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144. Memorandum of Conversation, Beijing, June 22, 1972, 2:38-4:28 p.m.1 2

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  • Chang Wen-chin, Assistant to the PRC Foreign Minister
  • Tsien Ta-yung, Deputy Director, Western European, North American and Australian Affairs, PRC Foreign Ministry
  • Chao Ch'i-hua, American Desk, PRC Foreign Ministry
  • SHEN JO-YUN, Interpreter
  • Alfred LeS. Jenkins, Director, People's Republic of China and Mongolian Affairs, Department of State
  • John H. Holdridge, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council
  • Richard H. Solomon, Staff Member, National Security Council


DATE AND TIME: Thursday, June 22, 1972; 2:38 - 4:28p.m.

PLACE: Government Guest House #3 Peking, People's Republic of China

SUBJECT: Exchanges

Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chang, you certainly gave us another treat this morning in the athletic event. Both the physical layout of the plant and the performance were very impressive and enjoyable.

Mr. Chang: What was most fascinating was the friendship match between the Chinese and the Americans.

Mr. Solomon: [in Chinese] We really lost face! (Laughter)

Mr. Jenkins: I am not sure it made table tennis history, but it was a good show.

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Mr. Chang: But it will be a chapter in Sino-American relations.

Mr. Jenkins: Exactly.

Mr. Holdridge: From now on all people who join Henry Kissinger's staff will have to learn to play ping pong.

Mr. Solomon: Yes; I will soon be fired.

Mr. Holdridge: Starting with Mr. Solomon.

Mr. Chang: Do you have something to say?

Mr. Jenkins: Well, we led off yesterday; I wondered if you care to start today.

Mr. Chang: Yesterday Mr. Jenkins gave us a copy of a draft agreement and we have studied it, and read it in detail. You have set forth many good ideas in agricultural research. As I said yesterday, we think that at the present stage of our relations the conditions are not yet right for the signing of such an agreement. The main reason is that we are now working toward the direction [of fully normalized relations], our two countries; we are just now doing that. So in view of the present circumstances, and in view of what is provided in the Shanghai Communique, the exchanges between our two countries in science and technology and in other fields will be conducted on a non-governmental basis with the governments providing assistance from the sideline. And in addition to that, since the contacts between our two sides in science and technology have just begun, we are still gaining experience in this area. So the signing of a systematic agreement is premature. Our present attitude is that we should leave your proposal for the time being. It would be best to create the conditions for such an agreement.

As for your ideas set forth in the draft agreements in science, culture and technology, we can work toward this direction. We can keep this in mind and work at it constantly. At the present stage, according to the direction provided by the Shanghai Communique, we can exchange delegations and information and other materials and also increase our contacts.

During President Nixon's visit to China both President Nixon and Prime Minister Chou En-lai mentioned some items on which we can have exchanges. And the United States Senate leaders also mentioned some, and other visiting friends mentioned some items on which we can have exchanges. The Chinese [Page 3]Medical Society and other scientific institutions are considering some of the items on which both sides can have exchanges. So we are ready to receive more United States delegations or institutions or friends who would like to visit our country.

Just take, for example, the Congressional leaders who will soon come. The Institute for Foreign Affairs is preparing for their visit. As for the doctors, we have mentioned this to the Society of Medicine. We would like to welcome some cancer specialists from the U.S. Some of our nongovernmental organizations are preparing to send delegations to the United States. Some Chinese scientists are considering going to the United States. Of course not to the United States alone—also to Europe at the same time. And it is going to be a comprehensive delegation from several areas of science. To start with, we think the delegation is not going to be very big.

Regarding the medical science delegation, we are going to send a delegation to introduce Chinese experience in these fields and also learn from your achievements. As for time and composition, we would like to hear your opinions and what you have to say and comment on this.

And thirdly, about the journalists: we have heard that the American Society of Newspaper Editors is going to send delegates to China; and we are also considering sending a delegation to the U.S., but a time has not been fixed yet.

Fourthly, there is going to be an acrobatics delegation going to the U.S. As for the places they might perform, we hope that will be easy to arrange. Since the number of members of the acrobatics troupe will not be as large as the organized theatrical troupe, we think it might be easier to arrange for theaters and so forth because the demands of the staging are not so great.

Mr. Jenkins: Excuse me, I didn't understand. This applies to acrobatics?

Mr. Chang: We think that for the acrobatics troupe the requirements are not as high as for theater or opera. It will be easier to arrange. As for the time for them to go, we haven't decided. We would like your comments.

Fifth, as for exchanges of information and data, we haven't anything to say on this. If you have something to say we would like to hear your views on this. And during the October visit Mr. Jenkins also set forth many [Page 4]specific items in specific areas and we think all these areas are very detailed and perhaps it would be better if during our visits the scientists of the two sides were to exchange general views on these things. See how many of their ideas can be materialized in such areas as environmental research or in chemistry, things like that.

In principle we think exchanges in these areas can be conducted.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, that's a very helpful presentation or so it strikes me. Our handing over the illustrative agriculture paper was primarily for its suggestive content; and as I indicated, we are very flexible on the framework or mechanism involved, and we understand the types of mechanisms which you consider appropriate for the near future. We are very glad to hear, and we have understood, and this was our mutual thinking, that these exchanges will go on and will be increased gradually. We understand that they will not start in very large numbers or frequency, but the areas which you have outlined as of more immediate interest sound very agreeable to me at first view. We will want to talk further as to the possibilities in some of these areas, but I think you are quite right in saying that our specialists will at some point have to explore these fields further. We will certainly welcome the people that you mentioned who are considering coming to the United States. I don't know that we can give a very definite reaction as to a suggested time. I think that can only really be firmed up in correspondence through whatever means with the groups involved. If you wish us to be of any help in that regard we, of course, stand ready to be, but also it will be important for the institutions involved to keep in touch.

Mr. Chang mentioned yesterday the added assurance given by a double track approach to this, emphasizing the non-governmental approach but in line with the Shanghai Communique, but recognizing a certain degree of government help and facilitation would be desirable. I would like to suggest that there be a non-governmental point of contact or two for exchanges which can be of general help, that is covering a fairly broad field. I am thinking about a means of regularizing the management and implementation of exchange progress which you have touched upon; and in the facilitation of that suggestion there are at least two organizations with the experience and resources to be helpful perhaps primarily behind the scenes. They would not be in the forefront, but they can extend help on this sort of thing. First is the Committee on Scholarly Communication of the National Academy of Science, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies. This group is qualified to facilitate exchanges in the sciences and also quite a number of other scholarly fields.

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Secondly, you have already had experience in connection with some help from the National Committee on U.S.-Chinese relations. It is well qualified to facilitate exchanges in the areas of cultural affairs and education. We could simply maintain a degree of contact with these organizations through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Department of State, to try to help make sure that things stay on the track.

Mr. Chang: Are these groups both in the National Academy of Sciences?

Mr. Jenkins: No.

Mr. Chang: So all these three organizations are under the Committee for Scholarly Communications?

Mr. Jenkins: Well, not formally as I understand it, but they have joined together to form this committee. It isn't so much that they are under it.

I don't want to slur over your comment on timing and composition. To the extent we can we will be helpful here; but it occurs to us with regard to American contacts of yours in the educational field they may wish to wait until school reopens after the vacation period. On the other hand, they may feel that would be a busier time and would prefer coming before school opens. I think it would vary from school to school. So if you want us to be helpful on this we will be, but direct communications would be fine too.

Likewise, with regard to the composition of the visiting groups, I am certain that the American hosts would wish to be as accommodating as possible and would be interested in your proposals and suggestions along that line. Again, if you want us to be helpful in any way in that respect we will certainly try to be. In any event, in view of our mutual concern that things go right in this, the White House will want to maintain a very keen interest in these matters and would like to follow them closely. But I am sure you can rely, as in the past, on their discretion as to the manner in which that is done. We all certainly believe that your suggestion on the acrobatics visit would be extremely well-received by the American public, and I am certain that insofar as facilities are concerned there would be no problem with larger groups such as operas and things of that sort if you would like to consider that also.

As to exchange of information and data, this is something which we will definitely promise to look into further. It would perhaps be helpful if [Page 6]you could indicate certain areas of particular interest, because if the matter is left that general I think it might leave us a little confused as to where to start.

Finally, with respect to the five areas which you mentioned, Mr. Chang, which in principle are areas that you believe we can move on earlier rather than later—that is the environmental question, agricultural matters, meteorology, marine science and chemistry—we welcome this indication of your views as to which of the two main categories this might fall into. It is helpful to us in our own planning if we know the areas we should next look toward having mutual discussions and planning on. As you know, we gave ideas on these lines in the package we left last October. So if you have any ideas in turn on these questions it would help us to be prepared for movement in these areas when we find a suitable time.

I believe there will be no problem in finding several sponsors for activities in these areas and I assume that in our double-track approach that we can also exchange views on this subject through Paris; or if you have any other mechanism to suggest we are certainly ready to consider that.

Mr. Chang: Thank you very much, Mr. Jenkins, for your setting forth quite comprehensively your ideas, and also your reaction on our position. We understand that the United States side has adopted a flexible attitude toward the problem of mechanisms. What you are concerned about is that such exchanges will be going on smoothly and without any accidents. This is also our desire. As for the specific mechanisms, we will also adopt a flexible attitude and take a flexible form. So we think on this point both our sides are agreed.

Anyway, in line with the Shanghai Communique, the exchange will be done on a nongovernmental basis with the governments providing the conveniences to assure that the exchanges will be carried out well. Of course in the case of such contacts and exchanges the governments of our two sides can keep each other well informed and exchange views for them to refer to so they can consider their problems more carefully to assure that such exchanges will go on well.

As for these private non-governmental institutions which are going to send delegates to the United States, we think we can keep each other well informed either through Paris or the other forums. We will inform the White House of our plans so we can coordinate well.

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As for the U.S. delegates, for these more important ones we will also inform the United States side and on such basis we can exchange views and let each other know our suggestions. And these suggestions will also be for the reference of the institutions concerned. As for the organizations we have mentioned—some organizations in science and technology and also the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations that you mentioned—they may play some role from behind the scenes.

We have taken note of such organizations; and actually, when the Chinese table tennis team visited the United States, we got help from the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations so we think they did play a helpful role in our visit. So we will surely tell the related organizations that the two organizations you have mentioned can grant assistance from the sideline, and as for the specific items and organizations we will see when it comes to concrete areas so we will know whether we can have direct or indirect contacts with these organizations you have mentioned.

As for the Cultural and Educational Bureau of the State Department which you mentioned, it will also grant assistance from the sideline. We welcome this because we think the two governments really should give encouragement and assistance to the non-governmental institutions; and actually our discussion here is being carried on with this purpose.

Some specific points that just now we mentioned regarding sending some delegates to visit the United States. Of course this has not yet been finalized; it is not yet finally decided. We have told you about this just to let you know, and we would like to listen to your views on this. We know it is difficult for you to make a comment as to composition, timing and so forth. So we think as long as we are following a two-track approach these related organizations will contact your private groups, but we will also maintain contact through our Paris channel. And we know the U.S. organizations will give a warm welcome and such visits will be successful. But as we are in a period of exploration to start with our delegations will be quite small; but we just want to establish contacts. And besides, you don't have to throw in a large number of people for reception. Afterward we can send more people to your country. We think this might be more effective.

We've also looked at and listened to your views as to how to make the visits more effective and successful. Certainly we have no doubts that you are ready to receive such delegations and will give them a warm reception. At any rate, we will let you know through the Paris channel of the plans for this. The same applies to the other artistic troupes. To start with we will [Page 8]send smaller delegations. In this way it is more convenient to make arrangements. We think it is the same in Europe, and it is rather difficult to make last minute changes in such things. Besides, our actors and actresses haven't had much experience in traveling abroad and may find it difficult to adjust at first. So we will first of all send smaller groups and then bigger ones later. We think this is better and we have no doubt you will also give them very good receptions.

As for the exchanges of information and data, you have just now put forward a very good suggestion and it is true we should let you know more specifics. You have a great amount of information and data and we have very little. So if you send us all your information [at one time] we can't digest it all. So it is better if we let you know what our interests are in more detail.

As for the five areas I mentioned, I am just raising them to illustrate my point. It doesn't mean that our exchanges will be limited to these five areas or that exchanges in these five areas will begin right away. But we think we can have exchanges in these areas. But these are just the principles we need to make further study in these areas. We have contacted the related institutions and they think it is all right to have contact on these items. And it is true that as early as last October you put forward your proposals in these areas, but at that time we were concentrating our efforts on other issues and on preparing for President Nixon, so we were still waiting. But now we are ready to consider these exchanges. We will let you know our concrete proposals later on after consulting with the related institutions.

So generally speaking, we think that we have had very good discussions and fruitful ones; but as to how to concretize this subject, it is necessary for us to hold discussions with the related organizations on how to implement and carry them out. So we will let you know later through the Paris channel. And after learning what we have in mind, perhaps you would like to make other suggestions and if afterward you have a thought about this or you want to make suggestions, please let us know through the Paris channel.

There is another specific problem we would like to put forward to see if the United States Government will help us. Around the time when the President came to China for a visit we built and established a ground satellite station in Shanghai from the RCA Corporation. In the course of that we had contacts with the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium. We hired from them the satellite channels, and General Thompson also came to China. He was of great assistance on this process. [Page 9]He is the Vice President of Operations of that Consortium. The Peking Telecommunications Bureau hired that channel and the channel proves to be very effective for communications between China and the United States. It has been rather highly effective.

And we learned that Taiwan had also established contacts with that Consortium. They also set up a ground satellite station in Taipei. As for this point, we think it is hardly avoidable. But here is a specific problem. The International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium has published a guide to the operation of the satellite system and satellite working plan. In these plans and guide - in the appendix—is published all the names of countries which have set up stations. It is entered in the listing this way: For the Shanghai station, they put “People's Republic of China (Shanghai)”; and for the Taipei station they put “Republic of China (Taipei). So we think such a list is not acceptable to us. In the same list there appear both the “People's Republic of China” and the “Republic of China” and naturally the situation of the two Chinas appears. So we are sure that the United States side is very clear about our position on this subject; we don't have to go into details on that. Since we didn't want to embarrass the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium, the Peking Telecommunications Bureau put forward a suggestion to them—they suggested the listing appear this way: “China (Shanghai) “ and “China (Taipei),” so as to avoid the problem of two Chinas. It will mean no loss to the Consortium and it will avoid the difficulties. So the Peking Telecommunications Bureau cabled to General Thompson and asked him to ask the Consortium to change the list. We should say that General Thompson has been very enthusiastic in helping to set up the Chinese ground station and cooperative in this field. He expressed his desire to come again and we will welcome him to come to China again so we can explore this field together. Since we contacted General Thompson on the change of lists by cable, it was impossible to make the point very clear; and since General Thompson is a technical expert, political problems seem not to be in his line. From his return cable it seems he doesn't quite understand the significance of this problem and doesn't follow our concern on this problem. So we will cable General Thompson again urging him to make further efforts. We would like to take this opportunity to raise this question with the United States Government of whether the United States Government can use its influence to settle this question. We think this is a minor problem, but politically it is of great significance. So we think the United States Government might help us to overcome this difficulty. So I think it is not so necessary to make further explanation, and the United States Government will understand this point because this is politically of great significance for keeping [Page 10]this channel free of any barriers between us. Will you please consider this problem?

Mr. Holdridge: Let me ask one question. When you say this is of great importance and significance in conducting our relations—keeping this channel without any barriers—do you mean this physical channel?

Mr. Chang: Yes, the physical channel.

Mr. Holdridge: Using Intelsat to communicate?

Mr. Chang: Yes.

Mr. Jenkins: We certainly understand your position on the problem, and I appreciate the manner in which you have presented it. We will give it consideration and we would like to avoid embarrassment where possible. But we will have to be in touch with you on this.

Mr. Chang: Thank you.

Mr. Jenkins: I understand that these five areas were illustrative, but that they seem to bear perhaps more promise for the near future than some of the other areas and that is helpful for us to know. I do not know whether you find it possible to give us any better idea now as to the time when you are thinking of moving on any of this. If not, then perhaps we will be hearing on that from the Paris channel.

Mr. Chang: It is difficult for us to give you a time on these specific items now, but after our study perhaps we can let you know some time later.

Mr. Jenkins: Certainly. Now, likewise, we would welcome any indication from you as to any problems or ideas you have with regard to either the timing or composition of prospective groups from the United States. More than one of our symphony orchestras have expressed an interest in coming to China. I think that would actually be a nice presentation. They can make an interesting and brilliant performance, but it does involve a large number of people. So if you want to get any ideas across to us on timing or composition, I hope you will feel free to do that, and if we can help you in any way you can contact us through the Paris channel.

Mr. Chang: As for the timing of the visit to China of the U.S. science and technology delegation, we think whatever time they want to come is [Page 11]all right. But as for our scientific delegation which is going to visit the United States, we will try to send them as early as possible, but the earliest time will be summer vacation. Perhaps it won't do even in July or August because they have to do some preparatory work. We would like to know whether it is better for them to go after summer vacation. As for the acrobatics troupe, we are thinking of sending them later. Our tentative idea is to send them in the winter. As for a U.S. symphony orchestra, it would be better for them to come later, for it is more complicated than the scientific delegation. As for the journalist visit, the timing is not important; but some of our [American]journalists friends suggested they could come during your election period to learn more about political life. But I doubt whether this is the best time for them to go because our American friends will be kept busy. And others might speculate about the reason for them to go then. So I doubt this.

Mr. Jenkins: Well, that's very considerate of you to bear that in mind. I think there are mixed considerations involved there, and I think we can have further communication on it.

Mr. Holdridge: We can go into the scientific and technical delegation visit through the Paris channel very quickly.

Mr. Jenkins: As to vacations, I don't think you have to assume that is a hurdle in any specific instance. We are not like the French; we don't all go away in August. In fact many universities are on the quarter system and their summer program is comparable to the other quarters; and the professors take their vacations in the other three quarters, not in the summer. So I think this is something you would want to look into in this specific instance.

Mr. Chang: Any other point to make? If not, shall we stop here? I think our discussion has been helpful today.

Mr. Jenkins: I certainly agree; very helpful. We can take comfort that we seem to be thinking as nearly parallel as we are in the next step to be taken. I would like to ask if you think it might be wise for us to agree to look into, fairly soon, this matter of claims and blocked accounts. It could produce problems as our trade grows. It could throw some commodities into question; someone who has a claim could take it into the courts. I think this is something our experts ought to get together on because it does offer the possibility of an embarrassing incident which we as a government would be unable to manage because of the courts. You know the structure of our courts; there is nothing we can do there. We would like to avoid embarrassment at this early stage in our trade relations. We [Page 12]would like to reach agreement, however informally, as to the possibility of our experts getting together in Paris or Peking, or anywhere, just to explore the issue to be sure our experts understand the pitfalls and explore the possibilities of getting it cleared up. This is not unrelated to our considering Most Favored Nation treatment in principle. Here I am speaking of the private claims as related to the blocked Chinese accounts, because it is this that could cause trouble with something being thrown into the courts involving commodities and claims. The government claims get us into difficult private questions, and we might mutually want to postpone this aspect of the problem for a while; but the most immediate pitfalls involve these private claims and blocked accounts. But the blocked Chinese accounts are linked to the private claims aspect, so that we would envision as a part of this more immediate problem a joint solution if you are agreeable to it.

Mr. Chang: I quite understand why you put forward this question, because when we discuss the trade problem this claim problem might crop up and it might create an embarrassing situation. But this is quite a specific question, and I haven't had any detailed study on this question because this is quite a complicated one. And as you know, there is the question of the different systems of our countries against a certain historical background which involves the different laws. We think the American claims question is related to the Taiwan problem. It is very difficult to distinguish which claim belongs to our country and which belongs to Taiwan. There might be a claim for something which you think belongs to Taiwan, but actually it belongs to us. It is difficult to sort them out. At least we must ourselves make clear where the problem lies. Only after studying can we say whether there are conditions for the experts to meet and discuss this question. And if there is going to be a meeting between the experts then there is a problem of how—on a governmental basis or on a private basis. So all these questions need to be discussed. We will further study this question and let you know our tentative idea afterward.

Mr. Jenkins: Fine. We would appreciate your giving early attention to it at your convenience, because we want to avoid possible embarrassment here. We are all laymen in these matters, but I am told by our experts they believe the particular problem which could affect our trade can be dealt with short of getting into the more troubling political aspects concerning, for instance, government property and that sort of thing which doubtless we will have to wait on a little while. But I think we might find it helpful and worthwhile to solve the private claims issue in view of our beginning trade.

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Mr. Jenkins: This has been, I think, very helpful indeed; and we appreciate the opportunity to go into these matters. And we will look forward to the use of the channels we have.

Mr. Chang: Thank you very much for spending so much time discussing these matters.

Mr. Jenkins: We certainly appreciate it.

Mr. Chang: So shall we stop here since we have been told we are going to have a picnic at the lake?

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 87, Country Files, Far East, China, PRC Counterpart Talks, 1971-73. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum; presumably drafted by Solomon. Brackets in the source text. The meeting was held in Government Guest House #3.
  2. Topics discussed included the draft agreements on scientific, cultural, and technological matters, people-to-people exchanges, and trade issues.