174. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Ad Hoc Group on China Meeting1


  • Vice President’s Office
  • Denis Clift
  • State
  • Warren Christopher
  • Richard Holbrooke
  • Douglas Bennet
  • Roger Sullivan
  • Herb Hansell
  • Defense
  • Michael Armacost
  • JCS
  • Lt. Gen. William Smith
  • Robert Quaksenburgh
  • CIA
  • Frank Carlucci
  • Jim Lilley
  • Treasury
  • Richard Fisher
  • Commerce
  • Frank Weil
  • Kempton Jenkins
  • White House
  • David Aaron (Chairman)
  • Jody Powell
  • Frank Moore
  • Bob Beckel
  • NSC
  • Rick Inderfurth
  • Madeleine Albright
  • Nick Platt


David Aaron convened the first meeting of the SCC Ad Hoc Group on China. He explained that the purpose of the group is to coordinate the principal policy issues relating to normalization, including those which are of direct interest to the President and those which cut across agency lines. He stressed that the Ad Hoc Group would not be involved in day to day operational requirements relating to normalization. That work would continue to be conducted by the ongoing Interagency China Group, headed by Dick Holbrooke.

Congressional Consultations

State was directed to take the lead on immediate Congressional briefings and consultation.2 David Aaron noted that the Vice President will be fully engaged in this process as well. Doug Bennet was in [Page 657] structed to prepare a list of those members of Congress who should be contacted immediately, working with Bob Beckel on this. It was also agreed that a normalization briefing book should be immediately prepared, with the following sections:

1. Negotiating history

2. Implications of normalization

3. Questions and Answers

State was directed to prepare the above, in conjunction with the NSC.

In addition to Congressional consultation, Frank Moore suggested that Secretaries Bergland and Kreps be directed to inform the agricultural and business communities, respectively, of the positive benefits to be derived from normalization. It was agreed that Agriculture and Commerce should organize meetings in Washington in the near future for this purpose and that Anne Wexler should be involved. Following a suggestion from Jody Powell, David Aaron recommended that a Cabinet-level coordinating committee on U.S.–China relations—to include State, Commerce, Treasury, STR and Agriculture—meet on December 20. A drop-by by the President at this meeting would be explored.

With respect to public relations, State was directed to (1) elicit a statement on trade with Taiwan from David Kennedy and (2) coordinate speakers on normalization with the offices of Jody Powell and Jerry Rafshoon.

Preparation of Legislation

Herb Hansell reported that an omnibus bill on post-normalization relations with Taiwan was in preparation, as well as an Executive Order to allow non-official relations with Taiwan to continue between January 1, 1979 and the enactment of the omnibus legislation. Initially a non-profit, non-official organization to handle relations with Taiwan will be incorporated under D.C. law, with the possibility of a federal charter to follow. David Aaron requested that the proposed Executive Order be forwarded to the NSC by December 21.

Military Withdrawal

DOD reported on the status of U.S. arms transfers to the ROC as well as War Reserve Munitions (WRM) in Taiwan. David Aaron directed DOD to prepare a decision memorandum on the Harpoon missile and recommendations on what to do with WRM. In addition, JCS is to provide a schedule of military withdrawals from Taiwan.

It was noted at this point in the discussion that certain Defense related issues (e.g. WRM) would require legislation or Congressional approval. The group agreed that it would be best for Congress to address [Page 658] Taiwan defense issues first, then the President’s ambassadorial appointment to the PRC, then the omnibus normalization legislation.

Preparations for Teng Visit

State was directed to begin immediate preparations for the visit of Vice Premier Teng, tentatively scheduled for January 28–30. SCC participants were directed by David Aaron to forward suggestions on issues to be covered during the visit. Treasury and Commerce were instructed to consider how Teng’s visit could be used to enhance the forthcoming trips to the PRC by Secretaries Blumenthal and Kreps. Finally, State, in conjunction with White House Congressional Liaison, was directed to prepare a Congressional consultation plan for Teng’s visit.

Other Issues

David Aaron directed State to prepare a recommendation on a delegation to Taiwan to discuss post-normalization of relations. State is also to prepare a recommendation on a farewell call on the President by Ambassador Shen and a paper on symbolic events for January 1 at the PRC and former ROC embassies.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Nicholas Platt Chron File, Box 65, 12/78. Confidential.
  2. Brzezinski commented that the Administration’s consultations with Congress had been “limited, primarily on the advice of Majority Leader Robert Byrd. He was afraid of leaks and thought that congressional objections would scuttle any negotiations.” (Power and Principle, p. 232) Carter met with a group of Congressmen the evening of December 15 before he addressed the nation. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)