121. Telegram From the Liaison Office in China to the Department of State1

1837. Eyes Only for Holbrooke from Woodcock. Subj: Request for Recommendations. Ref: State 150207.2

1. Thank you for your message. I am happy to hear that final stages are being reached.

2. I believe it will be extremely difficult to get the Chinese to agree to remain completely silent when we publicly state that we are convinced Peking will not use military force to reunify Taiwan. Nor are [Page 497] they likely to remain silent when we tell our public that we plan to continue arms sales to Taiwan.

3. However, the Chinese response may be somewhat more moderate than in the past. In addition we may be able to negotiate with the Chinese a private statement of their intentions regarding Taiwan along following lines which we could use publicly as representing the Chinese views and which the Chinese might agree not to contradict:

A. The Chinese have told us that the PRC believes that it is in the best interest of the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits that reunification be peaceful. (The Chinese themselves may add separately both in negotiations and publicly that Taiwan is Chinese territory and Chinese have sovereign right to decide how liberation should be achieved.)

B. The Chinese have told us that our common concerns in the international arena are of major importance and in this context Taiwan is of minor importance.

C. The Chinese have told us that they have no objection to the U.S. following the example of Japan and all other countries who have continued commercial, social and other friendly interchanges with Taiwan after severing formal diplomatic ties. This, of course, would have to be done through a non-governmental office.

D. The Chinese have told us that they believe that continued full commercial relations with Taiwan will prevent any outside power from taking political and military advantage of Taiwan.

4. Arms Sales: In our negotiations with the Chinese I think we should repeat Secretary Vance’s statements of last August and Brzezinski’s statements on this subject during May visit. While we should not use the term “arms sales” we should make it very clear that when we speak of our intention to continue the sale of equipment of all types that Taiwan needs for all legitimate purposes we mean all types of equipment.

5. It seems clear that Chinese have been trying to create more favorable climate for normalization through production-sharing invitation to U.S. oil companies; Chen Yi-sung’s and Vice Foreign Minister Ho Ying’s statements about peaceful liberation; favorable reaction to Brzezinski visit; and dramatic increase in visits and exchanges (Pan Am has just reached agreement for 5,500 Pan Am tourists next year). I think we have better chance now to normalize relations than we have had for some years.

6. Chinese negotiations with Portugal, in which the Chinese are trying to put the question of Macao to one side in order to avoid panic in Hong Kong, are illustrative of current PRC thinking. It may be just [Page 498] possible to include in the list of possibilities in paragraph three an assertion that ultimate reunification of Taiwan will take a long time.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840150–2594. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Stadis.
  2. In telegram 150207 to Beijing, June 13, Holbrooke informed Woodcock: “We are nearing final stages of preparing your instructions per our conversations in Peking. If you have recommendations, we would welcome them as soon as possible.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840128–2193)