108. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Summary of Dr. Brzezinski’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Huang Hua


  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Leonard Woodcock, United States Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China
  • Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Michel Oksenberg, Staff Member, NSC
  • William Gleysteen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Morton Abramowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Samuel Huntington, Staff Member, NSC
  • Michael Armacost, Staff Member, NSC
  • Benjamin Huberman, Staff Member, NSC
  • Gertrude Werner, Secretary, NSC (Notetaker)
  • Francine Obermiller, Secretary, NSC (Notetaker)
  • Huang Hua, Foreign Minister, People’s Republic of China
  • Chai Tse-min, People’s Republic of China Ambassador to the United States
  • Lin Ping, Director of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs
  • Ting Yuan-hung, Division Chief of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs
  • Chao Chi-hua, Deputy Division Chief, Protocol Department
  • Ni Yao-li, Staff Member, Department of American and Oceanian Affairs
  • Wang Hai-jung, Vice Foreign Minister in Charge of American and Oceanian Affairs
  • Kao Chien-chung, Deputy Director of the Protocol Department
  • Lien Hung-pao (Notetaker)

Minister Huang: Welcome to Peking. Are you all rested?

Dr. Brzezinski: We had an excellent rest and a wonderful meal.

Minister Huang: It takes some time for one to adjust to the jet lag, but you are young.

Dr. Brzezinski: I am not that young, and the stay overnight in Japan certainly did help.

Minister Huang: First of all, I would like to say welcome again to you, Dr. Brzezinski, and to your colleagues. In August last year Cyrus Vance visited China. In September we met again in New York. It is not a long time since then, but the international situation has developed rapidly so we welcome this opportunity of your visit to exchange views on the international situation and the situation in certain important regions. I have learned that before your excellency came to China the White House spokesman stated that you were going to exchange views with the Chinese side on the strategic situation of the world. You said we were going to have a comprehensive exchange of views. So we will give the whole afternoon today to listen to what you have to say. I remember when I met Cyrus Vance in New York last September I brought him a message from Premier Hua to the President. On that occasion Cyrus Vance said that the U.S. side was still studying this message and it would give us a reply as soon as it completed this study.2 Mr. Woodcock also said that the United States continues to study this message. Perhaps you have brought us some news in this respect. Do you think it necessary for us to introduce the members of the delegations on each side?

Lin Ping, Director of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs.

Mr. Ting Yuan-hung, Division Chief of that Department.

Mr. Ni Yao-li, Staff Member of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs.

Miss Wang Huai-jung, Vice Foreign Minister in Charge of American and Oceanian Affairs.

Dr. Brzezinski: You call it American and Oceanian Affairs. Why?

Minister Huang: It includes New Zealand and Australia, as well as the U.S.

Dr. Brzezinski: The same kind of confusion exists in our Department of State, where they include Canada with Western Europe.

Minister Huang (continuing introductions): Kao Chien-chung, Deputy Director of the Protocol Department. And Chao Chi-hua, Deputy Division Chief of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs.

Dr. Brzezinski: Perhaps I could respond by saying that I am profoundly pleased to be here in Peking and to have this opportunity of exchanging views with you and other Chinese leaders. Still speaking on a personal plane, I want to emphasize that as a student of politics and history, I have the greatest admiration and respect for the cultural and historical achievements of the people of China. Speaking very personally, my first recollections of China come from the days when I was a small boy and used to play toy soldiers, Chinese and Japanese soldiers . . . and I was always on the Chinese side! I am deeply conscious of how much your people have suffered, how much they have toiled, and how much they have accomplished, and how ambitious your aspirations for the future are. I wish you well in these aspirations.

Dr. Brzezinski: I will now introduce my colleagues. I am afraid I am introducing some whom you know well. Let me introduce those who came with me from Washington. To my immediate left, Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and prior to that editor of a very provocative magazine on international affairs. To his immediate left William Gleysteen, a person on whom I call for his living memory of American-Chinese relations and whose advice is very much valued. To his further left is Mr. Samuel Huntington, who is a distinguished professor of government at Harvard University and one of America’s leading specialists in international relations; he is a member of the staff of the National Security Council and author of Presidential Review Memorandum No. 10;3 well-known throughout the world and thoroughly misunderstood in China. To his left Ben Huberman of the National Security Council Staff, an expert in science and technology, involved in some of the more crit[Page 393]ical aspects of national security which pertain to science and technology. To the right of Ambassador Woodcock is Mike Oksenberg of the staff of the National Security Council, responsible for China and one of America’s leading experts in Chinese affairs and very much my teacher in that area.

Minister Huang (to Oksenberg): Is this your fifth trip to China?

Mr. Oksenberg: Yes.

Dr. Brzezinski: Mort Abramowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with a special interest in the Far East. I consider his presence in this delegation to be symbolic of America’s past friendship with you which involved comradeship in arms. Finally to his right, Mr. Michael Armacost, also of the National Security Council Staff, responsible primarily for relations with Japan and Korea, countries in which the U.S. has vital interest and countries which provide the basis for peace and stability in the Far East.

If you would permit me, I would like to make my presentation. As I told you, it will be comprehensive, and I hope that the stress on your patience will be compensated by the knowledge that we attach high importance to the consultative relations between our countries, which we want to maintain and enhance.

I have come to the People’s Republic of China because President Carter and I believe that the U.S. and China share certain common, fundamental interests and have similar long-term strategic concerns. The most important of these is our position on global and regional hegemony. Thus our interest in relations with the PRC is not tactical in nature but is based on certain long-term and strategic objectives. It is in that context that I believe I will provide at least some of the answers to questions that were raised by you in regard to Secretary Vance’s visit.

President Carter asked me first of all to reaffirm his commitment to the full normalization of relations between our two countries. Secondly, to seek ways to broaden our relations as part of the normalization process. Thirdly, to consult on matters of parallel strategic interest and to brief you on certain matters in the strategic and conventional balance. Fourthly, to discuss ways in which our separate actions might be mutually reinforcing in places where we have points of common interest. At the outset I would like to express to you our determination to move forward with the process of normalization. I can say on behalf of President Carter that the U.S. has made up its mind on this issue. Our policy toward China is based on self-interest rather than sentiment, which dictates that the U.S. should seek good relations with China. The Shanghai Communique is the starting point for our relationship. The President reconfirms the five basic principles enunciated by two previous U.S. Administrations. In our view, there is only one China. The President believes that China plays a central role in the maintenance of [Page 394] the global equilibrium. The President believes a strong and independent China is a force for peace in our pluralistic world. The President recognizes that your plans to develop and modernize your country will rely largely on your own efforts, but he hopes that your quest meets with success for he believes that a modernized, secure, strong China living at peace with its neighbors and fully utilizing the creative talents of its populace can make a contribution to solving the problems of the remainder of this century and of the next. In short, in the foreseeable future we believe that your interests and ours largely coincide. To be sure, we have different ideologies and different social systems, but that which brings us together during this historic time outweighs by far that which divides us.

After the global and strategic review we might return to this issue in our formal session and in the private sessions that have yet to take place. Later on, because we enjoy a relationship which permits frankness and candor, I will touch on issues which currently separate us. Through constructive dialogue these differences can be put aside. For the moment, let me focus on that on which we agree: our opposition to global hegemony. The U.S. joined you in the Shanghai Communique in stating that neither of us seeks hegemony in the Asian and Pacific regions and both are opposed to efforts by any other countries or group of countries to establish such hegemony. President Carter knows that you believe the U.S. to be a hegemonic power. You are wrong in that belief. The American people seek a pluralistic world of genuinely independent nations. We reluctantly assume the role of a world power not out of desire but in order to prevent third powers from establishing dominance over countries where we have legitimate concerns. It was that concern which led us to fight fascism in the second world war in a conflict which incidentally saw the U.S. and Chinese Communist forces join an alliance in the years 1944–1945. Since World War II the U.S. has borne the major burden of countering, offsetting, and repelling the hegemonic aspirations of the Soviet Union. Thus we have been allies before. We should cooperate again in the face of the common threat for one of the central features of our era is the emergence of the Soviet Union as a global power.

Let me now comment more specifically on four topics: One, President Carter’s assessment of the Soviet challenge; two, basic policy goals and strategy of the Carter Administration which flow from this perception of the U.S.-Soviet relationship; three, a regional survey of our policies; and four, in greater detail the military aspects of the U.S.-Soviet relationship. I do so in my capacity as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs responsible for the total coordination of our foreign, defense, and intelligence policies.

The President has asked me to inform you and the other Chinese leaders of his concern that the combination of increasing Soviet military [Page 395] power and Soviet political shortsightedness fed by Soviet big-power ambitions might tempt the Soviet Union to both increasingly exploit local turbulence in what we call the third world and to seek to intimidate our friends in order to seek political advantage and even eventually political preponderance short of an all-out war.

The President sees the Soviet Union as essentially in a competitive relationship with the U.S. though there are also some cooperative aspects. That competitive relationship is enduring, deep seated, rooted in different traditions, interests, outlooks, histories, and geopolitical priorities. Thus the competition will not be terminated quickly and the U.S. is prepared to compete for as long as necessary for as much as necessary.

As we see it, Soviet strategy today involves the following: it is designed to reach a strategic balance through SALT while maintaining the momentum of other Soviet military programs; to gain political preponderance in Western Europe; to radicalize the Middle East; to destabilize southern Africa; to surround those countries in the Middle East friendly to the West; to reach and penetrate the Indian Ocean; to encircle China; and to become eventually the No. 1 global power. It is thus a policy of transcontinental pressure quite different from Khrushchev’s premature globalism of the early 1950s, which was successfully rebuffed by the U.S. and quite different from Stalin’s policy of a more limited, territorily contiguous military and political pressure.

That is why the President takes so seriously Soviet actions in Africa and that is why he is concerned about the Soviet military buildup in central Europe. He also sees Soviet designs pointing to the Indian Ocean through South Asia and into the Pacific. I will return to these concerns in my regional review.

At the same time the reality of nuclear weapons dictates not only need for restraint by both sides but also for greater cooperation especially in arms control. Thus, SALT is not a product of weakness but the consequence of prudence.

All of this is taking place in the context of an unprecedented global political awakening. We confront today no less than 160 nation states in a world which is becoming truly politically awakened, a world which is undergoing a demographic explosion without precedent in mankind’s history, a world in which demands for social and political justice are becoming increasingly assertive.

International ideological, power, racial conflicts cumulatively pose great danger to world peace. The U.S. is determined to respond to these challenges that confront us. The President’s overall foreign policy can perhaps be reduced to six basic objectives:

1. We seek wider cooperation with our key allies, such as West Europe and Japan, but we are also now seeking to broaden this coopera[Page 396]tion to include countries we call the new regional influentials, thereby responding to changes of the last 15–20 years in the global distribution of power. The President’s two major trips abroad were designed to establish relations with such new regional influentials.

2. We intend to maintain sufficient military capabilities to support our global security and political interests. We will do so through our strategic deterrent; and by strengthening and enhancing the conventional balance in Europe; and by development of a quick reaction global force available for rapid deployment in areas important to us. This was specifically ordered by Presidential Directive No. 18, which I will speak more specifically later.4

3. Politically, we shall remain engaged in all regions. This is why we insisted on signing the Panama Canal Treaties in order to create a political basis for a positive relationship with the countries of Latin America. This is why we are engaged in the Middle East and Africa. This is why we are activating our policy in the Far East.

4. We will increase our efforts to develop constructive responses to such global issues as nuclear proliferation and the spiraling arms race, issues in which the President has a very personal interest.

5. We shall seek to promote a healthy international monetary system by efforts to promote free trade through multi-lateral trade negotiations.

6. Finally, we shall seek to sustain and obtain domestic support for our policies by rooting them clearly in our moral values. Insistence on human rights not only reflects our deep beliefs but is also a source of domestic support for a policy which has been lacking it and thereby weakening America’s international position.

Taken together, these goals are designed to shape an international system not subject to hegemony by a single country. President Carter understands, however, that the goals cannot be attained by words alone. Power and strategy are necessary in order to achieve these objectives.

Early in President Carter’s Administration, the President asked me to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the global balance of power in order to provide the basis for his Administration’s strategy. Let me share with you the results of that assessment, especially since it was misunderstood—PRM 10. The key conclusions of that global assessment, conducted under the direction of Mr. Samuel Huntington, were as follows.

As a result of intense efforts beginning in the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union by the early 1970s had achieved essential equivalence with the [Page 397] U.S. in strategic forces. The Soviets had a lead in ICBM and SLBM launchers, throw weight, mega tonnage, air defense and civil defense, while the U.S. was ahead in warheads, MIRV launchers, bomber accuracy, hard target kill capability, and ASW. The Soviets were deploying their fourth generation of long-range missiles and were developing the fifth. The U.S. had plans for the B–1 bomber, Trident and M–X missiles and cruise missiles. If implemented on both sides, these plans would have meant essential equivalence through the 1980s.

Another conclusion was that the overall trend in the military balance in Europe during the preceding decade had favored the Warsaw Pact.

This trend was in part the result of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and anti-military sentiments in Western societies. It was also the product of Soviet increases in manpower in central Europe, modernization of Soviet ground forces, including introducing of T–72 tank, infantry vehicles, anti- and self-propelled artillery including increased forward deployment of aircraft and strengthening of already impressive air defense systems, increased offensive and defensive chemical warfare and theatre nuclear capabilities including both deployment of battlefield capabilities comparable to NATO and introduction of the SS–20.

As a result of these developments it was our judgment that neither the Warsaw Pact nor NATO could be confident that it could achieve its objectives in a conventional conflict. Another conclusion was that during the same decade the Soviets massively increased their deployments on the Sino-Soviet frontier.

Soviet regional deployment quadrupled during 1968–1972. Soviet bases and other facilities were developed in Cuba and Somalia. Transport and logistical support provided for Cuban intervention in Angola.

As a result of these developments in our view in 1977 a rough asymmetrical equivalence had been reached by the U.S. and Soviet Union. In contrast, the U.S. retains substantial advantages in most of the non-military elements of national power, such as economic resources and productivity, technology, diplomatic access and support, political ideological action and appeal and stability; in intelligence capabilities U.S. and Soviet Union were roughly equivalent.

Our judgment that relations between U.S. and Soviet Union in this current period thus involve elements of both competition and cooperation. This thus differs from the more purely competitive relationship of the early phases of the cold war and emphasis on cooperation which briefly prevailed in the détente period of 1969–1973. In overall capacity and national power the U.S. remains the strongest nation in the world. The Soviet Union is a clear second. Of the next five most important countries in the world, four were allies of the U.S. and the fifth the PRC [Page 398] is an antagonist of the Soviet Union. In addition, the global balance is being significantly affected by the emergence of the regionally important powers in the world—India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Venezuela, Nigeria, Indonesia—with all of whom the U.S. enjoys a better relationship in contrast with the Soviet Union. In brief, when we assumed responsibilities of power in Washington we confronted a situation of (1) adverse military threats; (2) a roughly asymmetrical military balance; (3) substantial U.S. non-military advantages; (4) a mixed cooperative-competitive relationship with the Soviet Union. The strategy for dealing with this situation was embodied in a document—PD 18—signed by the President of the United States at the end of August 1977. It laid down the basic ideas for the Administration to follow in its competition with the Soviet Union and provided guidance for decisions for the defense budget and military services.

The basic themes were articulated by the Secretary of Defense on September 15, 1977, and by the President in his Wake Forest address of March 17, 1978.5 As set forth in PD 18, the overall goals of U.S. strategy are (1) to maintain overall military balance at least as favorable as that existing in 1977. Achievement of this goal requires, in the light of U.S. military needs, about a three percent annual increase in real U.S. defense spending; (2) to capitalize on U.S. non-military advantages to induce Soviets to cooperate in reducing tensions and to the extent possible to involve the Soviets in positive global economic and social cooperation; (3) to utilize U.S. non-military advantages and military forces as necessary to counter Soviet force in key areas, such as Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, and compete politically with the Soviet Union by promoting human rights and national independence.

More specifically, in the military field the goals of the U.S. strategy are: (1) maintain essential equivalence with strategic forces with the Soviet Union so as to preclude Soviets using force and so that the U.S. will not be deterred from using its conventional forces when it is in the American interest to use them; (2) reverse the trend in the military balance in Europe, particularly by developing NATO conventional strength, necessary forward defense and flexible response, initial combat capabilities; (3) maintain existing relatively stable balance of power in East Asia, including U.S. combat levels in the Pacific and East [Page 399] Asia excluding Taiwan and eliminating second division in Korea with quick rapid deployment in Korea if necessary.

In effect this strategy is designed on the one hand to develop three strategic centers—West Europe, East Asia, and Middle East Persian Gulf—and on the other hand to provide the U.S. with rapid global deployment force capable of deterring Soviet expansionism and maintaining the strategic balance.

In one of his conversations, Vice Premier Teng said the Chinese are a patient people. I want to warn you that this concludes one third of my presentation. I would like now to turn to regional survey of our policies and our concerns.

Western Europe is of the greatest concern to us. It has been so traditionally and remains so now, but we are concerned about some indications of political weakness in Europe, of isolationism. We welcome indications of increased Chinese-West European ties and it is not our intention either to obstruct these ties or put impediments in the way of these ties in any respect or in any area. At the forthcoming summit meeting of the NATO countries we will put much more emphasis on the further modernization of NATO forces and the need to increase the political cohesion of European countries.

We also want to put aside any past ambivalence about European unity. We welcome European unity and will use our influence to promote that unity.

We will use the economic summit in Bonn in July to try to develop a coordinated approach to European economic difficulties. These, combined with cultural/political crisis, manifest themselves in some Western European countries, and lend not only instability but major opportunity for adversaries to promote what is sometimes called the “Finlandization” of Europe.

Symptomatic of our concern for closer relations with Europe is the fact that President Carter is in weekly telephone conversations with most of the top European leaders to establish through such consultations a continuing relationship. I should note that we have achieved one goal of the last year—closer, better relationship with France than for many decades since World War II. This is particularly important because France and the U.S. share common concern to halt the forces of subversion and foreign intrusion in Africa. French-American cooperation in this respect has been important and productive.

With regard to East Europe, we are quietly intensifying our interest and involvement. We no longer support only those East European countries which are independent of the Soviet Union in external policy. We also support those East European countries which are independent internally. We no longer view our road to East Europe as necessarily going through Moscow.

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In the Middle East our central objective is the creation eventually of a strong bloc of anti-Soviet states including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Our peace efforts in that region have that strategic objective in mind.

The recent decision by the U.S. Senate to approve arms sales to Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia is a major indication of President Carter’s intention and capacity to pursue policy designed to establish lasting links with a more moderate Middle East.6 Peace efforts in the region have still a long way to go. Sadat seems not opposed to Israeli security concerns, but is concerned also by the absence of Arab solidarity. Begin is adamant regarding the West Bank and Gaza. There is hope following the successful vote in the Senate that we can initiate diplomacy designed to bring about direct negotiations about the future of the Sinai and the future of the West Bank. I can state categorically that our Middle East policy is not only politically but personally important to President Carter, and he has and will persist in it because there are fundamental strategic long-term interests involved. These interests are to some extent yours as well. A Middle East safe from Soviet influence is a Middle East that benefits us all. Whatever you can do to moderate attitudes of South Yemen or Iraq would be a major contribution to stability and diminution of Soviet influence. Anything you can do to establish relations with Saudi Arabia will help. You should recognize that in Prime Minister Begin we have the most anti-Soviet Israeli prime minister since the creation of the State of Israel and your relations in some fashion with the State of Israel would be a contribution to the strategic objective which is in our mutual interest. In any case, whatever moderating influence can be exercised by anyone on these countries or on Algeria, Libya, and the PLO would be a contribution to creating greater impediments to Soviet influence in the Middle East. We would particularly welcome your judgments regarding the situation in South Yemen, the role of the Cubans in South Yemen, and the prospects for evicting the Cuban-Soviet presence in South Yemen.

When the Soviet Union had a naval base in Berbera, we initiated naval restraint talks with the Soviet Union regarding the Indian Ocean. In the light of the situation that developed in the African Horn, these talks are now in abeyance. We would welcome your advice and judgment concerning developments in the African Horn. Our view is that the Soviets are responsible. They armed the Somalis and created the preconditions for us. They then armed Ethiopia and infused their military presence. We have encouraged African countries to show concern for this and involve themselves in the search for a solution. We have encouraged our friends to provide military assistance to the Eritreans and [Page 401] Somalia. We are now exploring the possibility of providing military and economic assistance to Somalia. We indicated in the course of the conflict to Somalia that in the event of Soviet interferences of provision of assistance by our friends to Saudi Arabia and Iran we would offset such Soviet intervention.

However, the problem remains and the need for effective responses remains. We are encouraging non-aligned nations to show greater concern over the use of Cubans as a Soviet proxy. Cuba has claimed credentials as a nonaligned country. You have influence with a number of non-aligned countries. I hope you will use it to discredit Cubans and expose their role as Soviet proxy in Africa. We are also providing support to Kenya.

We will be interested and grateful if you would share with us your judgments regarding the outlook and prospects for Mengistu. Is he merely a Soviet tool or potentially independent force? Your assessment of Siad in Somalia as well as information regarding your future intentions towards Eritrea and Sudan, and the economic and military situation in Sudan is of interest.

Further, in southern Africa we see Rhodesia as most dangerous, and we are concerned it will begin to involve Soviets and Cubans. That is why we support action to implement rapidly the Anglo-American plan. We would be grateful for your serious consideration of this plan. Implementation of this plan would bring into power genuine black majority rule and create genuine self-determination. It would be useful to have the support of such black leadership on whom you may have some influence. For example, Mugabe could be central. Our regional objective is to bring about black majority rule, and we anticipate active U.S. involvement to help bring this about.

Insofar as Angola is concerned, we moved rapidly in the last two days to facilitate a forceful and effective response to situation of aggression in Zaire perhaps with support of others. American military aircraft has been ordered to provide support to Belgian and French forces. Literally within hours prior to my departure, I personally instructed the Secretary of Defense to provide airlift and munitions. These efforts will defeat and provide an object lesson to those who have conducted it. However, beyond that there is a question of continued conflict in Angola. We are following closely the continued efforts of UNITA to resist the new government of Angola. I would be interested in your assessment of UNITA and its prospects. UNITA increases costs of Soviet-Cuban involvement and as such may be deserving of help.

Turning eastward, it is our view that our interests and policies are broadly parallel in South Asia. We want to avoid any situation in which [Page 402] any one power becomes dominant. We welcome the attitude of the new Indian government, though we do not expect it to be anti-Soviet. We also hope that India will remain united. We welcome any improvement in relations between India and China. We, of course, realize that India has to go half way to meet you. We also are concerned about Pakistan and feel improvement in India-Pakistan relations would be a desirable development especially in view of the recent events in Afghanistan. We are concerned that they are the prelude for Soviet domination of Afghanistan and use of Afghanistan as a base for destabilization. We are in close touch with India and Pakistan on this matter. We would be grateful if in the course of your conversations with us you would share with us your assessment of the situation in Afghanistan.

We are generally encouraged by progress made in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries united in ASEAN. Their progress has been impressive. American and Japanese involvement have contributed to greater sense of security and greater invulnerability to imperialist designs. American presence in the Philippines will continue in light of agreements recently reached. Our military presence in Southwest Pacific will also continue—American-Australian-New Zealand naval exercises are one recent example.

We are concerned about potentially hegemonic designs in that area and would be interested in any information and judgments you can share with us regarding origins of political tensions between Cambodia and Vietnam.

Vice President Mondale’s trip to that part of the world was particularly useful to reinforce American ties to that region and create objectively further impediments to imperialist designs.7

Relations with Japan are among the most important relationships we have. On the political level they are excellent. There are continuing economic difficulties but we are convinced that both the Japanese and Americans are making sincere, earnest efforts to control these difficulties and keep them from affecting the relationship. I might add that in recent conversations with Prime Minister Fukuda the President expressed a positive attitude toward the possibility of peace and friendship treaty between Japan and China. We have no reservations about any clauses in that treaty.

We and the Japanese share an expressed interest in maintenance of peace on the Korean Peninsula—an interest also implicitly shared with you. We intend to remain in South Korea in spite of the gradual reduc[Page 403]tions in ground forces. There will still be a physical military presence as well as naval presence in the area.

We believe it is important that the two Koreas talk to each other at some point on the basis of equality. Many countries recognize both Koreas and deal with them. We would be prepared, if it was useful, to participate in a dialogue involving both Koreas. No one should have any misunderstanding regarding the depth, durability and firmness of the American commitment to the security and well being of the Republic of Korea. Anything less than that would be highly destabilizing to the peace and security of the Far East and would certainly be exploited by the Soviet Union in a manner detrimental to American interests and threatening to Japan and to the countries in that region of the world.

No political review would be complete without a few words about the internal situation in the Soviet Union and the U.S. I think it is important to note that any balanced judgment of the Soviet role in the world has to take into account significant internal difficulties. The Soviet condition in Eastern Europe is fundamentally unstable. In the Soviet Union economic growth is slow, stemming from bureaucratic rigidity. Intellectual innovation is limited. There is a marked and growing technological gap between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Their nationality problem is becoming more acute. More than 50 percent of the Soviet people who are non-Russian are acquiring growing political awareness. No revolutionary in the world today thinks of the Soviet Union as a revolutionary model. They have no genuine friends abroad, even among countries formally allied to it. Its top leadership is about to change. Internally, they are confronting serious problems. This does not detract from their military power but must be taken into objective account when assessing Soviet power.

We see the U.S. gradually coming out of the crisis which was created by the Vietnamese War and the so-called Watergate Affair. There is a growing sense of confidence. There is increasing trust in the government. There is growing willingness to cooperate. The two recent victories by the President on issues that were initially unpopular, the Panama Canal and the sale of arms to the Middle East, indicate the ability of the Executive Branch to execute foreign policy. All public opinion policy indicates that more spending on defense and a tougher line in foreign policy would be supported by the American public. I believe that these internal things have to be taken into account in any global political assessment.

I would like to turn to the specific military parts. I will review the strategic balance. I will brief you on the state of the strategic arms military talks and review the balance in the West and in the East.

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I will discuss first the strategic balance. This chart,8 which Mr. Abramowitz has, indicates the overall number of strategic nuclear vehicles including the different types, Soviet and the U.S. It indicates the number of warheads, U.S. and Soviet, and equivalent throw weight. There is a rough equivalence in the strategic force level of the two sides. We have a significant lead in MIRVed missiles. They have the lead in throw weight. We have more than compensated with the total number of our weapons. Most of these weapons are capable of liquidating a city.

We continue to enjoy significant technological advantages in the strategic area. The Soviet’s ICBM are large, but the accuracy is not as good as ours. Our bombers are equipped with electronics which would enable them to strike their targets. Our missile-carrying submarines are extremely quiet and invulnerable to Soviet submarines. Soviet submarines are less sophisticated and more vulnerable to our anti-submarine war capabilities.

We see some problems in the future which require improvements in our posture. The most important is the survivability of our ICBM force which is being threatened by the improvements in the Soviet’s force.

We are examining the possibility of a mobile ICBM and of placing more emphasis on nuclear submarines and bombers.

Another potential problem is the Soviet improvement of air defenses which could threaten the viability of our bomber forces. Our best response to that was to discontinue the B–1 bomber and to proceed with the cruise missile. Some of the money saved from the B–1 can be used and is being used to strengthen the conventional forces in Europe.

Whatever the situation, we will not accept a situation of either real or perceived imbalance, and if necessary we will expand our strategic forces from the standpoint of resources and technology.

In particular, we can expand our strategic forces by adding to them the ICBM, the Trident, the cruise missile.

We are reviewing the possibility of a force of 100 very large transport aircraft, each with 60 cruise missiles. We are improving the accuracy of ICBMs, our anti-submarine capability, and our air defenses.

We are pushing ahead with new technology in the area of weaponry. I would like to give you five examples of new weapons systems we are developing and deploying.

The first is the cruise missile. [7 lines not declassified]

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Another weapon involves a penetrating high explosive 155 millimeter shell which can be fired 20 kilometers with an accuracy of one meter. It is tracked in flight by laser and permits standard Howitzers to be used as a precision-guided anti-tank weapon.

Another is a missile to be fired from aircraft which can hit a target with an accuracy of two meters from a range of ten kilometers. It has an infrared image guidance, and it is effective during the night and day under any weather conditions.

Another system is the process for locating radios, jammers, under all conditions, and to guide weapons up to a range of 250 nautical miles and up to 3000 targets per minute. Such a system can blind the enemy in an extremely rapid period of time.

Another system involves a missile for air combat which can be fired at any angle at a mobile air target as much as 20 miles away under any weather conditions day or night and can be used to destroy mobile targets.

I cite these examples not to boast but merely to indicate that some analyses saying that the Soviet Union will gain military superiority are not founded. American technology is going to insure a strategic relationship which we find satisfactory.

What I have said so far is designed to indicate to you in all seriousness and sincerity that we are prepared to compete with the Soviet Union politically and militarily. But at the same time we are prepared to limit that competition. If there is an equal and safe basis, that is the purpose of SALT of which I would now like to speak.

SALT is an effort to regulate a competitive relationship. We are prepared to compete and we will not be outbid. But we are also prepared to cooperate. As to SALT, we are close to an agreement. It will consist of three parts: a basic agreement lasting to 1985, protocol for some temporary limits which will last two and half years, and a statement of principles outlining our objectives for SALT III, which we hope to begin negotiating after the conclusion of SALT II.

We believe that the agreement will be an improvement on previous agreements and on previous proposals.

The first SALT agreement signed in 1972 gave a considerable advantage to the Soviet Union in weapons systems and numbers.

In Vladivostok in November 1974 the primary agreement was reached providing for equality both in the total number and MIRVs. It was the FordBrezhnev meeting.

In March 1977 Secretary Vance went to Moscow to propose what we called the comprehensive new agreement for both sides imposing reductions from Vladivostok. The Soviet side rejected that.

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We believe that SALT II will stabilize a strategic relationship in a manner which protects our interest and that can best be seen by comparing that agreement to a situation without an agreement by 1985.

This chart reveals many military secrets of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. I hope the Soviets will forgive me for this.

If SALT II is complete, Soviet forces would be like this (ZB shows a chart).

If there is no SALT II by 1985, Soviet strategic forces will have this configuration and our present program would result in this (ZB showing chart).9

The U.S. will have an advantage in the number of warheads and a disadvantage in throw weight.

Our expectation of 12,000 warheads under SALT II is based on the assumption that we will be placing cruise missiles and bombers at the rate of 20 to a bomber if we don’t decide to use an air transport.

I cite this because there are some ignorant people in the world. The SALT agreement has slowed down the overall strategic buildup but it will permit us to use our technology to develop and deploy such weapons as the cruise missile or the MX, or the Trident. We feel that SALT will be stabilizing if on the other hand it will preserve our ability to insure our security by adequate strategic programs, one which is capable of protecting our interest and the interest of all our allies.

Vance and Gromyko will meet in Washington May 26 to continue the next round of negotiations. There are still four major issues to be resolved before a SALT agreement is complete.

The first issue is whether each side is to be permitted until 1985 to develop one more new ICBM. Agreement will be reached provided the Soviet Union accepts our proposal.

The three other issues involve definition of modernization of ballistic missiles and therefore what kind of modernization should be limited.

Secondly, the definition of the cruise missile and of its range and finally the restrictions to be placed on a bomber which the Soviets define as a medium-range bomber.

If the Soviet side accepts our generous and balanced proposals, then we can move more rapidly toward the conclusion of SALT. If they do not, we will continue to negotiate.

If they accept, then we would hope to be able to sign SALT sometime this summer or early fall. But in either case, we expect that the dif[Page 407]ficult dispute in the Senate about ratification will not begin until early 1979.

A strong NATO military position is fundamental to our political stability worldwide. NATO countries have many advantages. The GNP of the NATO countries is $3400 billion, the Warsaw Pact is only $1240 billion. The population of the NATO is 555 million. The Warsaw Pact 365 million. It is also a fact that the Warsaw Pact countries spend a larger amount of the resources on military forces. They have more tanks, artillery, aircraft. The NATO forces are almost as large numerically, but we put more emphasis on the quality of training and the higher standard of living for our military. The NATO allies have considerably larger navies than the Warsaw Pact. NATO and Warsaw Pact are roughly equal in military strength.

There are serious deficiencies on the NATO side. In the event of war, the chart suggests that out of the 225 divisions of the Warsaw Pact about 90 are to be deployed against the NATO center, about 60 against NATO flanks; 45 would be kept opposite China, and about 30 would be kept in general reserve.

The Soviets have an advantage of 1.7 to 1. But our overall military assessment is that it is unlikely that the Soviets could have confidence that the conventional attack would succeed, and they would have no security that the conventional attack would not result in a nuclear counter-attack.

Our major concern is that the Soviet Union can mobilize their forces and gain an advantage of two to one in about 15 days.

We have an advantage of approximately two to one in nuclear weaponry committed to NATO versus Warsaw Pact.

We are inclined to feel that there is a sense of military balance in Europe though a great deal of improvement on our side is necessary. We are in the process of seeking these improvements. Almost all of the NATO countries have agreed to increases of military budgets of three percent per annum. We are presently prepositioning equipment for five American divisions in Europe so that five American divisions can be pressed to combat within ten days. We are increasing the number of aircraft deployed in Europe. We are mechanizing our infantry and exploring the possibility of deploying a medium-large ballistic missile or a ground launch cruise missile for the nuclear defense of Europe.

We are now engaged in the completion of a long-term defense program for all of NATO and its completion over the next 25 years. It will cost the U.S. $30 billion and our allies about $50 billion. This is the most comprehensive improvement in the history of NATO. It will be discussed in forthcoming meetings in Washington among the heads of government.

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In addition to considering the Soviet forces deployed in Europe in our global planning, we have to take into account the Soviet forces deployed in the Far East. (ZB showing map)10 We estimate that approximately 25 percent of Soviet ground and tactical air forces and about 30 to 35 percent of Soviet naval forces are deployed in the Far East.

Soviet ground forces in Asia total about 445,000 personnel and are organized in 39 divisions and six tank divisions. Over the last two years there has been considerable improvement in the quality of equipment and the quantity available.

These ground forces are supported by 433 air defense fighters, 568 ground attack aircraft, and 212 reconnaissance aircraft. The latest Soviet ground attack aircraft, MIG–27, is now being deployed in the Far East.

The Soviets are replacing their older missiles, SSR and SS5, with SS20. Six bases are being built in Eastern Soviet Union.

The Soviet fleet in the Far East consists of 32 ballistic missile submarines, 80 attack submarines, and 75 major principal surface combatants. The Soviet Pacific Fleet also includes a naval aviation element which consists of 96 bombers and 47 reconnaissance aircraft.

We feel that the American forces in the Far East are sufficient to protect American interests. American military personnel number 140,000. There are Strategic Air Command bombers, ballistic missile submarines, and two aircraft carriers with a total of 184 aircraft on the carriers.

We feel that our forces are sufficient to protect our interests in Japan and Korea and to provide assistance to any of our friends who may be in need.

At the President’s direction, we are currently reviewing the size and the quality of these forces and at the same time engaged in the process of modernizing the U.S. Navy.

We are now in the process of development of a significant force stationed in the U.S. for rapid global deployment in the event our interests were threatened anywhere in the world.

I have engaged in this rapid, detailed review because I thought it would be important for you to have a sense of how we look at the global political and military balance and it is important for you to understand some of our concerns and anxiety, to give you a sense of some of our weaknesses and our strength and the ability to compete wherever necessary.

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I have begun by saying that I believe we have complementary interests in insuring the world is free of hegemony. Or as we call it, a world of diversity.

In our discussion tomorrow or perhaps more informally at dinner we might, if you find it agreeable, talk a little bit about ways in which our relationship can be enhanced and the process of normalization can continue to move forward.

As I said when I began, the U.S. has made up its mind on this issue. I certainly am anxious to do anything I can to enhance and accelerate this process. I will be grateful to you for comments and reactions to what I have said. I will respond to any questions you may raise. We have come here to have a very frank dialogue. We want to learn from you and we approach this dialogue with the strongest conviction that serious discussions between our two countries are mutually beneficial, are conducted on the basis of equality.

Let me conclude by saying that we take our relationship very seriously, and it was necessary that I made my presentation to you.

Minister Huang: Thank you Dr. Brzezinski for your detailed presentation, but I think it is very late. We can continue our talk at the banquet.11

Of course, I think it is impossible for me to make any comments or raise any questions this evening so we will raise our views tomorrow morning. We will adjourn this afternoon’s session.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 46, China: Brzezinski, May, 1978, Trip: 5/25/78–6/78. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Shanghai Room of the Great Hall of the People. Brzezinski and his party, including his wife, arrived in Beijing on May 20. He recalled that he was “given a formal but very cordial greeting at the airport by Foreign Minister Huang Hua, his wife, and a host of Chinese officials. While on board the plane we had speculated about what kind of greeting I would receive from the very protocol-conscious Chinese, and this greeting by the Foreign Minister himself was a signal that the Chinese had decided to treat the visit on the same level as one by the Secretary of State.” (Power and Principle, p. 209)
  2. Huang may be referring to Vance’s statement during their September 28, 1977, meeting that the United States had “not yet completed our reflections” on the question of normalization of relations. See Document 62.
  3. See footnote 18, Document 59.
  4. See footnote 18, Document 59.
  5. The reference to the statement by the Secretary of Defense is presumably to a speech Brown delivered to the National Security Industrial Association in Washington on September 15, 1977. He spoke about the threat posed by the Soviet development of heavy missiles and vowed to maintain the U.S.-Soviet military balance. (“Brown Sees Buildup by Soviet in Heavy Missiles,” The New York Times, September 16, 1977, p. 9) Regarding Carter’s speech at Wake Forest, see footnote 3, Document 87.
  6. See footnote 2, Document 106.
  7. See footnote 5, Document 106.
  8. Not found.
  9. It is unclear if Brzezinski is showing one or two charts; none was found.
  10. Not found.
  11. No record of the discussion at the banquet has been found. A brief report of Brzezinski’s and Huang’s remarks at the banquet on May 20 was published in Fox Butterfield, “Brzezinski, in China, Calls Goal Full Ties: He Says that U.S. has ‘Made up its Mind’ on Seeking Normal Relations with Peking,” The New York Times, May 21, 1978, p. 8.