68. Memorandum of Conversation, New York, November 23, 1971, 10-11:55 p.m.1 2

[Page 1]


DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 23, 1971; 10:00 p.m. - 11:55 p.m.

PLACE: New York City, East Side


  • Ambassador Huang Hua, PRC Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to Canada
  • Ch’en Ch’u, PRC Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Director, Information Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • T’ang Wen-Sheng, Interpreter
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Ambassador George Bush, US Representative to the United Nations
  • Brig. Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Senior NSC Staff Member

(There were some opening pleasantries as Dr. Kissinger greeted the Chinese whom he had met before in Peking, and introduced his deputy, General Haig, who would be making the next advance trip to Peking to prepare for the President’s trip.)

Dr. Kissinger : It’s nice to see you again. I have the fondest recollections of my trips to Peking.

I apologize for this apartment. We had to improvise rapidly. We looked for an apartment without a doorman. Next time we will have more adequate surroundings.

Ambassador Huang: It’s better than a hotel.

[Page 2]

Dr. Kissinger : I would hate to believe that. I hope you are showing courtesy.

It is a pleasure to see you all here. When I saw you in Peking, I thought I might see you in many places, but not necessarily in New York.

Ambassador Huang: We also thought that we would continue to see each other in Peking, not in New York.

Dr. Kissinger : I don’t know whether I can express personal sentiments to those from Communist countries or whether everything is done on an objective basis. I did want to tell you that if there is anything that we can do to make your stay, or that of your delegation, more pleasant, you should get in touch with our office. We will do what we can, and we would not consider it an official approach. Sometimes there are technical problems. We will do anything we can to make your stay more comfortable.

Ambassador Huang: We thank you very much.

Dr. Kissinger : We don’t have a State Guest House.

Ambassador Huang: It was comfortable?

Dr. Kissinger : Extremely comfortable.

Ambassador Huang: You went when it was hot the first time.

Dr. Kissinger : Inside the Guest House it was very comfortable.

Ambassador Huang: The second time you were there I was no longer there. Otherwise I would have accompanied you to the Great Wall. Mr. Ch’en Ch’u here did so.

Dr. Kissinger : Yes, he was there. He is in some pictures with me.

Ambassador Huang: A lot of correspondents and newsmen would like to accompany President Nixon on his trip.

Dr. Kissinger : We keep relative discipline with the press by leaving the impression that we can take very many if they can behave themselves. We have not told them yet the number that the Prime Minister and I have agreed upon. We will try to keep that a secret as long as possible.

[Page 3]

Ch’en Ch’u: Until the final minutes.

Dr. Kissinger : The first time I mentioned the approximate number to our regular contact, he said, “What, two companies?”

I understand, Mr. Ambassador, that we can meet on matters within the general scope of UN policy, and that we will keep our other channel for longer range problems. Is that your understanding?

Ambassador Huang: That’s also my understanding.

Dr. Kissinger : Of course, the general scope of UN problems is rather wide. If sometime we have an urgent message,in order to get it back there quickly, would it be appropriate to give it to you?

Ambassador Huang: Yes, if they are within the scope of principles with relation to matters of policy in the United Nations. As for the time factor, we hope you will be able to tell us what you would like to say as early as possible.

Dr. Kissinger : Under normal circumstances this would be very easy. I know what to discuss with you and what to discuss elsewhere. Sometimes there are border-line areas where we must act quickly. We can decide these case-by-case. I will approach you and we will decide what to discuss if it is urgent.

Ambassador Huang: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger : We will check with you then. You and I will discuss general issues, the principal issues related to UN business, and then the technical discussions can be handled with others meeting as necessary. But you and I will discuss them first and which way we should handle the issue.

Ambassador Huang: We agree to that.

Dr. Kissinger : I have asked Mr. Lord to write down the phone numbers on which we can be reached. I think we should agree on a code name for you. If you give your real name, every operator at the White House will listen to the conversations. You can choose any name at all. Just say Mr. So and So is calling.

[Page 4]

Ambassador Huang: We can discuss that later.

Dr. Kissinger : If she (indicating Miss T’ang) calls me and gives a girl’s name, they will pay no attention.

Ambassador Huang: We were also considering that, too.

Dr. Kissinger : That is a possibility. Or, she could ask for Mr. Lord or General Haig.

When you were in Ottawa I got full reports from all my colleagues trying to arrange trips for Presidential candidates to China. (Ambassador Huang laughs.) As far as I can tell, you behaved with Oriental inscrutability.

If I may make one other general point. Every time the Chinese side says something, they bring it to me as if I had written it. (Chinese laughter) We have greatly appreciated the delicacy and restraint with which the Chinese delegation has conducted itself in New York within the spirit which we are trying to achieve for the President’s visit. On one occasion a lot of paper was brought to my desk and our Ambassador (Bush) made some comments. On our side we will avoid any polemics. Of course, we recognize each side will represent its convictions. As you undoubtedly know from your observations here and in Ottawa, there are many forces in this country, for a variety of motives, that would not be unhappy if the evolution did not take the form we have planned for it. Our side will do everything it can to show restraint.

In this sense, Vietnam is a particularly sensitive point.

There are two issues I thought we could discuss in addition, of course, to any problems the Ambassador wishes to raise. First, the India-Pakistan situation. Secondly, if you wish, the problem of the Secretary General. And of course, any topic which you may wish to raise.

On the issue of India-Pakistan, you are undoubtedly aware by now through your observations of the American scene that our bureaucracy doesn’t always speak with one voice, and that those who don’t speak with one voice usually speak to the New York Times. A negative point—you must understand that the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, etc. , don’t represent the policy of this Administration on the issue of India-Pakistan.

[Page 5]

I don’t know whether you have the full details of my conversations with the Prime Minister in Peking. The analysis that I gave to the Prime Minister of our views of that situation remain in full force. We substantially agree with what your delegation said at the United Nations. We substantially agree with the communication which we received through the other channel about your Government’s views on the India-Pakistan dispute.

Our view, briefly stated, is as follows. One, we will do what we can to alleviate the suffering of the refugees and the economic dislocation caused by them. We have given to this purpose more than the rest of the world put together, and more than four times as much as the newly found friends of India.

Second, we will give humanitarian relief for the refugees in East Pakistan, to relieve the suffering and to stop the outflow of refugees. We have earmarked $250 million for this purpose.

(Dr. Kissinger asked Lord what had been done with the Ambassador’s car, and Lord answered that it had been parked near here and that we would get it when the meeting broke up.)

Third, we are in favor of a political solution of the problem, and we have taken many steps in this direction, some of which are outlined in the other channel and some of which I told to the Prime Minister.

We do not accept the proposition that another country has the right to use military force to alleviate whatever strains are caused by the refugees, and we will not accept military aggression by India against Pakistan.

As a general proposition, I have told our Ambassador (Bush) that if the case comes to the Security Council—I wanted to talk with you whether or not it should—it is the President’s wish that we not move too far away from you on this issue. It is in neither of our interests to have identical positions.

I wanted you also to know two other things that we have done today, actually three other things.

First, we sent a note to the Indian Government listing all the things we have done and all the things Pakistan has done. We have pointed out that military aggression will not be understood by the American people or the American Government. This is strictly for your information, and is not generally known—we have talked to friendly governments in the same vein. Specifically, I talked personally today to the Chancellor of the [Page 6] Federal Republic of Germany. On behalf of the President, I also asked the British Ambassador to speak in this sense to the Prime Minister as a personal message from the President. We also told the British Prime Minister—no one in the foreign office—what our strategy will be if it comes to the Security Council, and we have asked for British cooperation.

We have asked Pakistan to hold off going to the United Nations for two days without giving any reason, in order to have a chance to consult with you.

(Dr. Kissinger mentioned to Ambassador Bush that all of this was being done in back channel.)

Ambassador Huang: Pakistan should not propose it?

Dr. Kissinger : They should not propose it only through tomorrow, because I wanted to find out what your plans were. If the Indian attacks continue, we will take certain unilateral steps which I outlined to the Prime Minister in connection with economic aid and the little military assistance that India is getting, which is not much.

I wanted to ask two questions. What is your judgment on the wisdom of having this issue go to the Security Council? And secondly, if you feel free to tell me, if it goes to the Security Council, regardless of our intention because some other country may take it there, what are your views?

Ambassador Huang: As for the situation on the India-Pakistan subcontinent, our acting Prime Minister, Mr. Chi P’eng-fei made a public speech after Dr. Kissinger had left Peking. And within that speech is contained our basic position.

Dr. Kissinger (to General Haig): We don’t have that, do we?

Ambassador Huang: That was the speech that the acting Prime Minister made at the farewell banquet for Mr. Bhutto.

Dr. Kissinger : Let’s get the text. I have seen excerpts, and I know what you mean. It was not unfriendly towards us so I did not see the full text.

[Page 7]

Ambassador Huang: And afterwards, our delegation in the first speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations by Vice Minister, Mr. Ch’iao Kuan-hua, also made clear our views. And therefore we deal with this problem in accordance with what was discussed in Peking between Prime Minister Chou En-lai and yourself and also our public statements.

And if the question comes to the Security Council, that is the question relating to India-Pakistan, we are prepared to speak in accordance with the already mentioned public positions of China on this question.

Dr. Kissinger : Is it correct that what the Prime Minister said on my first visit still remains the full position of your Government, everything you said on the first and second visits?

Ambassador Huang: That’s true, and also the communication which we have sent through the other channel remains our position.

Dr. Kissinger : Yes, and I have it exactly in mind. I will show you, George (Ambassador Bush). For these purposes, Mr. Bush works directly for me. No one in the Government except the people in this room knew about this channel. If others know I will let you know, so there will be no confusion when you are talking to someone. No matter what others say, there are only these people and Commander Howe and, of course, the President who know about this.

Ambassador Huang: And Commander Howe.

Dr. Kissinger : I said so. Everyone who has been in Peking you can trust.

If the case comes to the Security Council there are two problems. First, there are the speeches that are made by various delegations. Secondly, there are any resolutions that will be proposed. On speeches we will assume that you will stay in the general framework of what you have just indicated. We will take the position of listing all of the things that have been done on our side and therefore we do not believe that military aggression—we won’t call it military aggression but military “moves”—are justified.

The second problem is a resolution. We are now in the process of discussing with some of our embassies, especially New Delhi and Islamabad and George Bush, what a proper resolution would be. And I would like to [Page 8] tell you what we are now thinking of, subject to changes, to bureaucratic replies that we will be getting. Ambassador Bush can be very helpful in shaping this discussion by his contribution. Let me tell you the five points we are thinking of and I will be grateful for your reaction:

Calls upon all states to refrain from any actions that would endanger the peace in the area;

Urges all parties concerned to refrain from actions which would violate the territorial integrity of India and Pakistan;

Miss T’ang: Territorial integrity?

Dr. Kissinger : In practice it is obvious what this means.

Requests the Government of Pakistan to continue urgently its efforts towards creating a favorable climate conducive to the voluntary return of refugees to East Pakistan.

Requests the Governments of India and Pakistan to take all possible measures to facilitate the safe and speedy return of the refugees to their homes;

Five, and this is optional.

Invites the Governments of Pakistan and India to respond affirmatively to the proposal of the Secretary General offering Good Offices looking towards a peaceful resolution of the situation in the area.

The fifth part is not essential. This is a very tentative draft, subject very easily to changes. If you have suggestions we can consider them very easily. Of course, no one except people in this room would know that it was your suggestion. I am not sure we would offer this, but it is the sort of thing we would work towards.

Ambassador Huang: You mean it would not necessarily be put forth by the U.S.?

Dr. Kissinger : This is the solution towards which we would work, not necessarily a resolution which we would put forward.

[Page 9]

Ambassador Huang: At the present time it is impossible for me to make any comments on this. We will study this tentative proposal.

Dr. Kissinger : What is your general attitude towards this issue going to the Security Council? Do you prefer it not to go, or are you indifferent, or do you prefer it to go?

Ambassador Huang: Because we had foreseen there was a great possibility that this question would come up in the Security Council or the General Assembly itself, therefore immediately upon arrival and in its first speech the Chinese delegation spoke on this question. Of course, it is not a situation under our control.

Dr. Kissinger : You do not plan to introduce the issue?

Ambassador Huang: We don’t have that plan.

Dr. Kissinger : If it is raised by Pakistan, you would support its being discussed?

Ambassador Huang: It is a matter of fact that we have already further explained our views in committee.

Ambassador Bush: The third committee.

Dr. Kissinger : The third committee on Friday. We have to decide whether it should go to the Security Council. Would you find it embarrassing if it were taken to the Security Council?

Ambassador Huang: That’s nothing on our side.

Dr. Kissinger : Indifferent.

Ambassador Huang: On our side there is no question of being embarrassed.

Dr. Kissinger : We will not force the pace and will give you advance information of anything we know will happen. If it goes to the Security Council and then a resolution is discussed… What happens—I have practically no experience in the UN—I am told that when a resolution is introduced, all delegations talk to each other. How should we handle the contacts between the Chinese delegation and the U.S. delegation?

[Page 10]

Ambassador Huang: We would like to consider this later or in light of circumstances that will be prevailing at the time.

Dr. Kissinger : Let me know. I’m told—I’ve no experience in the UN—that when a debate actually starts things happen very quickly.

Ambassador Bush: Yes, in fact, Mr. Ambassador, when a resolution is introduced, no matter how small, everyone goes off and consults. Dr. Kissinger refers to the fact that traditionally in that one body, as opposed to other committees, there is a great interchange between delegations on every resolution. Even on one word they are still talking to one another off in one corner. That is why he raised the question.

Dr. Kissinger : I am no more eager to have our people in a corner with you than you are to have yours with them.

Ambassador Bush: We will do what Dr. Kissinger wants.

Ambassador Huang: I believe our attitude is already made clear through the exchange of opinion in the other channel. That is, on matters of principle related to policy we have agreed to contact your Excellency to discuss these problems.

Dr. Kissinger : And you want…….excuse me.

Ambassador Huang: As for the problem of daily contact in the UN, we haven’t considered this.

Dr. Kissinger : Mr. Ambassador, we are not so eager for daily contact. In fact, we have told Ambassador Bush this. Anything that permits consideration in Washington must be cleared in Washington. We do not want to overwhelm you with every bright idea of our bureaucracy.

If the case comes to the Security Council, and you have a resolution and the British have a resolution, for example, and someone wants to change a word, how do we get in touch with you on that? Anything of principle must go to us. On the other day-to-day contacts there is no hurry. In fact, we would not want too much for the time being.

Ambassador Huang: We are not familiar with the procedures of the United Nations. We are not so familiar with them as Mr. Bush.

[Page 11]

Ambassador Bush: May I interrupt. It may be of interest to the Ambassador that in the Security Council normally you can get time for a reasonable short recess, unlike the General Assembly. This would be particularly true in the case of Mr. Huang. They will accept a 30-minute or 10-minute adjournment, as opposed to other bodies. There they would respect his request for time during consideration of these resolutions.

Dr. Kissinger : Let us leave this for the time being because you will want to reflect upon it.

Let me sum up what I understand our procedures are. We will settle issues of principle between us. Ambassador Bush has our full confidence and will carry out in the spirit of what we have agreed. We are conscious of the fact, and it is in our interest, that we do not give specific indications of cooperation in the view of other delegations by discussing resolutions. However, if things move fast, we shall move first to gain time through procedural devices. Ambassador Bush will talk to me or General Haig, and we can get word to you through less visible channels. If this does not work, we will consider what to do. Does that seem like reasonable procedures to you?

And we will do this only on issues of the first importance, such as South Asia, and we will not bother with every issue before the United Nations until after the President’s visit, when many things may become clearer. Is this an agreeable procedure, Mr. Ambassador?

Ambassador Huang: I believe we can agree to the procedures you just mentioned.

Dr. Kissinger : We will do it on this basis, and err on the side of doing right and good atmosphere, rather than bureaucratic elegance. Even if some of the resolutions lack exactly the right word. (Chinese laughter)

I don’t know whether the Ambassador remembers when we had our roast duck with the Prime Minister and he told us what he did with his office. My secret dream is that somebody would let me do that with our bureaucracy.

There are two other things. One is on the issue … . .

Ambassador Huang: May I interrupt on this issue? What is your assessment of the present situation that exists in India/Pakistan?

[Page 12]

Dr. Kissinger : (Asked Lord for intelligence reports which Lord got, and for a map which he also got. Dr. Kissinger then begins reading which Indian units are in which places, and General Haig then takes this up.)

This violates every security rule. The major attack is through Jessore (indicating on map). As I remember, two Indian brigades are attacking in this area. The Indians claim they are guerrillas, and the Pakistanis claim they are Indian troops. Whatever they are, it is either the Indian Army or the best-equipped guerrilla force that has appeared in recent years. Then they are attacking here in Chittagong Hill Station, in the direction of Chittagong.

General Haig: The report is that there are as many as two divisions supported by armor.

Dr. Kissinger : In all?

General Haig: In all.

Dr. Kissinger : (Pointing out the area of attack) Our assessment is that in all, the units total two divisions and an armored brigade.

General Haig: And in brigade size attacks, except Jessore where there are two brigades.

(Dr. Kissinger asks General Haig to read)

General Haig: There is the 57th Brigade and the 107th Brigade of the 9th Division.

Dr. Kissinger : He is giving the units. (General Haig repeats the above.)

Dr. Kissinger : (to Lord) We should get the briefing text attached to these minutes from now on.

General Haig: It is attached, but it is no good.

Dr. Kissinger : Don’t undermine the confidence of our friends.

General Haig: The 23rd and 12th Brigades of the 16th Division and the 55th Brigade of the 16th Division.

[Page 13]

Ambassador Huang: In Chittagong.

Dr. Kissinger : In Chittagong, right.

General Haig: The 27th Brigade of the 14th Division.

Dr. Kissinger : We were told—I’m not sure it’s right—that they have taken their two mountain divisions from your frontier and moved them down. Frankly, I don’t know what mountain divisions would be doing in East Pakistan, except I trained during the war for jungle warfare and I spent a very cold winter in the Battle of the Bulge.

Miss T’ang: The Battle… ?

Dr. Kissinger : The Battle of the Bulge. That was before you were born.

Miss T’ang: I don’t think so.

Dr. Kissinger : This will give you an idea. (Ambassador Huang nods) There are totally conflicting reports on losses. The Indians say the Pakistanis have lost 6 airplanes, and the Pakistanis admitted losing 3 planes.

If we have specific information like that, we could send it in a sealed envelope to the hotel if you want us to. Not on a regular basis, but when something special happens, we will send it from my office.

Ambassador Huang: If necessary, we will communicate.

Dr. Kissinger : There are two other things.

On the Secretary General—you need not give your opinion now—if you have a view, it will be taken seriously into account.

I talked to the Prime Minister when I was there about the Formosan Independence Movement. We understand there have been some demonstrations. There are two things here. First, there is no U.S. Government involvement in these activities, and, as I told the Prime Minister, there will not be.

Secondly, as far as these groups are concerned, if they do anything illegal we will take strong measures, but we have no legal basis to prevent [Page 14] them from assembling. If we did, there were a number of occasions in recent years when we would have been delighted to do that in Washington. The President can get larger demonstrations against himself on any university campus than any you have so far attracted.

Did you have any topics you wished to discuss with me?

Ambassador Huang: As for the question of the Secretary General, we aren’t familiar with all the candidates put forward.

Dr. Kissinger : We are too familiar with them. (Ambassador Huang chuckles.)

Ambassador Huang: And we have undertaken no obligations to any.

Dr. Kissinger : Some claim they have your support.

Ambassador Huang: That was not said with our approval.

Dr. Kissinger : All right. That’s good to know.

Ambassador Huang: Does the U.S. side have any ideas along these lines?

Dr. Kissinger : As I understand it, we have a slight leaning toward Jakobson, but we are very open to other views. Is that right, George? (to Bush)

Ambassador Bush: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger : There are a number of others who would also be acceptable.

Ambassador Huang: There have been words going about at the UN, asking his Excellency U Thant to remain the Secretary General for a very short period, for a transitional period so that that question of a new Secretary General could be discussed at a further date. Is there any grounds to that?

Dr. Kissinger : We have not heard this, at least not in Washington.

Ambassador Bush: There were rumors to this effect. The Soviet Union mentioned this in the last two to three days. Our judgment has been that under no conditions would U Thant stay, even for one month. That is [Page 15] our best judgment. We had recent contact with the French Ambassador. The Soviets made a statement that U Thant was staying on for a short period of time. Our judgment, especially in the light of his most recent illness, is that he would not want to stay on under any conditions.

Dr. Kissinger : We have not expressed our view on that.

Ambassador Bush: We only indicated to the French our views on an interim arrangement.— we prefer to solve the problem and get it out of the way, but that was some time ago.

Ambassador Huang: We heard Mr. Kosygin paid a visit to Canada, and he officially put forward to the Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau, the idea of asking his Excellency U Thant to remain in office for a short period, for a transitional period.

Dr. Kissinger : I thought he said for more than a transitional period.

Ambassador Bush: Originally he did. And then when Gromyko was here, he asked if he would be willing to stay on for one year.

Dr. Kissinger : We do not consider that an interim period.

Ambassador Bush: No. I am not familiar with Kosygin’s remarks.

Dr. Kissinger : Kosygin raised something with Trudeau. However, it didn’t get anywhere, or I would remember the details. I will check, but we are proceeding under the assumption that U Thant will leave on January 1 and therefore the conversation had no consequence. They never approached us.

Of the candidates mentioned, the only one we have said is unacceptable to us was Herrera.

Ambassador Huang: But as your side already openly expressed your attitude toward Mr. Herrera, it is quite difficult for us to express our attitude.

Dr. Kissinger : I am not asking you to; I am just informing you.

Ambassador Huang: What I mean, under the circumstances where the U.S. has already openly expressed its attitude toward Mr. Herrera as a candidate, then it is very difficult for us to discuss the qualifications of his candidacy, and it also puts us in a very difficult position.

[Page 16]

Anyway on the question of Secretary General, we have undertaken no obligations on any part. Neither do we have any obligations toward his Excellency U Thant. Of course, neither has he put forward this question. The Soviet side has had no contact with us on this at all.

Dr. Kissinger : In the future, before we express an opinion on the Secretary General, we will try to let you know our opinion privately.

Ambassador Huang: As for the question of the so-called Taiwan Independence Movement, I would only like to call your attention to the fact that elements are taking part in the so-called Taiwan Independence Movement and becoming more and more active recently in the U.S. and other places, also, for example, in Japan.

Dr. Kissinger : The Prime Minister talked to me about this, and what I said to him from our side remains our position.

Ambassador Huang: You asked me if we have questions to raise on our side. Do you have any ideas on the situation in the Middle East? To be more specific, what ideas does the U.S. have on the procedures for this question in the United Nations?

Dr. Kissinger : The Middle East negotiations have been handled in different forums simultaneously. At one stage we talked bilaterally with the Soviet Union. Then we went through a period when we attempted to act as intermediary between Egypt and Israel to bring about an interim settlement. In the UN we have handled it in a four-power context with the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France. We are not in principle opposed to the participation of the other permanent members of the Security Council.

The Big Four have not been very active lately. When did they last meet (to Bush)?

Ambassador Bush: Six weeks or two months ago.

Dr. Kissinger : The issue then was guarantees?

Ambassador Bush: Yes, and it was not discussed very seriously. The questions were whether to have a communique about implementing Security Council Resolution 242. That was what really the last three or four meetings boiled down to.

[Page 17]

Dr. Kissinger : At the moment all the negotiations seem to be not very active. There have been no effective two-power discussions between us and the Soviet Union for about a year. The interim settlement is at the moment stalemated, because the Egyptians are asking for a commitment to a final settlement before signing an interim settlement, and Israel wants an interim settlement to avoid a final settlement. If the Ambassador (Bush) will forgive me, the four make up for lack of precision by enormous ability in procrastination. But they have—speaking quite openly—the four have not really in the last year discussed any concrete issues that could move toward a settlement. They talk about more abstract problems of guarantees or communiques and so forth.

Ambassador Huang: Mr. Riad, the Foreign Minister of Egypt, will be coming to the United Nations either at the end of this month or the beginning of next month. And it seems that the Egyptian side would like a debate held in the UN with regard to this question. But we still don’t know what Egypt will decide, what the final result will be. Does the U.S. side have any consideration, what results it wishes for in the debate in the United Nations?

May I add also on our side that we have already stated, and say now, that we are not prepared to take part in consultations among the four powers. I say this because you mentioned that you were not opposed to participation in the UN discussions by other permanent members of the Security Council. So that’s our attitude.

Dr. Kissinger : Our general view on the situation in the Middle East has been that a great deal of effort has been expended over the last few years over debate on theoretical formulas. When you read the sacramental language of Security Council Resolution 242 you see phrases like “just and lasting peace” and “secure and recognized boundaries.” It is only UN lawyers who understand this. (Ambassador Huang laughs)

We would like to move the situation toward some concrete progress. In a way debate on theoretical formulas has the tendency to confirm the existing status quo.

Indeed I told Mr. Riad at a private dinner I had with him when he was here that the major immediate task was to get some movement in the situation rather than discuss theory about how such movements should be brought about. [Page 18] So, our effort in this debate will be to prevent too much exacerbation of feelings by both sides and too much rigid commitments by Israel to existing lines.

Miss T’ang: Could you repeat that last sentence?

Dr. Kissinger : On the one hand, to keep the rhetoric within tolerable limits. On the other hand, to keep Israel from committing itself more and more irrevocably to existing lines.

Miss T’ang: You mean the rigidity of its position—you do not want Israel to take an increasingly rigid position?

Dr. Kissinger : Exactly. We would like Israel to make some movement. We think making too absolute demands on it has the practical tendency of making it easier for it to stay where it is.

Ambassador Huang: I have no more questions.

Dr. Kissinger : We still have to get back to Washington tonight. I don’t want to stay in this apartment—it’s probably haunted. (Chinese laughter)

Ambassador Huang: We heard you are going to California for Thanksgiving.

Dr. Kissinger : Yes, with the President. You can always reach me at any of the numbers that I gave you. What is the best way to call you—through the switchboard, or are there any direct numbers?

Ambassador Huang: We have no way of dialing direct.

Dr. Kissinger : No direct phones? Have you tried to get them?

Miss T’ang: We have not thought of that.

Dr. Kissinger : I don’t wish to tell the Ambassador how to do his business, but you can get direct phones so that you can dial yourself, with your own numbers.

Ambassador Huang: This is because we moved into the hotel with very tentative plans to stay there.

Dr. Kissinger : Having lived in the Roosevelt Hotel, the only way to endure it is to hope to leave quickly. (Chinese laughter) I have never been in a [Page 19] winning political campaign. One of the three lost ones that I was in was Governor Rockefeller’s, who had headquarters in the Roosevelt Hotel. So I know it very well. (Chinese laughter) There is serious thought being given to asking me to retire for a few months during the next campaign.

Ambassador Huang: Thank you very much for coming especially to New York to give us your opinions.

Dr. Kissinger : It is a great pleasure to see you again. I remember my visits to China with great warmth. There was enormous courtesy shown to us on both visits. Please convey our high personal regards to the Prime Minister.

Will you be in Peking when we come again?

Ambassador Huang: I don’t know.

Dr. Kissinger : If you call us, what name will you use?

(There was then a brief discussion of what name should be used by Miss T’ang.)

Ambassador Huang: Perhaps we could simply use the name “Nancy.”

Dr. Kissinger : The name Nancy presents some complications. It’s probably in your files—you know more about me than we know about you—but a girl named “Nancy” calls me occasionally. (Ambassador Huang laughs)

(There was some further discussion of a code name.)

General Haig: How about “Kay.”

Dr. Kissinger : You could say “Miss Kay” is calling. It is the same name as the nightclub singer who wanted to go to China. Her name was Miss Kay. She didn’t believe that there were no nightclubs in China. She couldn’t believe there is a world without nightclubs.

(There was then agreement on the use of the name “Kay.”)

Dr. Kissinger : You should call as “Miss Kay” and ask for any of us, even in California.

(Lord then explained the various telephone numbers and handed over the list.)

(There were final goodbyes and pleasantries all around.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, Oct 20, 1971-Dec 31, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. According to information contained in Document, the meeting was held in an unidentified apartment building in New York. Howe noted that it was not in an “affluent area but had been selected primarily to insure privacy.” A typed notation on the memorandum of conversation indicates that the meeting was held on the East Side. For text of the draft UN Security Council resolution, see Document 69. For Kissinger’s summary of this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1972, volume XVII, China, 1969–1972, Document 173.
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger and Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Huang Hua agreed to resist Indian military action against Pakistan and agreed on how they would handle the South Asian controversy in the United Nations Security Council. Kissinger also disavowed any U.S. involvement with the Formosan Independence Movement.