88. Memorandum From Michel Oksenberg of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Holbrooke—Your Trip

I was unsettled at our regular Monday evening East Asian meeting today. Holbrooke informed me that he was calling Harry Thayer, the head of the PRC Desk, to join the meeting so we could begin talking about China policy, including your trip. I said I was not prepared to discuss your trip in a larger group.

Through this exchange, I learned to my surprise that Tony Lake and his deputy, Paul Kreisberg, as well as Harry Thayer, have already been informed of your trip.

I told Holbrooke that as far as I was concerned, your trip was still hypothetical and was to be tightly held—meaning I could only talk to him and Gleysteen. I did not detail your meeting with Han Hsu.2

In addition, Holbrooke said that in his lunch with you, you agreed planning for your trip would proceed as for a Vance trip. This would mean papers would be prepared at State, primarily in the EA Bureau, and that Holbrooke would take the lead bureaucratically.

I request your permission to tell Holbrooke the following:

—Your trip is still not scheduled. No firm plans exist for it to take place. We wish to keep our probe “low key,” so that, should your trip not take place, no loss occurs. This means as far as EA is concerned, only Holbrooke and Gleysteen are to be updated on developments prior to the announcement of the trip.

—Assuming your trip takes place, planning for it will occur here. Your talks will focus on global affairs, and your staff is well equipped to prepare you for the trip. It also has a proven capacity for discretion.


That you have me take these two points up with Dick Holbrooke.

[Page 315]

That you also inform Cy that Tony and others who might know should be told not to inform their staffs.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Oksenberg Subject File, Box 26, Brzezinski: 1–3/78. Secret; Outside the System. Sent for action.
  2. See Document 87.
  3. Brzezinski checked the Approve option under both recommendations and wrote, “absolutely,” in the left margin.