44. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Republic of China1

197242. Subject: Briefing of Premier on Secretary’s PRC Trip.

1. Ambassador should seek a meeting with Premier Chiang prior to August 22 to discuss the Secretary’s forthcoming trip to the PRC. Presentation to CCK should closely follow the talking points provided below.

2. Our primary purposes in briefing the Premier are to notify the ROC that we are beginning a process that may result in complete normalization of US/PRC relations & assure him that the administration will not agree to terms which would undermine the ROC. However, we also wish to underline the exploratory nature of the Secretary’s visit to help moderate ROC apprehension as well as to forestall the ROC from euphorically interpreting the absence of conclusive results in Peking as a setback in US–PRC relations. Because we do not want to risk leaks or [Page 137] unhelpful ROC countermoves, you should carefully avoid discussion of any specifics with the Premier.

3. Talking points for Premier

—This will be the administration’s first high-level contact with senior PRC officials. Our most important purpose will be to review with Peking our global strategic policies. We plan to cover a broad range of issues, including relations with the USSR, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We will present our views objectively without glossing over differences, expecting however that our views will correspond on a number of important issues and that this is important for world peace.

—We will also discuss bilateral relations. Normalization issues will be an important topic, but we also hope to deal with such matters as trade and cultural exchanges.

—Our normalization discussion will be exploratory. We do not expect to conclude a normalization agreement during Secretary’s visit.

—The discussions in Peking could begin a process resulting in complete normalization of US/PRC relations. But we do not have a timetable. As the Secretary said in his June 29 speech, we recognize that progress on normalization may not be easy or immediately evident.2

—Our approach to normalization will continue to be guided by our concern not to undercut Taiwan’s security and well-being. This accounts for our cautious approach and awareness that progress may not be easy.

—We must be satisfied that any agreement on normalization protects the essence of Taiwan’s current relations with the U.S.

—Because of your government’s obvious concern about the Secretary’s visit, we intend to have a senior member of our delegation brief you following conclusion of the Peking discussions. If you agree, we would probably do this on the morning of August 27, but I will provide the details as soon as they are available.

4. Premier’s reaction

The Premier may probe for details about our approach in Peking or try to confirm we have in mind ending diplomatic relations or the treaty. You should not confirm these points and in reply note:

—It is premature to discuss the details of a normalization agreement which remains to be worked out.

In the event the Premier asks what we have in mind in terms of our post-normalization arrangements with the ROC and addresses such [Page 138] specifics as arms supply, possible US public statements, U.S. representation on Taiwan, etc., you should reply:

—I am not in a position to provide specific answers to your questions at this early stage. Nevertheless, I have been instructed to assure you that we do not contemplate arrangements which would jeopardize the substance of our existing relationships with Taiwan. Our approach to the specific issues you have raised will be governed by this assurance.

5. FYIHabib will make same presentation to Ambassador Shen on afternoon of August 18.3 Highest level consideration had been given to Secretary’s meeting with Shen for this purpose, but it was decided this posed unacceptable risk of starting Secretary’s trip on a sour note. Instead, Habib will inform Shen that Secretary will meet with him to discuss visit following his return. While you should not volunteer this information, in event Premier raises subject you may so inform him of post-Peking ShenVance meeting.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840070–0428. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Levin (EA/ROC), cleared by Gleysteen and Holbrooke, and approved by Habib. Repeated Priority to Beijing. It was also repeated to the White House at 0755Z on August 19.
  2. In Vance’s June 29 speech to the Asia Society, he referred to his upcoming visit to Beijing and said, “we recognize that progress may not be easy or immediately evident.” See Department of State Bulletin, August 1, 1977, p. 142.
  3. Telegram 197396 to Taipei, August 19, describes this meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840070–0432)