49. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US-Soviet Relations; Europe; Yugoslavia; Middle East; Africa; Japan; Normalization


  • 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:
  • Elva Morgan, 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)
[Page 176]

Foreign Minister Huang Hua: Did you enjoy our acrobatic show yesterday?

The Secretary: It was delightful; we enjoyed it tremendously.

Minister Huang: And you got a chance to relax a bit?

The Secretary: All of us enjoyed it. I particularly appreciated the magician.

Minister Huang: Did you have a good rest?

The Secretary: Yes. I had a good sleep.

Minister Huang: Today we are going to give our views on the international situation and our bilateral relations.

The Secretary: Mrs. Vance enjoyed her trip yesterday very much to the Great Wall and to the Ming Tombs.

Minister Huang: During the Long March, Chairman Mao wrote a poem that if we didn’t reach the Great Wall we were not men of valor. And that place was 2500 kilometers away from the Great Wall. That was the last leg of the Long March. Since Mrs. Vance reached the Great Wall, she won the title. I think other gentlemen have been to the Great Wall?

The Secretary: Yes, everybody. Mrs. Morgan went there yesterday too.

Minister Huang: Congratulations. You are a man of valor.

Elva: I enjoyed it.

Somebody: Since Mr. Holbrooke has not reached the Wall, has not made the trip, he does not have the title.

PRC Foreign Policy

Minister Huang: As we have already heard the views and ideas presented by Mr. Vance on the international situation and Sino-US relations, now on behalf of the Chinese side I would like to present our views with regard to the international situation and our bilateral relations. A few days ago when the 11th National Conference of the Chinese Party met, Chairman Hua Kuo-feng delivered a report in which he clearly expounded the Chinese views on the international situation, major issues in the world and China’s foreign policy. I don’t know whether Mr. Vance has read it. The English translation came out yesterday.

The Secretary: I’ve seen parts of it.

Minister Huang: The part on the international situation and China’s foreign policy was done to one point, that is, we will continue to implement Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line in the field of foreign affairs and will continue to implement the foreign policy formulated by him, including our policy toward the US. We have done so in the past, we are doing so today, and will continue to do so in the future.

[Page 177]

Now, proceeding from the line as formulated by Chairman Mao in the field of foreign affairs, I would like to give you our views on some of the issues.

US-Soviet Relations

Mr. Vance has given a wide-ranging talk with regard to the international situation. I would like to choose a few points. First, about US-Soviet relations. Early last year our great leader and teacher Chairman Mao Tse-tung said to Mr. Richard Nixon that the US has interests to protect, and the Soviet Union seeks expansion. This state of affairs cannot be altered. In other words, the conflict of interest between the two countries is insoluble. The main opponent of the Soviet Union is the United States, and Mr. Vance also admits that the central concern of the US for national security is the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is doing its utmost in contention for world hegemony with the US, and the focus of the contention lies in Europe. The strategy of the Soviet Union is to make a feint in the East while actually attacking in the West. In recent years, the Soviet Union has been stepping up arms expansion there and is intensifying its activities, trying its best to control positions of strategic importance as well as strategic resources.

Mr. Vance has said that the objective of US policy is to maintain the strategic balance between the US and the Soviet Union, but as a matter of fact the Soviet Union is trying its best to maintain strategic supremacy over the US so that balance cannot be kept.

It is true that experience has proved that it is unrealistic to try to use some agreements to restrain Soviet expansionist activities and check the momentum of Soviet expansion. Take the facts after 1963, for instance, the time when the US and the Soviet Union concluded the partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In the past decade and more, the balance of military strength has changed between the US and the Soviet Union. So isn’t that an eloquent truth?

Take the SALT I Agreement in 1972, for example; after that, have Soviet strategic arms increased or decreased? I think this is a clear fact. To be candid, we have never attached significance to the agreement reached between your countries on so-called disarmament or SALT. Although the Soviet Union has difficulties in all fields, including the economic field, it will never give up its objective of seeking world hegemony. This is determined by the nature of social imperialism. I think it should be noted that the Soviet Union is practicing fascist dictatorship. Its leadership possesses a formidable state apparatus. Thus it has been able to put more material resources into arms expansion and war preparations than the US.

Mr. Vance has told us that a difficult period in the US has already passed and that now the US is in a strong position in its contention with [Page 178] the Soviet Union. But we think the Soviet Union is going on the offensive and the US is on the defensive. To be candid, we think the US is a bit afraid of the Soviet Union. In our view, the continued rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union is about to lead to a world war. We don’t believe in so-called lasting peace. As far as our strategic policy is concerned, we base ourselves on self-reliance and people’s war.

With respect to world war, we are opposed and not afraid. We firmly believe that the people and the people alone are the motive force in the making of history. We have full confidence in the future.


Now I would like to turn to Europe. The Soviet tactics in Europe are to have its constantly increasing influence as its backing, and détente as a camouflage, in its efforts to make use of the contradictions between the US and the Western European countries. As the Western European countries are very soft and diverse, the Soviet Union will sow discord among them so as to defeat them one by one. The common enemy of the US and Europe is the Soviet Union. We are in favor of a united Western Europe which will build up its own strength; but it is not going to be easy. We think Western Europe is in need of the United States, and the United States is also in need of Western Europe. We are in favor of establishing a truly equal partnership between the US and the Western European countries, because this is conducive to a joint effort to deal with the Soviet Union. On the one hand, the US wants Western Europe to strengthen its national defense, but, on the other hand, the US is taking the lead in appeasing the Soviet Union. This can only increase the misgivings on the part of Western Europe and slacken the fighting will of Western Europe. From the documents adopted at the Security Conference (CSCE) and the Sonnenfeldt Doctrine,2 we can see that there is actually recognition of Eastern Europe as in the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, and now we can still hear similar views.


Now I would like to talk about the Balkans. It is a place of great importance and the Soviet Union has always been trying to control this place, including Yugoslavia. We think, in the face of Soviet strength, Yugoslavia is prepared to stand up against it and is prepared to fight it out. Chairman Mao once said: Among European countries, Yugoslavia is good at fighting. The US side probably notices that the Sonnenfeldt Doctrine has aroused strong dissension in Yugoslavia. It is tantamount to making Yugoslavia in the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. [Page 179] We believe the Yugoslav people will give strong resistance to foreign aggression. Mr. Vance said yesterday that, if there was aggression from outside forces against Yugoslavia, he would consider it very grave. But we don’t know what concrete actions the US is prepared to take.

Middle East

Now a few words about the Middle East. In brief, our attitude towards the Middle East issue is two fold. First, we firmly support the just struggle of the Arab and Palestinian people to recover the occupied territories and reestablish their homeland. Second, it is welcome that the US fixes the Soviet Union in that region. Mr. Vance may recall that during the tenure in office of President Nixon, we advised you use two hands in the Middle East. We advised you to give one hand to support the Arab countries and improve your relations with them. This remains our attitude. Some people said that the US has all the cards to a solution of the Middle East issue, and the US is in a uniquely advantageous position in the Middle East. In our view, this is only blind optimism.

Though the US has gained some leverage and advantage in the Middle East in connection with the Soviet Union, this is only transitory and unstable. The weakness of the US policy in this regard is that in order to serve the interests of the 1 to 2 million Israelis you have set yourselves against more than 100 million Arabs.

Yesterday Mr. Vance indicated that the relations between the US and President Sadat of Egypt could not be better. If this is true, it is good. Yesterday he pointed out that the Soviet Union is trying to strangle Egypt and bring pressure to bear on Egypt; on the other hand, the Israelis are overbearing with the support and connivance of the US. The just demands of the Arab countries, including Egypt, have remained unsettled for a long time. The continuation of the stalemate in the Middle East situation has caused great difficulties for the Arab countries against increasing Soviet influence and will increase the likelihood of internal turmoil in those countries so as to give an opening to the Soviet Union to take advantage. Perhaps the US side would not like to listen to these words, but we can wait and see how the situation develops.


On the situation in Africa, Mr. Vance said yesterday that the US did not think that the Soviet Union had a planned strategy; the Soviet Union was only using targets of opportunity. It is true that the Soviet Union is trying to seek every opening to get into Africa, but the intensification of the activities of the Soviet Union in Africa constitutes a component part of its global strategy, and the ultimate aim of the Soviet Union is to outflank Europe strategically. As for whether the Soviet Union will obtain this goal, that is another matter. One should never [Page 180] fail to see the strategic intentions of the Soviet Union in Africa merely by observing the fact that the Soviet Union has suffered setbacks in expansion and in its plans for expansion in Africa in the face of the African people.

The Horn

The contention of the Soviet Union in the Horn of Africa and its dispatching of mercenary troops between Angola and Zaire . . . shows that it uses massive infiltration to repress liberation movements in Africa in the hopes of seizing control and outflanking Europe, fixing positions of future importance and strategic balance in its preparation for war.

When the Soviet Union instigated mercenaries to invade Zaire, there were people who white-washed the Soviet actions. This could only numb and frighten the fighting will of the African people in their united resistance against Soviet aggression and Soviet expansion. On the other hand, it served to cover up the features of aggression and expansion of the Soviet Union. Our consistent position with regard to the African issue is to give firm support to the just struggle of the African peoples for national liberation and national independence.


Now, on Japan. Mr. Vance has stressed that the relations between the US and Japan are good. We hope it is so. We have always been in favor of good relations between the US and Japan.

Small quarrels; great unity. We have always held that first Japan should establish good relations with the U.S. and then with China. But we consider that you should notice that the Soviet Union is using dual tactics; it is using the stick and carrot. The focal point is to sow discord in relations between the US and Japan, and it is also trying to sabotage Sino-Japanese friendship. There are pro-Soviet factions in Japan, and the Fukuda Government is afraid of the Soviet Union. In what direction the situation will turn in the long run merits the attention of the United States.


As Mr. Vance discussed the Korean issue yesterday, I would like to give you our view on this question. To be candid with you, our two sides hold different views on this issue. The views presented by Mr. Vance on the issue of Korea are not unfamiliar to the Chinese side. In fact, the United States continues to try to delay the dissolution of the UN Command and the total withdrawal of US armed forces from South Korea, and it is also trying to perpetuate the division of Korea so as to obstruct the reunification of Korea. The US side should learn that the reunification of Korea is the common desire of the entire Korean [Page 181] people. Any actions aimed at obstructing reunification and perpetuating the division of Korea run counter to the common desire of the Korean people. Our consistent position is that the Korean people should settle their question of independence and peaceful reunification among themselves, free from outside interference. We firmly support the responsible proposition put forward by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on independence and peaceful reunification. We will never take part in any activities designed to perpetuate the division of Korea.


On our bilateral relations, including normalization, as discussed by Mr. Vance yesterday, I would like to make a brief comment on the opinions put forward by Mr. Vance yesterday.

Taiwan has always been a sacred territory of China. The fact that the issue of Taiwan has become an obstacle to normalization between our two countries is caused by US aggression against China. Before the nationwide liberation, the United States Government assisted Chiang Kai-shek in the civil war in the slaughtering of the Chinese people. The US Government owes a debt to the Chinese people. When the Chiang Kai-shek Government was driven out of the mainland, the US sent troops to occupy China’s Taiwan Province and continues to support Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo and the like. This is another debt owed by the US to China. These are historical facts. They are not questions or matters for interpretations.

In short, on the question of Taiwan, the US owes a debt to China so the question simply doesn’t arise of so-called reciprocal efforts for the resolution of this issue. We have stated on many occasions that in order to realize normalization, the US must accomplish the following three things: first, the US must sever its so-called diplomatic relations with Chiang Ching-kuo in Taiwan. Second, it should withdraw all its troops and military installations from Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. Third, it should abrogate its so-called joint defense treaty with the Chiang clique in Taiwan. No one of the three conditions can be dispensed with, and there is no alternative either.

In the US formula, you pay lip-service to accomplishment of the three conditions. You promised you would sever diplomatic relations, withdraw troops, and end the treaty. But, in fact, you have negated these three conditions. The views and ideas you put forward with respect to the normalization of relations between our two countries can only give us the impression that you want to continue to maintain the right to interfere in the internal affairs of China. You have said that you are firm that the Shanghai Communique should be the basis for Sino-US relations and you have also said that you recognize and will [Page 182] adhere to the principles included in the Shanghai Communique. But how can you reconcile your formula with the spirit and principles of the Shanghai Communique?

As early as the 1950’s, we stated in explicit terms that Taiwan was a province of China. As to when and how we would liberate Taiwan, it is entirely the internal affair of China, which no other country has the right to interfere in, and that is not a question to be discussed between China and the US.

At the 11th National Congress of the Party, our wise leader Hua Kuo-feng again clearly stated this position of China. This is the common and unswerving will of the 800 million Chinese people. The whole Party, the whole army, and the people of all nationalities will strive to attain this goal. So the United States side should cherish no illusion with regard to this question. We are firm and unswerving on matters of principle.

The Chinese people will liberate Taiwan sooner or later. We don’t ask others for favors. If we can’t liberate Taiwan in this generation, we will do it in the next generation. We have long experience in dealing with the Kuomintang in Taiwan. They are a bunch of counter-revolutionaries. We don’t cherish any illusion that they may return to the Motherland of their own accord. It seems that fighting is inevitable.

You Americans were reluctant to give up your privileges in China in the past, and you were reluctant to give up your design to control China in the past. You regarded Chiang Kai-shek as your pet and you boasted about the Chiang Kai-shek clique and gave it support. When Chiang Kai-shek was driven out of the mainland and fled to the island of Taiwan, you were reluctant to lose Taiwan. First, you regarded Chiang Kai-shek as your pet, and then Chiang Ching-kuo as your pet. You would go to any lengths to protect them. If you continue to act in this way, sooner or later you will meet the same fate as you have met in the mainland in the past. Perhaps that will make you feel more comfortable. (Ting and Chien laugh.)

It seems to me that you are still in need of Taiwan. You will continue to delay the normalization of relations between our two countries and, in doing so, you will continue to owe the debt to the Chinese people, and the longer the delay, the heavier the debt to the Chinese people.

Global Issues

I have briefly commented on the question of normalization, as discussed by Mr. Vance yesterday. And Mr. Vance also talked about some other issues yesterday. I would now like to comment on them.

Soviet Union

In short, in the present international situation, the rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union for world hegemony has become more [Page 183] fierce and this rivalry has not abated. There is greater turbulence in the situation instead of stability; tension instead of détente; the danger of war is increasing instead of decreasing. As people from certain quarters cherish unrealistic illusions about détente, peace and stability, Soviet ambitions for aggression and expansion have become bigger and activities for aggression and expansion have been stepped up. Undoubtedly, the opponent of the Soviet Union and its rival for world hegemony is none other than the United States. And, of course, Soviet activities for expansion and aggression menace the security of other countries. Under these circumstances, the appeasement policy toward the aggression and expansion of the Soviet Union is an important factor that aggravates the situation and encourages aggression. We should not ignore this fact. In opposing Soviet expansion and aggression, our two sides share a lot of common points. Our policy with regard to world war is that, first, we are opposed to it and, second, we are not afraid. We will act according to the teachings of our great leader and teacher, Chairman Mao Tse-tung: be prepared against war and against national disaster; do everything for the people; dig tunnels deep and store grain everywhere; and never seek hegemony. Our policy is that we will not attack unless we are attacked. If we are attacked, we will certainly counter-attack. In the eyes of China, this huge monster of the Soviet Union is but a paper tiger. This is all that I would like to say.

The Secretary: Perhaps I might say a few words in response to the points you have raised, Mr. Minister. Let me start with the subject of US-Soviet relations. The conflict between the US and the Soviet Union may be unresolvable, as you state, but in our view there is no objective reason why it must inevitably lead to war. We hope that it can be held short of that point and, as I have indicated to you in our discussions, we will work to that end. There can be no question but that we have devastating power, both to deter and to respond. In addition to our military strength, we have economic strength that is unparalleled in the world. We have great political power and the will to use that power. We have the support of the American people for what we do. No one should make the mistake of underestimating our strength.

Strategic Forces

Let me say a word or two about the comparison of the strategic forces of the two nations, the US and the Soviet Union. The Soviets have devoted most of their strategic force buildup in the years to which you have referred to the production of modern large intercontinental missiles. In doing so, unlike the US, they have virtually ignored their bomber force and have lagged behind in their creation of a sea-based ballistic missile force.

Insofar as our land-based forces are concerned, with the superiority we have in terms of accuracy and reliability and the number of [Page 184] warheads, there can be no question but that there is at least parity in the land-based forces.

Insofar as our bomber force is concerned, there is no comparison; and with the addition of the cruise missile to our bomber force, its strength is multiplied manyfold.

In terms of our sea-based force, it is already many times more powerful than that of the Soviet Union; and with the addition of the Trident Submarine, it will be even further strengthened. Our sea-based force is virtually invulnerable and has awesome destructive power. In terms of war-heads, we have an advantage of more than 3-to-1.

As I have indicated, in terms of quality, our accuracy exceeds that of the Soviet Union by a substantial margin. Insofar as the future is concerned, there can be no question that we have superiority in terms of technology and that we will continue to maintain that superiority. Therefore, there should be no mistake made in underestimating the strength of our strategic forces and our will to use them if they are needed. We believe that they will constitute a deterrent so that they will not have to be used. But if the occasion arises and they have to be used, they will be used.

In terms of our general purpose forces, there is no question that the Soviets have more ground forces. But that ignores the qualitative differences between the two. In terms of tanks, the Soviets have the superiority at the present time, but we have a clear superiority in terms of anti-tank weapons. And when one takes the ground forces and the equipment and puts together that of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations and compares that with the US and its NATO allies, the significance is changed.

In terms of aircraft, you are well aware of the fact that our craft have qualitative superiority over those of the Soviet Union and its allies. I have not mentioned the superiority of our precision-guided missiles, artillery shells, and the like, which are of great importance.

Insofar as naval forces are concerned, the US has a clear superiority and will continue to maintain that superiority.

In terms of power projection, again the US has greater superiority.

In terms of amphibious forces, the Soviet Union has 1/7 of those of the US; in terms of marine forces—by marine I mean ground forces—the Soviet Union has 1/10, and the Soviet airlift capability is 1/2 that of the US. In short, a sophisticated analysis of US and Soviet capabilities definitely does not reveal a Soviet advantage. Quite the contrary.

Insofar as the feint in the East is concerned, we believe the Soviets have global ambitions and do pose a global threat and that is why we intend to deter them in Europe and maintain the capability not only in Europe but in other parts of the world as well.

[Page 185]

We agree with you that the Soviets are meeting difficulties in all fields. And we do not delude ourselves that they will desist from seeking to obtain competitive advantage. That is the very reason that we are taking the kind of actions we are in the economic and military fields. Therefore, we must disagree with you in your conclusion on strategic positions—I am using strategic to include not only military, but economic and political as well—and I say in terms of that position the US is not on the defensive, and we certainly are not afraid of the Soviet Union.

European Alliance

Insofar as Europe is concerned, we agree that Europe and the US are in need of each other and that a full partnership is needed. That is the very reason we have been taking, since the beginning of this Administration, the necessary steps to strengthen the alliance with our European partners.

Eastern Europe

Insofar as Eastern Europe is concerned, we do not recognize it as a sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, and we do not accept the so-called Sonnenfeldt Doctrine. We believe that we can and should deal with each of the countries of Eastern Europe as fits our national interests. We are proceeding in that fashion in our bilateral relationships with the various Eastern European countries. Our relationships are improving with a number of these countries, particularly Poland, Romania and Hungary. We have a clear and carefully worked out strategy for the future as to how we should proceed in dealing with the Eastern European countries, and how we will follow that strategy.

Insofar as the Balkans are concerned, we agree with you that the Balkan area is one of great importance. Insofar as Yugoslavia is concerned, I tried to make myself clear yesterday that we do attach great importance to Yugoslavia and to the preservation of its territorial integrity. In saying that we would regard any attempts to infringe on that territorial integrity as a very serious matter, I do not say that lightly. As to our concrete actions, again I think it would not be appropriate for me to go into specifics. We will deal with such a situation at the time, in light of the circumstances that exist.

Middle East

Coming next to the Middle East, we agree with much of what you have said in your analysis of the problem in that area. We are using two hands, as was suggested at an earlier date. Let me say that we are not one of those who subscribe to the statement that we have all the cards in the Middle East and, therefore, can produce any result that we wish. We are pragmatists and realists and we recognize that the problems are [Page 186] deep-seated and extremely difficult. What we do say is that we have good relations with both sides and, therefore, have a better opportunity than anybody else at this point to try to bring the parties together and thus help to reach a just solution of the Middle East problem. From the standpoint of our own internal interest and from the standpoint of the interest of the world and world peace, we feel it is our responsibility to use our position to try to bring about such a solution. If we look around the world, we see no one else who is in a position to bring about a just and lasting peace. Therefore, I would hope that if we take leadership and try to bring about this result, we would receive assistance and help from other nations, such as the PRC, because peace and stability in the Middle East are in your interests, as well as our interests.

Finally, you said that the fatal weakness of our strategy in the Middle East is that we have set ourselves against 100 million Arabs. This is incorrect. We are working with the Arabs in trying to bring about a solution which is fair and just to them, as well as to Israel. I would respectfully suggest that you will find that to be the view of the confrontation states and Saudi Arabia, with whom we have been dealing in our search for peace in the Middle East.

Minister Huang: We know Saudi Arabia well. We know its history as well as its present policy.


The Secretary: Turning to Africa, we do not disagree with you in terms of the overall objectives of the Soviet Union. I used the words “target of opportunity” when describing the way I view their tactical approach in that continent. We view the situation in Africa with genuine concern, and it is for this reason that we are taking the number of steps I have outlined to you already in conjunction with a growing number of African countries, as well as other countries in Western Europe, as well as elsewhere, including Latin America. We believe that this is a sound policy we are embarking upon, and we hope it will succeed. As I said yesterday, we would be ready to talk with you about the possibility of closer cooperation in dealing with the situation there.


Turning to Japan, we are pleased that you appear to be in favor of our policy with respect to Japan and the maintenance of good relations between our two countries.


Insofar as Korea is concerned, our objective is to prevent the outbreak of hostilities and to allow for a peaceful resolution in Korea in accordance with the desire of the Korean people. Unfortunately, the danger of war and the drastic consequences that would flow from such [Page 187] an event exists, and we should do everything we can to prevent such a situation from arising. We are not opposed to reunification as an ultimate objective and, as I indicated to you yesterday, we would support efforts to bring the parties together to discuss constructive steps that could be taken along those lines and other lines, which would be conducive to peace and stability in the peninsula. Let me make it clear that we are prepared to work with you for peace and peaceful development in Korea. We hope that you will use your influence to see that peace is maintained in the peninsula, as we will on our side.


Finally, on bilateral matters, your response to our views on how to deal with the Taiwan issue does not, in my judgment, take fully into account the significance and the nature of our position. This is a matter of such importance that I will defer a considered reply until a later meeting. All I will say at this point is that I find no basic inconsistencies between our views and the position you have taken on the question. We need to find a way together to bring practical questions in line with our principles. Whatever you may say about the past, it is not the way of the future. It is our plan to set aside the past and deal with the new realities. We do not choose to argue the past, and we suggest that it does not contribute to the solution.

At a later meeting, I should also like to refer briefly to one or two of the other bilateral matters which we have not yet discussed.

Minister Huang: About your last point, is it that you would like to talk briefly about one or two bilateral matters?

The Secretary: Yes.

Minister Huang: What are the specific matters?

The Secretary: Two specific ones are exchanges and the question of trade.

Preparation for War

Minister Huang: I would like to say a few words.

The Secretary: Please.

Minister Huang: We attach importance to history and the conclusions arising from historical developments. You have spoken of American goals. You have said that the US objective is to use your strength to strive to maintain a lasting peace, particularly in the world today when the two super powers are locked in rivalry for world hegemony. War is a continuation of politics, and peace is only a phenomenon between two wars. And peace is politics.

People have already learned lessons from the First and Second World Wars. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, some people in Britain and France felt that after the Munich Conference they [Page 188] had gotten peace—glorious and lasting peace—but shortly after, the war broke out and brought great destruction to Europe and to the world and tremendous loss to the people. So we are telling our people, as well as people the world over, that the danger of war is increasing, and people of all countries should get prepared. As we have said just now, first we are opposed to world war; second we are not afraid of it. If you are in constant fear of war, what are you going to do if war should break out?

The PRC was born through war, and not through negotiation or talk about peace. We fought for several decades with Chiang Kai-shek. We once engaged in negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek, but they had bad faith. We also had long, drawn-out war against the outside forces of aggression and we had repeated trials of strength. If we had been taken in by the nice words of the aggressors, there would have been no new China today. The only way is to heighten our vigilance and get unified, to wage a tit-for-tat struggle. This fully applies to the present situation in the world.

If one should believe the nice words uttered by Mr. Brezhnev about peace, the so-called lasting peace, peaceful cooperation, mutual non-aggression and non-use of force, and not recognize their fighting will—this would lull the people, slackening their will, and thus the people of the world would be duped by Mr. Brezhnev. With respect to war, our position has always been very clear-cut. We don’t cherish any illusions.

Middle East

On the Middle East issue, I would only like to mention one point: in the final analysis, it is the Arab and Palestinian peoples, and not others, that determine the fate of the Middle East. You have put up a temple there, which is called the Jewish temple in the Middle East, and the god in that temple is Zionism. You are trying to check the efforts of the Arab people to recover their lost territory and their national rights. You are trying to preserve the oil supplies from that region and control the position of strategic importance so as to strengthen your position in rivalry with the Soviet Union. I have said that we are in favor of getting the Soviet Union out of the Middle East, but your present policies will bring about the opposite result. Since the Begin Government came to power, it has been very stubborn and overbearing and I think it has something to do with you, at least with some forces in the US. The situation in the Middle East is breeding new changes. The Arab countries want to recover the occupied lands, and the Palestinian people want to regain their national rights. They cannot be checked in their efforts to realize their demands. To delay for long the forces of the Middle East can only cause political instability in their countries that will give op[Page 189]portunities to Soviet social imperialism. It can only give opportunities to the Soviet Union, as I have just said.


Yesterday Mr. Vance told us about his US formula for peaceful transition to majority rule in Zimbabwe. We are doubtful with regard to this formula. When the local peoples’ strength has not been developed to such a degree that they are able to defeat the white racist regime of Ian Smith, the regime will not give up its political power. Such is our view with regard to this question, but we can wait and see how the situation develops.


I have already explained our position with regard to Korea very clearly to you. I don’t think there is anything for me particularly to add. But you mentioned just now that in Korea a war may flow out of the development of events there. If there exists the danger of war in that area, it exists from the Park Chung Hee Clique. The US is boasting about strengthening the armed forces of Park in South Korea. Although you have answered that you will withdraw part of your forces, you are maintaining your air forces in South Korea. This means that you continue to support the warlike actions of South Korea. This is of no help to the independent and peaceful reunification of Korea. As for the admission of two Koreas into the UN, we stated our position very clearly at the UN.


As for our bilateral relations, and the Taiwan issue, what I have said is our consistent position on this issue. Since the founding of new China, we have stated our policy on this issue in various international forums and on various occasions. We are determined to liberate Taiwan. Every Chinese, including children, often considers this question and often says this: we are determined to liberate Taiwan. In order to normalize our relations, one should do it in a clearcut and definite way and one should not leave ambiguous problems behind. So, I would suggest that we conclude this session at this point.

The Secretary: Could I just say a few words briefly? I want to speak briefly a few words about your comments on war, a few comments on the Middle East, and a few words on Korea.


Our country is familiar with war. It was born in revolution. (Minister Huang: 1776.) We have suffered through other wars in our history. We recognize that war is a feature of history and repeats itself through all of recorded history. But, as you yourself have said, you are experi[Page 190]enced in war, as we are. And, therefore, we will use strength to try and deter war. We have for 30 years in Europe through our strength and through our alliance with NATO deterred the outbreak of another war in Europe. The important thing for us and for you is to remain strong and thus be able to deter the outbreak of war. We must be strong, not only militarily but economically and politically. That is what we plan to do. As we say: The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So I say, watch and see what we do.

Middle East

With respect to the Middle East, we are not trying to prevent the Arabs from getting back their occupied lands. I think there is a misunderstanding on that. I want to clarify it. We have stated repeatedly over the years that there should be a return to the 1967 borders, with minor modifications on the West Bank. This has been our historical and consistent position. It remains our position. The confrontation states recognize this is our position, including Israel, which does not agree with our position.

Insofar as the Palestinians are concerned, as I indicated to you yesterday, we are in favor of a Palestinian homeland. There is no lack of clarity in that position. It is known by all. You have made reference to Israel and the Begin Government. Israel is a reality. Israel will continue to exist. Insofar as the Begin Government is concerned, we have disagreed with them on a number of issues when we felt that it was imperative to make that position clear. We have done this on the question of the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories on the West Bank. We have done this in connection with the 1967 borders, and we have done it in connection with the establishment of the Palestinian homeland. In short, we intend to be even-handed and intend to deal fairly with the peoples on both sides of the dispute.

  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 the Great Hall of the People. Vance’s account of his activities on this day is in telegram Secto 9029, August 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840076–0832)
  2. See footnote 5, Document 5.