95. Memorandum of Conversation, Beijing, February 24, 1972, 3:30-3:45 p.m.1 2

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  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • John H. Hoidridge, NSC Staff
  • Winston Lord, NSC Staff
  • Jonathan T. Howe, NSC Staff
  • Ch’iao Kuan-hua, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Chang Wen-chin, Director of Western Europe, North American, and Australasian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chao Chi-hua, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chi Chao-chu, Interpreter
  • Two Notetakers

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 24, 1972 - 3:30-3:45 p.m.

PLACE: Guest House, Villa 2, Peking

Dr. Kissinger: I am sorry I am late. I was on the phone with Washington and I had to talk to the President. That is why I am late.

VM Chiao: Then the President’s trip to the Great Wall was fine.

Dr. Kissinger: He was delighted.

VM Chiao: Such fine weather.

Dr. Kissinger: No one of our associates knows about our discussions, and I will not show them to anybody until we have agreed. I think you were right on your suggestion. What do you think about letting me show the Secretary of State tonight after the dinner the part up to the Taiwan section? That is the part we have agreed on. Tell me candidly.

VM Chiao: You want that we do our work the best way possible. Maybe we will meet each other even before the dinner.

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Dr. Kissinger: We won’t do anything until—discuss it with me first. We have redrafted the statement, and we tried to take your views into account. We have gone back practically to the old terminology. The only thing we would like to say, which I think makes no difference in Chinese, is there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China. It is just to avoid this criticism that I mentioned to you. I am just explaining what we tried to do.

Then we have changed the word “position” to “view,” We have taken two sentences from the World Report which you said you liked or at least maybe I misunderstood—from which you thought we had regressed. And we have put in the phrase “progressively reduce and finally withdraw” in a slightly different context than you. So let me read it to you. “The U.S. acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The U.S. does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its view that the ultimate relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland is not a matter for the U.S. to decide. It believes that a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question by the parties concerned would do much to reduce tensions in the Far East. This would enable the U.S. to progressively reduce and finally withdraw all the U.S. troops and military installations from Taiwan.”

VM Chiao: We will study, and then we will give you the reply. As Dr. Kissinger knows, that has been our practice on previous occasions. We will make a serious study of it first and then we will continue. From our side I have nothing more to say now. We need some time to study it, and I will have to report to Premier Chou En-lai.

Dr. Kissinger: Of course. We have made a serious effort to take your views into account, and we will continue to do so as these discussions proceed. But I understand you have to study it.

VM Chiao: I do not want immediately to comment on your draft now. I believe that Dr. Kissinger would understand how I feel about certain of the wording here, but I will not go into it now.

Dr. Kissinger: The two sentences in the middle were from the World Report and were an attempt to take sentences that you have indicated you approve.

VM Chiao: I would clarify what I said this morning about the World Report. I just want to point out in making the report you indicated you do not want to affect any particular course any side might take. In doing that I did not express that I approve.

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Dr. Kissinger: No, no. You thought what we had was a step backward from the World Report, so I wanted to go back to the World Report.

VM Chiao: After we make the study we will continue.

Dr. Kissinger: You will notify us when you are ready.

VM Chiao: The President and Premier are going to meet at 5:00. If possible, the earliest time would be after the duck dinner, and after we had the duck dinner we would have new energy to have to deal with work.

Dr. Kissinger: And I will be much easier to deal with.

VM Chiao: You may want to ask to discuss this matter after you have passed that state in which you are easy to deal with.

Dr. Kissinger: So, make sure you pick the right moment.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 92, Country Files, Far East, China, Dr. Kissinger’s Meetings in the People’s Republic of China during the Presidential Visit, February 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No drafting information appears on the memorandum; presumably drafted by either Lord or Howe. The meeting was held at the Guest House, Villa 2.
  2. President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger and Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Chi’iao Kuan-hua discussed aspects of the communiqué, specifically the wording concerning the relationship between Taiwan and China.