245. Minutes of a Cabinet Meeting1

The sixty-seventh meeting of the Cabinet was opened by the President at 9:00 a.m. All members of the Cabinet were in attendance except the Vice President, who was in Boston; Secretary Schlesinger, who was represented by Deputy Secretary Jack O’Leary; Secretary Vance, who was represented by Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher; and Secretary Andrus, who was represented by Under Secretary James Joseph. Other persons present were:

  • Max Cleland
  • Doug Costle
  • Gene Eidenberg
  • Stuart Eizenstat
  • Rex Granum
  • Steven Hill
  • Fred Kahn
  • Margaret McKenna
  • Dick Moe
  • Frank Moore
  • Frank Press
  • Teresa Schwartz
  • Terry Smith
  • Stansfield Turner
  • Anne Wexler
  • Jack Watson
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(Mr. Hill and Ms. Schwartz are White House Fellows. Mr. Smith is a reporter for the New York Times and only attended the first ten minutes of the meeting.)

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to China.]

4. The President asked Secretary Kreps to report on her recent trip to the People’s Republic of China.

—Secretary Kreps noted the following:

—The signing of a claims and assets agreement which had been negotiated earlier by Secretary Blumenthal;

—Agreement on science and technology programs;

—An exhibitions agreement;

—The initialing of a People’s Republic of China/United States trade agreement.

—Secretary Kreps noted that her ability to reach agreement with the People’s Republic of China on a trade program was a direct result of the close and immediate consultations she was able to maintain with the relevant White House staff offices and departments of the government during the period she was in China conducting the negotiations.

—Secretary Kreps described her general reactions to the current situation in the People’s Republic of China:

—Leaders of the PRC stressed that the government was not backing off its commitment to a modernization program, but was going through readjustments with respect to how rapidly that program can be implemented;

—There is continuing recognition by the Chinese leadership of the important role ‘credit’ will play in China’s ability to participate in international trade and in meeting its modernization goals;

—Secretary Kreps reported that on Wednesday2 morning she would brief relevant House and Senate committees on the results of her China trip. The Secretary also noted that her stop in Tokyo on her return to the United States was useful in reassuring the Japanese government that closer economic and trade relations with the People’s Republic of China would not undermine the extensive economic and trade relations the United States enjoys with Japan.

—Secretary Bergland asked Secretary Kreps whether the People’s Republic of China had a precise schedule for its modernization program in place.

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—Secretary Kreps responded that it was impossible at this stage to know, but that it was clear that the Chinese government was committed to a modernization program.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to China.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Vertical File, Cabinet Meeting Minutes, 12/21/78–12/13/80. No classification marking.
  2. May 23.