44. Memorandum of Conversation, Beijing, October 22, 1971, 4:15-8:28 p.m.1 2



  • Prime Minister Chou En-lai, People’s Republic of China
  • Chi P’eng-fei, Acting PRC Foreign Minister
  • Chang Wen-chin, Director, Western Europe and American Department, PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Hsuing Hsiang-hui, Secretary to the Prime Minister (after 6:00 p.m. )
  • Wang Hai-jung, Deputy Chief of Protocol, PRC
  • Tang Wen-sheng and Chi Chao-chu, Chinese Interpreters Chinese Notetakers
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Senior Staff Member, NSC
  • John Holdridge, Senior Staff Member, NSC (after 6:00 p.m. )
  • Alfred Jenkins, State Department (after 6:00 p.m.)

PLACE: Great Hall of the People, Peking

DATE & TIME: October 22, 1971, 4:15 - 8:28 p.m.


  • Korea, Japan, South Asia, Soviet Union, Arms Control

PM Chou: There are even fewer members on your team.

Dr. Kissinger: I am afraid you will want agreement by vote.

PM Chou: That will never happen. We want agreement by consultations. I was afraid that the wind was too great at the Great Wall today.

Dr. Kissinger: It was very impressive.

PM Chou: Did mademoiselle go?

[Page 2]

Matthews: Yes.

PM Chou: Did you catch cold?

Matthews: No, they had given us big coats.

PM Chou: The lady yesterday [Miss Pineau]had a runny nose. Now that it’s getting later it is getting very cool.

Dr. Kissinger: At the Ming tombs it was very warm.

PM Chou: Did you climb to the top? How far?

Dr. Kissinger: The Foreign Minister would not let me go the whole way.

PM Chou: Too windy. Did you take some pictures?

Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t have a camera, but I hope for some of your pictures.

PM Chou: No question about that. So, shall we begin now?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: We hope we will be able to reach a certain stage in our political discussions today. I think the main issues that remain to be discussed are Korea, Japan, and the issue of the subcontinent of Asia. I have heard that your preference is to speak about the questions of relations between the U.S. and Soviet Union, or the Soviet Union, at a more general meeting and we agree and think it will be all right.

Dr. Kissinger: My preference is to discuss the Soviet Union at a more restricted meeting while Japan and Korea I don’t mind discussing at a more general meeting.

PM Chou: Then I was misinformed.

Dr. Kissinger: I expressed myself with my usual lack of clarity. (laughter) At Harvard complicated sentences are considered profound. (laughter)

PM Chou: British style, isn’t it? Is Harvard more like Oxford or Cambridge? In comparison with Yale.

Dr. Kissinger: I would not admit, Mr. Prime Minister, that you can compare Harvard and Yale. (laughter)

[Page 3]

PM Chou: That’s a quarrel between you two [indicating Mr. Lord]. We have only one from our side from Harvard. No one else has studied in the United States. He is outnumbered so don’t mistreat that one [again indicating Mr. Lord].

Dr. Kissinger: Harvard concentrates more on social sciences so it’s not fair to compare. It is probably more similar to Oxford than Cambridge.

PM Chou: We have a piece of news that a U.S. electronic reconnaissance plane is often carrying out reconnaissance over Laos and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It is high altitude, 30,000 meters, a high altitude reconnaissance plane that takes pictures electronically.

In the past there have been planes of this kind that have passed through the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and passed into Chinese air space—a few kilometers into it and back into Vietnam. Our orders are that any military airplane that intrudes into China air space should be fired at. Our radar today found that there were such planes which had gone from Laos into the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in an area quite close to Chinese borders.

So as we have received news of this event today we would like to give it to you for your attention, and it would not be good with either side if such a thing occurs during your visit here. So I have ordered them that if there’s a bit of an intrusion on a very small scale that we should be informed first. We hope that you will also notify your side so that nothing will occur.

Dr. Kissinger: I appreciate your frankness. I will get a message off as soon as I get back to the guest house, calling the attention of Washington to this conversation. I can assure you that no ambiguous event will occur after that message is received.

I would also like to tell the Prime Minister that after my return in July we reviewed those intelligence activities and did away with those that could be construed as having a provocative character. We will review them again, but there are no overflights of the People’s Republic of China authorized. If any should occur, which I do not believe,but if they should, it will be an unauthorized action with which we will deal severely. We would appreciate—we, of course, understand you will take action if there’s [Page 4] an overflight. If for any reason you do not and let us know the details—the time and place and altitude or type of plane—we will take appropriate action. I have enough about this; I don’t need more detail on this. If there should be any others, they are not authorized, but should they occur let us know through our channel and we will take immediate action.

PM Chou: And we will inform you of such things if there is time. For instance, you are here now but if there’s no time —

Dr. Kissinger: I understand. You reserve the right to take action if there’s a flight over China, but if you will tell us if it occurs, we will prevent it’s reoccurrence. In any event, I will look into this question again after I return and make sure there’s no such action. It has already been prohibited, but you can never be sure about every commander.

PM Chou: The area in which such instances happen most is Hainan Island, Kwantung province and the Chinese-Vietnam and Chinese-Laos borders.

Dr. Kissinger: They are all SR-1 high altitude planes.

PM Chou: That is today, because they came very near to our border. We ordered that it should be followed but no action taken immediately.

Dr. Kissinger: I will get a message off when I return to the guest house, and when I return I will again review the whole situation. It’s not our policy to have intrusion over Chinese air space.

PM Chou: I would like to say something on the Korean situation. Perhaps in your preparations you did not take so much attention to this issue, but to us this is an issue that has not yet been settled and it’s now an issue where a new crisis may now arise. The reason is that though a ceasefire has been reached in the Korean war, no new treaty has ever been concluded or no new arrangement. I have already mentioned the situation of the 1954 Geneva Conference. During that conference we made attempts to settle this issue but no results whatsoever were reached. And now in Panmunjom there is a meeting of the two sides of the armistice, and there is also a stretch of the demilitarized area in the zone. There is also a four country group composed on the northern Korean side by Poland and Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland and Sweden on the side of the United States. Taking part in the meetings on the southern side is the U.S. representative as chief, with the South Korean as his deputy. On the northern side the Korean representative is the main representative and the Chinese representative is his deputy. [Page 5] This is a treaty that has not yet reached a status of peace. This is an unstable state of affairs and often there are incursions into one’s territory and other conflicts.

Also every year when the UN meets it also discusses the Korean Question. When those discussions are heard the committee is partial. It doesn’t allow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be represented. Of course, China is not there because China is not a member. There is such a commission in the UN, the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea.

Dr. Kissinger: I know what the Prime Minister is talking about.

PM Chou: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has requested to participate in the discussion in the United Nations and was not allowed to do so, but was only invited to do so with conditions attached. It’s only this year that meetings have been held between South and North Korea to deal with correspondence and visiting between families in North and South Korea. It was held between the Red Cross representatives at Panmunjom.

Dr. Kissinger: I think our discussions in July helped on this matter.

PM Chou: Perhaps, because it was proposed by the South Korean Red Cross. As a result the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea immediately responded to this proposal. Initial meetings were held altogether five times. And then they held preparatory meetings five times up to your arrival. Altogether ten meetings. They reached an agreement that the two sides first meet in Panmunjom and then alternately in Pyongyang and Seoul, the two capitals. Agreement was only reached on the place where the meetings should be held, not on another matter. It will probably be a marathon meeting. This has almost become a law of the meetings. These meetings are a step forward from the previous state of affairs. And then it was proposed by the UN, I believe by the U.S., that discussions should not be held this year but postponed to next year. But the Korean question still exists both on the agenda of the UN and in reality.

Our stand is that the United States military forces should withdraw from Korea because Chinese forces have been gone from North Korea since 1958, as I said before. Of course, the United States has taken out more than one-third of its forces. Of 60,000 it’s withdrawn over 20 000. [Page 6] Of course you paid a certain price because Park Chung-hee had very high demands. There is also the question of what we discussed last time, the mixed troops of Park Chung-hee and the U.S. You said last time they were set up to train South Korean troops to engage in combat on their own.

A more serious fact is that in 1965 the Park Chung-hee government had already concluded a treaty with the Japanese Government. The Japanese Government doesn’t recognize the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and therefore it’s a great possibility that the Japanese militarists may plan to replace the American troops and officers with the troops and officers of Japan. And according to our information from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea there have indeed been officers of self-defense troops in Korea in plainclothes to investigate the work, including engineering work, of the South Korean troops; they have also assisted them. The Japanese militarists take Korea and Taiwan as a springboard for their expansion and this is well known to the world. We are both guarding against Japanese troops replacing U.S. military forces on Taiwan and also the Japanese forces replacing U.S. forces in South Korea. If you are to increase the military strength of the South Korean troops to an even greater extent and more armed conflict should appear after you withdraw, this will greatly affect the relaxation of tensions in the Far East. This is quite similar to what Secretary Laird said when he visited South Korea. Our Korean friends are most tense about this question and this cannot but affect the Chinese Government and people.

In order to save time I would like to read to you the eight points of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with regard to this matter. (Attached at Tab A is the full text. He reads the first point.)

Dr. Kissinger: When were the eight points published?

PM Chou: It wasn’t published in this form.

Dr. Kissinger: You are transmitting them to us?

PM Chou: They are the points given to us by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Dr. Kissinger: For us?

[Page 7]

PM Chou: Yes. They also made their stand public in another form, and also on some domestic issues including the peaceful reunification of Korea. (He reads the additional seven points.)

Because we stand together with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, therefore we have the obligation to transmit these eight points to you. The Korean question is one of the questions related to easing tension in the Far East and should not be excluded. It’s discussed every year in the UN and if not solved it will not benefit the easing of this whole situation.

Among the powder kegs with regard to the Far East are the following questions: one, Vietnam; two, Taiwan; three, Korea. Comparatively speaking, the question of Taiwan can be considered subsidiary to the other two questions because we are separated by an ocean. Chiang Kai-shek also advocates one China and therefore we do not go to Quemoy and Matsu, although we could, and Dulles one time advocated they withdraw from Quemoy and Matsu, but this plan did not materialize and now there is this present situation. Only a big country such as ours could afford to do so. How can you ask the Vietnamese to tolerate such a long split? And how can the Korean people tolerate for a long time a situation of non-unification in their country? And how are they to tolerate a non-equal position in the UN? So if China enters the UN, there will be even more issues. (laughter)

Dr. Kissinger: I did not think life would be easier when China enters the UN. I was under no such illusions. (laughter)

PM Chou: Because you are not in favor of China entering the UN.

Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister knows our views. We believe in the entering of China into the United Nations, and it’s a question of timing for this year.

PM Chou: The main issue is whether the tension in the Far East should be relaxed or should be intensified. That’s the question. Why is it more easy for us to discuss the Taiwan question? Isn’t it strange? Perhaps you don’t feel it’s strange.

[Page 8]

Dr. Kissinger: Are you finished? Let me reply with the frankness with which I always speak to you, Mr. Prime Minister. As the Prime Minister knows, I am personally, the President is personally, dedicated to the betterment of relations between the peoples of the United States and the People’s Republic of China and to the easing of tensions in East Asia. At the same time if the easing of tensions is associated with a whole series of demands about what the United States must do then it takes on the character of a series of unilateral propositions.

We are prepared to discuss in the spirit with which we have discussed the Taiwan problem in order to find a just basis for a long-term relationship. But it’s difficult for us to accept pieces of paper or documents in which every other sentence says the United States must, the United States must, the United States must. This is not a basis for anyone to deal with us. Of course, the People’s Republic has never done that. I respect the Prime Minister for standing by his friends, and we have expected nothing else. But I would like to repeat what I said yesterday, that it would greatly speed up the solution of outstanding problems if some of China’s friends could learn from China some of the largeness of spirit that has governed our negotiations.

We discussed yesterday the problem of Vietnam and unless the Prime Minister has any additional points or questions, I will not return to it. But that is a problem that is on its way to a solution. The only issue is the speed with which it will be achieved.

PM Chou: We were discussing Vietnam only yesterday. We did not mention the matters of Cambodia and Laos. We only touched upon the matter of Cambodia in passing and did not go into the subject, and it’s a matter of the sovereignty of Cambodia.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand but I will leave that aside for the time being unless the Prime Minister wants to discuss these. I will return to Korea, with his agreement. (Chou nods)

We cannot discuss on the basis of a document which says our ally is a puppet government, and other objectionable phrases in this document which I will not enumerate. But let me leave the form and turn to the substance. It’s true that I had not thought in detail about the problem of Korea prior [Page 9] to the Prime Minister’s conversation with me in July. It is also true that the contacts that have begun have not been uninfluenced by our conversations. But, of course, it is extremely difficult for us to advise our friends to go further towards a government that calls them a puppet. So if the two Koreas are to talk with each other they must do so on a basis of equality.

PM Chou: Then the first thing is that the UN must treat them equally.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand your point and that can be an ultimate objective. Let’s leave out the word “ultimate.”

PM Chou: For instance, the two Red Cross Societies meeting recently were on an equal basis. Neither called the other a puppet Red Cross Society. That proves there is progress.

Dr. Kissinger: I was referring to this document.

PM Chou: The wording is easy to revise but that doesn’t change the substance.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me talk about the substance. Our attitude towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… I would like to tell the Prime Minister something with which he may not be familiar. We received a communication from them early this year. I don’t remember the date. I will let you know. I think it was January. It was through the Romanian Vice President who was travelling in this part of the world. And we returned a very conciliatory reply which has never been answered. We are not complaining about this. We are simply pointing out our attitude is not intrinsically hostile. This is an exchange about which Mr. Jenkins and his colleagues have not been informed. So you were wise to move Korea after all into a restricted session.

Let me turn to the substance. I am a great believer in setting an objective first and then working out the details in relationship to that objective. If our objective is a more permanent legal basis for the existing situation in Korea, we are prepared to discuss with you how to bring this about. We are not interested in having a legal basis that [Page 10] makes it possible to reopen hostilities. If your objective is to bring about a reduction of American forces in Korea, I have already told you last time, without making this an international undertaking, this is our policy in any event.

PM Chou: I would like to add a word. That is if your ultimate aim is to withdraw U.S. troops in South Korea, is it also your aim to replace them with Japanese troops? It’s not so, is it?

Dr. Kissinger: The Prime Minister is always one step ahead of me. I had a rhetorical flourish for that point. (laughter) It’s not our objective to replace with Japanese self-defense forces and indeed the same general principle I mentioned yesterday about sending Japanese self-defense forces to Taiwan would apply to sending them to Korea. The United States is opposed to the military expansion of Japan.

PM Chou: We attach great importance to that statement.

Dr. Kissinger: In this connection I would like to tell the Prime Minister that after our discussion in July I looked into the problem of Japanese officers visiting Korea, and I regret to say that he was right on some points. I have a list of Japanese officers who have visited Korea this year. And we are keeping an eye on that situation. I was not aware of that when we first met. (Chou nods)

I must also tell the Prime Minister in candor that what we can do depends importantly on where we think we are going. If the objective is to bring about stability on the Korean peninsula, to avert the danger of war, and to lessen the expansion of other powers into that area, then I think Chinese and American interests could be quite parallel. But if the objective is to undermine the existing government in South Korea and make it easier for the North Koreans to attack South Korea or to bring pressure on South Korea, then, of course, a different situation exists. So we have no problem about cooperating with you in bringing about a more permanent legal status for the Korean Peninsula, and while it’s a delicate matter on how to do it I believe we can reach an understanding on that point, but you also must keep in mind the concerns that I have expressed.

[Page 11]

PM Chou: But since the situation and the atmosphere in the United Nations is such, and the UN takes such a position of opposition against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, then the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cannot but think of its own self-defense. And it cannot but be uneasy about the situation in South Korea because South Korea can at any time expand out of its boundaries.

Dr. Kissinger: I can assure the Prime Minister that while the United States forces are in South Korea we are not cooperating with any attempt by South Korea to cross the existing demarcation line.

I will also tell the Prime Minister that we have started a study in our government on the subject of UNCURK. I am not in a position to tell you about it, but we have tried to take into account what we know to be your views. But if you are concerned with the problem of equality I think we can have meaningful discussions. If the attempt is to elaborate a new basis for a legal equality in the opposite direction, then of course it is not possible for us. But we recognize that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a fact.

PM Chou: Could these three points just now mentioned by you, are they to be affirmed—that is, at a time when U.S. troops are in South Korea, at a time before they have withdrawn or at a time when they are about to withdraw, you will not allow Japanese forces to enter?

Dr. Kissinger: That’s correct.

PM Chou: The second point is that the United States will finally withdraw their troops from South Korea and before that you will not allow South Korean troops to go across the demarcation line for aggression.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me be precise. Our present plan, which is not public and therefore it will be treated as a confidential communication, our present plan is to withdraw a substantial precentage of our forces from South Korea in the next years. If the tensions in the Far East continue to diminish, the number of forces in Korea can be expected to be very [Page 12] small. But in any event I can assure the Prime Minister that in the conditions that he described and in any other foreseeable conditions we will do our utmost to prevent the expansion of South Korean military forces across the existing lines, and we do not believe it’s possible if we oppose it. We do not believe that the United States Treaty with Korea covers the question of South Korean aggression against its neighbors.

PM Chou: The third point is as you just now said, that on the part of the United States it would recognize internationally, including in the UN, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a lawful entity on your part, that is, the situation like one that exists in the UN cannot continue.

Dr. Kissinger: This is a complicated process. We can accept this as an objective but not as an immediate policy, and provided the Republic of Korea is also recognized.

PM Chou: Is there also a representative of them in UNCURK?

Dr. Kissinger: Is there a representative of South Korea in UNCURK? I believe so. I will check.

PM Chou: I remember there is.

Dr. Kissinger: There is. There clearly is.

PM Chou: These points were put forward by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the points handed over to you.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t like the grammar. And I don’t like the adjectives either.

PM Chou: The grammar can be changed. We can do that. The translators can do it for you.

Dr. Kissinger: How about adjectives like “puppet government?”

PM Chou: I think that can be changed. They don’t call each other the puppet Red Cross Society.

Dr. Kissinger: What is the question the Prime Minister is asking me about these 8 points? [Page 13] PM Chou: We are telling you of the stand of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The stand is not the nature of adjectives or grammar. You can see from it that their stand is that they desire lawful status in the international arena. And because they do not have such a legal status they are, of course, indignant and such a feeling is bound to be in the wording.

Dr. Kissinger: Leaving aside the 8 points, some of which are irrelevant to the problem—I don’t believe we have to discuss with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the problems of Taiwan and Indochina or if we deal with the three points the Prime Minister puts forward, I believe that the United States and the People’s Republic of China can pursue a parallel course. We would like a recognized peaceful status in the Korean peninsula. We will not support the expansion of Japanese military forces into Korea. We will not support Japanese expansion there or anywhere else. We will not support South Korean expansionism. We believe that if the two states now existing in Korea are prepared to deal with each other on an equal basis peace can be brought to the Korean Peninsula and that is why we encouraged the contacts of the Red Cross after my conversation with you.

PM Chou: I do not like to use the term “the two states in Korea,” because that would be equal to saying that Korea will be permanently divided into two, regardless whether the Korean people should wish for unification and should be able to do so peacefully.

Dr. Kissinger: [reaching for a folder]I am even using a red folder in Peking.

PM Chou: But mine isn’t red.

Dr. Kissinger: We are having a bad influence on one another. You prefer what phrase?

PM Chou: One objection is the UNCURK in the UN.

Dr. Kissinger: I have told the Prime Minister we are studying this program, and I will give him some tentative conclusions through our channel before the President’s visit, or at the latest when the President is here. We recognize this problem, and I will be a bad negotiator and admit that there is merit in the criticism in what has been said to us. [Page 14] PM Chou: The second question is why should the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea be blocked from attending the meetings of that commission by conditions attached to the invitation?

Dr. Kissinger: This is part of the general problem.

PM Chou: Because if the Korean question is to be discussed, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should be allowed, as one party in the matter, to attend without conditions.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand.

PM Chou: As to how the final peaceful unification of the Korean issue should be finally reached we have not studied further, but it should be unified because it is a peninsula of only 40 million people. This issue has remained there for 17 years now. Of course, we need some time to find a way out.

Dr. Kissinger: If we can agree on the objective as we described, then I believe the point the Prime Minister raised about participation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in UNCURK has a great deal of merit.

(The Jenkins/Holdridge meeting is reported to have broken up and Jenkins relays the message that it was his understanding that they should join Dr. Kissinger and the Prime Minister. Dr. Kissinger says he would like it, if the Prime Minister agrees. The Prime Minister says that is fine, but that he would like first to finish this part of the discussion.)

Dr. Kissinger: What other subjects were you going to suggest?

PM Chou: Japan and the subcontinent.

Dr. Kissinger: Let’s have them in.

PM Chou: After we have finished this we will ask them in. We will have them rest awhile. Mr. Hsuing will accompany them.

[Page 15]

Dr. Kissinger: Certainly.

PM Chou: Our stand is that it’s not for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be a member of the Commission—that is impossible because they are not a member of the United Nations—but that UNCURK should be abolished.

Dr. Kissinger: We are looking into that question.

PM Chou: On the other hand our stand is that when the question of Korea is discussed in the UN they should have the right to participate. We think the position is reasonable. But if we were in their place, that is if it were in regard to China, we should not have such a request. But we are not them. They are a peninsula, and China is a big country, and we can do without the United Nations if it doesn’t come for us. So on this matter we can take two different positions, but because we are their friend we should represent their view on this matter.

Dr. Kissinger: How does the Prime Minister think we should handle the Korean question between our two countries?

PM Chou: Don’t you say the time is not ripe for this? If you are interested, we will put forward our views for exchange.

Dr. Kissinger: The time is not right. Are you content to leave the issue at this exchange or would you like a continuing discussion?

PM Chou: We don’t want to end it here. It is an issue and opinions should be exchanged.

Dr. Kissinger: Do I understand that on general objectives there is some agreement even though we differ about specific methods?

PM Chou: Not only the specific methods, but we haven’t gone into the whole of the problem, for instance, how to help to bring about the peaceful reunification of Korea. We haven’t exchanged methods on that either. What we are agreed on is only that ultimately the United States’ forces should be withdrawn from South Korea. As for when that should be done, that is your question and also a question worth an exchange of views between our two sides.

[Page 16]

Dr. Kissinger: Also it’s my belief that the two parties on the peninsula should work as equals and neither has the exclusive right to unify the country.

PM Chou: It’s only the Korean people that have the right to reunify their country, and neither party can call itself the representative of the whole Korean people. The immediate question is that the United States has no intention to let the Japanese self-defense troops replace it in South Korea. That’s wha you just now said.

Dr. Kissinger: In the context of all other statements that is quite correct. But if military pressure should start from the north, then one cannot be sure of the consequences.

PM Chou: You mean if the north attacks the south?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: If that should occur, it will be prepared to undertake even greater burdens.

Dr. Kissinger: The north?

PM Chou: The north. Of course, we will not make provocations for foreign forces, but we must also be prepared for outside forces to attack us from all directions.

Dr. Kissinger: Under the conditions we described, if the north does not plan to expand into the south, and the south does not plan to expand into the north, which we believe, then we will oppose the movement of Japanese self-defense forces into Korea.

PM Chou: All these issues are mutual.

Dr. Kissinger: Exactly.

PM Chou: There is only one point we did not discuss. That is how the peaceful reunification of Korea will be brought about. We can discuss this later.

Dr. Kissinger: We have no concrete idea now.

[Page 17]

PM Chou: It has been delayed for 18 years. The Vietnam issue was delayed for 17 years. But the Chinese question was delayed for 22 years, and it didn’t matter, but our two countries should sympathize with the two smaller countries. Don’t you think so?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. I think we should both use our influence with our friends to keep them from military adventures.

PM Chou: Didn’t you propose the meetings of the Red Cross Societies? Maybe that is a good way. But now they are also being dragged out with no conclusion. So the era of negotiations can also be an era of dragging out things.

Dr. Kissinger: Except between us.

PM Chou: That should not be any more. If they continue to drag on, they will not be solved.

Dr. Kissinger: That’s not our position.

PM Chou: But we tolerate your dragging out, because you have not taken action in Taiwan.

Dr. Kissinger: We have taken some action.

PM Chou: We can tolerate that, but other nations wouldn’t. Can you find others? I don’t think so. Including the states of Latin America.

Dr. Kissinger: The states of Latin America are not known for their patience. Mr. Prime Minister, I think you have approached the problem of our relationship with great wisdom and I have said so often in the United States.

PM Chou: The great wisdom is represented by Chairman Mao-Tsetung and it is a summary of his experience in past struggles. He doesn’t agree that this is foresight.

Dr. Kissinger: It has also not been easy for us. It has also been a major change in our policy, and the Prime Minister pointed that out to Mr. Reston—to his displeasure.

[Page 18]

PM Chou: He doesn’t understand that, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Dr. Kissinger: Before Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Holdridge join us, there is one subject I want to mention. If the vote for Secretary General should come up before you have joined the UN, and if there is a candidate who is objectionable to you and you let us know, we will take it very seriously into account.

PM Chou: We have not studied that problem.

Dr. Kissinger: There is no need to reply now.

PM Chou: We have absolutely no knowledge of such things, to speak honestly. There have been a number of countries who are telling us whom they will propose for the Secretary General.

Dr. Kissinger: I know the candidates, but I didn’t know if there were some to whom you violently objected.

PM Chou: It wouldn’t do to let Sygman Rhee be Secretary General.

Dr. Kissinger: No South Korean. That is what I learned in the previous session.

PM Chou: Or South Vietnamese. I don’t think it would be all right for you to put it forward either because if you put it forward it would be impossible for you to continue your negotiations. Similarly, it would be bad for you to put forward Sirik Matak.

Dr. Kissinger: But among the serious candidates, like the man from Finland and the man from Ceylon. Perhaps the Prime Minister wants to think about this or not respond at all.

PM Chou: The best thing would be not to reply.

Dr. Kissinger: All right.

PM Chou: Anyway, I should say that it would be very unseemly to nominate anyone from South Korea, Cambodia, or South Vietnam. I do not think it would be suitable to nominate a Japanese either.

[Page 19]

Dr. Kissinger: I understand. A neutral person.

PM Chou: Relatively neutral. Mr. Hammarskjold did something. It’s a pity he has passed away.

Dr. Kissinger: A very complicated man.

PM Chou: But how can one deal with things in the United Nations if they are not complicated?

Dr. Kissinger: One has to be very complicated or very simple.

PM Chou: There is something I would like to ask you. You mentioned the Soviet Union should be discussed at a restricted meeting.

Dr. Kissinger: It is not essential. If there is a point, I will leave it out and tell someone from Protocol, and we will discuss it for a half hour sometime.

(Break, 5:55 p.m. - 6:05 p.m. Messrs Jenkins, Holdridge and Hsuing join the meeting.)

PM Chou: After the meeting I will let them give you a paper on the activities of your reconnaissance planes on our border and also along our coastal areas. Let us have some discussion on Japan. What are your views on Japan now?

Dr. Kissinger: Why doesn’t the Prime Minister, who has thought so much about the problem, begin with his concerns and perhaps I should respond to him.

PM Chou: At the present level of the economic development of Japan, it is difficult for her to put brakes on that. And so inevitably that gives rise to contradictions overseas, like some large groups of developed and also developing countries. For instance, there was a question of a big country when President Nixon announced the new economic policy that affected the economic development of Japan. On this it appears you [Page 20] are finding a way to solve these problems, but nevertheless they exist and are increasing. That’s one aspect of the question.

Also, there is the question of contradictions with the developing countries. And so the question arises as to whether the help to developing countries will help them or on the contrary, deepen their colonization of these countries. According to the press, present Japanese policy is to deepen their colonization of these countries. And then there is another aspect of this question. That is another big power wonders whether to bring in Japanese investors to help bring in raw material and help it develop some of its markets.

Dr. Kissinger: You mean your northern neighbor?

PM Chou: That’s right. And so the negotiations are continuing with them, and so the future of Japan is in flux. As for us, we always hope that Japan, which has come through two World Wars and particularly after the lessons of the Second World War, would take the road of peace and neutrality. But that is merely our hope, and it is probably the hope of a substantial number of the Japanese people.

But if the Japanese government continues its policy of capitalistic competition, it is bound sooner or later to give rise to trouble. Because if one wants to develop, one should allow others to develop. So if their present policies in economic development are not changed, then the economic expansion will bring military expansion even if they use the name of self-defense. You are an expert in this field and also your colleague, Mr. Reischauer, saw this.

Dr. Kissinger: Although he is very critical of us now. (laughter)

PM Chou: He is using a different tone than yours.

Dr. Kissinger: He thinks we are losing Japanese friendship by my visit here in July.

PM Chou: That’s not necessarily the case. It depends on how one interprets friendship. If the purpose is to provoke a Third World War, then it is development in another direction. But if the aim is to relax [Page 21] the tension in the Far East, then we should consider the issue of Japan. After the conclusion of the Second World War, although Japan had committed aggression against China for over 50 years, we have not adopted a policy of revenge. On the contrary, we adopted a policy of peace and friendship towards Japan, but for that one must have mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. Even so can there be peace and friendship between our two countries. And this view is held among the broad masses of Japanese people as well as the politicians of Japan.

But the Japanese authorities are often encouraged by some other quarters to be more aggressive. That is because Japan was benefitted after the Second World War. It did not have to pay compensation, and it made war profits off of wars in other lands. And during the past 25 years and more it need not spend much on its own national defense.

The situation now is different. Its feathers have grown on its wings and it is about to take off. So with the development of the economy it is bound to spend more for defense in its Fourth Defense Plan, which I mentioned to you the last time. Once Japan does take the road of military expansion, it is hard to say now to what degree it will develop.

And so if we want to relax tension in the Far East we should explain views frankly on this question. We do not want to be hostile with Japan. We want peace and friendship. We are not without ground in saying this. Because not only China is not the China of the 30s or 40s; nor is Japan the Japan of the 30s or 40s, and great changes have taken place among the Japanese people. So if in dealing with this matter, if the expansionist policies of the Japanese government can be repudiated and a policy of peace encouraged, then this state of affairs can be improved. As for their own problems, their ultimate settlement must be brought about by them.

Dr. Kissinger: What does the Prime Minister mean by a policy of “peace and friendship?”

PM Chou: Well, that would entail not recognizing the Taiwan authorities but recognizing only the People’s Republic of China; of giving up all ambitions against Taiwan and Korea as two wings of outward expansion; [Page 22] and respecting the independence and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China. We are very clear about history. It is very interesting when we look at those politicians and statesmen who have come here that were former foreign ministers and prime ministers.

Dr. Kissinger: They overwhelm one with emissaries. PM Chou: Also you too?

Dr. Kissinger: I receive so many emissaries from Japan I don’t know who speaks for whom.

PM Chou: You too have that experience.

Dr. Kissinger: And they have one common quality. They speak with Japanese press when they return. Is that your experience?

PM Chou: Yes, over 20 years and more. They have never stopped. (laughter) So we would like to hear your views with regard to Japan.

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, I will give you our frank assessment. There is not a total unanimity of view in our government, but let me give you the White House view which over a period of time tends to dominate. If I can begin, according to my habit, with a philosophical point. If I can contrast China with Japan as a society, China by tradition has a universal outlook but Japan has had a tribal outlook.

PM Chou: They are more narrow. It is also quite strange. They are an island mass. Britain too is an island mass.

Dr. Kissinger: They are different because Japan believes that their society is so different that they can adjust to anything and preserve their national essence. Therefore, the Japanese are capable of sudden and explosive changes. They went from feudalism to emperor worship in two to three years. They went from emperor worship to democracy in three months.

[Page 23]

PM Chou: Now they are going to again revert to emperor worship.

Dr. Kissinger: It depends on how they assess the balance of power in the world.

PM Chou: Have you seen the Emperor?

Dr. Kissinger: In Alaska, yes. I explained it to your Foreign Minister this morning. (laughter)

PM Chou: Very complicated.

Dr. Kissinger: The Chief of Protocol had a nervous breakdown afterwards. Very complicated. Not a very profound conversation, Mr. Prime Minister. I am not revealing any secrets when I tell you that.

PM Chou: I understand.

Dr. Kissinger: The Japanese have no sensibility for the attitudes of other people because of this cultural concentration on themselves. I say this because this peculiarity of Japan imposes special responsibilities on all who have to deal with them. You as well as us. I believe, and I have always believed, that those Americans who thought that it was possible to keep building up Japan and then they would pursue a policy we preferred with greater resources were extremely naive.

I agree with the Prime Minister that economic development produces its own imperatives. And I agree in part with the Prime Minister that the Japanese method of economic development illustrates its tribal character because its method has the objective of tying countries to its policy. So I have no illusions about Japan.

On the other hand, I believe also that those countries which believe from another perspective that they can tie Japan to their policy by opposite methods will suffer the same disillusionment. For example—before I get to this—I think there is in the present situation a great temptation for everyone, especially for the People’s Republic and also for the Soviet Union. Japan has been made uncertain in its orientation by our meeting in July. Therefore, I have noticed that the Soviet Union has made a special effort to try to move it in its direction. And the objective consequence of [Page 24] some of the moves of the People’s Republic could be to attempt to move Japan in its direction. For example, The People’s Daily, in an editorial of September 18, warned Japan that the United States could betray her at any moment. It is my frank opinion that such competition can only encourage Japan’s nationalism. On the one hand, it will give an impetus to the forces that have supported the old policy, but in the long term it will lead to a Japan that attempts to play a balance of power politics in the Pacific.

It is from this point of view that I would like to comment about the Prime Minister’s statement that he would like to see neutrality for Japan. It is hard to know what neutrality for the third largest industrialized nation, with 120 million people, can mean. In history there have been only two kinds of neutrality: those who have been guaranteed by other countries like Belgium, or those who declared themselves neutral and protected themselves with their own strength, like Switzerland and Sweden. It is those countries which declare themselves neutral and protect themselves by their own military strength that always have large armies. Switzerland and Sweden have larger military forces for their size than any other country in Europe.

A Japan which defends itself with its own resources will be an objective danger to all countries around it because it will be so much more powerful. Therefore, I believe that its present relationship with the U.S. is actually a restraint on Japan. If we wanted to pursue a cynical policy, we would cut Japan loose and encourage it to stand on its own feet, because this would cause so much tension between Japan and China, and we could come between them. That would be very shortsighted. Either you or we would be the victim.

So it is important that we understand each other about Japan, and that we both show restraint vis-a-vis Japan. Those Americans who believe that Japan can be an obedient extension of American policy in the Pacific are naive. The Japanese have their own objectives, and they are made in Tokyo and not Washington. It is an illusion made by people for whom history started in 1945 who say it is the other way. But also it is dangerous for others to try to use Japan against the United States, because both these policies have a tendency to exalt Japan.

So let me repeat to you concretely what I have already said in other contexts about American policy. First, we are opposed to the nuclear [Page 25] rearmament of Japan, no matter what may be said by officials who have no authority to say these things. Besides, they have since maintained they have never said it.

Secondly, we are in favor of keeping the conventional rearmament of Japan to limits which are adequate for the defense of the four Japanese islands and for nothing else.

We will oppose the extension of Japanese military power to Taiwan, Korea, or elsewhere as I have pointed out to you in other meetings.

And we recognize that the problem of the economic development of Japan is one that concerns the whole world at this moment and not only Japan itself.

Those are our national principles, but to be effective I can only repeat that they require a restraint on all sides.

PM Chou: If you say you do not want a nuclear armed Japan, does that mean you would give Japan a nuclear protective umbrella because they can use that to threaten others?

Dr. Kissinger: They can? How?

PM Chou: Because they will feel they have as their allies a big power so that they can expand economically with their military forces following.

Dr. Kissinger: It is very difficult to talk about hypothetical situations, but in any military conflict which would be produced by an attempt by Japan to extend, I doubt very seriously that the nuclear umbrella would apply. The nuclear umbrella applies primarily to a nuclear attack on the Japanese islands. It stands to reason we are no more likely to use nuclear weapons for Japan than we are for ourselves; in fact, less likely. But the Japanese have the ability to produce nuclear weapons very quickly.

PM Chou: That’s possible.

Dr. Kissinger: If we were to withdraw, their peaceful nuclear energy program gives them enough plutonium so they could easily build nuclear weapons. So the alternative is really a Japanese nuclear program which would be very much less desirable, and which we oppose.

[Page 26]

PM Chou: Do you think you are capable of limiting the Japanese self-defense strength?

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. Prime Minister, I do not want to assert things of which I am not sure. The tendencies that he describes do exist in Japan. I believe that in our present relationship we have a better opportunity to limit the self-defense forces of Japan than if it can be claimed that Japan has been betrayed and therefore the nationalism reasserts itself. It makes no sense for the United States to have fought World War II to prevent the physical domination of Asia by Japan in order to encourage it 25 years later. It is my personal belief, because we have not addressed this question as a government, that as the Prime Minister suggests, if Japan should have a massive rearmament program, then the traditional relationship between China and the United States would reassert itself, and we would like to discuss very seriously the situation that would exist.

So to sum up, we will do our best to limit armament to defend the four islands, but failing that, we will do what we can with other countries to stop the physical expansion of Japan.

PM Chou: I could not quite understand this point, because at the present time another big power is trying to win over Japan and enable Japan’s economy to have a bigger military. Therefore, why is it not good to put forward to the Japanese people that they should follow peace and neutrality?

Dr. Kissinger: Obviously, I do not mind Japan following a policy of peace. I believe that the objective result of what Japan will call neutrality will be heavily armed; it will be technically neutral but so was Japan before. Besides, that other power specializes in the shortsighted and hasn’t brought off a big project in a long time. What have they to offer except petty irritation of their neighbors and of us?

PM Chou: Well, that power economically speaking may be able to satisfy some of the appetites of the Japanese, but not very big.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t think so.

PM Chou: Couldn’t she even satisfy some of Japan’s desires?

Dr. Kissinger: I frankly would doubt it. I think when they confront some of the Japanese economic methods they will pull back.

[Page 27]

PM Chou: Maybe you know more about this than I do.

Dr. Kissinger: First of all, Japan would have to reorient its whole economic structure in order to do this on a large scale. And it would be extremely dangerous for the Soviet Union to whet Japan’s appetites for Siberia.

PM Chou: That’s true. That’s what I mean. They would whet their appetite and that would take some time and also must risk something. And so the Japanese monopoly capitalists must consider something different.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. Both sides will play with it, but neither will be able to reorient themselves this completely, in my opinion.

PM Chou: That’s right. Probably during a certain period of time, if the Soviet Union continues in this way, it will lose more. So under those circumstances why is it not good to encourage Japan to follow the plan of peace and neutrality? Because it shows no revenge, and every time we test nuclear missiles we say they will not be used for war, and so there is no reason for them to develop their appetites in this direction. I understand what you mean. Japan is a wild house without U.S. control, here, there and everywhere. Is it possible to control them with her economy to such an extent?

Dr. Kissinger: Not completely, but in military aspects, which concern you, there is more possibility than under your arrangements. As for the nuclear umbrella, we don’t have to have a treaty with Japan to extend it. If we want to defend Japan in case of attack we can do it. In the nuclear age a country defends another not because of a treaty but because its national interest is at stake. So we don’t need the treaty for ourselves. Japan is not doing much for us militarily. If we had aggressive designs in the Far East, we wouldn’t need Japan. We wouldn’t need our bases in Japan. We can do it elsewhere.

PM Chou: But that is not what Secretary Laird said in Japan. He was giving them encouragement.

Dr. Kissinger: Secretary Laird said he never made such statements, and he wouldn’t tell a lie. (laughter) After my return to America, he officially said he never made such statements.

[Page 28]

PM Chou: With regard to the question of Japan you have your view and we have ours. Let us see how it develops.

Dr. Kissinger: But we have certain parallel interests in Japan.

PM Chou: Yes, it would not be good to have a revival of Japanese militarism, but there is the question of Japan developing its economy to its present level. We cannot say that you haven’t fattened Japan to its present extent.

Dr. Kissinger: It is essentially true. But now it’s there, we must decide what to do about it on both sides of the Pacific. We cannot be fatuous optimists, and you also must look at the situation in the context of the present.

PM Chou: Japan had already been fed into such a fattened state and that was particularly emphasized by your President’s speech on the 6th of July. That was a most realistic statement. The question now is that the broad masses of Japanese people demand the disbandment of bases on Japan. What do you think will be the role of these bases in Japan, including Okinawa?

Dr. Kissinger: Whenever the Japanese really want us to withdraw our forces from Japan, we will withdraw them. We are not doing this for ourselves primarily. But I don’t think you should rejoice when that day happens, because some day you will regret it just as we today regret how we built up Japan economically.

PM Chou: That is two different matters. Because in withdrawing your forces that can only be done under an attitude of friendship to Japan and not hostility.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

PM Chou: You know you do not approve of the Soviet Union sending its forces into Czechoslovakia so how can you place forces on fcreign soil?

Dr. Kissinger: We did not send our forces into Japan. If the Japan government asks us to withdraw, we will of course do it. If Japan asks us to abrogate the defense treaty, then within one year we will withdraw them. They will not stay longer than they want. Japanese forces have nothing to do with America, but Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia are there to impose a government on the people of Czechoslovakia. So there is a complete difference.

[Page 29]

PM Chou: In the past yours, too, was an occupation army but that was because of the war.

Dr. Kissinger: I told the Foreign Minister a joke about Czechoslovakia which he can tell you.

PM Chou: He didn’t tell it to me. But the people of Okinawa don’t look upon the situation in that manner because their administration is ruled by you.

Dr. Kissinger: Not after the reversion of Okinawa when it will be put on the same status as the Japanese islands.

PM Chou: [text not declassified]

Dr. Kissinger: [text not declassified]

PM Chou: [text not declassified]

Dr. Kissinger: [text not declassified]

PM Chou: [text not declassified]

Dr. Kissinger: [text not declassified]

PM Chou: [text not declassified]

Dr. Kissinger: [text not declassified]

PM Chou: So that is all about Japan this time, because we discussed it a lot last time. Anyway, you have fattened Japan a lot in these past years.

Dr. Kissinger: This is true.

PM Chou: Then about the South Asian subcontinent. There is a danger of a major crisis brewing out there. But it can be prevented. What is your view?

[Page 30]

Dr. Kissinger: Our view is…

PM Chou: You know about the letter Kosygin sent to President Yahya? Dr. Kissinger: No, when?

PM Chou: October 7. Maybe you haven’t learned about it yet.

Dr. Kissinger: All I know is that the Soviet Union claimed it urged restraint on both sides.

PM Chou: It was you who suggested both sides withdraw a further distance. Dr. Kissinger: As I told you.

PM Chou: Pakistan accepted, but it is not the method of the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union is threatening Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger: I have not seen the text of the letter.

PM Chou: We just learned about this recently. What is your estimate? You said on your arrival you thought there was danger.

Dr. Kissinger: My estimate is that at first the flood of refugees caused a problem for India. They had a reasonable complaint at the beginning that the flood of refugees would upset the balance in Bengal. Since then, and we have responded by making available—over half of all assistance given to the refugees in India comes from the United States—we have given nearly $300 million for the refugees.

PM Chou: How much did the Soviet Union? Dr. Kissinger: Much less. Less than $100 million. Maybe $50 - 60 million is my recollection. It’s much less.

On the other hand, I read the book by Maxwell that the Prime Minister recommended to me last time, and it is our view, certainly at the White House, that the Indians are applying essentially the same tactics to that situation as they did to you.

PM Chou: That is their tradition.

[Page 31]

Dr. Kissinger: It is our judgment that the Indians see in this situation no longer a legal problem of East Pakistan but an opportunity to settle the whole problem of Pakistan which they have never accepted. Their strategy in doing this is to force so abrupt a change in the situation in East Pakistan, and by such methods, that it will weaken the fabric of West Pakistan. And they are encouraged in this tendency by what they believe to be the support of some outside countries.

PM Chou: Quite a big encouragement.

Dr. Kissinger: As far as the policy of the United States is concerned, we are the only major western country that has not condemned Pakistan. It is only because of us, and I may say over the opposition of the pro-Indian element of our government, that the consortium hasn’t cut off aid to Pakistan. And we will bring about now a $90 million debt relief for Pakistan. And we have in the form of relief made available $250 million of other funds.

We are totally opposed to Indian military action against Pakistan. I do not normally see ambassadors, but I have warned the Indian ambassador on behalf of the President that if there was an attack by India we will cut off all economic aid to India. We have told the Russians of our view, and they have told us they are trying to restrain the situation, but I am not sure that I believe them. We believe that there is a good chance that India will either attack or provoke the Pakistanis to attack by driving the Pakistanis into a desperate action in the next month or two. We told President Yahya that I would discuss this with you when I was here, and I simply want you to know we are totally opposed to it, and we are ready to listen to any proposal you will like to make.

We have urged President Yahya to withdraw his forces some distance from the borders and also to make some political offer in order to overcome the propaganda that is so systematically made against her and in order to support herein the United Nations and elsewhere.

Mrs. Gandhi is supposed to come to the United States November 4 and 5, and if she comes and if there is no war by then, the President will speak to her in the strongest possible terms. We would be very grateful for your views.

PM Chou: We will like to make a further study of this matter before telling you. Because we hadn’t known until quite recently this letter from Kosygin to President Yahya which has the nature of an ultimatum.

[Page 32]

Dr. Kissinger: Really?

PM Chou: I have not studied it because I just learned it some time ago. When Marshal Tito went to India he went as a mediator, but he was persuaded by Mrs. Gandhi.

Dr. Kissinger: I saw that.

PM Chou: As Madame Gandhi had already visited Moscow and also this visit by Tito, it may further add to her miscalculations. So maybe we can discuss tomorrow or the day after.

Dr. Kissinger: It will be helpful to determine our actions also.

PM Chou: We from the East and you from the West have the most to do with East Pakistan, and we understand best the traditions of India. After having read the book by Maxwell you also believe it is the traditional policy of India—she doesn’t agree the Kashmir problem is solved and doesn’t believe in the existence of Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger: We believe she will try to destroy East Pakistan. We have no national interest in East Pakistan. We want it to reflect the will of the people. We have no interest whether it stays with Pakistan or not. We have made many proposals to India by which we will separate the problem of refugees from the political evolution of East Pakistan and which will not prejudge the situation. But India has kept making demands which they know President Yahya will not accept and which would force a solution in so short a time frame that it will have the effect of destroying the structure of West Pakistan also. That’s the nature of the present problem.

PM Chou: And to add to that the desire of the Soviet Union to exploit the situation and contradictions in Asia, so as to give it a free hand in Europe. This is a very stupid way of thinking.

Dr. Kissinger: Gratitude is not the outstanding quality of India, as Moscow will learn. (laughter)

PM Chou: That’s so because the Soviet policies have not been to really help the people gain national independence. Let’s go to the Soviet Union. I would like to hear your views.

[Page 33]

Dr. Kissinger: With respect to the Soviet Union, we have, of course, kept you scrupulously informed about all our activities. As you know, we had talked to the Soviet Union about a summit before my visit to Peking. And as I told you then, when certain conditions were met we would accept it. But I have kept you informed about those activities and those moves, the various attempts to see if we will go to Moscow first.

I must say the visit to Peking has not changed the direction of Soviet policy, but it has changed their manners somewhat. We have a number of concrete issues with the Soviet Union: the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and various issues in Europe such as Berlin which has been settled. At the moment the Soviet Union is pressing very hard for our agreement to a European Security Conference.

PM Chou: In the final days of the negotiations on the West Berlin question the Soviet Union gave up very rapidly all the things they insisted on in the past. The concessions they made were bigger than those you estimated to us.

Dr. Kissinger: Estimated when?

PM Chou: Last summer. On the 16th of August you estimated that it would be probably the purely technical problems that would be settled on Berlin. But even before the settlement of these purely technical questions Kosygin went personally to Berlin and the result was a complete collapse. It went very quickly.

Dr. Kissinger: I meant to convey that the settlement was on the access procedures and matters of this kind. This is what is agreed to. I am not familiar with any other concessions. What other concessions does the Prime Minister think the Soviet Union made?

PM Chou: That’s purely technical. That is the word you used. By their concession it was equivalent to their recognizing West Berlin as part of West Germany, which they haven’t before. And they embarrassed East Germany; they will say they were excessive in giving promises to West Berlin.

Dr. Kissinger: It is true that the agreement was better from our point of view than we thought six months ago. But the basic reason in our judgment is that the Soviet Union has a great desire to free itself in Europe so it can concentrate on other areas.

[Page 34]

PM Chou: Is it possible for them to free themselves?

Dr. Kissinger: It is a dilemma for the Soviet policy. They can settle the issue they have with us because we accept settlements when they are consistent with what we have always claimed. On the other hand, when tensions ease with the United States and with Western Europe the freedom of movement within Eastern Europe increases. That’s the contradiction of the present situation. Now we recognize that when we make a settlement with the Soviet Union, say on Berlin, that this can have the objective consequence of increasing your problems.

PM Chou: That does not matter.

Dr. Kissinger: But we do not do it for this reason.

PM Chou: We understand.

Dr. Kissinger: And we keep you scrupulously informed. I probably should have given you the details of the Berlin Agreement before it was made, but your representative gets so much from me I don’t want to strain his telegraphic abilities too much.

On the European Security Conference, the Soviet… we believe that the Soviet Union wants this to solve the contradictions in its Eastern European policy. When two sides meet each other as blocs, it can increase its hold on Eastern Europe and add to peace and the relaxation of tensions. When Foreign Minister Gromyko spoke to the President this was one of his chief topics of conversation, to get his support for a European Security Conference. We told him that we could not consider it until the Berlin negotiations were concluded.

And he also indicated a strong interest in a solution of the Middle East problem. And finally …

PM Chou: I will ask a question about the European Security Conference. Your idea is that independent states will take part or as blocs?

Dr. Kissinger: We want it as states. The Soviet Union prefers them to participate in blocs. We want a precise agenda. The Soviet Union has not yet put forward an agenda. In fact, we don’t really know what the agenda [Page 35] could be. I think it’s what the Prime Minister would call subsidiary questions, cultural exchange and trade. (laughter) We are using the formulations I am learning from the Prime Minister.

PM Chou: It is not our formulations. It is a question of our concern.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand that. Finally, Gromyko indicated a great interest in expanding American-Soviet trade without being specific, and we are sending our Secretary of Commerce there to see what they have in mind. We have not seen their proposal.

PM Chou: What is the possibility for solving the Middle East problem? You said you are not taking part directly in these matters.

Dr. Kissinger: In the Middle East? That’s why it’s not being solved. (laughter) It’s being pursued at this moment with more energy than precision. (laughter) The trouble in the Middle East . … normally one says that a good settlement is one with which both parties are satisfied, but in the Middle East it is better to have a settlement where both parties are dissatisfied. There are some attempts at the moment to get secret talks started between the Egyptians and Israelis. The degree of their secrecy is shown by the fact I read about it in a newspaper today. We will know in about six weeks if there’s any progress. If there should be any serious prospects I will let you know what they are. At this moment my own estimate is that it will fail.

Then Gromyko asked me to have tea with him alone while he was there. This is not known by anybody. He repeated all of the other things that I already told you and what he had already said to the President, but of no greater consequence. But he did also discuss U.S. relations with China. He said the Soviet Union would not object to improving our relations, but it would object to our colluding with China.

PM Chou: He used English directly with you?

Dr. Kissinger: English. We were alone with his Ambassador. I asked him what he meant by collusion, and if he could give me any concrete examples of what we might do to which he objected, but he only used vague formulations such as whatever threatens peace, and they would know it, but he didn’t tell me. (laughter)

As for our own policies, I repeat the only way we can deal with you is on the basis of honor and therefore we will keep you informed about [Page 36] anything we discuss with the Soviet Union that might affect you. And since undoubtedly there will be certain figures that will attempt to make difficulties, you can assume whatever you hear from other sources on what is going on is not true.

We have refused in every agreement we have made with the Soviet Union, such as on accidental war, we have refused a clause that would make it applicable to other countries also. And in the negotiations on SALT we have refused a clause which would entitle each country to attack against any country that is planning provocative attacks. We have to rely on you to maintain the confidence of all this information.

As I told you last time, we are prepared to make with you any agreement in the field of arms control which we are also making with the Soviet Union. We understand that you will not participate in any agreement that has the consequence of,what you say, is lassoing you. But, for example, the agreement on accidental war involves no restriction on your military operations. It merely provides an opportunity for each side to inform the other about unexplained events. We are not urging it, but we are prepared to have the same agreement with you. We are not making it as a formal proposal but just want you to know we are prepared to do it.

PM Chou: That’s an agreement on the prevention of accidental war.

Dr. Kissinger: That’s correct, or on a direct communication link, if you are interested. Those are the two we have recently signed with the Soviet Union. If you want to read it, you can read copies I have of the two agreements. I repeat, this is not a formal presentation, but just to familiarize you with it. This is all I wanted to say about the Soviet relationships.

PM Chou: They didn’t at all mention our boundary negotiations with them? Did they mention anything about the territorial claims?

Dr. Kissinger: They made a very oblique reference to it. (Chou laughs) But only that you make exorbitant claims. I refused to discuss it with him.

PM Chou: I thank Dr. Kissinger for telling us about the United States-Soviet relations. So long as an agreement is beneficial to the relaxation of tension and concluded on a basis of equality and beneficial to the people of the world, [Page 37] we think it is a correct agreement. If it is not beneficial, we will express our view on that.

The Berlin question has no direct relation to us. I would just like to ask a question. How was it that after the four powers had reached an agreement, that there was a squabble between the East and West with translation?

Dr. Kissinger: That is a peculiarity of dealing with the Soviet Union. As I expressed last time, in dealing with the Soviet Union as soon as an agreement was reached, there would be another negotiation on the wording of the agreement. That is why I asked you when we were here in July if you would publish the same text. There were really two squabbles. One was -the agreement was made in English; the official language was English. When it was translated into Russian, the Russians took the words that were settled in English and put them back into the original form.

PM Chou: And then they translated that into German.

Dr. Kissinger: No, that was settled, and the Russians accepted once more what they had already agreed to. Then their German allies started the same thing again when the Russian text was translated into German. By that point we needed a theologian to negotiate it. So all of the German disputes were settled except for two words. For those two words they didn’t use German. They put down the English, French and Russian. (laughter)

PM Chou: It is not an important matter to try to get something from tac- tical maneuvers. It is a waste of time. Maybe they have a reason.

Dr. Kissinger: But they lose so much good will in the process, it’s not worth it. You cannot obtain real gains by tricky maneuvers.

PM Chou: The two agreements Dr. Kissinger just mentioned with the Soviet Union are on accidental war and the hotline; but that does not arise for us because we are now in an experimental stage, and we have already said we will not be first to use these weapons. And we have already replied to the Soviet Union on attending a meeting on their proposal (five nuclear powers).

Dr. Kissinger: We notified them also.

[Page 38]

PM Chou: It is a thing of the past. On those two questions there is no necessity for us, but if you would like to give us the text we will use it as a reference because we know nothing about this. Thank you for increasing our knowledge in this field.

The Soviet Union made a proposal in the United Nations about convening a world disarmament conference. They have just raised it.

Dr. Kissinger: They have raised it at the United Nations but not as a formal proposal to which we have had to reply.

PM Chou: Did that proposal include all countries, whether or not they are members of the United Nations?

Dr. Kissinger: I think so.

PM Chou: That’s my impression too. It would involve countries like ourselves who are not members of the United Nations.

Dr. Kissinger: What is your attitude toward that?

PM Chou: I want to ask Dr. Kissinger’s view because you know about this but perhaps you have not studied it either. Maybe it is an attempt to reply to our statement that if it’s for nuclear disarmament it should be with all countries of the world, no matter what their size, and they are answering us with plans for a general disarmament conference. Maybe I am not accurate because I have not studied it.

Dr. Kissinger: This is one they have made before. Khrushchev made it every year. When it is approached concretely, it is very difficult to negotiate because how can one compare the military requirements in very different situations and with very different neighbors. And so our view is that it is not a very meaningful proposal.

PM Chou: That’s right. Proceeding from that standpoint it is like firing empty cannon. It is even more unrealistic than firing empty cannon. It is fired by one side, and the other side need pay no attention to it. But in convening such a conference they will waste the time and energies of all countries. Armaments are being added daily so how can there be disarmament?

[Page 39]

Dr. Kissinger: We will try to deflect the discussions into a specific regional basis so you have a standard of comparison and not on a global basis.

PM Chou: On the first day of your visit you mentioned a draft communique for your President’s visit, an outline. If the visit is to take place starting from the 21st of February, that will be four months afterwards. I understand it is not an easy thing to work up a communique four months ahead of schedule. I don’t know if Dr. Kissinger has a draft in mind.

Dr. Kissinger: I think we can agree on certain principles that are not likely to change in the next 3-4 months. On specific subjects like Vietnam, much will depend on the situation at that time and it will have to wait until the visit. But if we wait until the visit, we will be so much involved in the consciousness of the need to draft a communique, and so many people will be involved in drafting a communique, that it will be difficult to do the best of what we are capable. And, of course, whatever we do would be confined on our side to the President and would not be generally circulated so it would be possible to change it in the interval and during the visit.

PM Chou: Then is it possible for Dr. Kissinger to give us a very preliminary outline of what you have in mind so we can have it for our reference and see whether it will be possible to agree on the outline of principles? It will be very difficult to find the proper formulations during this visit.

Dr. Kissinger: It will probably not be easier when the President is here, when we are all busy with extraneous activities.

PM Chou: Do you have a preliminary outline?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. It should be considered very preliminary and very one-sided because it is what we put together without any consultation with you.

PM Chou: That doesn’t matter.

Dr. Kissinger: We have tried to take into account some points you raised with me in July and also on this trip. I have omitted specific topics such as Korea and Vietnam, but I have some ideas of what we can say if we reach that point. If you would like two copies, I have two copies. (He hands over the first U.S. draft at Tab A.)

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PM Chou: It’s such a long one.

Dr. Kissinger: We are very flexible.

PM Chou: These are discussions that have not been too long, only 4 1/2 hours, because we started late today. We still have two more days. We will need still another plenary meeting with the other friends present and also one or two restricted meetings. There is nothing else for tonight. If you want to see a film, you can. Otherwise, a rest.

Dr. Kissinger: Maybe we could see the film of our last visit.

PM Chou: It’s only a couple of minutes, but you may see it.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1035, Files for the President-China Material, HAK visit to PRC, October 1971, Memcons-originals. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Great Hall of the People. All brackets and ellipses are in the source text. No drafting information appears on the memorandum; presumably drafted by Lord. Holdridge, Jenkins, and Hsuing joined the meeting after concluding their talks, published as Document 43. Attached at Tab A but not published is the text of North Korea’s eight points. Also attached at Tab A is the first U.S. draft of the joint communiqué. See Document 56 for the text of the first draft.
  2. Chinese Premier Chou En-lai warned that U.S. reconnaissance flights over North Vietnam and Laos that had recently passed into Chinese airspace would be fired upon in the future. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger said that such flights had not been authorized. Chou then raised North Korea’s concerns about Japanese-South Korean rapprochement. Kissinger repeated the administration’s opposition to Japanese rearmament and promised that Japanese troops would not replace the U.S. troops withdrawn from South Korea. The two also discussed the growing refugee problem in India as a result of the crisis in East Pakistan, whether or not the Chinese-U.S. talks had influenced Moscow, and the ongoing European Security Conference.