289. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of Defense Brown 1


  • Instructions for the China Trip

The President has reviewed your memorandum of December 29 and approved its contents as guidance for your forthcoming trip.2 In addition you are instructed to:

—Propose follow-up consultations between U.S. and Chinese senior officials concerning Afghanistan and explore ways to coordinate U.S. and Chinese support for Pakistan, including Chinese agreement to permit overflights of aircraft and equipment being delivered to Pakistan by the U.S. There should be no public discussion of such overflights.

—Indicate that we are undertaking to differentiate in COCOM between the technology that we are prepared to transfer to the USSR on the one hand and China on the other hand, and that LANDSAT D is an example. However, any public linkage of the LANDSAT D decision to Soviet aggression against Afghanistan should be avoided. Inform the [Page 1035] Chinese that we are prepared to approve the Western Geophysical Systems case if modifications in the computer technology requested can be mutually agreed upon; in this connection you may initiate discussions with the Chinese concerning appropriate modifications.

—Preserve for now our public position that we have no current plans to sell arms to the PRC. If the Chinese request the U.S. to sell military equipment, you may explore their interest in procuring over-the-horizon radar equipment for purposes of augmenting their surveillance and warning capabilities. If they appear interested, you may offer to undertake a non-public site survey on a no-commitment basis.

—In inviting Geng Biao and/or Defense Minister Xu to make a reciprocal visit to the U.S., you may explore PRC interest in regularizing such meetings.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 9, China (People’s Republic of), Alpha Channel: Trip: 12/78–1/80. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See Document 286.