105. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Summary of Dr. Brzezinski’s Meeting with Ambassador Han Hsu


  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Dr. Frank Press, Science and Technology Adviser to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Michel Oksenberg, Staff Member, NSC
  • Benjamin Huberman, Staff Member, NSC, and Assistant Director for National Security, International and Space Affairs
  • Ambassador Han Hsu, Acting Chief of the People’s Republic of China Liaison Office
  • Tsao Kuei-shang, Political Counselor, People’s Republic of China Liaison Office
  • Yang Yu-yang, Interpreter, People’s Republic of China Liaison Office

Dr. Brzezinski: (To Ambassador Han Hsu.) It is always good to see you. Welcome. I look forward to this evening.

I have asked you to come by today to talk about one aspect of my trip, namely the importance we attach to expanding our scientific and technological relations. I would hope that my trip could lay preliminary groundwork for a mutually beneficial expanded relationship in the area.

The President, as we have already indicated to you, has authorized his Science Adviser, Frank Press, to explore this matter fully with you. We believe that it might be mutually beneficial for Dr. Press to visit China, and I will be prepared on my trip to talk about what we have in mind.

Dr. Press: As you know, I have been interested since 1949 in the development of science and technology in China. Before coming into the [Page 379] government, I chaired the Committee on Scholarly Communications with the People’s Republic of China.

We have been interested in the recent developments in your country, with your new emphasis on science and technology, and we have followed your recent conference on science and technology.2

Your nation is the nation with the greatest potential for growth in the realm of science and technology, while the U.S. is the most advanced nation in the world in technology. That situation suggests that we should talk more about the possibility of cooperation.

Recent delegations that the two sides have exchanged in the science and technology area provided excellent examples of the potential in this area.

We would like to explore with you the possibility of a very high-level delegation of scientists and engineers—all high-level governmental and policy administrators—to visit China. We believe it is important simply for our scientific leaders in the government to meet their counterparts whom we do not know and in many cases have never met. If our visit would simply be for the purpose of getting to know each other better, that in itself would be important and cause for a visit.

Our relations in the science and technology field ought to develop further. Our relations in science and technology should improve. I could lead such a delegation this summer. If you wish, I can describe our thoughts on this matter at greater length to you. We have been talking to U.S. scientists and technicians in government and in the universities to develop projects and proposals for ways of expanding our S&T relationship.

Dr. Brzezinski: Yes. You may wish to discuss with Frank Press in greater detail what he has in mind, possible members of his delegation, so that when I arrive in Peking we will be able to discuss the matter with greater specificity.

Ambassador Han Hsu: I will convey your desire to Peking and report to you. As was stated in the Shanghai Communique, the Chinese side has always adopted a positive attitude toward science and technology exchanges. The crux of the matter is that the U.S. side must also act according to the Shanghai Communique.

Dr. Press: If you have any further questions, we can pursue them.

Ambassador Han Hsu: Yes. And Dr. Brzezinski has mentioned earlier to me that Mr. Huberman is included in the delegation in order to discuss the Press visit in Peking.

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Mr. Oksenberg: Let me summarize the main purpose of this meeting. We wanted to encourage you to report to Peking and to make sure that the appropriate counterpart will be available to Mr. Huberman so that planning for the Frank Press visit can begin actively during Dr. Brzezinski’s visit. If a visit is to transpire in June, for example, it will be important to make progress in both the schedule and the agenda of the visit rather rapidly.

Dr. Brzezinski: Thank you for coming.

Ambassador Han Hsu: Thank you.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 50, Chron: 5/78. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House.
  2. A National Science Conference, held in Beijing in March, was attended by China’s leaders and top scientists. Both Deng and Fang Yi addressed the conference.