China Conference Transcript
"Transforming the Cold War: The United States and China, 1969-1980"
Co-sponsored by The U.S. Department of State and The Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
Monday, September 25, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Comments: Professor Gregg Brazinsky, Department of History, The George Washington University
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Comments: Patrick Tyler, Woodrow Wilson Center
Comments: Professor David Shambaugh, Department of Political Science and Director, China Program, The George Washington University
Comments: Dr. Richard C. Bush, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
Comments: Professor James G. Hershberg, Department of History, The George Washington University
MARC SUSSER (Historian of the Department): Thank you. As Amy said, I am the Historian of the Department. I'd like to welcome all of you here to the Department to this conference on "Transforming the Cold War: The United States and China, 1969-1980." This is the fourth annual historical conference sponsored by the Department of State and we are pleased to be co-hosting this with the Elliott School of George Washington University.
As with our previous conferences, this one is linked to the release of several volumes in our official historical documentary series Foreign Relations of the United States. As some of you may know, the Foreign Relations series was started by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward back in 1861. In that era, when the United States was in the midst of its greatest crisis, all the important documents fit into one volume. Today, the series has grown to over 400 volumes with the Office of the Historian now planning to publish 57 volumes covering just the Nixon and Ford administrations alone. And we will do that at just over 30 years after the events.
Several weeks ago, the Department published the first volume on the Nixon Administration's policy toward China. Today, we are adding to that material with a new publication, an electronic volume which is now available on the internet, Documents on China 1969-72, which supplements the documents that are found in the print volume. The combination of print and internet publication allows us to deal with the ever greater number and variety of documents that are now available to historians. This melding of the two formats allows the Department to provide a comprehensive account of the evolution of U.S. policy toward China during these crucial years.
The 1991 law that governs the Foreign Relations series requires that it be a thorough, accurate and reliable account of U.S. foreign policy, and we believe that is exactly what we provide in these two volumes. Although the broad outlines of the Nixon-Kissinger policy and opening to China are well known, our volumes include many new details not previously available to the public and many not previously available even to scholars in the field. Our historians have had full access to the files of all the agencies and departments involved in the foreign policy process during the years of the administrations of President Nixon and President Ford, and we have selected for publication the key documents that best tell the story of the evolution and development of U.S. policy during this period.
These volumes fulfill the requirements of the law that the published record shall omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision and that nothing shall be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect of policy. The publication of the Foreign Relations series provides an unrivaled example of transparency and of a government making its business open to public scrutiny. For more than 140 years, the Foreign Relations series has provided a powerful tool enabling the American public and indeed people all over the world to understand our country's foreign policy process.
We do this because we and our Congress believe that in a democracy a government has an obligation to tell its people the truth. We believe that it's important that the American people know what their government has done in its dealings with the rest of the world once sufficient time has passed and still-classified material has been protected. We believe that the best way to maintain the delicate balance of secrecy and trust between citizens and their government is to ensure that the actions of the government are not hidden forever. And that is why the Department of State publishes the Foreign Relations series.
The complete text of this new electronic volume is now available on the internet. The print volume that was released a couple of weeks ago will soon be available for sale from the Government Printing Office and I believe we have CDs of that volume included in your folders today.
We made extensive efforts to ensure broad participation in this conference and we are pleased that we have several scholars with us here today from China. The opening to China and the later normalization of relations dramatically altered the international landscape of the Cold War and set the framework for U.S.-China relations until today. We have with us today some of the key policymakers from the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations who will share their recollections of these key years.
Also with us today to formally open the conference and to put this period in U.S.-China relations in historical perspective is one of the Department's most senior officials, the Counselor of the Department, Dr. Philip Zelikow.
Dr. Zelikow was appointed Counselor of the Department in February of 2005 and he advises the Secretary of State on a wide range of issues. Before his appointment, he was the staff director of the 9/11 Commission, a trial and appellate attorney, a former career Foreign Service officer, a member of the National Security Council staff and the Director of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He is also a former member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and from our perspective here in the Office of the Historian, even more important, a former member of the Department's Historical Advisory Committee.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Philip D. Zelikow, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State
PHILIP ZELIKOW (Counselor of the Department): Ladies and gentlemen, it's an honor to be here today to address this conference. I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Office of the Historian, by acknowledging their patient and determined scholarship from year to year, decade to decade, preserving and publishing the record of American foreign relations.
You'll note that this volume is not just about the record of the Department of State. Increasingly, the Historian's Office has assumed the responsibility of providing a foreign policy record that extends beyond the State Department to include the records of the White House, our intelligence agencies. It really is one of the treasures of our nation's government that just happens to be lodged in the Department of State.
I also want to note in commenting on the role of the Historian's Office and on the role of a conference like this that this is not about official history. A lot of the historians who are at this conference don't like this administration. Why, some of the premier historians of Sino-American relations, like Warren Cohen or Michael Hunt don't like this administration. And that's okay. Their scholarship has earned them the kind of honor and attention that it continues to receive today and it is perfectly normal and natural that scholars should criticize the administration, have different views and provide a wealth of perspectives.
Indeed, when I served on the Historical Advisory Committee I was appointed to that role by a Democratic Secretary of State and members of that committee were involved in constant strife with whichever administration was prevailing at the time, usually pushing harder and harder for more declassification, placing more material in the public records, to always be sure that those values were given attention to.
In other words, the Historian's Office in a conference like this is not about official history. It is instead about an official duty to history that is being discharged. I hope this conference can serve as an example to other historian's offices and other governments elsewhere in the world, including our friends in China and even our friends in Japan on various ways that one can approach sensitive problems in contemporary history.
I want to acknowledge too the quality of scholarship and expertise available to students of U.S.-China relations in particular, the outstanding quality of the primary sources, a tradition of careful documentation that I think is influenced by Chinese culture and traditions in this particular field.
There is something disciplining about the fact that when you believe people really will scrutinize what you say word for word, you're more careful in how you write it down. There's also a rich tradition of interchange of scholarship between public and private work. Stanley Hornbeck, journeying from Harvard with the gentle permission of President Lowell back to join the State Department and serve in public service. Or people like the late Jim Thompson or Ezra Vogel or Ken Lieberthal or many, many others, including the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tom Christensen, coming to us from Princeton University.
Finally, as I turn to this subject, I want to note that it's really appropriate we're holding this conference on this date to me because it's almost exactly one year since Bob Zoellick spoke last September, September of 2005, about America's relations with China today and the way those relations have really entered a new phase, a phase made possible by the developments and policymakers whose work we are studying today and in the succeeding days.
Of course, American historical memory in these matters can be questioned. I was looking at some different works on this and I stumbled across a wonderful quote after then Defense Secretary Harold Brown visited China in the beginning of January 1980. A Chinese intellectual told the delegation of American China specialists that the potential in Sino-American relations should not be overestimated. The quote from the New York Times article is that, "You Americans are so charming," a Chinese scholar said, "for you have such short memories. We can't forget so fast or so easily what happened between us in the past." Well, this conference is trying to at least contribute to the slight lengthening of our traditionally short national memory.
Let me offer some questions and policy reflections: first, on why normalization occurred when it did; second, what did the United States want from normalization; third, on what I think is a striking continuity in American hopes for China; and fourth, some of the lingering consequences of this history today.
First then, why did normalization occur when it did? It's an interesting question because, of course, the State Department had long wanted to normalize U.S.-China relations and had equally long been ambivalent about what would happen if we did. So there was a constancy of State Department desire to normalize and a constancy too of State Department ambivalence towards the actual prospect because of reactions from Japan, from Southeast Asia, from the Soviet Union and so forth, that naturally were caveats that would have to be taken into account before you actually made such a move.
So then when one looks at the American variables, in addition to that constancy, I think it is interesting to look at the role that Richard Nixon himself played. Nixon's role is interesting in this matter because Nixon was more interested in Asia than many American national leaders were even of his time. It's important to remember that Nixon, for example, in contrast to the life story of Henry Kissinger before 1969, that Nixon was a man of the west and a man of the Pacific Rim in some distinctive ways. Nixon grew up in California. His World War II service was in the Pacific, not in the European theater. The Republican Party in which he had spent his formative years, the Republican Party of the late 1940s and early 1950s was actually a Republican Party that was extremely interested in Asia. One of the characteristic stereotypes of, say, Bob Taft, a leader of the Republican Party on that issue, is to think of these people as isolationist because of their opposition to NATO. In fact, it's important to remember that Taft Republicans may have been isolationist with regards to American engagement in Europe, but they were anything but isolationist when it came to American engagement in the future of East Asia, where their policy prescriptions were very activist and Nixon very much internalized that. Indeed, one of his signature issues when he became Vice President to Dwight Eisenhower was Asia, was an intense interest in the fate of Indochina, for example, in 1953 and 1954, and in the Taiwan Straits crises later in the Eisenhower Administration.
So Nixon comes into office as President as a person conditioned to a constancy of interest in Asia and with a lot of knowledge and interest in America's traditions there. So in his very first foreign trips, when literally he's been in office only weeks, he's already talking about the idea of opening to China. In his meetings with President DeGaulle, for example, he noted -- and this is in the Foreign Relations documents -- that there existed "considerable sentiment in the State Department not only in favor of a Soviet-U.S. détente but also for a lineup of the Soviets, Europe and the U.S. against the Chinese." By the way, in this instance I believe that this is a false allegation against the State Department, setting up a straw man to which Nixon could then comment. Because Nixon's comment was such a détente against the Chinese might be a good short-range policy, but in the longer term it was in the U.S. interest to recognize that China and the Soviet Union were "great powers" and that we should "build parallel relationships with them." Nixon then conceding that this was "largely theoretical as it was difficult to have relations with the Chinese," which begins to suggest that the critical variable in the opening was less in Washington and more perhaps in Beijing.
It's not, of course, the place of an American government official to speculate in depth from this podium about the motives and attitudes of Chinese leadership, but it is important to recognize, as many historians have, that this was a period in the late 1960s and especially the beginning of the 1970s when Chinese revolutionary activism and domestic turmoil was appearing to subside, that China's role in the Vietnam War was changing as the Soviet role in supporting the North Vietnamese became primary and the Chinese role becoming secondary, but also a period in which China must have felt an increasing sense of isolation from the communist world and in the world more generally. Relatively few fast friends for China back then, among them countries like Pakistan and Romania, which then both provided back channels to try to facilitate a normalization of relations with the United States. And then there was the Soviet factor, the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, border clashes, a lot of ominous talk in public and in private.
So why normalization occurred when it did -- yes, there's an American factor, Nixon being important, but also very important to look at the Chinese variable as perhaps even being the critical variable. But as that variable changed, the opportunities for normalization opened and we turn to my second subject, what did the United States seek from normalization, or to put it even more plainly, what did we want from them?
The answer to this question is interesting and I think thought-provoking. Let's start with what Kissinger wanted. There is a lot of evidence and fragments of evidence about Kissinger's views on this subject. I think it's fair to say that for Kissinger the opening to China was very much part of the foreign policy perspective he had focused on the Soviet Union and the broader geopolitical balance of power.
For instance, in October 1971, Kissinger, returning from having met with Zhou Enlai -- again, out of FRUS volume -- Kissinger telling Nixon, "The China trip's the keystone of your foreign policy, Mr. President. You get a good reception in China, which I know you will, you come out with a decent communiqué, you're in business with the Russians. Then the Russian trip will be a great success," which they were already thinking about for the spring of 1972.
Or for instance, in an exceptionally revealing meeting that lasted for hours between Nixon and Kissinger on the eve of their departure for China, a meeting that fortunately was caught on tape and painstakingly transcribed by the State editors of the FRUS volume, Kissinger remarks that for the next 15 years, we have to lean towards the Chinese against the Russians; we have to play this balance of power game totally unemotionally; right now, we need the Chinese to correct the Russians and to discipline the Russians.
And then going on, in the very same conversation, Nixon makes some remarks about the Chinese reception for a visiting African leader. Kissinger comes back to his main subject: "Our concern with China right now in my view, Mr. President, is to use it as a counterweight to Russia, not for its local policy." President Nixon says he agrees. Kissinger adds, "As a counterweight to keep it in play in the subcontinent for the time being, but above all, as a counterweight to Russia and the fact that it doesn't -- that China doesn't have a global policy is an asset to us, that it doesn't have global strength yet, and to prevent Russia from gobbling it up. If Russia dominates China, that would be a fact of such tremendous significance."
That gives you a little bit of a sense, some fragments of Kissinger's perspective, of his orientation, but not to what people then wrote about Nixon's orientation, which was different and in some ways more fundamental, more inchoate. For instance, Marshall Green recalling ways that Nixon had expressed himself to him on this subject, especially in 1969 when Green spent a lot of time with Nixon, recalled that "Nixon said to me," Green, "We simply cannot go on indefinitely in a hostile relationship with one-quarter of mankind, especially as the PRC grows in military power."
Or try the recollection of John Holdridge, who was working at State, then went to work with the NSC staff along with Win Lord and others who are here. Holdridge recalled Nixon rationale, which he says he often heard Nixon express, was "It's far better to talk to the Chinese than to fight them," given China's huge population, key geographic location, and important influence. And this is interesting because then, when you look at what did America want from China from the normalization process instrumentally, if the question is, what did we want from them, the answer is not very much. A lot of the agenda was a defensive agenda, how to avoid giving away too much on Taiwan.
It was not an agenda -- unlike the agenda with the Soviet Union, where we really expected dramatic results on, say, Vietnam; why, after the February 1972 summit, shortly thereafter, the Vietnamese launched the Easter Offensive that began on March 30th, 1972 and neither Nixon nor Kissinger appeared to feel betrayed by that. They didn't think they had a deal with the Chinese. Indeed, if anything, the Chinese were kind of urging the Americans to be tougher on the North Vietnamese because of their growing estrangement from the North Vietnamese that was already evident.
But you go through issue after issue, it's hard to find anything that's concrete and instrumental that the Americans are really seeking from the open. There is the balance of power argument put showing that America and China could work together and the chilling effect that would have on the Russians that Kissinger emphasizes. But then it's hard to resist the sense that there is just this more fundamental, inchoate concern which Nixon articulates that's less instrumental and more about, such an opening is an end in itself.
In other words, that to Nixon, he would be earning his place in history simply by ending what Warren Cohen has called "the great aberration," the period of rupture in US-China relations that had lasted for about 20 years. That point is important because it brings us to the third one. If you think about "the great aberration," you think that, for Nixon, in a way, he was returning to a sense of good relations with China that, for him, was part of the natural, normal American context. He was returning to normalization, not creating it new. Then you really capture the sense of the continuity of American hopes for China, which I think is worth dwelling on in some detail.
It is asserted by some Chinese nationalists, not necessarily by the Chinese Government, that the recent tradition of American relations with China is a desire to keep China down, to limit China's power, to limit China's influence. In contrast, I think it's fairer to assert that as long as it has been involved in Asia's politics, for more than 100 years, America's leaders have sought a strong, united, and independent China.
Year in and year out, from one generation to the next, America pursued this goal with a constancy of purpose unique among all the major powers in the region. Of course, America did so to serve America's interests. But America conceived of its interests in a rare harmony with the long-term interests of the Chinese people. And America thus played, again and again, an indispensable historical role in the evolution of a strong and independent China.
Let me offer just a few illustrations. In 1899, immediately after America realized that it is an Asiatic power, Hay and William Rockhill authored the Open Door. The Open Door Note, as I'm sure many of you here know, is commonly remembered for the goal of being sure that the door was not closed to American commerce, as some of the imperial powers were moving to carving up China in the waning years of the Manchu Dynasty.
But it's also worth remembering when one reads the Open Door Note that it had two goals, not only the goal of not excluding the United States and keeping the door open in that sense, but also asserting that China should be allowed to continue to have control of its finances, the issue of control of China's customs revenue. Because if China lost complete control of its finances, its effective independence would come to an end, and the United States had already decided that it was very much in America's interests for China to preserve its independence.
That kind of persistent view of the need for a stable, stronger and more independent China is carried forward in the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, carried forward in the way America distinctively approached the settlement of the Boxer rebellion claims, Roosevelt's own article on the awakening of China. It continues on through the Taft Administration and then on into the Wilson Administration. Remember that after the Chinese Revolution of 1912, the Wilson Administration rushed to recognize the new Republic of China and did so unilaterally before the other great powers were willing to go along. Wilson once expressing, as Josephus Daniels noted in his minutes of a cabinet meeting -- Wilson saying his desire to help China was so strong, "that I prefer to err in the line of helping that country than otherwise."
All this coupled with a growing concern about Japan, all of it limited by a keen sense of how little American power there was to project in East Asia and how little one could do to safeguard China or promote China. But America would do what it could.
In 1922, when in the Harding Administration, Charles Evans Hughes, the Secretary of State and Elihu Root decided to create a Washington system for East Asia organized around the Washington conferences. By the way, again, the stereotype of American isolation after the failure of the League of Nations, not at all true when it comes to American policy in Asia. That Washington system they crafted had at its core a Nine Power Treaty designed to secure Chinese independence in a period of disorder, guaranteeing its independence, guaranteeing its territorial integrity, with America as the lead sponsor of those provisions to ensure the Nine Powers respected them.
Not enough for the Chinese nationalists, not enough for them that America couldn't overthrow the regime of unequal treaties that the other powers insisted on; yet even on that score, by 1926, again ahead of the other powers, the United States was ready to discard extraterritoriality and wanted to grant China tariff autonomy. By the way, over active protests from within the Department of State and protests from both London and Tokyo because of American dedication, here now the role of Secretary Kellogg and Nelson Johnson, to this need to preserve a strong and independent China once China could sort out its internal disorder and its internal weaknesses.
Then American interests, while they remained the same, were not so actively pursued until finally, as Japanese aggression on the Chinese mainland grew in the period from 1938 to 1941, the United States of America took supreme risks to protect the strength and independence of China. Finally, at the end of 1938, as the activist Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau found at last an ally in the Department of State, hitherto preferring to do nothing about these problems except to refuse to recognize either side's claims and not intervene.
Morgenthau over again, asking for another embargo on some Japanese trade. Hull, of course, as usual, disagreeing with Morgenthau. Hull then sending for Stanley Hornbeck. And then Hornbeck arrives and Morgenthau noted in his diaries, "I almost fell out of my chair when Hornbeck agreed that this ought to be done." Hornbeck said, "As a matter of fact, we're working on several other ways to put the screws in the Japanese, and this is just what we ought to do," ushering a period of financial and economic aid to China, then fighting for its life, and financial and economic sanctions against Japan of growing strength and gravity until by 1940 and '41, the risks that were being undertaken by these sanctions flew in the face of America's grand strategy which was, after all, Germany first.
So with a Germany first strategy, you do not want to provoke a war in the Pacific before you come to grips with the main problem in Europe. Yet that is exactly the kind of risk that was being courted by the policy and in fact, the risk that materialized finally in the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. And you are then left with this extraordinary dichotomy of risk and principle that's worth noting because some of the ideas involved have resonance to the present day.
Stanley Hornbeck, reaching the end of his life in the early 1960s, asked about what America should do to meet its present challenges, said -- and here, I'm indebted to the late Jim Thompson for noting this -- "Well, I am sure about some things," Hornbeck said, "our national concern for and regarding principles and practices of freedom, independence, justice and security is greater than is that of any other nation. We should be prepared to go further and to make greater efforts in defense of those principles and practices than is to be expected of any other country."
At the same time, drawing to a close, Hornbeck files a little note in a box marked "Pearl Harbor," in a way leaving a record for posterity, "Did I," Hornbeck, "underestimate Japan's strength? The answer is: Yes, both in absolute terms and in comparative terms. And so did practically everyone else in the United States, both in the government and out of the government in varying degrees." The results were that America then found itself in a war, a war it had been drawn into in conflict with its grand strategy, in great part because of its stubborn dedication to trying to preserve a united and independent China.
Another key moment arises as the war goes on; who will make up the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council that will have such an extraordinary role in the postwar order? There was only one voice in the councils of the great powers that said such a seat must be held for China. And that voice was, again, that of the United States. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, insisting on it with Anthony Eden in March of 1943 so that in 1945, that seat is there, the seat which the Peoples' Republic of China now holds, a seat which it could take in 1971 because that seat had been built for it in 1945. Had that seat not been there, China might today be, along with other countries, joining the ranks of those asking for the reorganization of the UN Security Council to recognize China's role. But instead, the United States had worked to preserve that role as early as 1943, successfully.
And in 1946, another extraordinary choice that America had to make; as the war came to an end and American policy was fluid on its attitude toward the Chinese communists, the great choice facing the United States Government was: Do you side completely with Jiang and the Guomindang against the communists? And instead, a series of American leaders, especially Byrnes, Acheson, Marshall and John Carter Vincent decided instead to choose mediation and restraint in China's civil war.
There was an extraordinary opportunity for the anti-communists. After all, Stalin had already made his deal with Jiang Jieshi in 1945 as to how he would come to a modus vivendi with Guomindang rule in the new China, and Mao knew it. There were a lot of Americans, Patrick Hurley among them and others, who would have argued that the United States should come down 100 percent on the side of the Guomindang, and that the United States chose not to do. Or indeed, in 1947, as the civil war deepened into complete strife with the result that here, where the future of East Asia was arguably at stake, perhaps the most important contest in the emerging Cold War, where a quarter of the world's population was on the table, the United States fundamentally chose not to intervene with its full military might at the time when victory for the Guomindang could have been assured.
We can argue about whether those decisions were right, but the reason for their choice of mediation and restraint was because of their hopes for a strong, united and independent China and that somehow, this was the only way to achieve that unity. We can fault the way they went about it, we can decry the naiveté, but the purpose is important to understand. And even that lingering purpose going on in the Korean War, when in 1950 and 1951, Mao essentially invited America to join World War III, an invitation that, despite the recommendations of some, such as his commander in the Far East, President Truman chose to decline.
In the Taiwan Straits crises, despite Chinese intervention into the Vietnam War in the early and mid-1960s and its threats to the United States that if they sought to solve the Vietnam War by dealing with North Vietnam, they would face war with China, and the American decision therefore to accept the limited war that China insisted on as the choice between that and war with China; again and again, the United States chooses the path of its consistent interests and regard for China, which then brings us back to the issues of the 1970s.
So for America in the 1970s, there was a constancy of interest that now seemed enabled and possible in new ways. And the question is whether that constancy is now coming to fruition. Therefore, I want to turn fourth to the consequences of that normalization and that constancy today.
Looking back at 1969 again, one of the many studies that the White House commissioned was National Security Study Memorandum 14, commissioned in the spring and summer of 1969 to look at U.S. policies towards China. Kissinger famously remarked that these studies were make-work projects to keep the State Department busy. I think this is Kissinger in his more puckish moment. In fact, at the time, I think this particular study was taken quite seriously. A lot of people worked on it, especially at the State Department, and there was a prescient question asked in the State Department's paper answering that study.
In August 1969, the State Department paper responding to NSM 14 posed the following question, which I think was probably written by Marshall Green, John Holdridge and their colleagues, Holdridge at State before he then went over and received the paper on the NSC staff.
"A question can legitimately be posed as to whether or not it is in U.S. interests for Peking to become more engaged in the international scene. If Peking should choose to pursue a more pragmatic and moderate foreign policy, pressures by the nations of Asia for accommodating Peking and for accepting the PRC into international organizations would build rapidly. Peking's emergence from its self-imposed isolation would thus pose new challenges for U.S. policy in Asia and would probably result in certain short-term losses to ourselves and our allies."
And to that prescient question, it is interesting to note a prescient answer. The answer then offered in August '69 was that over the long-term, however, "evolution of Peking's policies toward moderation would offer the prospect of increased stability in East Asia. Since it does not lie within the United States' power to prevent Peking from breaking out of its isolation, the issue posed for the U.S. is whether this evolution will take place in spite of U.S. resistance or whether the U.S. will be seen as willing to accept and live with Peking's entry into the international community and do what it can to take advantage of the change."
Those words do indeed ring true today, as do further cautions in that same memorandum, cautions about limited U.S. power. To what extent, one can ask, can America actually influence the way China approaches the international system if it has these new opportunities? Here again, the study's authors in the summer of '69 wrote, "Future Chinese leaders' perspectives may be altered, however, by considerations of domestic political control, by the need for economic development, and by China's relations with third countries. U.S. actions to alter what Peking perceives as the U.S. 'threat' could contribute to this. This need not be hostile to U.S. interests in the long-run if it allows for continuing U.S. political and economic relations with these countries throughout Asia, even though at a reduced level of intimacy than previously," because we would sacrifice some quality of intimacy because of the growing role of China and their decreasing reliance on us as protection against Chinese influence.
In other words, America made that choice that was forecasted for it in the summer of 1969. It made the choice to embrace the growth of Chinese power. So for example, when Zoellick gave his speech a year ago, he said that "For the United States and the world, the essential question is, how will China use its influence? To answer that question, it is time to take our policy beyond opening doors to China's membership into the international system. We need to urge China to become a responsible stakeholder in that system."
It is essential, then, to understand the historical record and see the continuity across more than a century of the American belief that a strong, independent and united China could contribute to the stability of East Asia and that that role should be welcomed. The address that we gave a year ago on behalf of the Administration made it clear that the argument about whether the United States wanted to contain Chinese power or encourage Chinese power had been settled. The paradigm that we put forward cannot be reconciled with a paradigm of containment. It is a paradigm that welcomes the growth of Chinese power and urges the Chinese to take on their role in strengthening the international system that has enabled its success.
Now the choice is that of China. China has choices it will make about how it approaches its own historical record and its own view of its past, but China also has important choices to make about the future. And when I was trying to think about words with which to talk to the Chinese Government or its people about its choices, about its future, I was very drawn to some lines that Dean Acheson used more than half a century ago in a very different context.
And so paraphrasing Acheson, I will just close by saying: And by no means least of all, it rests with our friends to see that this relationship reaps its true fruits. And I say to them: A great broad highway to a position of equality, of honor, of friendship in the world lies open to you. All the obstacles on that highway have been cleared away so far as governments can clear them away. The obstacles that remain, only you can remove, and you can remove those if you act with other peoples, with understanding, and with generosity and with kindness. All those qualities are inherent in the nature of your people and what we urge you to do is to make those qualities, which are so inherent in your people, the policy of your government.
SUSSER: Thank you, Counselor Zelikow. We'll now take a moment for our first panel to assemble up here. (Pause.)
Panel of Former Diplomats and Government Officials
SUSSER: All right, we're going to get started. We are fortunate to have with us several men who were, in Secretary of State Acheson's phrase, present at the creation during the key turning points in U.S. policy toward China during the period between 1969 and 1980. We've asked each of them to provide us with some initial impressions, for no more than ten minutes each, and then we hope that they will both engage in an informative dialogue with each other as well as respond to some questions from the audience.
You each should have in your folders index cards on which you can write down questions for the individual panelists or for the panel as a whole. Several of our staff will be circulating through the room to collect them. The complete biographies of our panelists are listed in your programs so I will not repeat them at length, and perhaps we should begin with the two men who were on that first trip to China with Henry Kissinger, then National Security Advisor.
Ambassador Lord, would you like to start off?
AMBASSADOR WINSTON LORD: Thank you. Let me begin by explaining why I'm going first on this panel, and in so doing I will, knowing my fellow panelists who have heard this story before, but this is a conference on scholarship and history and there's a gaping hole in the volumes released; namely, it does not demonstrate that I was the first American official to go into China after 22 years of mutual isolation and hostility. Most people know it was not Nixon, they figured it was Kissinger. That's absolutely false. I was with Kissinger along with Smyser on the plane, a Pakistani plane flying from Islamabad to Beijing. And as we got close to the Chinese border, no American having been there for 22 years, I went to the front of the plane and as we crossed into China I was first. (Laughter.)
So now that we got that straight, let me do the following in ten minutes. We have a huge amount of material to cover, so what I will do is focus on the '69 to '72 period and with broad strokes try to give us a framework for subsequent presentations and discussion.
One week after his inauguration, President Nixon, on February 1, sent a memo to Kissinger saying, in effect, he wanted to move ahead with the Chinese. What were our motives? What was China's rationale? Our motives -- and Zelikow touched on this, I disagree with some of his emphasis. But in any event, there was a variety of reasons we wanted to move toward China: generally give us more diplomatic flexibility on the world stage, including with the communist world so Moscow wouldn't be the only spokesperson to deal with one-quarter of the world's population; to improve relations with the Soviet Union to help end the Vietnam War and to promote stability in Asia.
The Chinese, in turn, were isolated during the Cultural Revolution diplomatically. They sought security by dealing with the far barbarian to balance off the near barbarians, above all the Soviets but also the Indians, the Vietnamese, Japanese, other traditional hostile neighbors. And they wanted to move ahead, figuring if they moved with us other countries would follow.
We faced two challenges to move ahead, one public and one private. The private one was how do you communicate with the Chinese since we were totally cut off. And here we tried several secret channels, including Romania and France, and ended up with Pakistan, a mutual friend.
The public problem was to send an audience -- send signals to various audiences, the American audiences and also others around the world, that our policy was indeed shifting. So in addition to statements and foreign policy reports and toasts and speeches, we unilaterally lifted some trade and travel restrictions as a signal to the Chinese they didn't have to respond immediately. We took our ship out of the Taiwan patrol and we made clear that we would not support Soviet pressures against the Chinese.
The Chinese, in turn, over months and years, responded. They released a couple of American yachtsmen that drifted into their space. The Edgar Snow interview, the famous one about inviting Nixon. And of course the ping pong diplomacy in April 1971.
It was decided through the Pakistani channel that Kissinger would be the one to go, that it would be secret that he would go to Beijing, and I can elaborate on all these points. The big sticking point to fix on a secret trip was to make sure that the agenda went beyond Taiwan, which the Chinese first insisted upon, to broader issues, and once that was settled, we were off.
It was a public trip to Southeast Asia and South Asia and the cover story for Kissinger's secret journey to China was that he was going to get a stomachache in Pakistan. The problem is he got a stomachache before he got there in India and he had to keep that secret so as not to mess up his later cover.
On the way to Pakistan, I got a call from the Deputy National Security Advisor Al Haig telling us that once again the Soviets had turned us down for a summit. We were prepared to go to Moscow first. They didn't know we were going to China, of course, and so that clinched the sequence of the summits.
On that plane, you may think that Kissinger was worried about dealing with Zhou Enlai, the James Bond secret aspects, the geopolitical earthquakes. No, he wasn't. He was worried about the fact he had no shirts. His assistant forgot to pack any shirts for Henry. I, of course, quipped to him that he hadn't even sat down to negotiate with the Chinese and he had already lost his shirt. (Laughter.) So he borrowed one from John Holdridge, who was about 6' 3" and he went around looking like a penguin. (Laughter.) And the shirt, of course, said on the collar, "Made in Taiwan." (Laughter.)
We spent 48 hours in Beijing, over 17 hours with Zhou Enlai, four more hours on a communiqué announcing the President's forthcoming summit, 110 pages with Smyser, Lord and Holdridge taking notes. We agreed we would go ahead; there was mutual interest. We went over the agenda for the President's trip and we worked out the announcement, very sparse because it was dramatic in and of itself. But that was delicate negotiations with the Chinese. They wanted to make clear that Nixon was eager to come to China and we wanted to make clear that China was eager to have Nixon. We split the difference and we also made sure that the communiqué said that we would talk about issues of mutual concern and not just normalization, i.e., Taiwan.
On the way back from this trip, by the way, we stopped in Paris for secret negotiations with the Vietnamese. The announcement was made in mid-July in San Clemente. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive in America, although some of the right were concerned, obviously a shock to Taiwan and Japan. And from then on we began to communicate with the Chinese both through Paris and through the UN ambassador in New York.
This brings us to the October '71 public trip. We went back again for two reasons: to arrange the logistics for the President's February '72 trip -- security, media, where he would go, what he would do; and also substance, again further elaborate the agenda and above all to begin negotiating what became to be known as the Shanghai Communiqué. We went in with the usual traditional draft of stressing harmony and agreement. Zhou Enlai almost literally threw this on the floor and said this is ridiculous, it's got no credibility, we've been enemies for 22 years, this will shake up our friends, it will confuse our domestic audiences, let's each state our own positions, and then when we can't agree on certain areas then they'll have more credibility. He was, of course, right and, as a result, that communiqué is still invoked today after 22 years, which is very unusual for a diplomatic communiqué. It involved some hair-raising drafting overnight in which I stayed up till 3 to redraft entirely the communiqué and then Kissinger took it at 3 am. But it came out quite well, but leaving aside, of course, the key issue of Taiwan where there's still a major gap.
By the way, there was heightened security in Beijing in this October trip. We did not realize at the time that the Lin Biao incident was going on. And as we left China, unfortunately in terms of timing, the UN vote admitted China and kicked out Taiwan.
This brings me to the Nixon trip itself in February '72. It was a period of great drama in U.S. diplomacy generally -- the Moscow summit a few months later, ending the Vietnam War, et cetera. I've worked with several presidents. I've never seen any president prepare as hard or as thoroughly for a trip as Nixon did on this. We put together six huge briefing books. He marked up every page. He kept asking questions as we flew across the Pacific.
Mao asked to see us within an hour of our arrival, putting his stamp of approval on the process. I was fortunate enough to be in that meeting but I was cut out of all the pictures and communiqué because, unfortunately and wrongly, Secretary Rogers was not at the meeting. This would have been a further humiliation.
At first the discussion with Mao, which lasted an hour, seemed a little disappointing to us. It seemed casual. He was using broad strokes and allusions and anecdotes. We didn't quite get everything he was saying. But as we reflected over the coming days and hours and hours of talks with Zhou Enlai, we realized that Mao in a seemingly casual way had established the strategic framework on all the key issues, most notably that the Taiwan issue could wait and that we had a mutual concern about the polar bear to their north.
In the remainder of the summit we fleshed out the rest of the communiqué, including the key issue on Taiwan. And we can come back to that, but the point is that both sides made concessions here. The Chinese had to put off the resolution of this issue. We maintained diplomatic relations, a defense treaty and arms sales, and the Chinese had to live with that. We, in turn, had to make some assurances. We can come back to that.
And then the other key aspect of the communiqué was the anti-hegemony clause, namely our common concern with the Russians.
So let me conclude with the impact of this trip or series of trips. It's fair to say that even flying back from China, Kissinger and Nixon were worried about the reaction in the United States. We didn't realize how dramatic and positive the television images were and it was overwhelmingly well received in the United States. Other countries begin to move quickly in our wake, most notably Japan, and of course this helped Nixon get reelected but it was not a major portion of that, I don't think, and that certainly wasn't his reason.
But for the United States, the most immediate impact was a dramatic improvement with Moscow within weeks and months, a Berlin agreement, an arms control agreement, another summit meeting with the Russians. Taiwan was shocked, of course, and it was painful for all of us, but in subsequent years, thanks to their own efforts, they became a flourishing economy, a flourishing democracy and they have de facto security independence. And meanwhile we've moved ahead and established this extensive relationship with China. I think seven presidents of both parties have performed a significant and very skillful balancing act to promote both of these objectives.
With Japan it was a shock, but I would point out that we convinced in our conversations Zhou that the U.S.-Japan alliance was in China's interest in terms of stability in Asia and generally the U.S. military presence was in China's interest. So that was a plus. Asia was more stable. Vietnam, modest help, but it did help us somewhat in the agreement. And psychologically for the American people, this dramatic opening put in context the necessarily and inevitable sloppy close to the Vietnam War, which was a downer to say the least. So while we were extricating ourselves from a corner of Southeast Asia, we were opening up with this great power and one-quarter of the world's people.
China, of course, got security out of this, stability around its borders, allowed it concentrate on its economy, and you now see the fantastic results as a result of that. And we both got out of this a more stable Asia and a very rich relationship.
So, in close, I would say that the opening to China I think will stand as one of the three or four most important and most positive geopolitical events since World War II. Thank you. (Applause.)
SUSSER: Professor Smyser, you were also on that plane. I won't ask if you were second into China, but if you can give us your thoughts.
PROFESSOR RICHARD SMYSER: No, I was not even anxious to be the first or the second. I was quite comfortable sitting in the plane. And when Win moved up to the front of the plane, I said to Henry, "Is he trying to cozy up to Mao's niece," who was sitting at the front. And Henry said, "You never know what Win is up to." (Laughter.)
As it turned out of course, his purpose was even more sinister and so we always have congratulated him on that. But I don't even know whether I was the second or third or fourth, but I did know, and I remarked on this to Kissinger, that the fact that Mao had sent his niece to meet us in Pakistan and to accompany us on the plane, even though I should tell you she said very little and did very little on the plane, I thought was of great significance and Henry obviously also took that on.
For your amusement, I did have a chat with her, sort of as casual as one could be, and I said to her, "I hope that all this means that someday you will visit the United States." And, "Do you have any particular places you would like to go?" I was kind of intrigued to see what she would say. And she replied, "I am sure a program will be made for me." (Laughter.) Which is a very interesting kind of comment of the kind of tension that still existed in the relationship. She had to be very, very careful what she said.
Now, I had a special role for Henry in this particular thing and that was that he wanted me along in case Vietnam came up. He was going to talk about Vietnam and about the war in Vietnam, and he wanted me to be there to help, of course, with any comments and also to answer any questions that Zhou Enlai might have. The latter purpose really turned out to be not so necessary because all the questions could be answered by Dr. Kissinger himself, but still it was a kind of reassurance.
And I think if you don't mind, I'm going to talk mainly about the Vietnam aspect of this trip, which was I thought an important aspect. At the time that we took this trip, the U.S. had been involved heavily in a war in Vietnam for a number of years. To you this is ancient history. To those of us who were involved in it at the time, it was a pressing issue that occupied all television stations every night and all our concerns every day. And we had been trying to find a negotiated settlement. In Paris there were some talks, negotiations which were mostly fruitless because there was a delegation led by a man called Xuan Thuy who was kind of a Vietnamese version of Andrei Gromyko, if this gives you some idea of how useful it was to talk to him.
But from time to time, somebody else would appear. His name was Le Duc Tho. Le Duc Tho, whom we called "Ducky," was a member of the North Vietnamese Politburo. He was one of its principal ideologues and he would appear in Paris from time to time. and we decided -- Henry and Nixon decided that they would want to meet with him. And so beginning in 1970, we began meeting with Le Duc Tho, and those meetings had two marks to them. First of all, of course, the discussion was much more open, much more frank; and secondly, you had the feeling that you were talking to somebody who was serious and who was in a position to take on what you said and to do something about it.
One of the interesting things about this negotiation is that after we had been doing it for about, oh, six to nine months or a year, all of a sudden, instead of sitting in easy chairs like these opposite each other in the living room of the Vietnamese residence in the suburbs of Paris, we found ourselves sitting around a green table, which was a sign that the Vietnamese were beginning to realize that the negotiations were serious.
Now, the problem for us was the relationship to all this of the Soviets and of the Chinese, or at least this was one of the problems. And the Soviets were playing a double game. They would come to us and say, oh yes, we want to help you negotiate, we're trying to do everything we can, we're using our influence. They said this consistently to Ambassador Averell Harriman, who, for a long time, tried to lead the negotiations and who thought there might be an opening there.
But at the same time that they were doing that and making nice noises, they were also providing the Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese, with the weapons that destroyed our aircraft and with the weapons which enabled them to conduct massive warfare in South Vietnam. They had anti-aircraft missiles, the SAMs and other weaponry which enabled the Vietnamese to continue the war and also, of course, enabled them to inflict heavy casualties upon us.
This was a double game. The Chinese were not playing a double game. The Chinese message was very simply. This is "people's war." Lin Biao even wrote a booklet about it which everybody read for a long time in the State Department. People's war meant a war that would end when the people won because the enemies got too exhausted they could no longer fight. And Mao and everybody in China said consistently -- publicly, privately, in every way -- this war cannot be ended by negotiations; anybody who negotiates is a traitor to people's war; the only way to end this war is to win it and to fight. That was the Chinese line.
We had the impression as we were flying across to Peking, as we then called it, and as we discussed the meeting in advance that the Chinese were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with this position, because the longer the war went on, the more Soviet weapons poured into Vietnam, and the more the Soviets relied -- the Vietnamese relied upon the Soviets for weaponry.
So we felt that there was perhaps an opening here to ease the Chinese resistance to negotiations. And so Kissinger in the meeting with Zhou Enlai -- and I frankly don't know whether this is going to be in the FRUS documents that you're releasing or not -- said the war can end in two ways. One is by continuing the fight, and that will last a long, long time. The other way is through negotiations, and that will be shorter.
It is clear that Zhou Enlai, whose eyes were always interesting to watch, took this on and understood exactly what it meant. Now, what he said, of course, was what we knew he would say, which was the Vietnamese make their own decisions, we support them, they are fighting in a just cause, you are not fighting in a just cause, you should leave. But nonetheless, we had the distinct impression that Zhou Enlai knew exactly what we were talking about and knew exactly what the implications would be for the Chinese position in Indo-China, for the Chinese position in North Vietnam and for the Chinese position in the world.
Now, obviously nothing changed overtly. But interestingly enough, when the negotiations, the serious negotiations actually did begin later, the Chinese eased their opposition. Now, this may have been because they said, well, the Vietnamese want negotiations, we will support them. But we also felt that it was because they understood that a shorter war, a war which the Soviets would not be able to dominate by the weaponry that they could supply and that the Chinese could not, would be in their interest.
Curiously enough, there's a couple things that might be amusing in this which I want to mention. I'm not sure that they're amusing in a funny way, but interesting. One thing that Zhou Enlai said to Kissinger was that he did not know of the negotiations that we were conducting through Le Duc Tho. I have never known whether he was conducting what some people called the classic diplomatic obfuscation campaign or whether it was true, but I suspect it may well have been true because the Vietnamese, knowing of the great Chinese opposition to the negotiations, any negotiations, might well have felt that the best thing to do was not to tell them about it. The other question that it raises, of course, was whether, in fact, Chinese intelligence was not terribly good, because these talks were going on in Paris, they had a mission in Paris, and while, of course, we were able to keep them from the press and from associated other people, nonetheless I should have thought that the Chinese, if they had a really good intelligence service, would have known about them. But they didn't.
We did meet with Le Duc Tho in Paris after coming out of Beijing. It was arranged by Dick Walters, General Walters, known to most of you and will be in the FRUS, I am quite sure, who used a very simple ploy. We all went to the ambassador's residence for lunch and then the word was that Dr. Kissinger was going to rest and the press were told, "Or you can leave." And they said ha, ha, ha, ha, we're not that stupid, we're going to watch him when he leaves. And so a team of press stayed at the front door of the residence. But the residence had a back entrance which was a garage, so Dick Walters arranged for a car to come into the garage. Henry slumped down on the floor between you and me -- you may remember that -- because they figured you and I were not recognizable to anybody but Henry certainly was.
LORD: Speak for yourself. (Laughter.)
SMYSER: I'm merely saying what they thought, not necessarily what you thought. (Laughter.) But nonetheless, we were able to get out, have a meeting with Le Duc Tho and then afterwards return to the residence. And that evening, Henry had dinner with a young lady, an NBC correspondent, as I recall, in a Paris restaurant and was accused by some woman who shook her hand at him of not doing enough for peace. So this shows about how things are.
I don't want to cover any more because I don't have much time, but I just want to mention that one of the most interesting things to all this was the Japanese reaction. And it was a reaction which I can best describe as real genuine concern as to what this meant for the stability of Asia and also really genuine concern that their principal ally, the United States, had done this and not told them about it earlier. I remember in the ensuing weeks I had several conversations with Japanese diplomats who came to my office who wanted very, very much to talk about this subject. I'm sure you had the same. And this was a genuine concern of our allies about things that we had done which they thought we should have told them about. Obviously we couldn't tell them for all the reasons that you know, but there we are.
Now, I wanted to mention one other thing. I have to leave early because I now teach at Georgetown University and I have a class, a seminar, this afternoon. So if I disappear, it is not in protest at what anybody is saying, especially Winston Lord who of course is obstreperous as always -- (laughter) -- but simply because I do have to leave. But I did want to cover this subject because it was an interesting and important aspect of what we were trying to do. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SUSSER: Why don't we move a little bit chronologically. General Scowcroft, could you give us your thoughts?
LT. GENERAL BRENT SCOWCROFT: Sure. I figured I would sort of be last, but --
SUSSER: We knew you didn't like sitting on the left, so -- (laughter)
SCOWCROFT: Well, yeah, let me tell you a little bit about my involvement. It started -- I arrived at the White House the day before the advance trip for China left to prepare for President Nixon's visit. And I was on that so I started out my introduction to the White House was identical with my introduction to China. I was not an august colleague of either Win Lord's or Dick Smyser, however. I was -- I had an administrative job in the White House. I was the military assistant to the President and in charge of logistics, Air Force One, Camp David, the motor pool, the mess hall -- all the kinds of things that Defense used to support the President. So that was the reason I was on the mission. I also provided the aircraft for Dick Smyser to go to Paris quietly without anybody finding out what they were doing. So that was my involvement in the early days.
But principally it came later on in the administration of President Bush and especially related to Tiananmen Square. When Bush came into office, relations with China were pretty good. In fact, they were quite good. As Win Lord said, you know, we've had seven presidents reaffirm the general direction of our relations with China, but they didn't all start out that way. Reagan, for example, started out as a strong -- when he campaigned, a strong proponent of Taiwan, so strong that he sent his vice presidential candidate, who was then George Bush, over to Deng Xiaoping to explain that this was just campaign rhetoric and so on and so forth. And actually, Bush was in the meeting with Deng Xiaoping and an aide came in and gave Deng -- after Bush had just explained this didn't mean anything, he said, "He's done it again." So this was an education process for several of our presidents to the realities of the relationship and how fundamental it was, and that says a lot.
So when Bush came into office in 1989, one of the first things we wanted to do was to meet with the Chinese. Because just before inauguration day, it had been announced that the Soviets -- Gorbachev was going to come to China in March, I think it was, for a state visit. We wanted to get there ahead of time, but how can you do that with a President, brand new, just inaugurated, to jump on a plane and go to a trip to China. Well, the Japanese Emperor obliged us by succumbing and we went to the funeral, and immediately after the funeral we went on to China. And it was a great visit. Win, you should have talked about that. Win was the ambassador at that time.
But one special thing, President Bush wanted the Chinese to know how close he felt to them, so he brought a special dinner along, a Texas barbecue, complete with the checkered tablecloths. The whole thing was flown in. Well, I don't know about you, but the Chinese I sat with looked at it and poked at it and pushed it around and didn't touch it. (Laughter.)
Anyway, shortly after that came Tiananmen Square. It was a serious crisis in the relationship. We had to respond. It was an outrageous act. But President Bush felt he had to respond but he did not want to sever this relationship which had been gradually built up and gradually deepened. So we imposed sanctions, but they were primarily sanctions against the military relationship, military supplies and things like that, on the grounds that it was the military who had moved in to Tiananmen Square and therefore they were the -- they should bear the brunt of it.
But at the same time he was deeply worried that this relationship would be destroyed, so he tried to call Deng Xiaoping on the telephone. Well, the Chinese said, "Our leaders don't talk on the telephone." So what to do? So finally, he asked me to go over to the embassy and I did, and there's a little park in front of the embassy here, as some of you know, and there's a big statue of the Lady of Freedom from Tiananmen Square, you know, up there and all kinds of placards and so on and so forth. It was like walking through a bomb field.
So I went in and explained to the ambassador that we didn't like what they did, we had demonstrated we didn't like what they did, but nevertheless we wanted to sustain our relationship. And if the Chinese leaders were amenable, we would be prepared to send an emissary quietly to talk to them. In less than 24 hours, a note came from Deng Xiaoping, yes, we'd be happy to.
So Larry Eagleburger, who was Deputy Secretary of State, and I went over there. We went on a C-141 with aerial refueling so we didn't have to land anywhere between Washington and Beijing. The Chinese President told me later that as we were approaching the entryway in through Shanghai that he got a call from the border patrols that an unknown aircraft was approaching, should they shoot it down. (Laughter.) And he said, no, let it through.
So we got there and had a fascinating set of discussions with both Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng. And Deng Xiaoping said, "I'm not longer in the government. I agreed to meet with you because you're an old friend, but I want to tell you Tiananmen has absolutely nothing to do with you. It's an internal matter. It doesn't affect you and you're interfering in our business."
So I said, "Yes, you're right. It's an internal matter absolutely. But the external effects of what you have done are of great concern to us and that's why I'm here." So we had a long, long discussion for two days. It was not a negotiating session, but what it was as a demonstration of the depth of the relationship and that somehow we needed to get past this bad chapter.
Move ahead six months. We wanted to see if we could get something going with the Chinese again so that -- so President Bush took the opportunity of the Soviet summit at Malta to tell the Chinese he'd be happy to send somebody to report to the Chinese about that summit. So the Chinese said yes, we'd like that. And I went again this time, this time publicly, and then we did engage in negotiations. It was still a difficult time.
When I got there, there was an American film crew in China. I can't remember why they were there, but anyway the Chinese asked if they could film our proceedings. And I said no, but it's all right -- you can film our first -- the opening session which is, you know, you sit down and have tea and exchange pleasantries, and then you adjourn. So they said fine.
Well, they filmed that. And then as we were having our first dinner, as a part of the first dinner, of course, the Chinese custom is that you have toasts. Well, just as I was lifting a glass to respond to the Chinese toast, in came the camera crew. And I thought: What do I do? Do I put my glass down, refuse to toast, destroy my mission? Or do I go ahead and toast and be, in return, toasted by the American press? Well, I chose the latter, and boy, was I toasted.
Anyway, that session in negotiating principally with Qian Qichen, we came up with a roadmap to renormalize our relations. They would do something, we would respond, then we'd do something, they would respond, and so on. But after the first couple of steps came the Romanian coup against Ceausescu and I think the Chinese up to that point had been fairly relaxed about what was going on in Eastern Europe because a lot of the other leaders were sort of not pure communist. But Ceausescu, you know, a real down-to-earth communist, he would survive. Well, when he didn't, I think they panicked. And the roadmap stopped and then it was a very slow, gradual process to get back to normal relations.
I think what it shows is that despite ups and downs -- and Philip Zelikow didn't mention all of the downs, he made it sound sort of easy. There have been some really, really rough spots in this relationship. But I think the fact that it has endured shows that it is deeply important both to the United States and China, and it won't survive any blows that either side can strike at it but it's strong enough to endure most of them. So I'm proudly optimistic for the future. Thank you. (Applause.)
SUSSER: I understand, unfortunately, that Dr. Brzezinski is going to have to leave us a bit early too, but maybe you could go now.
DR. ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Thank you very much. I'm a little baffled by the chronology. We started off by talking about the early '70s and then we moved to the late '80s and now we're moving back to the second half of the '70s.
SCOWCROFT: I just had to talk about something I knew. (Laughter.)
BRZEZINSKI: I suppose that is a device to keep everybody alert and wondering as to what is happening. (Laughter.)
I very much agree with Brent that the American-Chinese relationship is not only important, in all probability enduring, but it is also susceptible to ups and downs, because it is an important but delicate relationship with a lot of sensitivities and not always entirely identical national interests.
Beyond that, I think it is also important to recognize that that relationship has been evolving over now more than 30 years and it hasn't become what it is today all at once as a consequence of the first Kissinger trip to China. Winston, in summarizing the significance of that trip, recounted all of the beneficial consequences that subsequently followed, but I think it is important to recognize that the trip opened the doors to these beneficial consequences but didn't cause all of them. There was a great deal left still undone after that visit and the beginning of the political relationship that it initiated.
To some extent, one might think here of the difference at least in the old days between a romantic first kiss and going to bed. Now, I realize that these days the two are conflated -- (laughter) -- but there was a time when there was at least a decent interval between the two. (Laughter.) And I think that going to bed actually occurred, in fact, in the second half of the '70s. We had by then a political relationship with the Chinese, a very important accomplishment, historically significant accomplishment. But that's what it primarily was. And by the middle of the '70s there was a sense, especially among the Chinese leaders but also to some extent here, that it either had to move forward or it was facing the risk of in some fashion receding.
And that brought up the question whether to move from a political relationship that was fruitful and important to formal normalization which would resolve some of the still highly unresolved issues that the political relationship had put creatively aside. The Carter Administration in the first year hesitated. It was inclined to pursue normalization but it decided that with the Panama Canal treaties coming up, with the SALT negotiations ongoing but difficult, that perhaps it would overload the circuits to try it.
But after some hesitation, it nonetheless sort of halfheartedly decided to explore the possibility of normalization, and that was the purpose of the Secretary of State's visit to China in August of '77. But because it was somewhat halfhearted and unclear, it did not produce the progress that had been hoped. And that led then in 1978 to the President sending me to China, not without some prior encouragement, in fact, of him by me, which took a little time and required building some coalitions within the Administration, particularly with the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense, because the Secretary of State was not particularly enthusiastic about the idea of my going to China.
But ultimately the President decided early in '78 that I should go to China and that I should push the process of normalization forward, and then as he became engaged in discussing the modalities of my trip he became quite enthusiastic and really insistent that a complete breakthrough in relationships be sought as the purpose of the mission and perhaps even more than that.
And that led actually to my visit to China. It was unclear whom I would see, whether it would be the Chinese Foreign Minister or whether I would be received by Deng. But as it turned out, I spent a great deal of time with Deng both formally and then later more informally in a private supper that he gave for me. And we had begun to establish somewhat of a personal relationship even. At one point he simply said to me that perhaps he's already too old ever to contemplate the possibility of visiting the United States, but still he hopes that maybe that will come to pass. And I told him that if the relationship that we are now beginning to undertake to construct actually bears fruit, I would hope he would come to the United States and come and have dinner with me in my house.
We then initiated a secret negotiating process controlled largely out of the White House, and that took the next few months. The Secretary of State submitted a memorandum urging that it be finished by December '78. I mention that quite deliberately because it is sometimes alleged that this normalization was artificially accelerated for other reasons by me, but it was a date actually agreed to by the President on the basis of the Secretary of State's recommendation.
In the course of these negotiations, we were able to work out some arrangement for Taiwan that would, in fact, ensure its continued existence. We made it very clear to the Chinese that while we expected to reduce, perhaps at some point even terminate, arms sales to Taiwan, we reserved the right to continue selling arms to Taiwanese, an issue which even on the day before formal announcement produced a last-minute attempt by the Chinese to reinterpret that part of the agreement. And we also made it clear to the Chinese that while Taiwan is an internal Chinese affair in keeping with the protocols which were undertaken in Shanghai by Nixon and Kissinger, that we would not be indifferent if force was used in the Taiwan Straits against Taiwan because it would affect our interests in the Far East.
In effect, the agreement to normalize relationship reversed the existing situation. Heretofore the United States had no diplomatic relations with China in a normal fashion, but only a political presentation, and it was recognizing Taiwan, in effect, as the government of the Republic of China. We had somewhat limited commercial relations. They were beginning to open up but were still lacking a formal context and the benefits of full normalization. And most important of all, we did not have a strategic relationship of any substance. And that emerged as a consequence of normalization and the kind of reaction to the existing strategic context both of the United States and of the Chinese. The Soviet Union was on a roll, or so it seemed. It was becoming more assertive, and in different ways the Chinese and we were concerned about it.
The Chinese also decided, of course, to use normalization of relations to exploit their own specific interests in Southeast Asia. When Deng Xiaoping and his wife came to have dinner at my house, and you referenced about the Texas cookout that the President sent over to Deng, it reminded me of what happened at that dinner. Namely, my children were serving caviar and my little daughter, who was at the time barely ten, deposited a lot of the caviar on Deng Xiaoping's trousers, right on his knee. And I remember he kind of flicked it off very, very skillfully. (Laughter.)
PANELIST: Was it Russian caviar?
BRZEZINSKI: It was Russian caviar and it was Russian vodka, and I told Deng Xiaoping that we're celebrating the new strategic relationship with Russian vodka and Russian caviar, which he welcomed. He incidentally was very quick in conversations. At one point the conversation kind of lapsed a little bit, became a little stale, formal. So to liven it up, I said to him, "You know, the President of the United States has a lot of political problems normalizing relations with you because there's a lot of political opposition in the United States centering on the issue of Taiwan. Do you have any political problems normalizing relations with us?" I thought I was kind of tweaking him. And he looks me in the eye, and just like that he says, "Well, of course. There was a great deal of political opposition in the province of Taiwan." (Laughter.) He was quick. He was quick. The next day when the President at a formal meeting brought up the question of emigration from China, kind of parallel to the Soviet Union, he kind of sat there, looked at him, then leaned forward and says, "Fine, next year I'll allow 10 million to emigrate. Will you take them?" (Laughter.) And we kind of decided to go on to the next item on the agenda.
But he requested the night before a private meeting with the President and I told the President the next day that he wants a private meeting. And the President asked me, "What do you think he wants?" And I said, "I suspect it's going to be about Vietnam." So the President said I should be there, and I was. And Deng Xiaoping then told the President that he's going to shortly undertake a punitive expedition against Vietnam similar to the one that China pursued in the early '60s against India. And I remember the President was not too happy because he thought that normalization of relations with China, in addition to a strategic relationship, was a contribution to world peace and he wasn't enamored of the thought that for Deng it was an opportunity to undertake a military campaign.
So he said to him, "Well, you know, this could produce very serious reactions. The Soviet Union could react, and very, very adversely and there could be serious problems." And Deng looked at him kind of in his very steely fashion and says, "We have thought about it. What can the Soviets do?" "Well, they can send arms to the Vietnamese." "That's no problem because we're going to do it for just five or six weeks. We'll go in, we'll go out, so those arms will have no effect."
"Secondly, if that isn't enough, they might stage intensified border incidents between us and the Soviet Union." "We've thought about that. That doesn't worry us. Since 1969 there have been 5,000 border incidents with the Soviet Union, some of them lethal, so some more won't bother us."
"Thirdly, we have contemplated the possibility that they may actually use their armored divisions -- they have 22 poised on the Sino-Soviet frontier, a lot of them in Mongolia, so kind of pointed towards Beijing -- into China in order to intimidate us. And in which case we will wage a people's war and drown them."
"And last, they may use nuclear weapons against us. We don't have many nuclear weapons," he says, "but we have enough, for example, to take our Bratsk, which is the huge hydroelectric dam or maybe a city like Sverdlovsk or maybe Moscow." And the President I felt was somewhat less enthused at that moment about the relationship, but nonetheless it survived and it continued to thrive.
Let me conclude by adding that it not only thrived on this sort of general level but it produced immediately afterwards a very extensive intelligence relationship between the United States and China which was extremely beneficial, extremely beneficial, especially in view of the loss of the intelligence facilities that took place at the time in Iran. And it was more than a replacement for that. And this produced also an intelligence cooperative relationship which previously had not existed.
And secondly and subsequently, it produced American-Chinese direct collaboration in generating efforts to make the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan very costly to the Soviets. We and the Chinese worked very closely on that.
A final point. Very much like the early opening, this was a politically sensitive undertaking, the normalization of relations with China, the abandonment of the security treaty with Taiwan, the termination of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It was sensitive, much like the initial Kissinger mission. And for that reason it could not be entrusted, and I hate to say it in this building, to the State Department. And that was an explicit presidential decision, very much as in the case of Nixon and the first opening, it was run out of the White House, confined just to very few people.
And I daresay it probably wouldn't have been successful if it had been undertaken otherwise because the issue was so politically charged -- when we were doing it, it was certainly charged. When Nixon and Kissinger were doing it -- that we probably wouldn't have been successful in pursuing it had it been done openly through normal diplomatic channels, and we certainly would have been paralyzed by opposition and the conditionalities involved in establishing the relationship might have been much more difficult for both sides to accept. Thank you. (Applause.)
SUSSER: Ambassador Freeman.
AMBASSADOR CHARLES FREEMAN: General Scowcroft and Dr. Brzezinski have said just about everything I wanted to say, but before you get your hopes up and think I won't say anything, I'm afraid this leaves me with no alternative but to address the topic of the conference, so I will.
I would start by saying that I wondered why I was invited to this, if not for comic relief than perhaps because I probably have the greatest continuity of involvement with China and this relationship of any Chinese language officer in the Foreign Service. I became interested in the opening to China in the fall of 1964 when I was attempting to find reasons to leave Harvard Law School and discovered strategic geometry. And it seemed obvious to me that if there were three powers, two of which (a) and (b) were at odds, and (c) was at odds with both, that (a) and (b) would either have to attempt a new relationship with (c), and I decided I wanted to be there when that happened. And by a stroke of great luck, I was, as a worker bee and as interpreter mostly for Secretary Rogers. So I was involved for 15 years off and on during the Nixon period, later opening the liaison office in Beijing, as Director for Chinese Affairs here, as Chargé and DCM in Beijing, and later in 1993, ten years after that, as Assistant Secretary of Defense reopening military dialogue with the Chinese.
I'm going to speak about three basic points in light of this. First, underneath the very large relationships and issues that are discussed in the Foreign Relations volume and which have been discussed today, of course there is a great deal of texture and detail. I counted 41 separate signals to the Chinese bureaucratically in preparation for the opening that Kissinger and Nixon brokered. When you work in the government, the last thing on earth you want to have happen is somebody notice you, and so I wrote an article about this and felt very good that no one ever noticed it. But for anyone who's interested, all 41 moves are detailed in something called Sino-American Normalization and Its Policy Implications, which was a book that came out in the mid '70s.
This was an interesting process. When you try to turn the ship of state, a lot of people have to run around and pull lines and reset things and it doesn't happen easily. And I think in my case I was called back from home leave early in April of 1971 for reasons which were not explained on the telephone, but I ended up basically working full time for Dr. Kissinger without his being aware of that because the boss in the office at that time, Al Jenkins, claimed he was doing all the work on his own and I had to pretend to my colleagues that I was doing special projects. And so at any rate, it wasn't the case, I think, that Kissinger didn't know how to use the State Department or didn't; he used it a great deal, but he used it outside the chain of command. What I did never went up to the seventh floor, nor did what Jenkins did go up to the seventh floor.
In fact, in preparation for the Nixon trip, to jump ahead a little bit, I looked at the fitness report for that year. It says that I wrote 47 percent of the material that was supplied to the President, not all of which was recognized by the White House as originating at the State Department. There was a habit of our colleagues in the White House of taking State Department-produced material and retyping the front page so that it would appear that it had been produced there.
As a result of this, something called Department of State briefing paper, which is still in use, was invented by Nick Platt, then the head of the Secretariat. In those days, you actually had to retype things, and this managed to ensure that both the front page and the back page and everything in between had to be retyped, which was too much work for our friends to do.
So -- and I also, I should say, somebody at the last minute decided Mrs. Nixon needed a briefing book, and I had 48 hours to write that. I wrote the whole thing with a lot of help from Nagels Encyclopedia Guide, which I commend to your attention.
But some of the things that happened are really quite interesting. We were asked, for example, after the President made a statement about changing controls on the use of the U.S. dollar by China to find out why the Treasury hadn't implemented this. And I had the head of the Office of Foreign Assets Control to lunch and I gave him the Presidential statement and explained it to him. And he said, "This is very interesting." He said, "That may be the President's policy, but it's not the Treasury's." (Laughter.)
And so you shouldn't -- anyway, I'm just saying this is a very complex process and I'm very pleased that some of this material at least apparently is made available on an internet supplement to the volume, which undoubtedly will be interesting.
Two further points. I went on this trip not as the producer of material but as interpreter, but nobody ever told me that I was going to go in any capacity. I found out -- this is a very secretive White House we're dealing with. I found out when luggage tags were shoved through the mail slot on my front door at home. Nobody told me what I was to do. I remember meeting this skinny guy on a beach in Hawaii, Brent Scowcroft, I think a newly promoted brigadier, and asking him if he had any idea what I was to do. And he said no, no, no, as Pat Buchanan, who was the speechwriter. And I did, and I learned from Pat Buchanan that he had put some of Chairman Mao's poetry, with Dick Solomon's help, into the banquet toasts. And that was useful information, but I didn't know what I -- didn't find out what I was to do.
And in fact, when we arrived in Beijing I still didn't know what I was to do. And the President didn't tell me, although we met. He went off to see Chairman Mao. A banquet occurred. An hour before the banquet, I was called over to the President's villa by Dwight Chapin and said -- told, "The President wants you to interpret the banquet toast." And I said, "Fine. May I have the text, please?" And he said, "Well, I don't think there is a text. I think he's going to do it extemporaneously." And I said, "I think you're quite wrong about that." (Laughter.) "But you know, really this isn't French or Spanish and I really would like to look at the text if I could."
So he went back in to see the President, came out and said, "The President says there is no text and he orders you to do it." (Laughter.) And I said -- well, mind you, I'm 28 years old. I said, "I think there's a mistake here. I don't think you talked to the President." He said, "I did." He went back in, came out and said, "The President orders you to interpret the speech." I said, "Mr. Chapin, it might interest you to know that I wrote the original draft for tonight's toast and I know that some of Chairman Mao's poetry is in it, but I don't know which stanzas. And if you think I'm going to get up in front of the world and ad lib Chinese poetry back from English, you're out of your," and then I used a foul word, "mind." (Laughter.)
Well, Mr. Chapin never explained why, but two days later the President did. He apologized with tears in his eyes -- again, quite an experience for someone who had expected the end of his career -- and explained that he liked to appear -- he liked to memorize speeches and appear to be giving them extemporaneously and that he understood I'd done a fine job and it wasn't personal and so forth.
There are many other anecdotes I won't mention, and I'll just say one final thing. I at least, partly because I come from a family with a long involvement with China, a great grandfather who was the original designer of the Three Gorges Dam for Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Beijing University Social Science Department and one of the co-founders of the Chinese steel industry in the 19th century, whose ring I wear. As we drove around Beijing, thought long and hard about what the impact of this visit was likely to be. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe it would have the long-term impact on China that it has had.
And I must say I was absolutely stunned -- Dr. Brzezinski has left -- but I was absolutely stunned about six years ago in speaking with some people at the Central Party School in Beijing who showed me documents from the normalization period to discover that Deng Xiaoping's motivations for normalization, although they were in part foreign policy related, were mainly to introduce an American influence that would help a reform process inside China that he sought to inaugurate.
The result, of course, has been that from that 1972 Nixon visit period when China was a cultural desert, when it was a colorless and lifeless place, we've seen the lights come on, the people dress up and the return of the traditional philosophy of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who said, (in Chinese); that is, "Gluttony and luster, what it's all about." This is something the Chinese have rediscovered with a policy and a program that are based on pragmatism, eclectic borrowing from abroad, and now more and more innovation.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan issue which focused -- which was the principal focus in 1972, seems to me to be moving toward resolution. This is an extraordinary story and it's not over yet. Thank you. (Applause.)
SUSSER: Thank you. Why don't we start by allowing each of you to comment on what your colleagues have said. And let me please encourage members of the audience, if you would like to pose a question to the panel, please write it on the card and hand them in.
LORD: I wanted to comment on something Zbig said, and unfortunately he's had to leave. I caught him briefly. But I mentioned that seven American presidents of both parties have carried this relationship forward, and that is indeed true. And in fact, Zbig and Carter did play a crucial role. I, of course, was only commenting on the '72 period.
The fact is that after this dramatic opening, Nixon indicated to the Chinese he would normalize relations in his second term, and then Watergate, of course, intervened and that proved impossible. And then Ford indicated he would normalize relations in his next term, but he was constrained leading up to that election because he was being challenged by Reagan on the right, including on the Taiwan issue. And meanwhile, Deng Xiaoping was fighting a succession struggle in China -- this was in the mid '70s -- with the Gang of Four so he couldn't be flexible. So the Taiwan issue was strictly -- now, I think Brent would agree with that. In fact, the Ford trip to Beijing, through no fault of the President's, was not one of the more crowning successes because both sides were constrained by their domestic environment.
So it was left to the Carter Administration to take and bite the bullet on normalization, both the strategic dimension which Zbig mentioned, the Afghanistan and the cooperation vis-à-vis the Soviets in the intelligence field, but normalization, which came under some attacks, but I and others certainly supported it. And I think it was remarkable that the Carter Administration managed to get in as part of the agreement the fact they could continue to sell arms to Taiwan. So I just wanted to make clear that important as the opening was, as I indicated in my remarks, the Carter Administration and subsequent presidents, including Ford and people after Carter, certainly carried this forward. Thank you.
SCOWCROFT: I'd like to make one general comment, and that is it's important to remember what an emotional issue Taiwan has been through all this, not just for the Chinese but for the United States. The Taiwan issue came up in the late '40s really with the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists moving over to Taiwan. There was a domestic repercussion, big debate about who lost China. That was carried over into, for example, the McCarthy hearings about communist infiltration of the State Department and so on. And that, plus the 20 years of hostility and alienation, have left an emotional overcharge, and that has infected over and over again our ability and our freedom of action on China. And that's one of the reasons many of these things were done in secret.
And I remember after Tiananmen Square when Congress came back into session, they passed a resolution, a law really, to allow the Chinese students who were in the United States -- and there were thousands of them -- to stay indefinitely. Well, we decided that would shut off all the students coming because the Chinese would not permit that, so the President vetoed it. And we did a head count. It was hopeless in the House. We did a head count in the Senate. We counted five senators of the 35 you needed that were on our side. I've never worked so hard in my life. He sustained the veto. But that sort of gets overlooked in the kind of drag that there has been on this relation. It is a very emotional issue in this country and residually still so.
FREEMAN: I just wanted to make two footnotes on subjects that actually Dick Smyser mentioned. One was the Japanese shock at the Nixon trip. The fact is that long before the July 15, 1971 announcement that Kissinger had been in Beijing, the United States had embraced the theme -- some of the themes that Phil Zelikow was talking about earlier of inclusion versus exclusion. And I distinctly remember a very intelligent and now very famous Japanese diplomat, Sato Yukio, coming to me right after that announcement and saying, "I could kick myself. You and everyone else have been saying things that made it logical for this to happen." So the overall policy framework had, in fact, not been anywhere near as secretive as people imagined. The overall policy framework had shifted. There had been these numerous signals. And if people don't take policy frameworks seriously and then are surprised by things that happen as a result of them, I'm not sure that that's anybody's fault but their own.
The second point is this, that when you read the volume you will find that, as I think some of the introductory material suggests, there was quite an effort during this entire period to keep our friends in Taiwan informed of the general process and to offer reassurances about what we were not doing. And I would say it's very interesting; there was a comparable effort on the part of the Chinese with regard to the Vietnamese, and some years ago the Vietnamese, apparently on their own, published the entire record of those briefings and discussions between Beijing and Hanoi as this diplomacy we're talking about unfolded. That has been translated into Chinese and I have seen copies of that book in Beijing.
And my point here is that even as this material is made public and accessible here, one must realize there is an enormous amount of material that has been made available in China as well. And this is a story with several narratives, all of which have to be read to understand what happened.
LORD: Let me comment further on the Japanese dimension, which gets into the whole question of the secrecy of the trips. Zbig maintained that what some of the stuff that his administration did as well as the Nixon-Kissinger opener had to be secret. Other people have challenged that. Let me just give the rationale. It might not be totally persuasive for why this was secret, at least secret from the world.
We didn't know when we went to China in July that, in fact, it was going to be able to move forward as it did. We thought we would, but it was a risky gamble. It looks easy in retrospect, but it really was uncharted territory. And therefore, to have a public announcement or a public trip would raise expectations and it would be a tremendous diplomatic fallout if it, in fact, didn't succeed, so we wanted to be sure in secret that it would work before it was unveiled.
But more fundamentally, and Zbig alluded to this, if you indicate in advance you're doing something as dramatic as a trip, first you have the conservatives and the Taiwan lobby here, who have some genuine concerns and we try to keep that into account as Chas. mentioned; nevertheless, there'd be a tremendous backlash and political firestorm. After all, Kissinger's bedrock support was often from this general area. And other countries, including Japan and others, would be weighing in and locking us into positions before we could even explore with the Chinese. So these are the reasons it was kept secret. One can debate them, but I think on balance it had to be done.
Now with respect to Japan, which is the most painful because we had held Japan back for a decade or more saying you can't go ahead with China, and then we leapfrog them and it was very embarrassing and we suffered greatly in the short term. We did repair the relationship. Kissinger kept going back there, and over time the Japanese moved quickly of course and the relationship was repaired and the U.S.-Japan alliance, as I said, was sold to the Chinese as a stabilizing factor, so this was all a plus.
Nevertheless, and this is retrospect -- I did not argue this at the time -- I think after the secret trip and before the announcement a few days later, Holdridge or I should have peeled off and been sent to Tokyo to at least tell the Emperor in advance -- not the Emperor, the Prime Minister in advance what was coming. He could at least then save face and said he knew about it. He'd be in a tough position because would he tell his cabinet, does it leak out in the Japanese press? Nevertheless, I think that might have been done. You can even argue maybe send one of us low profile in advance of the visit, but then again everyone was worried about the leaks for the reasons we mentioned. So we paid a price temporary with Japan. That is the rationale for it.
Question and Answer
SUSSER: Okay, let me start. One -- actually, several of the panelists referred to, I guess, what Dr. Brzezinski described as something, it was too sensitive to be entrusted to the State Department. We are in the State Department now. But General Scowcroft, I guess from your perspective, did this change? I would assume it would once Dr. Kissinger took over both positions simultaneously as National Security Advisor and Secretary?
SCOWCROFT: Well, it changed. I don't know if it changed with the Department as a whole because Dr. Kissinger was Dr. Kissinger and, you know, he had his group inside the State Department the way he had in the NSC. But you know, I don't -- on this issue, there was no fundamental difference between the NSC system and the State Department, so I don't see that. I don't know. Win, maybe.
LORD: Let me comment on the issue of the State Department in the opening and Chas. Freeman has made his own comments on this. Again, in retrospect, I think it would have been better if -- it had to be closely held for reasons I've already mentioned, but we certainly could have trusted, say, Marshall Green and one or two of his colleagues to work with us, let Rogers know. I think it could have been kept secret and we would have benefited.
Having said that, the State Department did contribute to the preparations, even for the secret trip even though they didn't know about the trip. We commissioned -- Holdridge and I commissioned many papers. I'm sure some are written by Chas. I hadn't realized he had done absolutely everything, which is quite amazing. (Laughter.)
FREEMAN: Only half.
LORD: Yeah, only half. Okay, well, that's quite amazing, too.
But in any event, we got some very useful stuff, including Taiwan issue, past historical stuff, and we would commission that. Holdridge knew a lot about China. We had CIA reports and we had outside experts ranging from a professor from Michigan to André Malraux. So there was considerable preparation, including by the State Department once removed getting ready for the trip. Then once the secret trip had been taken, there was full collaboration on the Nixon trip and of course opening up the liaison offices. So it was a temporary thing.
Now, one other sore spot -- again, no one is proud of including Henry Kissinger himself in his memoirs -- is cutting the State Department out of the communiqué drafting in Shanghai. Now, the October part we did a lot of it, but then we have to finish it off in China. I happen to think it was a brilliant communiqué the way it came out, but it was a very awkward moment in Hangzhou, the last stop in the President's trip, I was with Kissinger and the President comes in and says, "We've got a real problem. Secretary Rogers and Marshall Green think the communiqué is lousy." Now, it wasn't quite that strong, but partly out of some concerns, partly out of understandable pique at having been cut out and having their expertise, they wanted to reopen the negotiations. So Kissinger was less than enthusiastic about this.
All he had to do was go to the Chinese, to Zhou Enlai, and say, "Look, I know Mao has approved this communiqué personally. I know the entire politburo has approved this communiqué personally. We're now down in Hangzhou but we'd sort of like to reopen the negotiations." This was awkward. The Chinese let us save face. We got some changes, the most important of which I think Marshall Green put forward, which was a good suggestion. Some of the others we just couldn't fundamentally change at that late stage.
We had some phrasing in there reaffirming all our alliances, like Japan, but of course leaving out Taiwan. Marshall pointed out that this exception would obviously be known and underlined and so I think he suggested, or Kissinger agreed, or in any event we worked it out. We dropped all references to alliances so that it wouldn't single out Taiwan.
And then Henry in his press conference in Shanghai took the remarkable step, which he foreshadowed to the Chinese, of reaffirming our defense alliance with Taiwan on Chinese soil, which is a good trick.
So that's just a long way, because I gather we're trying to look at the history and the chronology here of saying the State Department did play an important role and some of the being cut out was less than seemly, but in any event it came out extremely well in terms of substance and long-term relations.
FREEMAN: I think that is a very accurate description of the course of events that Win has given. I would say as a general rule when policy decisions, foreign policy decisions, have a very highly high impact on domestic politics, there is a natural instinct in the White House to manage those directly, and I think that is correct. And that certainly was the case with the opening to China.
The second point I'd make, however, is that sometimes institutional rivalries are a problem and I would cite here the transition between the Carter Administration and the Reagan Administration when it suddenly dawned on people that the only official who was going to be left after this transition who knew the inner history of the U.S.-China relationship was me, Country Director for China. But I had not been briefed on and knew only fragments of what had been going on directly between the National Security Advisor, Mr. Dr. Brzezinski, and the Chinese. And some of the programs and areas of cooperation they had agreed to were quite important and quite complex.
And so I was brought over to the White House to read all the files and bring myself up to speed, which was a good thing; otherwise, the government would have once again administered a frontal lobotomy to itself with the predictable results.
SUSSER: It's a well told story that in 1954 when Zhou Enlai met John Foster Dulles in Geneva and Dulles refused to shake his hand that Zhou held that grudge for the next decade and a half. Could you guys comment a bit about the personal dynamics between Mao and Zhou and Nixon and Kissinger when they each first met?
LORD: Let me take a crack at that first. Precisely because of this history of the handshake, Nixon was determined when he got off the plane in February '72 to stride toward Zhou Enlai and put out his hand, and it was very carefully choreographed and of course the Chinese picked that up immediately.
Briefly on Mao and Zhou, and this could go on forever and I don't want to hog this podium here. When we walked in with Mao, you were immediately struck by his physical presence. I don't mean that he was Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I do mean he was exuding authority. Now, how much of that as you figure in advance this is a great historical figure and you sort of assume that, I don't think it can be quantified. But I think we all felt that you'd get this sense even if you didn't know who he was when you walked into the room.
The interesting thing was that Zhou Enlai in his presence -- here's Zhou Enlai, the most charismatic foreign diplomat I've ever seen, Kissinger says the most impressive he's ever met along with de Gaulle, who dominates by his intelligence, by his humor, his sense of history, his tactical sagesse, et cetera, at every meeting he's in, in the presence of Mao was totally subservient, close to obsequious in his body language. Extraordinary. Now, you could argue that's why he survived and he was always number three and not number two and he wasn't active in his youth, but we were struck by the contrast of Zhou in the meeting with the Chairman as opposed to being on his own. The contrast between Mao and Zhou was extraordinary. First of all, the conversations -- and I was in every one between Nixon and Mao and Zhou and Kissinger and Zhou and Mao, I do think will go down as some of the most extraordinary diplomatic exchanges in American diplomatic history.
But they were totally different. Mao spoke in brushstrokes and, as I said, we were initially sort of disappointed because he seemed very sort of casual and he just would sort of go to allusions.
For example, in a later meeting he said -- as Brzezinski I think mentioned, he wanted to send us ten million women to the United States and we couldn't figure out what that was all about. I asked my wife who was born in Shanghai and he says he's having trouble with Madame Mao. And that's of course exactly he was saying -- (laughter) -- but this is the kind of thing you've got to sort of figure out with Mao. And so in a seemingly casual way in that one hour he hit enough points, particularly as I said on the Soviets in Taiwan and a few other things like I haven't changed China -- as Nixon said -- I've only changed a few things around Beijing, indicating the problems he had.
So that we realized in the course of the following week in talking to Zhou that he had gotten the framework he needed. But he was rough. He could use scatological language and wasn't at all eloquent -- more like a union dock leader but impressive in that sense. Whereas Zhou Enlai -- and now I'll stop -- was extraordinarily elegant Mandarin and extremely polished and extremely skillful and clever.
Finally, I'll make the point that we had no illusions however -- however impressive these gentlemen were that they were not ruthless. Of course they were ruthless and of course it was a very grim society that they were presiding over. So we had no illusions about who we were dealing with but they were impressive in their own way.
FREEMAN: Two quick comments. First, the interesting question is not so much -- to me is not so much Mao and Zhou but Nixon, who had no small talk, but was probably -- when you read the transcripts you will see the quality of the man's mind in foreign affairs which is superb. But he could not handle a dinner conversation, as a result of which I got a lot of conversation in with Zhou Enlai at the dinner table on my own, so that's the first point.
The second point I'd make is that you need to look, as you read these documents, look at the structure of this meeting which is not unprecedented but which is entirely appropriate. Actually FDR pioneered this during World War II. That you reserve for your discussions at the summit those things on which you may reach agreement. And all the disagreements, to the extent you can, you shove off on the foreign ministers in a separate meeting and let them yell and scream at each other and register all the points that you have to go to tell your allies and friends you registered, but you don't introduce this negative tone into the discussions at the top. And as I said I was -- I ended up interpreting for Secretary Rogers and they were very contentious discussions. But I think all of us there understood why we were having them while other discussions went on elsewhere, at least I did.
SCOWCROFT: Just very quickly, in '72 I did not -- was not in the meeting with Mao. Zhou Enlai was obviously extremely impressive. I went in with President Ford, though, in 1974. Mao had had several strokes and he looked, for all intents and purposes, like a huge sack of rice sitting in a chair like this. He would growl something. He had an interpreter, two nurses and a doctor and they would all put their heads together and converse and then decide what Mao had said and tell us all. But in that meeting he made an elliptical comment about Deng Xiaoping, which in retrospect said, you're purged, buddy. You may not know it but you're purged, which was quite astonishing. But even then when he was half a vegetable he exuded this kind of majesty which certainly didn't come from his look, from anything. He was a very remarkable individual.
LORD: One quick comment again about the Ford meeting with Mao and, in fact, the last couple of meetings with Mao that Kissinger had as well. He was extremely physically weak and could only grunt a few words. We got a little suspicious though. He would grunt maybe three or four words and then we'd get a five-minute translation from the interpreter. So we figured he was saying, number one is my Taiwan my policy; number two is my Soviet policy and please take it from there.
But I do want to underline it took great physical courage on his part to get through these meetings but he clearly was fading at the end and, of course, had a very tense relationship with Zhou Enlai as well as Deng at the end.
QUESTION: In the approach both to the Chinese initially and then as we moved on towards normalization, were there, I guess, contingency plans, plans made for exactly how to break this to the Taiwanese or was it just winged on the fly when the news came out or was this carefully thought out in advance?
LORD: Okay. Well, that obviously was the most painful dimension of this whole opening was what it would do to Taiwan but as I've said earlier they have rebounded magnificently from this diplomatic shock. No, a great deal of thought was given to this.
The general strategy followed first by Kissinger and then by Nixon was in the meetings with Mao and Zhou were to make some general statements of policy and assurances going forward like no independence. We would not support independence. We wouldn't support Japan moving in -- one China, one Taiwan kind of thing -- but to say nothing that committed us to an actual act. People like to think that a lot of concessions were made by Nixon and Kissinger on the Taiwan issue of the Chinese; that's true, but it's equally true that the Chinese made a lot of concessions.
When we first arrived in July '71, Zhou Enlai said the President can't come unless he's established diplomatic relations with Beijing and broken them and the defense treaty with Taiwan before he comes. Well, we got -- I don't he was serious about that, but he certainly pushed us on it. For years they had said in Warsaw talks and elsewhere that they wouldn't do anything with us unless we resolve the issue of Taiwan, or at least Taiwan had to be the only item on the agenda. And we finally resolved that through the Pakistani channel as I said where we enlarged it or in the short communiqué where we included not just normalization but issues of mutual concern.
So Nixon and Kissinger did have Taiwan's concerns in mind. There was no way to do this without hurting Taiwan. But the strategy was figuring that that the Chinese because of their desire for balancing the polar bear and the general isolation would be willing to postpone the hard decisions on Taiwan and, indeed, Zhou Enlai said we recognize the courage of your President coming here. We won't embarrass him for now on this issue, although it remains a matter of strong principle. And throughout, as I think Chas mentioned, we did keep briefing the Taiwan authorities and reassuring them on the basic elements of diplomatic relations, defense treaty and arms sales and rounding off the edges on the general long-term assurances.
SCOWCROFT: Just a quick anecdote to show that not everything went smoothly on this whole thing. When there was -- debate went on in the UN about transferring a seat from Taiwan to the communist, President Bush was our ambassador to the UN and he was vociferously defending the right of Taiwan to maintain a seat at the very time that he was having the rug pulled out from under him in Washington.
FREEMAN: It's interesting that -- Dr. Brzezinski really should be here to address this question because I think the most notorious slipup was the informing of Jiang Jingguo when normalization was announced. And as you know, very unusually, the communiqué issued here on the 15th of December and in Beijing on the 16th of December, 1978, was dated January 1, 1979. It was effective only two weeks later and it was put out in large measure because of concern about possible leaks. But the means by which Taipei was notified were not elegant, to put it mildly.
And I take this as an example of an issue that somewhat undercuts Dr. Brzezinski's assertion that secrecy had to be followed here. In my experience, the NSC can be, at its best, very good at coordinating policy; it is usually miserable at implementing it. And I could give you multiple examples from the course of my career, and I'm sure every other Foreign Service officer could find others, where we had to behave like the little guy in the Bullwinkle cartoons after the elephant, you know, sweeping up what -- (laughter) -- only polite people would call debris. So there is a -- when our government works well, I think it works very well. It did not work well in that instance and I think it's a management caution for the future.
SCOWCROFT: I'm not going to respond. (Laughter.)
LORD: One further comment on Zhou and Mao and their style because I think it was quite indicative of Zhou Enlai's skill. I wanted to add on the secret trip we saw the Forbidden City all by ourselves. They closed it off and we went and had a Peking duck lunch in Zhongnanhai -- no, at the Great Hall of the People -- anyway, it doesn't matter -- with Zhou Enlai. In the course of the lunch, he talked about the Cultural Revolution. Now this started in 1966 and technically wasn't over 1976, although it was still going on, although by far the most rabid dimensions was subsiding by '71.
He had been locked -- Zhou had been locked in his own office. He had seen many of his colleagues persecuted. He had saved some people and some artifacts and he was a very pragmatic person who made the trains run a little bit on time in Mao's chaotic China, so obviously the Cultural Revolution wasn't Nirvana for him.
On the other hand, he had a chairman -- and he always wanted to survive with this chairman -- who was going to read the transcript and hear about the meeting and a discussion of the Cultural Revolution at lunch. So how did Zhou square this circle? It was something along the following lines. I don't have it verbatim but it's in the volume, I'm sure:
You know, Dr. Kissinger, the Cultural Revolution has been very full of turmoil here. And I have to say that I didn't fully understand the purpose of this. It seemed to me that there are a lot of excesses and people were hurt and it really had some unpleasant aspects. But that just shows you how short-sighted I am compared to the chairman -- (laughter) -- because the chairman understood that the bureaucracy in China was ossifying our revolution, that we're going to become another Soviet Union, we had to shake things up. And therefore he saw much further than I did the need to go through this terrible turmoil and all the terrible things that happened and he was a very wise man to do this.
So of course, he was telling us he thought the Cultural Revolution was a horrible mistake, but if Mao read the transcript he'd still be safe.
QUESTION: And how do you put the personality of Deng Xiaoping in the mix compared with Mao and Zhou?
SCOWCROFT: Well, as I say, I can't compare them too well because I just had one meeting with Zhou Enlai and one semi-meeting with Mao. But I think Deng Xiaoping was to me very uncharacteristically person for the Chinese. You know, usually when you meet with the Chinese you meet in a U-shaped -- the chairs are in a U-shaped room and you and your interlocutor are sitting side by side facing out. And typical Chinese -- they talk to the wall in front of you. Well, Deng instead would sit on the edge of his chair and lean right over in your face and make his points. He was very lively and so very animated. He chain smoked. I mean, literally chain smoked; light one off the butt of another and he had a spittoon by him. Always had a spittoon and every once in awhile he'd make a comment and he turn around and puuuck. (Laughter.) So he was a remarkable individual.
LORD: Let me add a few comments on that. I was at a great many meeting with him. He was sort of a transition figure from Mao to Deng's successes, in a sense that Deng was the last of the long marchers, the charismatic revolutionary leaders and/or military leaders and so he still he had those credentials unlike Jiang Zemin and others who've come since then who have ascended through managing the economy or through bureaucracy or through technical skills. They don't have these credentials by virtual of chronology. So he was a figure that had the history and the resonance and the prestige to a certain extent of Mao and Zhou, but he also had some of the technocratic skills that his successors had. And of course his greatest contribution was opening up China starting in 1979. A man of remarkable resilience who was up and down about three or four times in the course of his political career and so he had the personality that Brent has mentioned and he always was stressing the importance of U.S.-China relations and warning about both the Japanese and the Russians. And if there were difficult times -- and we'd have them on our trips to China -- usually we'd see Deng last and the atmosphere would greatly improve. He would make sure these other bits of underbrush were cleared away by others.
So he will go down in history with a mixed record in my opinion. Great credit for the opening -- we see the results even as we sit here today, great credit for promoting U.S.-Chinese relations but always a dark stain on his legacy of Tiananmen Square, which after all he ordered the army in. And it's against the backdrop of political repression, generally on Deng. He was Mao's front man for the '56 anti-rightist campaign. He purged Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, who were relatively moderate, and he ordered the tanks into Tiananmen Square so he's a got a mixed legacy.
FREEMAN: I have a couple of things to say. First, Deng Xiaoping, blunt and direct as he was and engaging as he was, had an extraordinary sense of what he was trying to accomplish. And I can recall -- I'll give you one anecdote with maybe a little bonus.
In August of 1981, I was chargé in Beijing. I took in several visitors to see Deng Xiaoping; one of whom was Charlie Wick who was the head of USIA at the time. The other was Chief Justice Burger of the Supreme Court. Deng Xiaoping in the course of the conversation said flatly, "When the history of our country is written, Mao Zedong will be seen as my precursor. The real revolution began three years ago." And he had a sense of destiny and his role in it and I think history will be kinder to him as the architect of modern China than Win suggests.
The second anecdote is Charlie Wick for some reason was trying to get radio transmitters installed in Shenyang to broadcast all over Central Asia and the Soviet Union and, in order to persuade Deng Xiaoping of this, proceeded to try to convince him of the evils of Soviet communism. And Deng Xiaoping interrupted him -- and this is the blunt part -- and said, "Young man," -- Charlie was only in his sixties, I think -- he said, "Young man, at age 23, I was Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party and I was purged because of my opposition to the Soviet communism and that happened to me two other times. And there is no need for you to tell me about the evils of Soviet communism. Now what do you really want?" And then we had a discussion. But the man had a way of cutting through what a lot of people don't and coming straight to the point and letting you know exactly where you stand.
SCOWCROFT: If I could just add one point. I do agree with Win that he's a mixed record figure, but I think my sense is he's the true revolutionary in China, not Mao. Mao was a sort of continuation of the imperial thing. Deng changed things. And when he decided that the stability of the country, the stability of the regime depended on economic progress, on giving the average Chinese the sense that his life was getting better, his standard of living was going up; that was the real revolution in China. And when he said, you know, to get rich is glorious, they have followed through on that and that is why China is the powerhouse it is now. Now that's creating its own problems now because the Communist Party out in the field and so on still believe his dictum -- to get rich is glorious, so they're cooperating with the local government people to seize land and sell it to developers and so on because they're being judged on how much is your province producing in terms of increasing GNP. So he's creating enormous problems now, but I think he more than any other individual is responsible for the China today.
QUESTION: Just a more general question. What were -- I guess your expectations before you made these trips, before the first trip, before the normalization trip and how did the results measure up with your expectations before hand? From your perspectives were these, you know, total successes or did it not quite go as you had expected or did you have any expectations?
LORD: Well, if we can start chronologically with the first secret trip or Nixon trip, it certainly exceeded everyone's expectations, and they were quite large, of the positive reaction not only around the world but in the United States. As I said earlier, Nixon and Kissinger were still fretting on the way back on the plane how this was going to be received in the U.S. And so in that respect, although I thought -- they figured it would be very positively generally in the world, they were worried about the domestic reaction and that was very positive. There were some people worried about it, but on a whole, as I said, it put Vietnam in a context and it was a dramatic -- to show that we were not crippled by that war, et cetera.
Japan's reaction I think was predictable and I think could have been moderated somewhat, but sort of like Taiwan that was inevitable. I think the positive impact which we didn't predict by any means fully was the impact on the Soviets. We were trying to open up in China precisely to improve relations with the Soviets, not to hurt them. But I don't think anyone thought that within a matter of -- literally of months, in some cases weeks, we just moved ahead across the board with the Soviets on Berlin, on arms control, on economic agreements and on a summit meeting.
Finally, on Vietnam, the other key issue and expectation, I think the President always put more weight, particularly with the Russians helping us on Vietnam and to a certain extent, Chinese and Kissinger who felt they probably wouldn't. So I think the results in Vietnam were about what we would have expected namely, that they wouldn't cut off aid to their lips and teeth ally. We didn't realize fully just how bad relations were and they were in a competition with Moscow.
But we did feel -- and I think they did weigh in and it helped modestly in Hanoi along the following lines. Look, the Americans have made an offer to get out and we've made this offer of a ceasefire and withdrawal unilaterally and prisoners of war being returned in May '71. And we kept emphasizing to the Chinese and I think they relayed to Hanoi that this was a significant achievement for them.
The Chinese felt, I think -- and we would tell them this, Kissinger explicitly and Nixon -- that if we go further and overthrow Thieu and put in a coalition government, which was the Vietnamese demand until late '72 and then they finally moved because they saw McGovern wasn't going to get in and Nixon was going to be there again, this would humiliate the U.S., we'd be less able to balance the Soviet Union in China's own interest.
Furthermore, as Smyser pointed out, it was in China's interest to get this war over with, competition with the Russians and it was ideologically awkward for us to be fighting the supposed ally near their borders. So for all these reasons, we hope that China would help. It was a modest help, but not insignificant. And therefore, the expectations I think were mixed. In some cases, we did better than we thought. Other cases, not as well. But over the long run, of course, the full promise and the distant horizon of this relationship has been more than fulfilled in a very positive sense.
FREEMAN: Just one comment. Counselor Zelikow in his talk quoted the State Department drafted response to NSM 14. That was actually drafted by the late Paul Kreisberg. And as you will recall, the point was to speculate in August of 1969 contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time that the United States might actually benefit by the end of Chinese isolation and the inclusion of China in the regional and international system. I think it's fair to say that the greatest success and the greatest surprise of American policy going back to those early days is the amazing extent to which that happened.
China which in 1971 and '2 was full of billboards announcing that the people want liberation and revolution and what not and which was involved with the Puerto Rican independence movement and all kinds of other troublemaking all over the place. And with the Khmer Rouge as well as with the Vietnamese Communist Party and which was an enemy of the status quo explicitly demanding its overthrow has been peacefully integrated into the global system is now a member of every major international organization and somewhat ironically, if I may make a comment in 2006, it is more of a defender of the global status quo than the United States and therefore less of a source of international stability.
So this peaceful integration of China or the transformation of China from outlaw to supporter of the status quo given the weight of China in world affairs and particularly its weight as it has grown in recent years, is an amazing, absolutely amazing achievement that no one would have predicted however much -- whatever we smoked back in 1972.
QUESTION: A little more general, how would you compare -- several of the panelists mentioned Mao's tendency to speak in broad strokes with kind of poetic illusions and vast freedom. You referred to the 41 signals being sent between Beijing and Washington. How do you -- how would you compare dealing with the Chinese as opposed to dealing with the Russians or West Europeans or so on?
LORD: Well, during this period as I mentioned with the Chinese, we had very dramatic developments with the Russians as well, the difference in the two relationships is with Russia we had a lot of concrete issues to negotiate: arms control, economics, principals in international relations and so there was an actual full agenda. With the Chinese it was more, as Kissinger said -- I mean Brzezinski said, first kiss. I won't carry that any further. He's exhausted that subject.
But the fact is it was more conceptual and we had to sort of reassure each other what our mutual interests were and sketch the longer term trend. So by definition, you didn't have concrete agreements. That's one reason we kept briefing the Chinese on Soviet relations with us -- one, to reassure them that we weren't doing anything behind their back, but also to make the Chinese nervous that we had a lot of concrete agreements with the Soviets. We didn't have them with the Chinese, so it was designed to spur the Chinese to have good relations, even as it worked the other way with the Russians.
Now in terms of style, this may be somewhat exaggerated and certainly is no longer true today necessarily. But in the early '70s, there's no question that Kissinger and Nixon found the Chinese style much more pleasant and attractive and easy -- not easy, but at least reliable to deal with than the Russians. With the Russians the feeling was you were dealing with rug merchants. And they would come in and they would inflate greatly their opening position from what they really needed and bargained like in the bazaar until you got down to your bottom line, so you never quite knew when you got to the bottom line of the other side -- could be unpleasant.
There were instances when we'd reach an agreement, for example, in arms control in May 1971 and it was published the Russians would do their own translation and sort of stick it to us a little bit in ways that were not very pleasant. But the Chinese -- and again, this may be has been romanticized in retrospect and it's certainly no longer true. But at the time, the general approach was to lay out what they really needed at the beginning, their bottom line.
And in effect, say we have these principles, we've got to respect these principles for them to be flexible in details and tactics within that framework. Can't have a two-China policy, can't have two embassies in Washington. Fine, you have an embassy and a liaison office, which is an embassy in everything but name. And so Kissinger and Nixon felt that with the Chinese, it was a more pleasant process than with the Soviets that you could figure out what they really needed and get quickly to a possible compromise in contrast to the Russians.
SCOWCROFT: You know, I would just add that I think with the Chinese, there was no common background. We were coming out two decades of total isolation. We had no communications with them. So we didn't know what they were like, they didn't know what we were like, so a lot of it -- I don't disagree with anything that Win has said, but it was this kind of feeling our way and getting acquainted with each other what -- how did each one feel about this problem or the other?
With the Soviets on the other hand, it was a fundamentally hostile approach. We didn't like each other, we made it clear we didn't like each other. We were there because we thought there were practical things we could do to improve and reduce the dangerous intentions in the relationship. But there was no fundamental spirit of give and take. There was no trust, anything. This was the hardest of hard in negotiations. And of course, for the Europeans it was different from either one of those. We had common backgrounds, we've worked with each other over and over and over again, so it was a much more congenial kind of approach.
FREEMAN: Two quick points. With China, we had an arranged marriage. That marriage, that relationship was not driven by affection at the outset. There was no affection. It was a very cold-blooded decision on both sides. But as we began to interact, we discovered affection and maybe more than that because as Tiananmen showed, we emotionally had too much invested in China. You have to have illusions to be disillusioned.
The second point I'd make is that the Chinese have a very distinctive negotiating style. In fact, I was reminded of this the other day. I met someone in the intelligence community here who told me that a memo I'd written during this period on Chinese negotiating style was declassified. And apparently it was sent -- it was one of the things that was retyped, rather than on Department of State briefing paper.
And the basic points that I made were precisely those that Win and Brent have made, that the Chinese approach principles quite differently from concrete arrangements. Principles are strategic goals which are immutable. Concrete arrangements are ways to accomplish common purposes consistent with those strategic goals. It is a very distinctive style and I think described later by Dick Solomon in a book done through Rand and it has really nothing in common with European or Russian styles and Americans tend to find it rather appealing.
QUESTION: Well, speaking of the Russians, how much do you feel the Chinese feared the Soviets? Were they in effect using us to move the Soviets the way we were using the Chinese to move the Soviets.
LORD: Well, the quick answer is yes and no. Yes, the Soviets were a factor. And they wanted, as I said earlier, the poor barbarian and to help balance them off against the Soviets and to restrain the Soviets around the world. But theirs was more defensive vis-à-vis Russia because they're so much weaker. In our case, we were using the Chinese to try to make progress concretely with the Russians. So those are the -- that's the major difference. Because clearly that was in the Chinese mind and a Soviet factor in the Anti-Hegemony clause and the Shanghai communiqué was the single most motivating force, but there are many other reasons on both sides that I mentioned earlier.>/p>
While I've got the mike, on the negotiating styles, one of the strengths of Nixon and Kissinger and they had their flaws like everyone else, but their ability particularly Kissinger had more detailed negotiations to adjust to their interlocutor's style, culture and history, even if they weren't experts. Henry was essentially a European expert. He didn't know that much about Asia. But he quickly saw the Chinese style that we've described. He knew how to deal with the Russian style and then if he's with the Arabs, it would be more romantic and you've got to save face with the Israelis understandably given their history and their insecurities were like Talmudic scholars and going over every last detail to make sure they got what they needed.
I remember once in the shuttle we were with Golda Maier and the others and they gave us ten compromises to get out of Sadat. We went to Cairo, got nine out of ten, came back and the Israelis complained about the tenth the entire time. So -- and then the Vietnamese, of course, just try to wear you down and they didn't negotiate at all in retrospect until they saw that they had to deal with this madman Nixon for another four years and not McGovern and they suddenly got more flexible.
FREEMAN: I think the Chinese and particularly Deng Xiaoping became increasingly uncomfortable with our use of them to put pressure on the Soviet Union. And as the 1980s began to increase Chinese leverage in its own right, they began to play the same game using us more and more against the Russians. Fair enough.
SUSSER: Time's just about up. Would you at least like to take a minute or two just to sum up? Final observations?
SCOWCROFT: Well, I'll make just one comment I haven't made before and that is about the whole Chinese negotiating style. The Chinese came out of a period of almost total isolation. They were autarchic by nature, they were autarchic by design. They thought they were self-sufficient, they didn't need any outside communications and so on. So we started the relationship on purely bilateral kinds of affairs and issues. And that has gradually changed. But I think as Philip Zelikow said, referring to Bob Zoellick and the responsible stakeholder, what is happening now is the Chinese are beginning to engage us on issues that are not purely bilateral, that are general, worldwide or regional issues.
This has been a gradual development over this entire period. And I think that while you can look at the Chinese as being reluctant negotiators, I think they are gradually moving out and gradually becoming a stakeholder in the world as they become more dependent for both imports and exports and other things on what goes on in the world. They're a long way from there, but I think that's the evolution that's taking place in Chinese diplomacy.
FREEMAN: I think when you read this record and when the record of subsequent negotiations, particularly those bearing on the Taiwan issue are released, I mean, the normalization negotiations, I mean, the August 1982 communiqué negotiations, you will draw the conclusion that the United States has broken almost every commitment we made to the Chinese over the course of the succeeding period. The fact that there has been great progress on the Taiwan issue and that, as I said in the outset, I believe it is moving toward resolution. That was a great deal to Chinese statecraft and patience and left to our fidelity, to our friends or our word. So there are interesting things to be discovered in these documents and I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
SUSSER: Ambassador Lord, you were the first one into China. You get the last word.
LORD: Okay. I was going to make some other comments, but that was a real bombshell at the end. Maybe we can pursue it. I don't know whether the chair is going to be here tomorrow. I don't want to leave it at that. I think that's unfair to seven American presidents. I think it's wrong. I think we have stretched some commitments, particularly arms sales to Taiwan. No doubt about that. We did somersaults to continue to justify the quality and quantity of arms sales. But to sit here and say that America has not left -- kept its word, is not only inaccurate. I think it's very damaging for an audience like that to hear that, unsubstantiated. So we ought to continue that. And of course, we stretch it. So have the Chinese.
But I continue to believe that seven presidents of both parties have pursued remarkable diplomacy with all the inevitable ups and downs, this is always going to be a sweet and sour relationship. The fact is we've moved ahead with China and Taiwan has flourished and we've done it by sticking to basic principles occasionally stretching it. The Chinese in turn have done the same. And I think we should leave this in a much more positive note than suggest the United States has not kept its word.
SUSSER: Thank you gentlemen. It's been a fascinating two hours. Thank you. We are adjourned today. (Applause.)
Keynote speaker, Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Thank you very much. It's a real pleasure to be here. I must say it's a little intimidating to be here, too, because as my bio suggested I'm not a China scholar although I did serve in Albania which has a sort of curious Chinese connection. I'll always remember in Albania we were giving them some cotton and weren't sure whether it would work in their textile mill. And I said, well, where did the textile mill come from? They said oh, it came from China. So we had a couple of experts go and check it out. And it said something like Moscow, in Cyrillic, on it, 1890. And what we realized was it was a gift of the Soviet people to the Chinese people who promptly or maybe not so promptly turned it around and made it a gift to the Albanian people. So I have a little familiarity from China in those days.
But I must say taking up my current position, as you see from my bio, I moved from being Ambassador to Korea to being Assistant Secretary to North Korea. We occasionally have some dealings with China. Every day I walk into my office and I walk past the picture of John Carter Vincent, who at some point I guess took up cigarette smoking because he's there with a cigarette in his mouth. I've been tempted to pick up cigarette smoking as well in this position. I also walk past the photo of W.W. Butterworth. And these are two figures who had my position and who have had to live through I think a very, very tough time in policy terms, a lot of recrimination, just took a lot of courage. And so I frankly find those people quite an inspiration.
It has been more than three decades since President Nixon and Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Kissinger made their historic breakthrough with China. It's, I think, always memorable at the Beijing banquet that honored him in 1972 President Nixon responding to Chou En-lai's toast spoke frankly, he said "Let us recognize at the outset these points. We have at time in the past been enemies. We have great differences today. What brings us together is that we have common interests which transcend those differences. Neither of us will compromise our principles. But while we cannot close the gulf between us, we can try to bridge it so that we may be able to talk across it." And indeed, I think those remarks uttered some 30 years ago at a toast are very much applicable today, very prescient remarks.
I think at a critical juncture when China's own leadership was reassessing its priorities, emerging from the isolation of the Cultural Revolution to engage on an uncertain course of opening to the west, U.S. policymakers decided that our approach to China had to be different from the way we dealt with the Soviet Union. That approach would take deeper roots once China launched its impressive domestic reform program in 1978 and the U.S. and the PRC established diplomatic relations.
Indeed I would say the policies pursued by both administrations, by administrations of both parties, by now some seven Presidents, has been to encourage China's economic reforms, to expand the trade and our contacts with China, and to especially use our influence to integrate and bind China into a rules based international system.
And I would say that policy, that policy that has been for seven Presidents has been extremely successful. China is an active player in the United Nations, a Perm 5 member, a member which we are in constant communication, constant negotiations across international issues across the globe. China's part of the WTO, virtually every other economic organization participates in international endeavors ranging from efforts to stop the spread of infectious diseases to initiatives on the development of clean energy, which is one such effort we have going in China just this month. And increasingly stepping up to take an active role in dealing with regional security issues and a prime example being China's efforts at hosting the six-party talks and dealing with North Korea's very dangerous nuclear ambition, something I'll get to a little later.
And certainly, I think this is very good for China and I think it really reflects to some extent to China's economic rise. It's GDP has grown some ten-fold since 1978, per capita income has doubled every eight and a half years. By comparison it took Great Britain 58 years to double its per capita income in the early 19th Century. It took the U.S. 47 years. It took Japan 34 years after industrialization.
China recently surpassed Italy and the United Kingdom to become the world's fourth largest economy. It trails only the U.S., Japan and Germany. But -- and I'll go back to the famous -- I call it a quote, but I hate to do that in front of historians because it's probably more apocryphal than anything else. But when President Nixon congratulated Mao Tse-tung on the enormous changes in China, Mao is reported to have said, "In fact, Mr. President, I've only been able to change a few places around Beijing."
And indeed, I think when people do go outside of Shanghai and outside of Beijing, you still see that China remains in many respects a very poor country, a per capita income that ranks 133 in the world at $1200. Over 160 million people have moved fitfully from China's rural areas to cities looking for employment, really the largest internal migration in world history. And this floating population now accounts for almost 20 percent of Beijing's residents, almost 20 percent of Shanghai's residents. Indeed it's because of this migration in less than a decade Shanghai's population has increased by a number equal to the population of China.
And of course, as we are very aware, and I would say the Chinese Government is more aware than anybody, average urban incomes are some four times what they are in the rural areas. So by no means is China, as way say, out of the woods in terms of what it has to do economically, but I think it is also fair to say that one should look at some of the enormous progress in that rural area. In fact, despite the disparities, the number of China's rural poor has been cut in half during the 1990s, according to the World Bank, and that a population larger than the entire population of the United States has been pulled out of abject poverty. And I would say that this development in China has been very good for the United States. China is now our fourth largest export market. It -- the trade deficit is a huge issue to be sure, but also I think U.S. exports to China, it's worth pointing out they've doubled since China joined the WTO in 2001 and that pace continues this year.
I had the pleasure of accompanying or meeting President Hu Jintao in Seattle. What the Governor of Washington said, this is the real Washington, and you will soon go to the other Washington. And I think she had a very good point, because it was truly stunning to see the volume and depth of our relationship with China.
China is going to be in the market in the next 20 years for some 2800 jets. And when Hu Jintao came to the Boeing factory and was greeted by workers there in overalls and just cheering him like he was their best customer. And there's a reason why they treated him like he was their best customer, he -- it was a real sense among the workers of how important he was. And what I really liked about the meeting -- and I've never had a chance to ask him this but I'd love to ask him, when he looked out on those sea of faces, many people wearing work overalls and baseball hats, I think he realized something very important which is Americans also need jobs now and again. America also needs to export goods now and again. And so I think when he went there he saw really I think a very good face of what our country is about, and it's not just about people in suits and the other Washington, that is in Washington, D.C., but people who are really trying to make a living as workers. And I thought it was a very important visit in that regard.
He also went to the Microsoft campus, as the factory there is called, and saw I think what was important in a number of respects, first of all, the cutting edge technology that goes on in Microsoft. But secondly, when you look at the number of Chinese engineers or people of Chinese extraction, Chinese-Americans, I think he saw not only the connection of our economies but very much the connection of our people.
In short, I think that trip to Seattle which lasted some 24 hours which -- and where he met a lot of people including a lot of Falun Gong protestors I might add, I think he saw and I think we saw in him the fact that our countries are very much linked, very much linked if not entirely by a common past then certainly by a common future.
And as one goes around in Washington, D.C. today, you will hear the occasional person talk about China as the new Soviet Union, but that is extremely rare, extremely rare indeed. I think you see very clearly from Americans of all political persuasions that this is our key relationship. This is the relationship that we have to, above all other relationships in the world, nurture and make it work. We need to make it work in a way that's true to our value, true to our interest but also make it work in a way that makes sure that U.S. and China can work together because the stakes are simply enormous. They're not only stakes in East Asia, they're all over the world and we have to work -- we have to find ways to work with China.
I think our engagement with China, which now takes place across many fora both bilaterally and multilaterally, speaks to the importance that we attach to this fundamental relationship. Bilaterally we have -- in the State Department we've had a senior dialog that was first started by then Deputy Secretary Bob Zoellick last year. And in fact, we planned -- of course we'll have a new Deputy Secretary who will continue that dialog, but we didn't want to have too many months go by. And so when I was in China just a couple of weeks ago, I approached the senior foreign policy leadership to see if we could get the dialog going as early as this month and have our Under Secretary for Political Affairs handle it, and the Chinese were very, very happy to pursue that dialog. And I think it was really a reflection of the fact that they appreciate the fact that we sit down systematically go through our political relations and not just issues that are urgent, which is often when you have diplomacy, but also issues that are important. That is, these are dialogs where we try to have the important crowd out the urgent now and again.
So we're looking forward to having the senior dialog continued in the next month by Under Secretary Burns. Of course, you are all aware of Secretary Paulson's strategic economic dialog. This is a dialog where in addition to the specific dialogs where we get down to, you know, discussing imports of chicken parts, this is a dialog that's not going to be discussing imports of chicken parts, it's going to be a dialog that will be on top of the entire economic dialog if you will flying at 20,000 feet to try to oversee some of these economic dialogs and make sure that we can make this really, really work.
In addition to this strategic economic dialogue, we have a number of other economic dialogs. The JCCT, the State Department NDRC dialogue. Our Under Secretary for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, is also pursuing a global issues forum. We have a Department of Energy energy dialog as well. And these are just a few of the examples of how we interact with China today. We have very successful engagement on law enforcement cooperation. We have constant exchanges of teams to discuss areas such as human trafficking, cyber crime, combating corruption. The other day Elaine Chao from the Labor Department had her counterpart over from China and they discussed issues like labor code and especially pensions, an issue that if you've been reading the Chinese press, now is quite an issue in Shanghai.
So we have a very -- it's just -- I've never seen anything quite as comprehensive as the relationship we have with China, and it is comprehensive because it is so fundamentally important. Still, we have to find ways not only to talk to China about things that we agree -- already agree on or things that we already disagree on, we also have to find ways to work with them together. And here I think is the -- is where the six-party process I think plays a key role in the relationship with China. I cannot tell you today that the six-party process is going to succeed in getting North Korea to disarm itself of these nuclear weapons. I think we have -- it has been a difficult process. We are dealing with difficult people. But what I can tell you is that there is a certain early harvest in the six-party process and that is the fact that we are able to work very closely with China, come up with common initiatives, make approaches to North Korea that are coordinated, have work multilaterally in very specific areas such as with the South Koreans and yes, with the Japanese because a lot has been said in recent months and recent years about the difficulty of Sino-Japanese relations. But yet, in the six-party process they actually work, they function and because we all share the interests of getting the North Koreans to give up these weapons.
A key moment, I think, came in early July when against all advice, against all admonitions all over the world North Korea decided to fire off several missiles. There was really a missile for everybody in that barrage. There were some six or seven missiles. There were short-range missiles whose only purpose in practicing would have been to hit South Korea. There were short-range longer-range missiles whose purpose would be threaten Japan, and there was Taepodong-2 missile whose purpose would have to be looked at as an intercontinental missile ultimately with the purpose of reaching the United States. In short, in that missile barrage, the North Koreans essentially validated the concept of the six-party talks. In that missile barrage, the North Koreans were essentially saying this is not a U.S.-North Korean problem. We in North Korea are going to make it a problem between us, the North Koreans and everyone else. They validated the process of making this multilateral.
And so as soon as these missile launches happened, which was for us in the afternoon of July 4th, the first example of a sense of irony I've ever seen from North Korea, we got in -- went into action diplomatically, and I went off -- I left that next day on the fifth. And normally when I'd make a trip to Asia to discuss North Korea I'd start with our allies, Japan and South Korea. In this case I went right to China. And I sat down with the Chinese and we went through what could be done, what needed to be done. And I could see in China there was a certain -- I should say a sea change in how they dealt with the North Koreans. I was not asked to be more patient. Often the dynamic between me and the Chinese is, as you can predict, the Chinese asking me to show more patience and I asking the Chinese to show less patience. But in fact, I think we got on very quickly to the task of what can we do to convince the North Koreans that they can't do this.
And indeed as we began to discuss the need to respond, the need to respond forcefully and with a sense of unity, the Chinese asked if they could be given an opportunity to get up to Pyongyang and get from the North Koreans a commitment to get back to the talks to re-impose a moratorium. And so we worked that out. We worked that out in a way that our diplomacy going on in New York with the passage -- with the work we're doing especially with the Japanese who are on the Security Council to get the -- to have a strong resolution. We gave the Chinese some time. We worked with the Chinese on their efforts to get up to Pyongyang. They sent a very senior delegation to Pyongyang. And when they came back, in fact I returned to China and we talked some more and we worked out, especially our diplomats in New York, worked out a UN Security Council Resolution 1695.
There are a couple of very important elements to that. The first element, of course, is this was a great credit to Japanese diplomacy because they were the ones who drafted it and began to press forward in the UN. But I think it was also a great credit to our ability to work with China because at the end of the day when 1695 was passed, it was actually the end of the week, it was unanimous and China was on board, on board on a unanimous resolution dealing with a neighboring country and significantly I think the word condemned, that is, the people who supported -- the countries that supported this which included Japan and China, we all used the same word, we condemn these missile launches.
We also called upon all member-states to exercise vigilance in ensuring that North Korea does not get the funds and does not get the technology to continue these types of programs. I saw in the Chinese, with respect to this North Korea missile launch, a real kindred spirit, and I think it was very important. And so someday in the annals of U.S.-China relations, we'll have to give Kim Jong-il a little credit because he brought us much closer together that week.
We have also continued to work with China in other areas of the world. We're working in Iran. We're working very, very feverishly with China to try to come up with a resolution on Iran that would encourage Iran to do the right thing on these weapons of mass destruction. This is a very difficult problem. It's a problem that's also rooted in Iran's situation and its own neighborhood, but it's also routed in the U.S. and China and the other Perm 5 members' desire to see -- to prevent nuclear arms proliferation. And this is an area were I think we're working very closely with the Chinese.
I do not mean to suggest that our relations with China are at this point a walk in the park. We have a lot of issues, a lot of difficult issues where we deal with China. We work with China on human rights issues, on religious freedom questions. These are not easy issues. Some of these issues don't come naturally to China, and we need to work with them and try to work with China on international standards. We're not looking to impose a U.S. view on all of these issues, we're looking to really gain an international consensus on how to approach issues like human rights and religious freedom consistent with China's agreement with the UN charter and consistent with China's desire to live up to these universal values.
We also have to work very hard every day and every hour of every day on getting a level playing field for U.S. businesses. Anyone who's been to China knows that there has been improvement on intellectual property rights in the -- in a de jure sense and in a legislative sense, but on the street the picture can sometimes be different. Although I must say that if you try to buy a counterfeit version of anything to do with the Beijing Olympics, you'll be very hard pressed. In fact, the intellectual property rights of the Beijing Olympics are being very well respected. And let's see if we can use that as an inspiration for everything else including golf clubs.
So that is a work in progress, but I think we have a pretty strong and active dialog with the Chinese on that. We're also working, and I know this is a -- this continues to be an enormous issue, to look for more transparency in military budgets, in military doctrine and, in fact, in military intentions.
Now if you look at the U.S. budget, as the Chinese have done, you will notice the U.S. budget somewhat exceeds the Chinese budget, a fact that has been brought to light by Chinese analysts. We're not questioning that for a minute, but you can also find in the U.S. budget exactly where the money is going. You can find the supply of explanatory notes at times exceeding the demand for those same explanations. In short, everyone in Washington has an opinion about our military budget, and it's out for everybody to see.
China has not quite achieved, let me put it, the same degree of transparency. And what we're really looking for from the Chinese is not necessarily to reduce their budget or something like that, we're looking for transparency. What are they doing? Where is the money going? Why is it going there? What is it -- what are the contingencies they're working on? We need clarity on this and we need a good dialog. We are beginning to have a dialog with the Chinese on this. I was just with Admiral Fallon who has gone to China on several occasions, most recently just a few weeks ago. We've had some -- we had some joint exercises with the Chinese recently in San Diego. We are beginning a process to work on ways that we can agree -- we can see what each other is doing because we still do have a mountain of mistrust in this relationship, especially in this military relationship, and we need to work on that.
We're also working in I'd like to mention a couple of other regional areas. I know in Southeast Asia, an area that I also cover, that there are people who say that the U.S. is somehow staging a strategic withdrawal while China is a staging a strategic entry into that area. I really don't buy that frankly. I don't buy the idea that we're leaving, and I don't buy the idea that the Chinese want us to leave. I think there's -- more China in Southeast Asia does not mean less U.S. After all, I think China for years and years, decades and decades, the world has looked for a second engine of growth, and I think many countries are finding that second engine of growth and it's called China. It's called the China economy, and we welcome that. More China does not mean less U.S. there. And so we can work that out.
We're also working in the Pacific island states. You know, people look at the Pacific Island states, they look at the Pacific and they try to find the islands there. Very small countries. I would that say sometimes big problems can come in small places, and we need to make sure that governance issues in the Pacific Island states and capacity issues, tiny places like the Solomon Islands, you know, that those countries develop and don't become centers of problems and, therefore, we need to make sure that countries that are big donors, and China is a big donor in those states, finds ways to make sure that the assistance that China is giving is going to causes that will help those countries develop governance and capacity. And in that regard, we're going to have still another dialog with the Chinese. We're going to sit down and talk about some of our mutual assistance or assistance efforts in some of these countries.
So I think ultimately I feel that there is a real reason for optimism in this relationship. I feel that the people who worked so hard on this relationship in the late '40, early '50s, the people who really I think in some cases went to their graves with a sense that this was going to be a very, very difficult process that may not turn out well can actually, if they're still listening, realize that a lot of their work in those very troubled years has led to some very special developments. We are by no means there. We are by no means there, but I hope that future generations can look back on this period and draw from it a certain inspiration as we move forward.
So, again, I speak as a sort of a person who can maybe give some raw material to your -- to what you are doing. I am not a historian. I probably spend more time looking at the U.S. Civil War than I have at China's various civil wars. But I do believe that to understand our history with China is to understand our future with China. I'm very pleased at the publication of this. I will read every word of it later in the day I guess. But to be sure it is I think an excellent time to be reflecting on where we are with China because there's no relationship in the world that's more important to us than the relationship with China.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)