we have told France we don’t want this. If France wants to make an agreement, it should agree separately with the Soviet Union, because [Page 7] we don’t want the situation where every country has concluded an agreement except the People’s Republic. You haven’t asked us to do this; I am just telling you.
(Ambassador Huang speaks to the interpreter in Chinese, but there is no translation.)
Dr. Kissinger : We have agreements which we are now discussing with the Soviet Union. You are familiar with the strategic arms negotiations, and there is no change in that situation. There are the following bilateral discussions going on (Ambassador Huang again comments in Chinese with no translation):
- — A possible sale of some American grain in the Soviet Union, and an American delegation headed by the Secretary of Agriculture will visit Moscow in April.
- — A settlement of lend lease debts; these talks will start within the next two to three weeks.
- — We will start talks about the possibility of creating a joint committee for scientific exchange; similarly an agreement about pollution and the environment.
- — You know that we are negotiating an agreement on health matters.
- — And there is a proposal to have an agreement on a joint space exercise, the docking of which is called a space bus. (Ambassador Huang demonstrates docking with his hands.)
- — And finally a maritime discussion on the opening of ports. This is largely technical on how much advance notice has to be given.
The basic problem is that all these are on the agenda, but they have suddenly started moving simultaneously. The intent is very obvious. But I think you understand our general purposes now, and there is no possibility of any collusion on any political matters. Of course, we are prepared to make agreements with you in any area that we make with the Soviet Union, but that is up to you.[Page 8]
As for the President’s itinerary in the Soviet Union, he will go to Moscow and Leningrad and one other city not yet picked, but it will not be East of the Urals. On the way home he will stop in Iran as you know Iran is a good friend of Pakistan—to underline our concern for South Asia. But this has not yet been announced.
I wanted to inform the Prime Minister also about a call on me by the Indian Ambassador. I could spend my life explaining the Shanghai Communique. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) You should bring your colleague back over here, and we will do it jointly. The first week after Peking I couldn’t get used to the change; I used to meet him from 10:00 to 3:00 in the morning. (Ambassador Huang laughs.)
The Indian Ambassador asked me what the phrase “Asia-Pacific” meant in the Communique and wanted to know whether… he thought it did not apply to India and thought it meant that we might agree to Chinese hegemony over India. I said that first, I was not a spokesman for Chinese policy, and second, that the People’s Republic had said that it did not consider itself a superpower and rejects power politics of any kind. I said as far as the U.S. were concerned, we rejected the hegemony of any outside country over the subcontinent and of any country within the subcontinent.
I share these conversations only because it is conceivable to me that people who do not particularly appreciate our relations may spread various versions, and I wanted you to know directly whether we discussed your affairs with the Indians and the Soviets.
Finally, the President told the Prime Minister when he was in Peking that after Indian troops were withdrawn we were considering recognizing Bangladesh, and the Prime Minister asked us to be sure to let you know a week ahead of time. Our present plan is, now that Indian troops have been withdrawn, to recognize Bangladesh during the first week of April. But we have not yet told the bureaucracy, so if your government wants to express a view, we can still adjust our timing. (Ambassador Huang comments in Chinese without translation.)[Page 9]
These are the political things that I have to discuss with you. There are a number of other things which really belong in the Paris Channel, but I just wanted to mention to you.
Senator Mansfield and Senator Scott have written a letter to the Prime Minister. This is a copy. (Dr. Kissinger shows a copy of the Mansfield/Scott letter to Ambassador Huang at Tab B.) You can keep the copy. We will send the original to Ambassador Watson, and he will give it to your Ambassador in Paris on Monday.
Now these are two leaders of the Senate, and they are terribly spoiled. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) They are not used to the bad treatment the Executive Branch always gets—not by the Chinese but by the press. This is to prepare you, and to give Peking a head start. They would like to come for from two to three weeks, either starting April 16 or April 27. They haven’t put that in there—I have forced them to write in a very general way, but I am giving you this information. They would like to bring their wives. Each would like to bring two staff men. The President’s and my recommendation is that if you permit one staff man, he can do less mischief.
(At this point Mr. Lord was called to the phone for a couple of minutes. There was further discussion of the Mansfield/Scott trip.)[Page 10]
Dr. Kissinger : How should we handle this? Should we submit this letter to your Ambassador in Paris?
Ambassador Huang: Yes.
Dr. Kissinger : (Cuts off the bottom of a memo from Clark MacGregor to Dr. Kissinger and hands over the remainder containing questions on the Mansfield/Scott visit.) You have more of my papers than some of my colleagues. (Laughter on both sides.) There has never been reciprocity either. (MacGregor memo at Tab C)
Ambassador Huang: These are questions… .
Dr. Kissinger : They were put to me by our Congressional liaison man. This is not an official communication to you. They do not know that you have these questions.
I don’t want to interfere in your affairs, but the easiest way to handle this would be in response to their letter, you could volunteer some of this information. In that manner; you would eliminate many questions.
Ambassador Huang: Ithink the original copy of the letter should be handed over to our Ambassador in Paris, and the questions related to it should be discussed by the two Ambassadors in Paris.
Dr. Kissinger : Should we do it in Paris?
Ambassador Huang: Yes, these can be discussed in Paris.
Dr. Kissinger : Unless there are some questions you prefer not be put to you, because we can control it. I think the questions here can all be discussed in Paris.
We appreciated the rapid reply to the request about the two House leaders. We will submit a letter from them, say a week after the other one.[Page 11]
Ambassador Huang: You mean after the letter of the leaders of the Senate is delivered in Paris?
Dr. Kissinger : Then we will deliver the House letter. They should not go at the same time.
Now we get a great many questions from people wanting to visit the People’s Republic, as I am sure you do. What should we do with them?
Ambassador Huang: I think this question has been discussed in Peking during your visit.
Dr. Kissinger : Should these questions be submitted in Paris directly or through Ambassador Watson?
Ambassador Huang: Ordinary people coming such as business men, scholars, scientists, and others can supply their applications through ordinary channels, that is the Chinese Embassy nearest them. Generally that place is Ottawa.
Dr. Kissinger : They don’t have to do it in Paris.
Ambassador Huang: Not necessarily. It is more convenient to be nearer. I think during the discussions in Peking the Chinese side told you that we are limited in equipment and documentation to receive American guests, so that it must be done gradually.
Dr. Kissinger : We understand. We are not recommending any particular number. We just want to know how to respond. I have a nightclub singer who wants to perform in your country. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) And a comedy team.
Alright, we will do the following. Ordinary people we will tell to go to Ottawa, and it is entirely up to you how to handle them. Maybe the Ambassador should say this to Ambassador Watson on Monday when they meet, because nobody knows I am seeing you. I will instruct him to ask the question.[Page 12]
Especially important people we will raise through Ambassador Watson in Paris. If I ever want to mention somebody, I would take the liberty of doing this with you. This will happen very rarely.
I am being harassed about your tabletennis team. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) But I want you to know that having seen your players, if they lose one game when they come here, I know that you are being polite. But I won’t tell anyone. We will raise that also in Paris.
One gentleman who I know quite well and who would like to visit the People’s Republic is Joseph Alsop. (Ambassador Huang nods.) I know he is very well disposed toward the People’s Republic. Of course, the decision is up to you. He should apply in Ottawa also?
Ambassador Huang: Yes, he could go to Ottawa or write to Ottawa. If he wants to contact us first, he can do so.
Dr. Kissinger : Whom should he contact?
Ambassador Huang: The person in charge of these matters, Mr. Kao.
Dr. Kissinger : I also want to say that I read with embarrassment many stories about the President’s visit. I hope you know enough about the bureaucratic maneuvering to be able to identify the sources. (Ambassador Huang nods.) I hope you have been able to see that anything coming from the White House has been pointing to a high regard of the human and political qualities of the leaders with whom we have had the privilege of speaking.
Ambassador Huang: I will report what you have said to Prime Minister Chou and Vice Chairman Yeh.
If you don’t have anything more to say, I have … .
Dr. Kissinger : You have something?[Page 13]
Ambassador Huang: Yes (laughs nervously and reads from a piece of paper, attached at Tab D).
“In the fortnight since the conclusion of President Nixon’s visit, the United States has carried out increasingly large-scale bombings against Democratic Republic of Vietnam. On March 10 the United States Government further proclaimed the week from March 26 to April 2 as the so-called National Week of Concern for Prisoners of War.
“The Chinese Government cannot but express great concern over this. The Chinese Government would like to state frankly that the United States will not be able to attain its goal by this line of action. If the United States Government truly wants to bring about the early release of prisoners of war, it should accept the seven points and the two-point elaboration put forward by the Provisional Revolutionary Government and enter into earnest negotiations with the other side.
“Any attempt to exert pressure by war threat can only arouse the peoples of the three countries of Indochina to ever stronger resistance. With the war continuing and the casualties in the three Indochina countries increasing, how are the prisoners of war to be released? The Chinese people, who share weal and woe with the Indochinese people, can only express indignation and support the three Indochinese peoples’ war of resistance to the end.
“It is hoped that the U.S. Government will give serious consideration to this view.”
Upon instruction of the Chinese Government, I have transmitted this message to the United States Government and Dr. Kissinger.[Page 14]
Dr. Kissinger : Have you a copy?
Ambassador Huang: It is not an official copy.
Dr. Kissinger : Only for our records. We will not treat it as an official communication. We will destroy it after we are through with it.
Ambassador Huang: There may be some mistakes. (He handed it over.)
Dr. Kissinger : Don’t worry about it. Just a technical point. This communication will go only to the President.
I want you to understand that we take any communication from the Chinese Government extremely seriously, and I want to answer you frankly.
First, it is not true that we have engaged in large-scale bombing of North Vietnam since leaving China. This is really for the information of the Prime Minister. I don’t want to get in an argument with him, but you are not getting the correct information. We were accused last week by the North Vietnamese of bombing from March 1-6. I investigated it. We had given no authority, and there was no intensive bombing in there.
Secondly - again, I had no interest in raising the Vietnam issue with you, but this is a frank exchange of opinions. Before we left for Peking, the North Vietnamese Government proposed a meeting to us on March 15 in Paris. We accepted this for March 20 for technical reasons. On March 1, they accepted March 20—(correcting himself) on February 29 they accepted March 20. On March 7, after I had already made arrangements for a secret visit which is rather complex for me, they cancelled it again and proposed a date in April. It is a very peculiar procedure.
Ambassador Huang: April 1?
Dr. Kissinger : They proposed April 15.[Page 15]
Ambassador Huang: You mean negotiations or secret talks?
Dr. Kissinger : Secret talks. But I can’t come the 15th, so I have to be delayed a week. It is a very peculiar method of proceeding.
I would like the Prime Minister to know, as we have already said to him, that we are prepared, we would like to talk to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam honestly and openly and in the spirit of justice. We are not seeking a military victory, and we hope finally these negotiations will start.
In the meantime I want to assure the Prime Minister that we will not increase our military operations over North Vietnam unless there is an offensive on their part.
Ambassador Huang: I will convey your explanation. I have also noted—this is outside the instructions of our Government—I have also noted from the press there are four aircraft carriers of the U.S. which are concentrated in nearby areas.
Dr. Kissinger : This is only because of our concern of an attack, an offensive by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We will not be the first to take an offensive step.
Ambassador Huang: I don’t think it is necessary for me to make further explanations, because the basic view of the Chinese side is expressed in the communication.
Dr. Kissinger : I understand your point of view. I wanted to tell the Prime Minister. We are not engaged in propaganda. What I tell you represents our real view, and I wanted the Prime Minister to understand it. I know he doesn’t agree with it.
Is that all?
Ambassador Huang: I have nothing more.
Dr. Kissinger : All of us have the warmest recollections of our visit to Peking, and I am constantly being accused of having been taken in by the Chinese, and it is a problem to me. I have certain sentimental feelings about my trip.[Page 16]
Ambassador Huang: “Taken in?”
Dr. Kissinger : I mean “charmed.” All of us have really friendly recollections and will work on this policy with great seriousness.
Ambassador Huang: Some Ambassador told me that they studied our communique, and they published the support of their government for the communique. I am referring to Yugloslavia. I think Romania is very happy to.
Dr. Kissinger : Mr. Ambassador, it is always a pleasure to see you. I may go on vacation some time during the next three weeks for a week. I have not decided yet. I will let you know which week. General Haig is available. Please feel free to get in touch with me at any time.
Ambassador Huang: In our last meeting with Mr. Howe I expressed our thanks for the President’s and your concern for the Chinese Mission, as well as the concern you expressed in Peking on the question of a house. I hope in the near future the problem will be solved. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) Whether our lawyer is an expert or not.
Dr. Kissinger : I am sure he is capable.
Ambassador Huang: (in English) Whether he is capable of settling in shortest possible time or not.
Dr. Kissinger : We’ll help, but if it is 10 days, no one can be faster than that.
Ambassador Huang: But the matter of the first question, the death of Mr. Wang by poisoning, we hope to make a serious investigation and unveil the plot.
Dr. Kissinger : We will make one. You understand our system of government. It places the police here outside our jurisdiction.
But we will make the maximum effort that we can, and we use federal police to assist the investigation. I will give it the personal attention of the White House.[Page 17]
Ambassador Huang: Thank you for your reception today.
(There were then some closing pleasantries during which Dr. Kissinger and then Ambassador Huang expressed their happiness at the prospects of dealing with one another. Dr. Kissinger added that he had warm memories and associated Ambassador Huang with his first trip to China which was quite an experience. The two Chinese then left for their Hotel.)
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, March 1, 1972-June 24, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The precise location of the meeting is not indicated. Ellipses in the source text. Lord sent the memorandum to Kissinger under a March 18 covering memorandum, on which he had written “Thru Haig.” Kissinger wrote: “OK HK” on the covering memorandum. Tabs A-C are attached but not published. Tab D, the attached message, has no classification marking. A notation on the message indicates the President saw it. It is published as Document 112.↩
- President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger assured Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Huang Hua that the White House had taken a “direct interest” in aiding in the investigation of the death of the Chinese delegate, explained that the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, George H.W. Bush, would not be privy to their conversations, and reported on his recent conversations with Soviet Ambassador to the United States Dobrynin concerning China. The attached message from the Government of the People’s Republic of China stressed that the United States must end its bombing campaign against North Vietnam.↩