51. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Exchanges; Trade; Communique; Press Conference


  • 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
  • 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)

(After expressing appreciation for Vice Premier Teng’s dinner at the Summer Palace the night before.)

The Secretary: Mr. Minister, I have two things I want to discuss with you this morning, if I may. One is the subject of our cultural exchanges and the other is trade.

Cultural Exchanges

In the area of cultural exchanges, as you know, I was a participant in the program in 1975, and therefore I know from personal experience how important that exchange program is to our bilateral relationship. [Page 209] The program, I think, makes a very significant contribution which is mutually beneficial to both of us in furthering the understanding between the Chinese and American people and thereby strengthening our relationship in other areas as well. Let me say we are pleased with the number of exchanges this year and with the substantive nature of the delegations. I was very happy to meet Ambassador Hao and the delegation when they were in Washington and to have a chance to talk briefly with them during the visit.2 I have also learned from Dr. Handler’s delegation from the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China that they found it a useful visit, and I am pleased to hear that as well.

National Committee and CSC Proposals

I understand that the National Committee and the Committee on Scholarly Communication have each submitted exchange proposals to their Chinese counterparts. Both of the Committees wish to continue improvements in exchanges and have proposed ways to strengthen future exchanges. I want to make it clear that we favor this approach and continue to endorse warmly the work of these two committees. Indeed, I hope it will be possible in the future to expand the exchanges between the two sides.

Insofar as the specific details on exchanges are concerned, I propose that this be left for further direct discussion between the Chinese and American organizations. Ambassador Woodcock and members of his staff will also be prepared to discuss the subject with representatives of your Government in more detail.

Congressional Delegation

Finally, some months ago we agreed that there would be a total of two Congressional delegations visiting China in 1977. As you know, we think these visits are very helpful in making Congress better informed about our relationship with the People’s Republic of China. The first delegation, which was headed by Congressman Brademas—and I believe Mike Oksenberg was also with the delegation—had a very successful visit.3 We will be in touch with your Liaison Office in Washington to discuss a second congressional group which we would propose would visit China in November. We do not know, at this point, who the leader of that congressional group will be but we will know shortly.

[Page 210]

U.S–PRC Trade

If I might then turn very briefly to trade between our two countries, I think that the trade which has developed between our two countries under the terms of the Shanghai Communique has been of mutual benefit both from the economic standpoint and also in terms of creating support for a stronger relationship between our countries.

I was sorry to note that after a rapid rise in the trade between 1972 and 1974, there has been a downward trend. On the other hand, our businessmen have told us that in their meetings with your trading corporations they have learned that your trade will rise again starting next year. We are encouraged by this and hope that both the economic and political climate in our relations will result in a higher volume and exchange of trade in the future.


We will continue to encourage the National Council for U.S.–China Trade. I have kept in close touch with them and have followed their activities with interest since I have been Secretary of State. I think they have been a positive force in respect to relations between our two nations and I am pleased to encourage them in their activities.


We are looking forward to the visit next month by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade which will be hosted by our National Council. I believe that, working together, these two organizations can do a great deal to facilitate growth in trade, including each side’s understanding of trading practices and procedures on the other side. I think that, in addition, by working together they can be effective in developing mutually beneficial marketing techniques and a general awareness by each side of the trade opportunities which exist.

In sum, Mr. Minister, I welcome the activities of these organizations on both sides and will continue to give them the support of the U.S. Government in the months and years ahead. Thank you.

Foreign Minister Huang Hua: Thank you Mr. Secretary. Thank you for your brief review of the cultural exchanges, exchange of visits and trade relations between our two countries. We have also expressed a wish to further develop these ties.

Our two sides have the same desire to continue to develop the exchange of visits, scholarly exchanges and trade relations between our two countries. Under the present circumstances, when relations between our two countries are not yet normalized, these exchanges cannot but be somewhat limited by such conditions. The level and scope of exchanges we have achieved so far perhaps will remain for some years to come.

[Page 211]


As our friends from the Committee on Scholarly Communication have already been to China before and our friends from the National Committee are going to visit China in October, they can discuss the specific items with the Chinese organizations. We will welcome their visits and the Chinese organizations concerned will have further discussions with them.


As for trade, a delegation from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade is going to visit the United States next month in September. In this regard we would like to express thanks to Mr. Secretary for his attention.

We believe that with the help of the relevant authorities in the United States and with the cooperation of the people from the trade circles in the United States, the Chinese delegation’s visit to the United States will be certainly of help to facilitate the trade terms and understanding of the opportunities. There might be fluctuation in the volume of trade between our two countries, and I think it is only unavoidable in the present state of relations between the two countries. That is all I want to say.

The Secretary: I thank you very much for that. I look forward then to hearing from the group after their meeting in October, after they have had a chance to discuss it with their Chinese counterparts. I will also look forward to hearing from the trade group after they have had a chance to meet with the visiting delegation.


Those are the only items that I had to raise this morning, Mr. Minister, with the possible exception of discussion of whether or not there should be a communique issued at the end of our visit here. It would seem to me that it would be desirable to have a short communique, perhaps one page, and I would suggest that I designate Mr. Habib to work with your colleagues to that end.

Minister Huang: We have considered this question. We do not think it necessary to issue a communique at the end of each visit. We should take into account the discussions. We should decide in light of the contents of each discussion and how the discussions go. I think we may do without a communique during your current visit to China.

I hear that you are going to have an interview with the journalists this evening.4

[Page 212]

The Secretary: Yes, that has been the general practice during each one of these occasions; and I have to do it at some time, I might as well get it out of the way promptly.

Minister Huang: We can provide you with every facility, if you want to fulfill this task in Peking.

The Secretary: Let me say that I do not intend to go into any detail at all with the journalists. I plan to be as succinct and brief as I can but I think it is better to say something rather than let them speculate on their own.

Minister Huang: As to how you should talk to the pressmen at the press conference, I think it is a question that we may leave to Mr. Secretary himself.

The Secretary: I believe then that that is everything I had to raise this morning, Mr. Minister.

(Discussion followed among the Chinese.)

Minister Huang: We have nothing to add with regard to cultural exchanges and other exchange items.

Interpreter: The Director from the Information Department has promised to provide you every facility for you to hold the press conference at the Mindzu Hotel.

Habib: We will ask Hodding Carter to be in touch.

Chien: The conditions are better at the Mindzu Hotel.

Minister Huang: Now we have concluded our talks this morning. We were very pleased to let you relax a bit yesterday evening after the long journey and the intensive discussions.

The Secretary: We did indeed relax and it was a pleasant evening for all of us.

Minister Huang: So you got to know about how the funds for the Navy were used in the past. (laughter)

I was also very pleased that yesterday you had a chance to talk with our Vice Premier Teng, not only about present relations but also about past experiences.

The Secretary: I appreciated the opportunity to talk to the Vice Premier again about past and present matters.

Minister Huang: Those on our side who took part in the activities yesterday evening were also very pleased to have a chance to relax a bit. We were also very happy to have an opportunity to listen to the Vice Premier talk about his past experiences.

The Secretary: I found that fascinating and to me it was a great experience to hear of his past experiences.

(Secretary in an aside to Habib: Too bad you could not hear all of it. Habib: I heard it before—all about the Long March.)

[Page 213]

Holbrooke: There was so much more one would have wanted to ask the Vice Premier because the history is so extraordinary.

The Secretary: Thank you very much for coming over this morning. I appreciate it.

Meeting ended at 10:08 a.m.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Oksenberg Subject File, Box 56, Policy Process: 1–4/78. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in Guest House No. 5.
  2. The delegation from the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, led by Hao Deqing (Hao Te-ching), met with Vance on June 28. (Telegram 157536 to Beijing, July 7; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770241–1055)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 25.
  4. For Vance’s August 25 news conference in Beijing, see Department of State Bulletin, September 19, 1977, pp. 368–372.