97. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Advance Notification to the Soviets of My China Trip

I have learned today that the State Department, without my knowledge, notified the Russians of my China trip one hour in advance of the public announcement. This is the second time that the State Department has taken such initiatives on White House actions (the Wake Forest speech, now the China trip) without coordinating with the White House, and I am concerned that:

(1) The Soviets might in some quiet fashion tell the Chinese that we gave the Russians advance warning, thereby reinforcing Chinese suspicions against us and thus undermining one of the purposes of the trip;

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(2) The Soviets will draw the same conclusions that they did from the earlier State “interpretation” of your Wake Forest speech which was volunteered to the Soviet Embassy here;

(3) The Soviets did not give us any advance notification of Brezhnev’s trip to Germany, nor of General Petrov’s arrival in Ethiopia, nor of General Ogarkov’s visit to Turkey, nor of the recent mission to Peking by Deputy Foreign Minister Ilichev.2

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Geographic File, Box 9, China, (People’s Republic of), Brzezinski’s Trip: 11/19/77–5/14/78. Secret.
  2. At the bottom of the page, Brzezinski wrote, “I am more than perplexed by the whole thing!”