78. Memorandum of Conversation, Beijing January 6, 1972, 11 a.m.1 2

January 7, 1971


PLACE: The Great Hall of the People Peking, China

DATE: 11:45 A.M., January 7, 1971

FM Chi: So you went to see the Palace Museum this morning?

Gen Haig: Yes, we had a most enjoyable visit there. It was just marvelous and extremely educational.

FM Chi: The only thing—it is rather cold in the morning.

Gen Haig: It is cold, but it serves to wake you up.

FM Chi: Yes, it is good to wake you up.

Gen Haig: It also helps the appetite.

FM Chi: That is a good thing.

Gen Haig: I will do what Dr. Kissinger did while he was here—put on weight. First, Mr. Minister, I thought I would like to just reiterate and reemphasize personally that I am very grateful for the personal cooperativeness that we are receiving at every level from your people. I am somewhat embarrassed to find that some of our people, have come with all the answers and have not operated with as much efficiency as I would have preferred. This has required additional patience and assistance from your side which has certainly not been lacking.

FM Chi: I heard that they have had rather smooth and rather good discussions in the groups.

Gen Haig: Everything has been superior in the exchange of views but I find that the network people have sometimes not performed as effectively as I would have liked.

FM Chi: They seem to be doing alright.

Gen Haig: You are too kind. I did have some other followup information to our meetings of early Tuesday morning with the Prime Minister, I immediately reported in great detail that morning to Dr. Kissinger the results of the discussions with the Prime Minister. And he replied to me first that he received my report with no little nostalgia and he felt that in replying to my message that he wanted to again extend his personal greetings to each of you that had worked with him so cooperatively and in such a friendly spirit in October and July.

FM Chi: We would also like to thank him.

Gen Haig: One of the first items I mentioned to the Prime Minister was our hope that we could strengthen the positive actions of the Draft Communique. And when the Prime Minister replied to me he mentioned that this was primarily a problem of trade. I wanted to reemphasize that we were thinking also of cultural and scientific exchanges between the two sides—that we might wish to consider improved language with respect to these two items as well as trade. In line with this, when Dr. Kissinger and the President come in February, they will have some additional proposals for exchange in the cultural and scientific area, as well as some ideas for your consideration in the area of trade, recognizing that this must come very slowly and it is not the kind of thing we would anticipate immediate action on but maybe some words of future promise. And we would welcome if between now and the visit you care to communicate further on this, perhaps in the Paris channel or, if you prefer, to wait until the party arrives and there could be some further discussion.

Concerning the draft alternative language I left ad referendum with respect to the U.S. portion of the paragraph on Taiwan, we would welcome any additional views which your side might have before I return to the United States and we would be prepared to accept and consider any additional or alternate language that you might care to give before I leave. In any event, we would anticipate that this subject would always be the result of direct exchanges here in Peking between you and myself while I am here or Dr. Kissinger and the President after they arrive.

Now, also, during the meeting on Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister conveyed the thought that he would welcome any additional views we have on the subject of South Asia and the subcontinent before any meetings with President Nixon. With your side’s approval, we would like to send some additional views on this subject through the Paris channel between now and the 21st of February. And for now, I would like to emphasize that our policies there will focus on efforts to buy time and to strengthen the defense capabilities of Pakistan. We certainly share the Prime Minister’s concern that that situation is far from settled and is still in a period of dynamism which will require the most careful watching and perhaps action on both our parts. We have been using our influence just before and since the cease-fire to get Turkey and France to help in the arms situation in Pakistan.

FM Chi: Turkey and France?

Gen Haig: Yes. Turkey and France and this was a topic discussed between Presidents Nixon and Pompidou in the Azores. Concurrently, we are starting up our economic program for Pakistan at a greater level of assistance than heretofore. Now, turning to the topic of Southeast Asia which was also discussed with the Prime Minister on Tuesday morning, Dr. Kissinger has asked me to reiterate our government’s view that it is Moscow which is blocking the arrival at a peaceful negotiated settlement of the conflict. He has asked me to recount in somewhat greater detail the sweeping proposals which we have made in search of a settlement of the conflict. We had, as I stated earlier, a meeting scheduled for the 20th of November with representatives of Hanoi in Paris. They cancelled that meeting and since that time, we have heard nothing from Hanoi. Vietnam, as Dr. Kissinger stated in October, is an anguishing problem for our government. In this sense, it was not the Nixon Administration that got us into the conflict but he, of course, has the problem of terminating the conflict.

Dr. Kissinger has also asked me to emphasize that when he met with Mr. Le Duc Tho in Paris in July, after the visit to Peking, be informed Mr. Le Duc Tho that the United States wished to end the war in Hanoi and not in Peking. During the past year, we have done the following specific things with respect to the conflict:

  • - On May 31st of last year, Dr. Kissinger met with Minister Xuan Thuy and proposed seven U.S. points for ending the war. One of these points was an offer on our part to set a deadline for our withdrawal.
  • - Then, on June 26th, Mr. Le Duc Tho came to Paris and met secretly with Dr. Kissinger. At that time, Hanoi proposed nine points in reply to the seven points we had proposed in May.
  • - Then, on July 1st, Madame Binh published here seven points and as Dr. Kissinger pointed out to the Prime Minister in October it was very odd procedure from our perspective to be given nine points secretly and seven points publicly.
  • - So, on July 12th, on his return from Peking, Dr. Kissinger met with Mr. Le Duc Tho in Paris, again secretly, and at this meeting we inquired of Mr. Le Duc Tho which we should deal with the nine points or the seven points and Mr. Le Duc Tho said the nine points were more significant—the ones we had gotten secretly. In view of that response, it was very difficult for us to deal publicly with the seven points of Madame Binh when we were told that the more significant points were the nine secret points given by Mr. Le Due Tho.
  • - Despite the confusion that came from these different views, on August 16th, we made a formal eight point proposal which constituted our reply to the secret nine points, as well as a reply to the seven points made publicly by Madame Birth. In this reply in August, we actually went very far toward the seven and nine points of the other side and even included their specific language in our proposal on several of the key points.
  • - On September 13th, Dr. Kissinger again went to Paris secretly. On this occasion, as on the preceding occasion in August, Mr. Le Duc Tho found it inconvenient to come from Hanoi to meet with Mr. Kissinger and, instead, he met with Mr. Xuan Thuy. Nevertheless, at this meeting, Mr. Xuan Thuy rejected two of the eight points Dr. Kissinger had forwarded in August. As a result of this rejection, we then reformulated those two points and submitted eight new points on October 11. Of those eight points, six are identical to those already accepted by Hanoi, and the other two points constituted reformulation of the points which Hanoi had rejected in September.
  • - We then requested a secret meeting on November 1. As I pointed out earlier, since then we have had no substantive reply or exchange from Hanoi. In our view, our proposal of October went as far as anyone could possibly go. So, we were faced with intransigence not after we struck North Vietnam in December but well before. Among the proposals we offered in October were the following:
    A specific offer for a fixed date for the withdrawal of our forces.
    The provisions for new elections six months after a peace treaty would be signed.
    A specific offer that all American troops would be withdrawn one month before this election.
    The specific offer that the President and the Vice President of Vietnam would resign one month before the election so that they would not run it.

In addition to this proposal, the United States reiterated to Hanoi and reiterates here, our readiness to accept a post-settlement nonaligned Southeast Asia. Specifically, what we visualized under our proposal would be the immediate signature of a statement of principles by both sides on which a settlement would be based. We would then withdraw all American forces except a few thousand within seven months of the signing of these principles. And we would do this even before the signature of a final peace treaty. There is also the provision for an all-around cease-fire and the resignation one month before the election of President Thieu and his Vice President. Therefore, in the broadest sense we feel we have replied positively to every demand that Hanoi has made that is reasonable and does not constitute a direct humiliation of the United States as a world power. It is this sequence of events which has led to the conclusion on our part that the war continues in Southeast Asia only for Soviet aims. Certainly, no Asian power or no patriotic Vietnamese element can fear our eventual domination. It is interesting that just this week we have learned that New Delhi is going to upgrade its representation in Hanoi very soon. And certainly this is an ominous further clarification of what Soviet aims must be along the southern flank of the People’s Republic of China. I will not elaborate further on this topic during my visit but I would hope that there could be some very frank exchange of views on some of the more recent indications of increased Soviet strategy of encirclement.

Now, also during Tuesday morning’s meeting, the Prime Minister raised the December 16, 1971 issue of the Japanese Weekly Shuhan Gendai, a copy of which was furnished to me yesterday (attached). This was an article allegedly written by the Director of Propaganda for the Democratic Socialist Party of Japan. The article also allegedly portrayed the substance of a discussion between Mr. Kasuga and Dr. Kissinger in Washington. As I confirmed on Tuesday morning to the Prime Minister, Dr. Kissinger had met with Mr. Kasuga in Washington. However, that meeting lasted just 30 minutes, not two hours as the article indicates. During the meeting, Mr. Kasuga raised several questions associated with the President’s visit here to Peking and persisted strongly in attempting to get some U.S. view on Taiwan from Dr. Kissinger. I have informed Dr. Kissinger of the contents of this article following the discussion Tuesday morning with the Prime Minister, and he has replied by providing me with a text of the precise minutes of his meeting with Mr. Kasuga. Dr. Kissinger also has reiterated personally to me, in addition to providing me with the minutes, that he gave no reply to Mr. Kasuga with respect to the future status of Taiwan. My personal review of the minutes of that meeting confirm categorically that Dr. Kissinger deflected all questions on the subject. Instead, be referred to his press conference which occurred on the Tuesday before the December 3rd meeting with Mr. Kasuga and offered to give him a copy of that press conference, with which I know you are familiar. In commenting on the Japanese press article, Dr. Kissinger asked me to convey the following message to the Prime Minister. In Dr. Kissinger’s view, the only press which is less reliable than our own is that of the Japanese. He also asked me to reiterate again what I stated on Tuesday morning to the Prime Minister and in somewhat more detail concerning our view on the future of Taiwan. Tuesday morning, I cited three specific policies of the United States with respect to Taiwan. Dr. Kissinger has reformulated these assurances in terms of five specific points. First, the United States will withdraw Southeast Asian-related forces within a reasonable period after the end of the Indochina war. Second, the United States will gradually withdraw the reminder of its forces as tensions ease. Third, the United States will give no support to the return of the Japanese presence in Formosa or to the introduction of Japanese troops in that location. Fourth, the United States will make no further reference to the status of Formosa as being undetermined. And, fifth, the United States will offer no encouragement to the so-called Taiwan independence movement. This is the essence of the guidance I have received from Dr. Kissinger and I think completes the response to all of the untended issues which arose on Tuesday morning.

FM Chi: First of all, I would like to thank General Haig for conveying Dr. Kissinger’s message. And I will convey it to Premier Chou En-lai. And if Premier Chou En-lai has any considerations of any other discussions or any other messages we will further inform you. So, there is nothing further on our side.

Gen Haig: Very good.

(following as we were walking out)

FM Chi: After all the groups have finished their meetings, do you think there is any further need for a meeting between us?

Gen Haig: I am just a little concerned about the networks portion. Everything else has gone beautifully and I think we are in very good shape. There are some unsettled problems in terms of television coverage. I am hoping it will be resolved this morning. If not, we may have to delay 24 hours. I hope this does not occur because I know this is a terrible burden on you and I am very anxious for us to finish on schedule.

FM Chi: I believe it may be solved very quickly. I do not believe there is any great obstruction.

Gen Haig: That group is commercially oriented. This is business to them. They are not conscious of the political details. I would hope they would not attempt to play your side off against us.


Prime Minister Chou En-lai

Mr. CHI P’eng-fei, Acting Foreign Minister

Mr. HSIUNG Hsiang-hui, Secretary to the Premier

Mr. HAN Hsu, Director, Protocol Department, MFA

Mr. CHANG Wen-chin, Director of the West European, American and Australian Affairs, MFA

Miss Nancy T’ang (Interpreter)

Brig. General Alexander M. Haig, Jr.

Chou En-lai: We gave you too much wine today? Our hosts did not know how to make conversation, so they just drowned you in wine. I believe Mr. Chapin can down quite a few cups. General Haig has quite a capacity. It is alright—you are quite young.

This afternoon, Acting Foreign Minister Fei conveyed to me the message from Dr. Kisinger that you conveyed to him. I thank you for your information. I already said, on the morning of the 4th, that after I reported to Chairman Mao Tse-tung I would discuss it with my colleagues and give you a formal reply. So I would like, first of all, to give a reply to the former message you gave on the morning of the 4th and then to deal with the latter message given this morning—later on.

We have studied the message conveyed by General Haig. Your straightforwardness has helped us to attain a clearer understanding of the views of the [Page 2] U.S. side on the current situation and Sino-Soviet ways. We would like to express our views in a similarly frank way.

The high level talks to be held between China and the United States to seek normalization of the relations between the two countries accord with the desire of the Chinese and American people and if positive results can be achieved they will also be conducive to the easing of tension in the Far East and in conformity with the interests of the people in Asia and the world. As the time for the talks draws near, certain hostile forces have been intensifying their destruction and sabotage. This is something within our expectations and we are prepared for it.
After the announcement of President Nixon’s visit to China, the Soviet Government hastily made concessions in Europe and came to agreement with the West on the Berlin question. While in Asia, it concluded with India a Treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation in name but it was a military alliance in substance. Following that, the Soviet Government took advantage of the situation to support India, to commit armed aggression against Pakistan and occupy East Pakistan. This is a continuation, under new circumstances, of the consistent Soviet policy of contending for hegemony. There is no shift of strategy to speak of. China is under no commitment to Pakistan. However, proceeding from its current principal stand, China has rendered and will continue to render political support and also materiel assistance within our capacity to Pakistan in its struggle against division and aggression. The Soviet Union has supported India to invade and occupy East Pakistan. They appeared arrogant and unbridled for a time but in fact they have further opened their [Page 3] expansionist situation and, in fact, have become isolated from the entire world. The development of events are proving that the subcontinent will be in continuous turmoil. India and its supporter have the nooses around their own necks. They will certainly suffer from the consequences of their own doing.
There exist fundamental differences between China and the U.S. on the question of Vietnam and Indochina. After Christmas, the United States wantonly bombed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This has shocked world opinion and aroused world opposition. The self-justification made by the United States side is utterly untenable. As victims of the war of aggression, the Vietnamese people have the right to take every necessary action in self defense. China firmly supports their struggle. If the United States truly has the desire to withdraw all its forces and end the war in Vietnam, there is no reason for them to refuse to accept the reasonable sevenpoint proposal put forward by the North Vietnamese side. In fact, it is not Hanoi that is humiliating the United States but the United States that is insulting Hanoi. By what logic may a big country willfully commit aggression against a small country while the self-defense by a small country be described as aggression? This policy of the U.S. can in no way shape the firm resolve of the peoples of Vietnam and other Asian countries to fight and win. On the contrary, it has created obstacles to the U.S. to the withdrawal of troops and to its efforts to obtain release of the POWs. And has also brought an unfavorable element into the visit of the President of the United States to the People’s Republic of China.
China is a big country but not yet a very strong one. Economically, we are still very backward. One half a year ago, President Nixon described China as one of the five great powers of the [Page 4] world but now in its message the United States side, all of a sudden, expresses doubt over China’s viability, asserting that it wants to maintain China’s independence and viability. We are surprised at this. We hold that no country should ever rely on external forces to maintain its independence and viability. If it does so, it can only become a protectorate or a colony. However small a country may be, so long as it fears no brute force and dares to struggle, it will be able always to stay on its own feet in the family of nations. Vietnam is a vivid case in point. Socialist New China was born and has grown up in continuous struggle against foreign oppression and aggression and will continue to live on and develop. We have long stated that we are prepared to meet enemy invasions from all sides and fight to the very end—not flinching from undertaking the greatest national sacrifice and make contribution to the human progress. Facts have proved and will continue to prove that all schemes to isolate, encircle, contain and subvert China will only end up in ignominious defeat.
The relations between China and the United States have not been normal. Nevertheless, the Chinese side will receive President Nixon with due protocol and courtesy and will make its efforts to seek positive results in the Sino-United States talks. In its message, the United States side expressed the wish that the image of the President as a world leader should be enhanced through the visit. This we find it difficult to understand. The image of a man depends on his own deeds and not on any other factors. We do not believe that any world leader can be self styled.
In its message, the United States side indicated that certain forces in the United States [Page 5] are opposed to the normalization of Sino-United States relations and the Sino-United States high level talks and asked the Chinese side to reconsider the language of the Draft Communique with regard to a certain portion on Taiwan. Of course, we do not object to further consultations but we would. like to point out that we have already done our best to take your difficulties into consideration in our draft. As you know, the Chinese people feel very strongly about the Taiwan question. If the United States side truly has the desire to improve Sino-United States relations, it should adopt a positive attitude of settling this issue which is the crucial question in Sino-United States relations. If there is yielding to certain forces opposed to the normalization of Sin-oUnited States relations and backing down from the former position, that will bring no benefit to China and the United States.

So that is our comment to the oral message you conveyed on the morning of the 4th. Of course, you mentioned some new matters this morning. The first thing is that of trade and I remember very clearly that your Excellency conveyed in your message the wishes of President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger with regard to that matter. And I said that we had noted the opinion of the United States side and we would consider putting it into the Joint Communique. There is no question that the relations between China and the United States have not been normalized and that the development of trade will be limited and slow. However, we should look further to the future and the relations between China and the United States—should proceed in a direction headed for normalization and the matter of trade should be viewed as a positive factor in this progress. And since Dr. Kissinger has mentioned cultural and scientific exchanges, if he has any specific idea, [Page 6] of course we would be willing to exchange opinion on these matters during the discussions.

The second question is the matter of the South Asian subcontinent that you mentioned in the message you conveyed from Dr. Kissinger. We appreciate the part of the message in which you mentioned that the United States side at present would wish to count on gaining time to enhance the self-defense of Pakistan and that the United States was willing to undertake an economic assistance towards Pakistan. As for the other portions, they were a sort of explanation and as I have already answered them previously, I feel them to be redundant. And as General Haig has in the early hours of the 4th very straightforwardly conveyed President Nixon’s and Dr. Kissinger’s message to us, I would like to request your Excellency to report the reply we have just given you in a similarly straightforward manner to President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger.

Haig: I am very grateful for the very detailed and very frank views which I will convey precisely as received to Dr. Kissinger and to the President. As I pointed out at the time I gave those views, they were views which were largely conveyed in my own language as I understood the general thrust of my instructions. In several instances, I believe the simple language of a soldier might have been more blunt than it might have been. I believe some of my words may have been misinterpreted. I would also like to briefly discuss your reply from a personal point of view because I have not been able to discuss the matter personally with the President or Dr. Kissinger.

First, with respect to the situation in Southeast Asia, I believe it is very helpful to exchange views [Page 7] even though it appears we basically disagree on this subject. From our perspective, and this is a problem I have been very very close to for the last three years, it is not United States forces that are in Laos or United States forces that are in Cambodia but North Vietnamese forces. We have expressed our desire to withdraw our forces and we have made honorable conscientious proposals that would lead to that withdrawal and a settlement. It is the other side that has not responded to these proposals. I think I explained that we were told to pay attention to the nine points given to us secretly by Hanoi and that is the way we have proceeded, based on advice from Hanoi’s spokesman. Even so, this is a topic that I think warrants more extensive exchange at the time of the President’s visit. I do believe that in the long run our perception of the convergence of the interests of the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the area of Southeast Asia is the ultimate truth.

The second point is the terminology that I used concerning the viability and independence of the People’s Republic of China. Certainly, we would not presume to infer that we were assuming the role of the protector or the guarantor of China’s viability. On the other hand, we did want to make very clear, and perhaps I did it clumsily, that in our perspective China’s viability and future health is of interest to the United States. This is a matter of our own national interest in the context of the world situation as it has developed.

The third point I would like to mention is the again unfortunate language which suggests that the imagery of the President was an important item. This was meant only in the context of the preparations we are making for the President’s visit. I [Page 8] think it is important that we do not afford our enemies an opportunity to attack the President either in terms of his motivation or his effectiveness during his visit. The worst disservice I could do to President Nixon would be to suggest that his public image is a matter of concern to him or a matter which influences his decision on any given substance. Certainly, his performance in the international arena thus far suggests that popularity has never been, nor will ever be, the criteria by which he makes his decisions.

With respect to the issue of Taiwan, I immediately conveyed to Dr. Kissinger the reply that I received from you on Tuesday morning and he is, I think, very much aware of that reply. He did provide this additional information today, primarily to answer the questions that came up Tuesday and not to elevate our discussions here to a dialogue that would go on continuously but, hopefully, to elaborate on those issues which might have required clarification based on the discussion of Tuesday morning.

On the three subjects that we discussed that our side hoped could be more positive in the communique, i.e., trade, scientific and cultural matters, I am confident that Dr. Kissinger will come up with some very modest proposals because he realizes that that portion of the communique is balanced and very well worked out. I do not expect any drastic revision to the communique in this respect and we recognize the issue of trade is a long term one.

And finally, on the subject of the South Asian subcontinent, I think recent events have confirmed one thing to me from my humble perspective and that is that while forces are sometimes under way [Page 9] that we would like to think our own good intentions may somehow control, the facts are sometimes quite to the contrary. In South Asia, certainly the United States was slow in recognizing the dangers. I think it behooves both our sides to be equally cognizant of future dangers there and elsewhere and I would hope it would not be a question of looking back on a situation that had turned sour for the lack of timely action which might have prevented that.

I again thank the Prime Minister for his very thoughtful treatment to me and my party while we have been here in Peking. One thing has characterized any exchanges I have been involved in with your officials and that has been the degree of candor and frankness which is very encouraging to me. I think both of us have had long standing positions on controversial issues on which we do not agree and would hope those will not be translated too readily into—and to use your term—“empty canons of rhetoric” but rather to the kind of frank language that will minimize misunderstanding even though the disagreement might remain at the conclusion of the discussion.

Chou En-lai: Your Excellency has just now commented a bit on our reply and I think I should also like to add a few words. Of course, the reply I gave you just now in itself is a complete answer. And what I am now adding, of course, is additional and it was led to by your comment.

And on the question of Southeast Asia, our current opinion has been, to put it simply, that the United States is in the wrong. This is not only the words of the Chinese but also of the other people in the world. I have heard American friends themselves [Page 10] speak of this. And, in addition, this is not something that was created by President Nixon himself. It was his predecessors. And President Nixon has already decided to withdraw his troops. And as I have said to Dr. Kissinger before, I would wish that the United States would withdraw completely as General DeGaulle did in Algeria and do it in one strike and cleanly, wholly, without any remainder and immediately. And to find various excuses to drag on in a messy way will only finally end up in losing the initiative. With a subjective wish for a glorious and honorable withdrawal while in reality there may not be such honorable and glorious withdrawal and if you only have the subjective wish but reality is not a glorious and honorable withdrawal, then on the contrary, this might give rise to difficult predicaments that are difficult to extract ones self from. Have you read the Soviet News? That is upon your present visit to China, the Soviet press has done some reporting in which they have given some special descriptions of you as saying that you are especially in charge of Vietnamese and Indochina Affairs. Of course, we do not pay attention to that. It is precisely because you may be in charge of this that I would like to speak to you with special earnestness. That is that your excuses will not carry over with the people of the world. For instance, you said that it was not the United States troops that went first into Laos and Cambodia but North Vietnamese troops. The question is that your troops should not have gone to Vietnam in the first place. The sending of United States troops into Vietnam itself is aggression. For instance, we have a common point in opposing the sending of Indian troops into East Pakistan. Then, how can we agree to your sending troops into South Vietnam. That is why the Soviet Ambassador criticized you on the issue of Vietnam when the question of the war in Pakistan was under debate in the United Nations. That is the first point.

[Page 11]

The second point is—take Laos for instance—the troops of Thailand went into Laos. That is also foreign aggression. And your CIA has given often air support to the Laotian bandits in the form of ammunition or money or food. They have given this to the Lao bandits of the minority Nationality, the forces of Vang Pao in the area that is under the control of Laos and this is something that is recognized in the American press. Then, since the United States and Thailand can give air support to bandits in Laos, then why can Vietnam not give patriotic assistance to the forces of liberation? For instance, it is the same as the situation in which you assisted South Korea and advanced your forces up to the very banks of the Yellow River. It was only then that we sent our volunteers to assist the Democratic Republic of Korea and when we now cooly assess that situation—was that not very clear? And the case is similar in Cambodia. If the Lon Nol - Matak clique had not subverted Sihanouk, then how would the war in Cambodia have come about?

Later on, your President himself decided to send troops on an intrusion into Cambodia. That was at the end of April 1970 and later on in the early part of 1971, United States troops entered into Laos and this was even further aggression and at Christmas last year, you launched a massive air strike against North Vietnam. Your President and your Pentagon have called those successes but, in my opinion, they are not successes. You are a soldier and I also have been one in the past—not now of course. I have also been in military action and I know that this kind of fighting cannot bring victory. It can only give rise to dissatisfaction on the part of ones own people. And these actions on the contrary are giving the Soviet Union an opportunity. And if you want some news, I can tell you a bit that if you do not leave that place, then Southeast Asia which does have the possibility of being turned into an area of nonalignment [Page 12] will become an area of contention between the two superpowers. We are very clear about that. And then Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the subcontinent, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia will be linked together and how can tension be relaxed and wouldn’t that be completely contrary to the ideals of your President. On the morning of the 4th, you told us of the strategic thinking of the President. And you once again mentioned that your President wished to relax the tension but if things go on like that, then the situation that will appear will be completely contrary to those subjective wishes. And the result will be that the situation will continue in continuous turmoil not only in the subcontinent, Of course, the settlement of the Vietnam question will be reached between the United States and the DRV either in Paris or Hanoi or perhaps in other places. Of course, we, as the third party, cannot meddle in this but we must state clearly our stand and there must be no ambiguity about that. I have dealt in rather great detail on this question in the hope that you will convey this to President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger. This itself, in fact, constitutes an initial exchange of opinion. Of course, it is probably too long to send in your cables so you can talk about them when you get back and Mrs. Hartley will be tired working on them until tomorrow morning.

As for the other two questions, there is no need to pay too great attention to the wordings and terminology. We would like you to know that although our country is backward, we have our independence. In our country, we have relied on our own initiative and self-reliance and have relied on these to fight until today. We have our self-dignity and so have you and if we mutually respect each other that is equality. So the erroneous terminology that you just now mentioned is not only a matter of terminology but a matter of attitude. We are not a superpower and we refuse to be a superpower. Your President has mentioned that China is a potential strength power. There is a degree of reason in that.

[Page 13]

The third point you mentioned was the image of your President and our reply would be as we have mentioned in the third point of our reply—that the image of a man depends on his own deeds. And since we have invited your President to China, we will certainly give him the protocol and courtesy due him. I don’t think there is any question of this and do not believe we have to say more about this because I believe you will understand this through the technical discussions we have had. Of course, it is impossible to go beyond that because we have not established diplomatic relations and you still recognize Taiwan. You must not forget that. It is important to us. The good thing about it is that Chiang Kai-shek also only recognizes one China. He also says Taiwan is a Province of China. It is a good thing because Taiwan would have long ago become a puppet of yours and become another Thieu or Sigmund Rhee and if such a situation had occurred wouldn’t that make it even more impossible for us to come together and that would bring even more difficulty in the normalization of relations. So now, we have come to the question of Taiwan. So as to the question of Taiwan, I have already dealt with it in the official answer to you and if there is further discussion—if there is still room for individual changes in that part—then they should await the arrival of President Nixon or Dr. Kissinger. As for the present, we believe that in our draft we have already given very great consideration to your difficulties. As for other specific wordings and various measures, just as I mentioned about trade, cultural and scientific matters, they are rather minor matters and can wait until the arrival of your President. And my secretary has just now called my attention to the fact that you mentioned the fact to pay attention to the danger developing in the subcontinent and you mentioned in the past you had been late in recognizing the danger there. You just now mentioned that in the past you had come to the realization of this danger too late to avoid danger.

[Page 14]

As to that question, I have already answered on the morning of the 4th and we have identical views.

Haig: I am very grateful for this lengthy discussion. It is presumptious of me to speak for President Nixon or Dr. Kissinger. I think on the subject of Southeast Asia there will be many useful exchanges during the President’s visit. The past history you referred to should be a source of wisdom and learning. It does not necessarily provide the answers to current situations.

Chou En-lai: Of course, this answer must be given by your President. I cannot do that for him. For instance, in the instance of the Korean War. We entered into the war against aggression. During that time, the President was Truman who was a Democrat and not a Republican. He still put forth the suggestion of negotiation, so actually they fought one year without negotiations but later on, with your Republican President Eisenhower, he ended the war in Korea. I think it is useful to recall that part of history but the situation in Korea was different from that in Vietnam so it would not do to dogmatically copy that. The war that began in Vietnam has brought the whole of Indochina together, has merged it into one but we have not entered that war so the situation is different. And only with determination and resolve can that situation be settled. Otherwise, you will only lose the initiative.

Haig: I think we are convinced that it is going to take bold action and I think we have taken it by offering sweeping proposals. It is somewhat of a puzzle that we have not received a response to those proposals. Perhaps that is where the trouble lies. That is why alternative means must be pursued.

Chou En-lai: That is a question that I cannot answer because the war in Indochina is different from the war in Korea. In the case of Korea, on our side the Democratic people of [Page 15] Korea were the main representatives and our representatives were their deputies. On the other side, the United States was the main representative while Sigmund Rhee was the deputy, so actually there were four sides and in that circumstance it was easier for us to get an opinion. Now you are discussing face to face. So, I will not take up more of your time from your sleep.

Haig: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1037, Files for the President-China Material, China, Haig trip-memcons January 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting was held in the Great Hall of the People.
  2. President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Haig, acting on Kissinger’s instructions concerning the communique, informed Acting Chinese Foreign Minister Chi P’eng-fei that the United States wanted to strengthen trade, cultural, and scientific relations between the two nations and added that Moscow was blocking negotiated settlements in Indochina and South Asia.