48. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Africa; Latin America; Normalization with other Countries; Human Rights; Non-Proliferation; ME; Yugoslavia; Normalization of US–PRC Relations


  • U.S.
  • The Secretary
  • Ambassador Woodcock
  • Under Secretary Habib
  • Assistant Secretary Holbrooke, EA
  • William H. Gleysteen, Jr. Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • Michel Oksenberg, NSC
  • Harry E. T. Thayer, Director, EA/PRCM
  • (seated behind:
  • Jeanette Porpora, notetaker)
  • P.R.C.
  • Huang Hua, Foreign Minister
  • Huang Chen, Chief, PRC Liaison Office in the U.S.
  • Wang Hai-jung, Vice Foreign Minister
  • Lin Ping, Director, American and Oceanian Department, MFA
  • Chien Chi-chen, Director, Infor-mation Department, MFA
  • Liu Hua, Acting Director, Protocol Department, MFA
  • Tang Wen-sheng, Deputy Director, American and Oceanian Department, MFA
  • Ting Yuan-hung, Chief, American Division, American and Oceanian Department, MFA
  • Shih Yen-hua, Interpreter
  • (seated behind:
  • Lien Cheng-pao, Deputy Chief, American Division, American and Oceanian Department, MFA,
  • and two other notetakers)

Foreign Minister Huang Hua: Did you have a good rest last night?

The Secretary: I had a very nice rest and am fully rested this morning.

Minister Huang: While you are working it is better for you to have some chance to take a rest and do some activities. This is what we call combining work with rest.

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During your visit to China in 1975, you met with Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping. Mr. Habib once inquired of the possibility of meeting with him again during this visit. We have already conveyed your request to Vice Chairman (sic) Teng and he will be very pleased to meet you.

The arrangements are roughly like this. Tomorrow afternoon Vice Chairman Teng Hsiao-ping will meet you at the Summer Palace. The Foreign Minister will accompany you to the Summer Palace and in the evening there will be a dinner with the Vice Chairman in the “Hall of Listening to the Orioles”.

The Secretary: That sounds very exciting.

Minister Huang: Yesterday Mr. Vance talked about the international situation and your views on it were very helpful to us. And, of course, the Middle East is an important flank of Europe. The situation there is tense because it involves the oil resources and it has also occupied a very important strategic position, so in the present international situation it is one of the key important areas. The situation seems to remain in turmoil and it breeds new changes.

Let us now continue our talks, and we would like to listen to Mr. Vance’s presentation of your views with regard to this area and especially in connection with the Horn of Africa.

The Secretary: Thank you very much. First let me say we are very honored to be able to meet with the Vice Chairman tomorrow afternoon and we look forward to that discussion.


Turning to Africa, let me say first, we have made basic changes in our approach to our African policy. In Africa, we have opposed interference by outside powers through efforts to encourage African solutions to African problems. Turning specifically to the Horn of Africa, this is an area of obvious strategic importance because of its location on the route through the Canal and leading to the Persian Gulf.

Accordingly, at an early stage during our Administration we conducted an extensive and intensive review of the situation with respect to the Horn and adopted a policy for dealing with that area.

Our policy is to seek to work with a number of states in the area with which we have not had close relations in the past.


The first of these is Somalia. Somalia is, of course, a very important nation because of its location and because of the fact that in the past it has contained bases which were being used by the Soviet Union. We opened contacts with the President of Somalia, President Said, and his representative, and as a result of that we have had a mission in Somalia [Page 160] and they have sent a mission to the United States. As a consequence of these missions, we have agreed to establish a program of economic assistance and have indicated that in principle we are prepared to provide them with military equipment.

In dealing with the question of meeting their military requirements, we have proceeded in the fashion in which we have dealt with other nations in Africa, namely by seeking other Western suppliers to work with us in a consortium for supplying other types of arms.

Accordingly, we got in touch with the French, the British and the Germans. All agreed that we would supply different kinds of equipment to the Somalis.

The French have already supplied small arms to Somalia and we are in the process of discussing what kinds of arms would be useful to them. The Germans agreed to supply non-lethal equipment. The British are in a state of limbo because they have an arms supplier relationship with the Kenyans.

In the meantime the Somalis have moved into the Ogaden in Ethiopia and this has somewhat complicated the situation. It appears as though the Somalis have accomplished 95% of what they set out to do, namely to take over the Ogaden, and it appears they are seeking some sort of a negotiated solution of the situation at this time.


As far as the Ethiopians are concerned, we have terminated our military supply to Ethiopia at their request. They turned to the Soviet Union. We said despite that fact, we were prepared to leave a small Embassy staff in Addis and continue a small economic aid program with them for the immediate future.

During the last few days the Ethiopians have come to us and have indicated they are unhappy with the supply relationship they have with the Soviet Union and wish to have us now become their military supplier again.

Our response to them has been that we are not prepared now to resume the military supplier relationship, and we find it rather inconsistent of them to have terminated the relationship with us for a short time and then ask that it be renewed again. And, therefore, we will not supply them with military equipment. In the meantime, it appears to us that the likelihood is high that the secessionist movement in Eritrea will probably succeed.


Turning to the Sudan, we have been working closely with the Sudanese to assist them in connection with their defense needs and have had a mission discuss with them their requirements in this area. In the [Page 161] past, we supplied them with a small amount of equipment such as the C–130 aircraft but now we are talking about supplying them additional kinds of military equipment.

We have coordinated our activities in the Sudan very closely with President Sadat of Egypt. The Sudan is very important to him with the high waters of the Nile there. It is of vital importance to him that the Sudan remain free and independent. In short, our relations with Sudan are close and growing closer.


As for Kenya, our relationships have been close with Kenya and continue good at the present time. We have both an economic and military supply relationship with Kenya and are working closely with them. We have informed the Kenyans that whatever we do with respect to Somalia will be done in such a way as not to cause any danger to the integrity of Kenya. Here again we have coordinated our activities very closely with the British who have had a very long and close relationship with the Kenyans in both a political and military supplier way.


In Chad, we have agreed to help them in connection with the incursions which they are having from the north which are being sponsored by the Libyans, and we have agreed to work with other Western and African suppliers as well to help them build up their defensive capabilities to deal with this incursion.

In all of our activities in the Horn of Africa, we have kept in close touch with our Arab colleagues, particularly Saudi Arabia, which is interested in our activities in the area and has been a major source of economic help to a number of countries in the Horn.

In sum, we have a strategy with respect to the Horn of working not only with the particular countries in that area on a cooperative basis but also of working with both Western European nations and Arab nations to provide a coordinated program of assistance. In our view, this program is working. We see the Soviets faced with a very difficult situation where they are trying to ride two horses at the same time in Ethiopia and Somalia, and they may well fall off both horses.

Southern Africa

Let me then turn very quickly to the rest of Africa which I will touch on briefly. As I indicated last night during supper, we are committed to a maximum effort in Rhodesia to bring about majority rule and in Namibia and South Africa to bring about full political participation. In connection with Rhodesia and Namibia, we are in close touch with Front Line States and nationalist leaders and have developed spe[Page 162]cific programs for possible solutions to the problems in both of these countries together with the British and other nations. There will be a meeting with the Front Line Presidents toward the end of this week which is being called by President Kaunda with the approval and support of President Nyerere.

Central Africa

In Central Africa, we have been working quietly with the French, Belgians, Moroccans and Egyptians. In Zaire we have also worked with the Africans in connection with finding a solution to the Shaba situation. We have helped them with their economic problems and debt and helped with other types of assistance. For the moment it appears progress has been made.

We are also keeping in close touch with all of the states in Africa. Our relationships with Nigeria have turned from a rather cool relationship to a warm relationship and we are working closely with them on a number of different matters.

We believe that by identifying with the forces of change and through development efforts and selected military assistance, we are approaching competition with the Soviets in a more effectively comprehensive and politically advantageous perspective.

In sum, we believe that our objectives in Africa have many common threads with those of the People’s Republic of China and we would welcome working with you in the future in developing the most constructive solutions to the problems of that continent.

Latin America

Now, I might touch very briefly on Latin America. Let me simply say that our objective for Latin America is to become a better partner with our neighbors on both political and economic issues. In order to do this, we will treat each nation individually insofar as bilateral matters are concerned rather than lump them together as we have in the past. Each of them is an independent and unique nation and should be treated accordingly.

On multilateral issues, we will deal with them in the appropriate multilateral forum. The general thrust of our policy is to move away from confrontation and move toward cooperation with them and with other nations of the Third World. The touchstones in such a program are mutual benefit and a fair international economic order.

Finally, a word about the Panama Canal. We have given top priority to negotiating a new treaty with Panama that is now completed and will be ready for signature within a few days. This is, we believe, a major achievement, and we are pleased with the results. We think the [Page 163] signing of this treaty has a symbolic significance which will be of importance to the Third World.

Normalization With Other Countries

We have said normalization of relations with other governments is one of our basic policies. And we have done this in the belief that the existence of diplomatic relations will help improve communications, avoid misunderstandings, and help in some places to bring our influence to bear more effectively. This policy applies not only to your country but to others as well. As you know, we have taken some steps with respect to Vietnam and Cuba, and are prepared to do so with others.

Human Rights

Another common thread of our foreign policy is human rights. We believe this to be one of the central pillars of our policy. We wish to reflect our belief that the world should seek more than economic survival, and we believe that human dignity and human freedom are among man’s fundamental needs, and these are basic to our view.

This does not mean that we are attempting to conduct our foreign policy by rigid moral maxims or impose our political systems on others. Our concern for this issue is real, and reflects the true feelings of the American people. We recognize that we ourselves are not perfect in this area, and where we have failings we do not shrink from criticism by others.


In closing let me just say a word about non-proliferation. As you know, for a long time the United States has tried to decrease the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As the President said to Ambassador Huang, our goal is total elimination of nuclear weapons.2 In the meantime, steps should be taken to lessen the danger of nuclear weapons.

We believe this issue is such a serious one that we felt it necessary to restrict our own domestic programs and have revised our export policies. In this endeavor, we are enlisting the cooperation of others. The President is sensitive to the concerns of other nations for assured energy resources but he places high priority on reconciling these concerns with the need to stop proliferation.

Mr. Minister, that touches on most of the main themes of our foreign policy. I would be delighted to follow whatever course you wish. If you would prefer to comment now on these international issues, that would be fine. If you prefer that I discuss the question of normalization [Page 164] of relations as it affects our two countries I would be prepared to do so. Whichever course you wish, I would be happy to follow.

Minister Huang: I think perhaps there are several questions that my colleagues and I would like to ask.

The Secretary: Surely.

Middle East

Minister Huang: First about the Middle East. The present situation in the Middle East is in stalemate and in turbulence. On the one hand the United States is doubling its efforts to boost the military strength of Israel. On the other hand, the Soviet Union is supplying military parts to Egypt and is pressing for the repayment of debts in Egypt. And in Israel the present government is more stubborn and obstinate than the former government in Israel. When these factors are put together one might have the impression that the United States and the Soviet Union are weakening the position of Egypt in different channels and putting the Egyptians into a most difficult position. And in Egypt there is the likelihood that there might be new instability and changes in the political situation.

Secondly, regarding Palestine. As a result of American conditions and the present position of Israel with regard to the question of Palestine, the Palestinians are meeting with greater obstacles in recovering their national rights. With the progress of the American program of mediating the Middle East issue by the reconvening of the Geneva Conference, as well as the talks with the Foreign Ministers during the General Assembly, what are the prospects for a comprehensive solution?

The Secretary: Turning to the question of Egypt, certainly President Sadat does not share the view, which you suggest, that we are undermining Egypt. President Sadat has been working very closely with us and considers us to be a close and good friend, and there are good reasons to support that view.

From a military supply standpoint, we have now a military package which is going before the Congress when the Congress resumes its activities at the start of September.

In addition, President Sadat has asked us to work with him to assist in the repair of his MIG aircraft by working over the engines. We have agreed in principle to do that. We will be working out the details of how this will be done. The work will be done in Europe by a company which is qualified to do this kind of work. I do not think it necessary to go into all of the details but I think he is pleased with the progress being made in this area—“he” being Sadat. In addition, other European suppliers are helping to supply Sadat with equipment.

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Probably his biggest problem is not military equipment but economic assistance, and in that connection we are providing him with $1 billion a year, which is vitally important to him to maintain his economic and social programs.

In sum, I would say that both on the economic and military side our relationship is close and we both have confidence and trust in each other. I think anyone who has any question should simply put the question to Sadat and I think the answer will be correct.

On the question of Palestine and the Palestinian issue, our position is clear. We believe that there can be no solution to the Middle East problem without a resolution of the Palestinian question, and we have indicated that we support the establishment of a Palestinian entity or homeland. That is the phrase our President has used. We also believe there should be elections and self-determination for the Palestinians. The Arabs and Israelis are not in agreement on this but there is no question of our position on it.

Briefly, our views with respect to the solution of the Middle East problem are as follows:

1. There should be a comprehensive settlement which will be reflected in a peace treaty.

2. The basis for negotiation should be Resolutions 242 and 338.3

3. The peace that results from the peace treaty should be not merely the termination of a state of belligerency, but should also include the development of normal relations over a period of time to be worked out among the parties. (I have two other items, 4 and 5, but please translate that if you will.)

4. There must be a return of the occupied territories with secure and recognized boundaries for Israel. These should be the 1967 boundaries with minor rectifications on the West Bank. In addition, the Jerusalem problem must be resolved.

5. Finally, there are the two fundamental principles:

A. establishment of a Palestinian entity;

B. the right of self-determination by the Palestinians.

As a result of my recent trip to the Middle East, we have arranged for meetings next month with each of the Foreign Ministers when they come to the United States. These meetings will deal with concrete issues. We have asked each of the Foreign Ministers to come fully prepared with their suggestions as to the type of peace treaty they would [Page 166] like to see as a result of a just and lasting solution. We believe that the convening of a Geneva Conference before the end of the year is still a valid goal.

On the core issues, namely the question of territories, the question of a Palestinian entity and the question of the nature of the peace, the parties are still far apart on some of these issues, but we will be prepared next month with specific suggestions as to how to break the stalemate which exists.

Let me say that I do not underestimate the difficulties which we face because of the deepness of the roots of these problems but we are committed to put our full weight and effort behind finding a solution to the problem.

Minister Huang: Will Palestine agree to taking Resolution 242 as the basis? Will it take it as a pre-condition for its participating in the Geneva Conference, the recognition of the existence of Israel?

The Secretary: The Palestinians have not yet determined whether or not they will accept 242 with a reservation, namely a reservation that 242 as actually written does not adequately deal with the Palestine question because it does not deal with the question of the Palestinian homeland. We have indicated to the PLO, through our Arab colleagues and friends that if they, the PLO, are prepared to say that they will accept 242 with such a reservation and thus recognize the right of Israel to exist as a nation, that we are then prepared to talk with the PLO because the conditions of Sinai II to which I referred yesterday have been removed.

Let me say that the question of Palestinian participation in Geneva is a different issue from the issue which I have been talking about, namely our ability to talk with the PLO. Insofar as Palestinian participation in Geneva is concerned, we have been trying to bring about Arab agreement as to how this can best be done. It is our belief that this can be done in a unified Arab framework which would include not only the confrontation states but in addition Palestine and Lebanon. If there can be brought about a unified Arab position and this is a position which we would support, namely the Pan-Arab Delegation, then I think it would make it much more difficult for the Israelis to reject that as a solution if they indeed wished to go to Geneva for the negotiations as they say they do.

As you know, the practical problem that we face is that under the ground rules which were adopted at the last Geneva meeting there is a ruling that any addition of new parties to the Conference requires the consent of the existing parties to the Conference. But, having said that, I come back again to the point that if the only ones who are opposing such a practical solution to the problem are the Israelis, I think it would [Page 167] be much more difficult for them to stick to that position because they would be in opposition to public opinion throughout the world.

Let me mention just one more thing, if I might, on this. There is one other solution being discussed among the Arabs and that is the establishment of an additional organization which would represent Palestine, which would be headed by the Secretary General of the Arab League and which would include other representatives of the Arab League, plus the Palestinians. I must say that the bulk of the Arab states do not favor this suggestion but one of the Arab confrontation states does push this as a solution.

Minister Huang: Which one?

The Secretary: Egypt.

Minister Huang: About the American idea of organizing a Pan-Arab Delegation including the confrontation states as well as the Palestinians. What is the response of the Arab countries?

The Secretary: All but one are in favor of it. And even the one that is opposed to it has indicated they are willing to think seriously about it.

Minister Huang: Do you mean Syria?

The Secretary: No, Egypt. Syria is very much in favor of it. The Jordanians are very much in favor, the Saudis, although not a confrontation state, are in favor. The Lebanese, although not currently a party, though I have no doubt they will be a party because everyone has agreed they should be a party, are in favor of it.

Horn of Africa

Minister Huang: Now returning to the situation in the Horn of Africa. The situation there seems to be very turbulent, and there is Ethiopia and Somalia and the developing conflict between them. What do you think is the prospect of Somalia’s efforts to seek a peaceful solution after it has occupied the Ogaden?

The Secretary: I think they will succeed by virtue of their military strength to accomplish most of their objectives, namely that the solution that is reached will be that they, as a practical matter, will be in control of the Ogaden, which they did not control before the fighting started.

Mengistu made a very major and I think dangerous decision when he concluded that he was going to put all of his reliance on the Soviets as a military supplier and I think he is bearing the consequences of that now.

Southern Africa

Minister Huang: Now, turning to Southern Africa, after the Soviet Union carried out military intervention and occupation of Angola and [Page 168] after it instigated military incursions in Zaire, it is now trying to get a handle on the affairs of Rhodesia. What do you think are the prospects of the Soviet actions with regard to its whole global attitude?

The Secretary: I think that, in hindsight, the Soviet Union has failed in Angola. If one looks at the situation now, one sees that the situation is much changed from a year ago. Savimbi controls not only all of the southern half of the country but has extended his influence to the northeast portion of Angola. Insofar as food is concerned, there are real problems for the Neto Government and if one looks into the future I think there is growing doubt whether or not the Neto Government can survive without some sort of affiliation or compromise with Savimbi. At this point it does not appear to us that Savimbi is anxious to enter into any such coalition so that the future is cloudy to say the least.

Turning to southern Africa, it is my judgment that the Soviets will try to impede our efforts in Rhodesia and perhaps even in Namibia to bring about a settlement. However, the Front Line Presidents and nations recognize that we can help them to bring about what they want in Rhodesia sooner and without great loss and destruction of the country. Accordingly, it is, in my judgment, possible and indeed even likely that the Front Line Presidents will support our Rhodesian initiative. If they do, this will, of course, be very important in helping it to be a success.

Let me say, Mr. Minister, if I can, that as we look at the Soviet efforts in Africa, we see less of a grand strategy in Africa but rather an attempt to pick what they believe to be targets of opportunity where they can come in and try to take over as the dominant influence. We believe that if we act in a coordinated and thoughtful fashion, with a more coherent total strategy which involves working with the African nations to help them bring about solutions to their own problems, that this is a better way to proceed in containing the problem of Soviet intervention in the African continent. But I would be very interested to know what your views are.

Minister Huang: We will tell you our views on this question later. We do not regard Soviet actions in Southern Africa as only limited and accidental actions.

The Secretary: I am not saying it is limited and accidental. I am saying that what they are seeking is targets of opportunity rather than thinking a well-thought-out strategy.

Countering the Soviets

Minister Huang: Mr. Secretary has given your views with regard to the international situation as a whole and the situation in different regions as well as on U.S.-Soviet relations. If we put them together in the context of the global strategic picture as well as the balance of power between the U.S. and Soviet Union, will the competition con[Page 169]tinue or do you think that you will attain your hope of maintaining the present balance.

The Secretary: With respect to the future, I believe the competition will continue. I think that as far as military competition is concerned we will maintain the balance. I believe that as far as the political competition is concerned theirs is a barren strategy and that our strategy will succeed in the long run.

Let me make two important points, if I may. Insofar as the economic sphere is concerned, I believe we can outcompete them without any question. And I would point out that wherever they have gone in the less developed world, they have dealt in a very heavy-handed manner and as a result have, in the long run, alienated the peoples of the countries to which they were providing assistance. And the people, in the long run, have turned against them. I think this is not an insignificant fact. It is a result which we have to take note of.

The latest two examples of this are Somalia and Ethiopia. I am not suggesting they will lose all influence in the area, but certainly their influence is less in both of these countries than it was several months ago.

One further word on the Soviet Union and that is to point up the slow-down in their economic growth. All of us are aware that their economic growth has been slowing down. All indications are that it will continue to slow down in the future. The key factor is in the area of oil resources and production. According to our analysts, they may be running into difficulties in about 1985 when, according to our current estimates, their oil production may decrease to somewhere in the neighborhood of 8–10 billion barrels.

Our current projections say that the annual rate of growth of the GNP, which is about 4% per year, will continue through 1980 and will decrease to 3% in 1981–1985 and may well go to 2% in 1985 and the following period.


Minister Huang: The next question before we ask Mr. Secretary to talk about our bilateral relations. Yesterday you talked about the situation in Yugoslavia and you suggested that the U.S. would regard intervention by outside forces as very grave. Would you elaborate on it?

The Secretary: In the period which will come when President Tito passes from the scene there will be a situation in which it is conceivable that people might try and stir up the situation for ulterior motives and if that should occur it is conceivable that two kinds of action might take place. There might be internal disturbances instigated from outside. And secondly, there might be an injection of forces from outside. We believe that the former is more likely than the latter, although the latter cannot be ruled out. What I am saying is, if such a situation should de[Page 170]velop which would raise dangers to the integrity and survivability of Yugoslavia, that we consider this would constitute a grave threat to peace and that therefore we would have to take the situation very, very seriously.

Minister Huang: What are the concrete conceptions that you have with regard to this situation should it arise?

The Secretary: With respect to what would be done under the circumstances, I think one would have to view the circumstances as they arise at that particular time as to what action is appropriate.


Minister Huang: So we now turn to our bilateral relations. We would like, of course, Mr. Secretary, for you to tell us what the United States side has in mind.

The Secretary: I would be very happy to speak to the question, Mr. Minister. Later on I would like to discuss some specific aspects of our bilateral relations. But I think it is important to focus first on the bilateral issue between us which is the key question of normalization. Accordingly, I would like to address myself to that issue first and reserve for a later time the question of other bilateral matters such as trade, exchanges, and the like. Let me begin by saying that we do not challenge the concept that there is one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.

I might note that the unhappy state of relations between our governments in the 50’s and 60’s and the development of our problems in Taiwan have a complex history and are open to differing interpretations. We understand your position fully but I think it would be unproductive to focus on the past. It is important to work toward better relations in the future.

Viewed historically, it is only natural that our two countries should have fully normal relations. Although there are obviously some special aspects of our relations which will require mutual and creative efforts to resolve, it is clear that neither of us poses a security challenge to the other. Neither has territorial claims against the other, and neither seeks to impose its will against the other.

Broad Terms of Normalization

The President has authorized me to explore seriously with you the ways in which we might move toward that common goal of normalization.

Provided that we can find a basis which will not lessen the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves and which would enable informal contacts with Taiwan to continue, the President is prepared to normalize relations.

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Under these circumstances, and in accordance with our undertaking in the Shanghai Communique, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of China, we are prepared to establish full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, recognizing your Government as the sole legal Government of China.

Under these circumstances, our diplomatic relations and Mutual Defense Treaty with Taipei would lapse, and we would be prepared to affirm that publicly.

Under these circumstances, we are also prepared to complete the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan.

I will, of course, need to convey the results of our conversations to President Carter. But in principle, I can say we are prepared to begin the process.

Domestic Factors

In order to set this in proper context, let me say a word about the domestic factors in the United States. Therefore, I would like to spend a moment or two discussing factors which enter into our consideration of the process and how it can most productively evolve through our mutual efforts.

I think it would be useful to explain what it will take under our political system successfully to bring about full normalization.

Without debating how it came to pass, the fact of the matter is, of course, that the United States is deeply involved in Taiwan, and many basic relationships in East Asia are affected by this.

Adjustments in the relationship will involve a very difficult and delicate process which will be of concern in the United States, among our allies and in Taiwan.

We don’t wish to proceed in a way which would destabilize the situation, and we also do not want to proceed in such a way that it would create an unduly divisive debate at home which would impair our ability to carry out an effective policy on other international issues in which we both have a stake.

We will encounter difficulties in our country but the President is prepared to overcome them if satisfactory agreement can be reached.

In preparing for these talks which we are having, we conferred with many members of our Congress, including the leadership of both political parties. And it was evident from those discussions that, while the members of our Congress recognize the importance of good relations with the People’s Republic of China for peace and progress in Asia, they also maintain a high level of concern for the future of the [Page 172] people on Taiwan. (Note: “the people on” omitted by Chinese interpreter.)

This is partially a reflection of popular sentiment in the United States, which includes both strong support for full normalization and, at the same time, strong feelings of friendship for the people of Taiwan. The latter, of course, stems from the extensive trade, investment, travel, cultural and other ties which a large sector of our citizens have had with Taiwan.

As we proceed, we will have these factors very much in our own minds. I hope you will take them fully into account as well. The President wants to make progress, and he wants you to know that he needs your understanding if he is to do so.

Economic and Other Ties to Taiwan

I would like to now discuss specific aspects of normalization, and I should like to start with the subject of economic and other ties that exist with Taiwan.

As has been discussed in the past, we would want to assure our people that trade, investment, travel, scientific and other private contacts with Taiwan will continue unaffected. The U.S. Government cannot avoid some involvement, particularly where activities are regulated by law. (Note: The initial Chinese interpretation did not sufficiently clarify that the Secretary was speaking of U.S. Government involvement, but brief discussion among the Chinese rectified this.)

There would also need to be some legislative adjustment to facilitate private trade and other ties after the termination of diplomatic relations with Taipei. This is, of course, an internal procedure for us to handle, but I want you to be aware of it as well as the fact that there is this need so there would later be no misunderstanding.

USG Representation in Taiwan

Turning next to the question of U.S. Government representation in Taiwan, our extensive ties with Taiwan give rise to other requirements. We need, for example, to render practical assistance to U.S. citizens and companies involved in Taiwan. We also will wish to assure that the people in Taiwan will continue to have access to the United States.

As you know, the nature and extent of our involvement in Taiwan is different from that of any other country. Taking into account our laws, administrative practices, and public and congressional views, we have concluded that totally, and I underscore totally, private arrangements are not practicable for us. (Note: Both Ting and Chien at this point intensified their note-taking.)

We have concluded that, as a practical matter, it would be necessary for U.S. Government personnel to remain on Taiwan under an informal arrangement.

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The representation we would maintain there would be designed to render practical assistance. It would not be, it would not be inconsistent with our termination of relations with Taipei or our recognition of your Government as the sole legal Government of China.

Whatever the name of such an office, it would be clear it would not be diplomatic in character and would not perform diplomatic functions or in any other way constitute recognition. No flags would be flown, no Government Seal would be on the door, and no names would appear in diplomatic lists.

Security Issues

Let me turn now to security issues. The security issue has always been a difficult one for both sides. Our ability to play a major world role depends on the credibility of our alliance structure with such nations as Japan and our NATO allies. To sustain both public support for normalization and the credibility of American commitments abroad, it is necessary that, in causing the treaty to terminate, we not be placed in the position of appearing to jeopardize stability.

On the other hand, we have no desire to make ourselves the arbiter of how the Chinese people resolve the relationship between Taiwan and the Mainland.

As you know, for the past 20 years, we have had extensive military ties with Taiwan. These have included not only the Treaty and the presence of U.S. forces, but also provision of grant military assistance, military credits, and extensive arms sales, and joint military exercises.

Since the issuance of the Shanghai Communique, we have taken a number of steps to reduce our role.

—We have drawn down our forces from about 10,000 to approximately 1,250.

—We have removed all combat units and associated weapons. (This sentence not translated.)

—We have eliminated grant military assistance.

—We have scaled down joint exercises.

—We have sharply reduced military credits, and we have carefully controlled the volume and types of military equipment we have supplied to Taiwan.

With normalization, as I have noted, the Treaty would lapse, all U.S. military installations, advisors and other forces would be withdrawn, and all military credits would come to an end.

Public Statements

And finally, a word about public statements. The security issue has another major dimension as well, namely, how each side’s intentions are perceived. That will have a far-reaching importance.

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If our agreements are to be successful, neither side can make such justifications in ways which undercut the credibility of the other side’s position. Thus, a critical aspect of the security issue is what each side says publicly.

You know of our deep interest and our concern that your problem with Taiwan can be resolved peacefully. We believe it can.

Let me say that statements by your Government to this effect would have a significant positive impact on the President’s ability to persuade Congress and the American people that normalization would not lessen the prospects for a peaceful settlement.

We will have to make a statement on this question at the appropriate time. It would include reiteration of our concern and interest for a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves and an expression of confidence that normalization will not lessen the prospects for such a settlement.

I recognize that you might wish to reiterate your position that the Taiwan question is an internal matter, and we will not contradict you on that. But, as I have indicated, it would be essential to U.S. domestic acceptance of any agreement that we have reached that you will not contradict our statement or make statements stressing forceful liberation.

Similarly, both sides must be very careful, we believe, in the public handling of related issues. The manner in which these actions are perceived publicly will depend on the statements made by both of us. We can discuss this after you have had a chance to reflect on our views.

That, Mr. Minister, is a statement of our views on this very important and serious question. It may well be that you would choose to reflect on them before responding and we would certainly understand that if that should be your choice.

Minister Huang: Please go on with the specific aspects of our bilateral relations. Your second part.

The Secretary: I would suggest that we might leave those to another day or to another meeting. This is certainly the most important issue among our bilateral relations. We would, of course, wish to discuss during the next two days such questions as trade, cultural exchanges, other exchanges and the like but I think perhaps it might be better to postpone those discussions to a subsequent meeting.

Minister Huang: (After conferring with Ambassador Huang) This morning, up until now . . . I would suggest we conclude today’s session at this point, for this morning. As for China’s principled position with regard to U.S.–China relations on the Taiwan issue, I believe we have repeatedly stated our position. Next time, tomorrow morning, we can [Page 175] meet again for another session. As for this afternoon, we will leave it to you to relax.

The Secretary: Thank you Mr. Minister. We wish to do so with great pleasure. I believe I am going to see the historical museum this afternoon.

Meeting ended at 11:50 a.m.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Oksenberg Subject File, Box 56, Policy Process: 8/22–31/77. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in Guest House No. 5. Vance’s report of the meeting is in telegram Secto 9017, August 23. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840076–0837) Oksenberg sent an account of this meeting via the Voyager Channel in telegram 166 to the White House, August 23. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File, Box 42, Vance, China, 8/20–27/77)
  2. See Document 5.
  3. UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted on November 22, 1967, set forth principles for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. UN Security Council Resolution 338, October 22, 1973, called for a cease-fire in the October 1973 Middle East war.