MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
FROM: JONATHAN T. HOWE
SUBJECT: Discussions with Miss Wang Hai-jung and Miss T’ang Wen-Sheng during the period December 3-4, 1971
The following is an account of two meetings and a number of telephone conversations with representatives of the PRC conducted over the period December 3-4, 1971 in New York City.
I. First Meeting - 10:30 p.m., December 3, 1971, Roosevelt Hotel
Commander Howe arrived about 15 minutes after the originally appointed hour due to cancellation of the flight on which he had reservations. (Mr. Lord was unable to reach the Chinese side to inform them of the delay.) He was met by Miss Wang and Miss T’ang who asked if he had run into trouble and indicated they were beginning to think he might not be coming. They escorted him to the same room he had been in on his previous visit, down the corridor to the left from the elevator and almost at the end of the hall.
Miss Wang explained that the Ambassador was at a reception and probably would not be back until late and therefore they would be glad to receive the message and convey it to him on his return. After they had read the message (Tab A) a discussion ensued as to how contact might best be made the following morning. It was agreed that Commander Howe would call the hotel room which the two women shared (ext. 1422) at 10:00 a.m. and that Miss T’ang would answer and indicate whether it was desired that Commander Howe come to the Roosevelt Hotel. Commander Howe politely indicated that he would be available at an earlier hour but the Chinese were adamant that 10:00 a.m. was the best time for telephoning.[Page 2]
After a relaxed conversation over tea on inconsequential subjects, Commander Howe took leave of his hosts. Both women escorted him to the elevator and got in saying they would go down with him. During the ride, Commander Howe indicated that it might be best if the group were not seen together in the lobby, and the women agreed and left the elevator at the second floor.
II. Telephone Calls between 10:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., December 4, 1971
Before 10:00 a.m. Commander Howe had received a call from Dr. Kissinger indicating that he should convey to the Chinese Ambassador that Dr. Kissinger was under great pressure to go to the UN and had been trying to hold off the bureaucracy. Commander Howe was to phone by 10:30 a.m. with the Chinese reaction on the UN question. A WSAG meeting was scheduled to commence at 11:00 a.m. Subsequently, General Haig called to say that Commander Howe should convey that the US side had heard from the Pakistanis and the Pakistanis left to the judgment of the United States whether to go to the Security Council. In view of this the US felt it should proceed unless there were strong feelings to the contrary.
No one answered at 10:00 a.m. when Commander Howe called Miss T’ang; however, when the call was replaced a few minutes later she was there. Miss T’ang reported it was the view of the Ambassador that the meeting on the 10th was “unnecessary at the present time.” She indicated that there was nothing else to report so Commander Howe said he had additional information to convey to them concerning the first topic in the note. Miss T’ang responded that she would have to check on this and asked if he would call back in 10 minutes.
In the intervening period Commander Howe and Dr. Kissinger agreed that the Chinese side was saying, in so many words, that it had no reply. He instructed Commander Howe to tell them, either in a meeting or over the phone, if necessary, that the U.S. had heard from the Pakistanis and they were leaving it up to American judgment as to whether to call a Security Council meeting. Therefore, the U.S. felt it should proceed.
After several attempts to reach Miss T’ang, Commander Howe again made contact and she indicated that if he had anything written to pass on they would accept it; however, “if it was verbal, or if he only had an [Page 3] oral message, perhaps this could be done some other time.” Commander Howe said he would call back shortly. She asked if the information was urgent and he reiterated that it concerned further developments related to the first subject of the note and was something they would want to know. He said he did not want to inconvenience them in any way, and offered to pass the information over the phone if that would be easier.
Commander Howe then reported to General Haig and began putting the oral message on paper. General Haig called back shortly, agreeing to the text (Tab B) with the addition of the phrase “in coordination with other powers” which lowered the U.S. profile somewhat.
Commander Howe then called Miss T’ang to say that he had a written message to deliver. She seemed surprised and asked if he would call back in ten minutes. In assenting, he indicated that there would be no need for a special meeting or direct reply.
At 10:45 a.m. Commander Howe called Miss T’ang again and she said, “if you deem it necessary you can come with a message in written form.” Commander Howe reiterated that he wished to deliver a written message and could be there in ten minutes if that was convenient. She asked for a call in five minutes. At 10:50 a.m., Miss T’ang said that they would be glad to receive the written message in the usual way.
When Commander Howe called to indicate that he finally had an appointment, Dr. Kissinger instructed him to tell them that the U.S. side was going to call a Security Council meeting.
III. Meeting at 11:00 a.m.
Commander Howe arrived at the Roosevelt Hotel at 11:00 a.m. and was greeted by Miss Wang and Miss T’ang who escorted him to the usual meeting room. After they had read the hand-printed note (Tab B) and discussed it briefly, Commander Howe added orally that the U.S. intended to move toward a Security Council meeting. The ladies promised they would convey the message to the Ambassador and stated they had nothing to say at the present time. They added that if there were anything to convey they would contact the U.S. side through the previously agreed arrangement.[Page 4]
A very genial discussion then ensued, including comments on various Eastern cities and the spreading megalopolis along the Eastern seaboard and the President’s forthcoming trip to China. Miss Wang asked who would accompany Mrs. Nixon and Commander Howe cautioned that anything he said on that subject would have to be totally off the record and unofficial, but that he did not believe anything final had been decided. He speculated, however, that there would probably not be any women accompanying Mrs. Nixon other than the President’s secretary, Miss Woods, who had been listed in the book given to the PRC in October. (This in fact is the current plan.) He added that there might be a few additional security personnel. They agreed that the discussion would be a non conversation and asked whether any of the White House security personnel were women. With a passing reference to the Woman’s Liberation Movement in the U.S., Commander Howe indicated that in the past couple of years a few women have been brought into the White House security organization.
They also inquired about people on Dr. Kissinger’s staff, including the secretaries, who would be on the President’s trip. Commander Howe indicated that plans were not final but that it was a much sought after assignment. In response to his inquiry, they said they thought they would be in Peking when the President arrived. They noted that the woman who had served as the interpreter for the technical discussions was also at the UN and would return to Peking for the visit. Commander Howe remarked that he thought he had seen her on the CBS television coverage of the PRC delegation’s flight from Paris to New York.
One noteworthy point developed during the discussion of New York City. They indicated they had done some exploring and visited a number of department stores and book stores, and also mentioned the restriction on their movement beyond the city which required prior notification, comment ing that they assumed this was true in other countries as well. (Note: Commander Howe treated this subject delicately but at some point in the future there might be a propitious moment for Dr. Kissinger to inform them that if they desire to travel it would be handled routinely and quietly.)[Page 5]
Toward the end of the discussion, they raised the question of the timing of the U.S. side going to the Security Council. They indicated they assumed it might be after the weekend. Commander Howe responded that he was unaware of the precise timing, but it was his impression that it would be very soon. He noted casually that there had been strong sentiment in the U.S. Government to move to the UN immediately but that Dr. Kissinger had been holding things down. Now, Dr. Kissinger felt the U.S. should proceed. They then confirmed that Commander Howe had received the additional information concerning the UN subsequent to the previous evening’s meeting, and that the point made orally about the U.S. intention to seek a meeting had been received after the note had been written.
As Commander Howe was departing they asked him to extend their personal regards to their friends Miss Matthews and Miss Pineau and he reciprocated. They then dumped the candy bowl into napkins, and presented the candy to Commander Howe for Dr. Kissinger’s two secretaries. They had earlier noted that they sometimes received Chinese candies from their friends in Canada. After a mild protest, Commander Howe expressed appreciation for this gesture. They then escorted him to the elevator and this time did not get in.
Both Miss Wang and Miss T’ang were relaxed and gracious and the conversation was lively and extremely friendly. From this series of encounters it appears that the Ambassador has very little leverage. Although he obviously had not received any guidance from Peking on the note presented the previous evening, the rejection of the December 10 invitation combined with emphasis on written communication may indicate that Peking is having second thoughts about using this arrangement for tete-a-tetes on UN issues.
[Tab A][Page 6]
The U.S. side wanted the Chinese side to be aware of the following developments. In light of the deteriorating situation in South. Asia, the United States has told Pakistan that it is prepared to take this issue to the U.N. Security Council. Assuming the Pakistani Government favors this step, the U.S. would plan to work toward a Security Council resolution along the lines of the current tentative draft attached. Based on consultations with the Pakistani Government, this draft is strengthened over the U.S. draft discussed on November 23.
In view of the urgency of this situation, the U.S. wishes to inform the Chinese through this channel. of the measures it is currently taking. The State Department announced today, December 3, the U.S. decision of December 2 to cancel all remaining valid licenses for military equipment for India. This is in addition to the December 1 announcement that all such future licenses for India were suspended, existing licenses would not be renewed, and some current licenses relating to ammunition were canceled. The U.S. is now reviewing all economic assistance programs to South Asia to determine what further measures might be appropriate. It is in the meantime holding up new disbursements.
The U.S. side proposes that as the situation in the United Nations evolves, the U.S. and Chinese sides maintain contact through Pakistani diplomats. If the Chinese side wishes to contact the U.S. side directly, the U.S. side suggests that it first call Washington, using the procedure agreed upon on November 23. If any American official, no matter what level, seeks to arrange a meeting with the Chinese side, this should not be considered official unless it has been previously confirmed in this channel.
- In light of the pressure building up on the issue of a successor to Secretary General U Thant, the question arises as to how the People’s Republic of China wishes to proceed. For example, there have been informal discussions in New York looking toward a possible informal meeting of the five permanent members of the Secretary Council. Dr. Kissinger plans to be in New York on other business Friday, December 10, 1971 and could arrange to see Ambassador Huang Hua secretly if the Chinese side would like to discuss this matter as well as any other pertinent U.N. topics, including the South Asian situation. If the Chinese side considers an earlier meeting desirable, Dr. Kissinger is prepared to rearrange his schedule.
- 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; Eyes Only. Drafted by Howe. A handwritten notation indicates that Haig saw the memorandum. Attached at Tab A is the message outlining communication channels between the U.S. and China and the steps the United States was taking in order to diffuse the situation. Handwritten notes on the attached message read: “Delivered by Jon Howe to Miss Tang 10:15 pm, 12/13/71” and “Win Lord.” For discussion of the communication channels agreed upon at the November 23 meeting, see Document 68. Attached at Tab B but not published is Howe’s hand-written note, dictated by Haig on December 4.↩
- Commander Howe reported on his telephone calls and meetings with two Chinese diplomats: Wang Hai-jung and T’ang Wen-Sheng. Howe had been instructed to communicate to the Chinese that the Pakistani Government had left it up to the United States Government to determine whether or not to request a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.↩