Henry Kissinger reported to President Nixon that the Chinese military tried to intercept an American aircraft gathering intelligence 100 miles off the China coast. He wrote, “Had they succeeded, they would have finished off the slight movement toward a Sino-U.S. thaw. In doing so, they would have nullified the ‘U.S. option’ which they have been developing since their confrontation with the U.S.S.R. began.” Kissinger speculated that someone in the Chinese leadership did want to damage the nascent relationship. He wrote that intelligence efforts should continue or the Chinese would learn that “a hard line works best with us.” (State Department, Office of the Historian) On July 31, Kissinger was told there were ongoing struggles within the Chinese leadership and that it was unclear who was rising or falling. (State Department, Office of the Historian)
This is a memorandum from Henry Kissinger to President Nixon responding to comments President Nixon made on a September 9 memo. Nixon asked Kissinger to try again to reach Chinese officials. Kissinger confirmed that in June 1970 the U.S. had prepared an offer to meet with Chinese officials. He wrote, though, that while General Vernon Walters had told Chinese contacts that he had a message to convey, he had not yet been able to actually convey the message. The document includes the September 9 briefing with Nixon’s handwritten comments. Click here to read the document.
American journalist Edgar Snow and his wife joined Chairman Mao Zedong atop Tiananmen during the National Day parade. Snow had interviewed Mao in Shaanxi in 1936 and published what Mao told him about himself and the Communist Party’s aims in Red Star Over China in 1937. Snow had reported on 1960, 1964 and 1965 as well (click here to see a clip of him speaking with Zhou Enlai about U.S.-China relations).
Henry Kissinger summarized of a meeting between President Nixon and President Yahya Khan of Pakistan. Nixon asked about Yahya’s plans to visit Beijing. He told Yahya that he was willing to send a representative to some third party capital to open communications with Beijing. Click here to read the document.
Henry Kissinger reported to President Nixon on a meeting he had with Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu in Washington. Kissinger said he told Ceausescu that the U.S. wanted to open communications with China and that the U.” Ceausescu said he would pass this along to the Chinese. Click here to read the document.
Henry Kissinger provided President Nixon with a summary of the status of “Chinese Communist Initiative.” It included a report from the Pakistani ambassador that Pakistan’s president had conveyed Nixon’s message during his visit to China. It said that Zhou told Yahya that his response had the support of Chairman Mao and Vice Chairman Lin Biao. He said China’s leaders welcomed Nixon’s envoy to Beijing to discuss the removal of U.S. troops from Taiwan. Kissinger included a draft response that would be given verbally. It proposed a high-level meeting in Beijing to discuss a variety of issues, including Taiwan. It notes that the U.S. planned to gradually reduce its military presence in East Asia as regional tensions are diminished. Kissinger reported that the message. Click here to read the document.
At a press conference the same day, Nixon said, “[W]e are going to continue the initiative that I have begun, an initiative of relaxing trade restrictions and travel restrictions and attempting to open channels of communication with Communist China, having in mind the fact that looking long toward the future we must have some communication and eventually relations with Communist China.”