69. Memorandum From Secretary of State Haig to President Reagan1
- Second Soviet Demarche on our Relations with China
When Dobrynin saw me on July 2 he
brought in a paper on U.S.-Chinese relations, following up the earlier
approach he had made to Walter
Stoessel on June 17.2 Both papers were worded
fairly sharply, but this new one drops the subject of “assurances” which
previous Administrations had supposedly given the Soviets about not arming
the Chinese. Nor does the new one repeat the threat that they would consider
our arming the Chinese hostile to the Soviet Union.
The new demarche is not, in fact, limited to the question of arms supply but
treats our relationship with the Chinese more broadly, claiming that we are
guided in developing that relationship solely by hostility toward the Soviet
Union. The main point seems to be a warning [Page 202] that we should realize that there is a limit as to how
far we can go in developing relations with China without affecting the very
nature of our relations with the Soviet Union.
While the June 17 demarche thus appears to have been a quick reaction to the
first sensational press reports about our new attitude toward possible arms
transfers to China, this second demarche, like some of the more recent
Soviet propaganda statements, seems to reflect a more realistic appreciation
of the situation. In effect, the message seems to be that the Soviets are
waiting to see what we actually do about arms transfers before drawing any
firm conclusions. The paper ends with an expression of hope that the USG, and you personally, will take a fresh
look at our recent steps toward China and weigh “the real costs and
We will be sending a reply directly to Gromyko, using it as a vehicle for our Charge d’Affaires in
Moscow to request an appointment with Gromyko.3 This would assure that our message gets
through and would also give us a better indication of Gromyko’s current mood. We will remind
Gromyko, as I did Dobrynin, that we will develop relations
with the PRC on their merits, and that the
Soviet Union cannot expect to exercise a veto over our relationship with a
nation of one billion people.
A copy of the Dobrynin paper is
The Soviet leadership deems it necessary to touch once again upon the
question of US intentions and actions in the field of its relations with
the PRC. It appears that the American
side has been increasingly guided in that field not by the interests of
international peace and stability or even by the logic and dynamics of
developing normal relationship between the two States, but exclusively
by considerations hostile to the Soviet Union.
Do not, for example, statements pertaining to agreement reached between
the USA and the PRC, on coordinating their efforts in
order [Page 203] to “limit the Soviet
Union’s opportunities”, to co-operate “on a new plateau”, and to expand
military ties between them testify to it?
Moreover, the American side openly declared that it was including China
from now on into the category of states friendly to the USA while proclaiming its intent to deal
with the Soviet Union proceeding from a hostile nature of relations with
it. A question is in order—how would the US leadership perceive and
qualify declarations of that kind if the United States were in the place
of the Soviet Union?
And the matter is not confined to declarations alone. Now on the agenda
are already sales of American weapons and military equipment to China.
The obvious intent of this decision cannot be disguised or changed by
attempts of the American side to present the aforesaid decision as if it
were a routine step within the framework of a regular development of
Sino-American relations which allegedly does not infringe upon the
interests of other states or endanger world peace.
But is it possible to consider it a routine matter to transfer lethal
weapons to a country whose leaders openly advocate the inevitability of
a new world war and in fact push others toward unleashing it? And is it
possible to consider it normal to assist militarily a country which puts
groundless territorial claims practically to all of its neighbors and
wages armed attacks and incursions on their territories?
The Government of the US ought to know all this. Nevertheless, it invites
Peking to address to it its requests for arms deliveries. The American
side is obviously far from being disturbed by the flippant way in which
Peking is prepared to play with the destiny of the world and to recourse
to the military force.
We have already warned the American side of the dangerous consequences
that the policy of encouraging the expansionist aspirations of China
might have for peace and stability in the Far East and South-East Asia.
And it would seem that the leadership of the United States should
realize that there is a line in Soviet-American relations in connection
with China, crossing which will inevitably affect the very nature of
these relations, and to the detriment of not only the Soviet Union.
Reaffirming all that we have said previously in connection with the
intentions of the USA to provide China
with weapons and military technology, we would like to say quite clearly
that whatever the American side is guided by in this matter, it should
not deceive itself as to the capability of the Soviet Union to prevent
any harm to its security or security of its allies and friends.
The American side should also be aware that any of its practical steps
aimed at strengthening China militarily in circumstances when the latter
takes an openly hostile stand against the Soviet Union, will be properly
taken into account by us.
The Soviet leadership while frankly stating its views on the matter,
would like to express its hope that the US Government and the President
personally will once again thoroughly weigh all of their latest steps
regarding China, and match them against the real costs and dangers they
present to the world and not in the least to the US itself.