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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 26, 1971

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE GDR, FAR EASTERN DEPARTMENT/ UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT, 'ASSESSMENT OF THE INVITATION TO PRESIDENT NIXON TO VISIT THE PR CHINA'

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    An analysis of Sino-American relations following the Nixon's invitation to visit China, US interests driving the rapprochement with China, and the potential effect of this relationship in the Asia-Pacific region.
    "Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GDR, Far Eastern Department/ United States Department, 'Assessment of the Invitation to President Nixon to visit the PR China'," July 26, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA, C 496/75. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209220
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[Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GDR]

Far Eastern Department/ United States Department

Berlin, 26 July 1971

A s s e s s m e n t

of the Invitation to President Nixon to visit the PR China

1. With the visit by the National Security Adviser of the U.S. President, Dr. Henry Kissinger, in Beijing between 9 and 11 July 1971 and his talks with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, the dialogue continuously in place between the PR China and the United States since 1955 has been elevated to the highest political level.

   

The invitation of President Nixon to the PR China and his acceptance are highlighting the speedy progress of contacts and of long-term rapprochement between both countries.

According to so far known statements and reports, it has to be expected that in the forthcoming talks between Nixon and Zhou Enlai the following issues will be central:  the Taiwan question, the U.N. seat of the PR China, the Indochina problem, and the relations between the PR China and the United States.

The agreement over the visit of Nixon to Beijing is an expression of the intensified anti-Sovietism of U.S. imperialism and the leaders of the PR China.

The imminent cooperation between the United States and the PR China under current conditions is directed against the Soviet Union, the socialist community of states, and against the interests of socialism as such.

The invitation and Nixon’s visit to the PR China is supposed to serve the purpose of mitigating the huge domestic political problems of Nixon’s administration and to help securing his election victory in 1972. Nixon will want to exploit this move in order to get out of the foreign policy isolation and defensive, in which U.S. imperialism has moved especially because of the aggression in Vietnam. He wants to increase the international reputation of the United States and to again strengthen their international position. (Goal of targeting his main opponents within the American monopolistic bourgeoisie and reduce their growing popular support; primacy of global strategic offensive vis-a-vis the strengthening of the state-monopolistic system domestically).

With the Nixon invitation, the Mao Group is pursuing the objective to exploit it as a culmination of foreign policy activities after the “Cultural Revolution” in order to move the PR China into the role of a world power.

The development of relations between the PR China and the United States is of global political importance. It can exert a major influence on the development of the [international] balance of forces.

In addition, this development is further complicating the struggle of the Soviet Union and the socialist community of states against U.S. imperialism and the other imperialist states. It has a negative impact on the global balance of forces. At the same time, this development is increasing contradictions between the United States and Japan, as well as between the closest allies of the U.S. like Taiwan, South Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, et cetera. Also relations between the PR China and the revolutionary forces in Indochina and the socialist states of Asia are experiencing severe political strain.

In spite of the possible gradual rapprochement and joint anti-Soviet positions, the contradictions between the United States and the PR China will linger on, and new ones will arise (world power ambitions of the U.S. and the Mao Group, opposite interests in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia, Taiwan question, objective conflict between the U.S. monopolistic capital and interests of the Chinese people, and others). This will make the pursuit of possible compromise solutions difficult on a range of issues.

Without doubt, the development of the relationship between the PR China and the U.S. is holding intrinsic dangers. Though on the other hand this also offers opportunities to use the contradictions, both those already evident and those upcoming, for our own struggle.

2. Based on the explanations above, the interests of U.S. imperialism in a rapprochement with the PR China are apparently arising from the following:

- trying to adapt to the change in the international balance of forces and to open up new opportunities for the implementation of a geo-strategic policy, as it had been especially outlined in Nixon’s messages on the “State of the World’” from February 1970 and 1971 (for instance, attempt of U.S. imperialism under Nixon to seek opportunities to secure its geo-strategic ambitions through the revival of a three-world-powers concept);

- strengthening the positions of the United States vis-a-vis the USSR, and to test a new instrument of exerting pressure on the Soviet Union (European policy, SALT[1] talks, Middle East agreements et cetera);

- entangling the Soviet Union politically and military-strategically in an increased two-front struggle, encouraging the Chinese leadership in its anti-Soviet and anti-socialist course, preventing respectively making difficult agreements between the Soviet Union and the PR China, and tying down the Soviet Union in the Far East in order to create major problems for the Soviet Union’s policy in Europe, the main era of confrontation between socialism and imperialism;

- achieving compromise solutions in Indochina to secure the interests of the United States and the Mao Group at the expense of the interests of the Indochinese peoples;

- exploiting the Chinese market in the interest of the U.S. monopoles.  

  

As consequences of a rapprochement between the United States and the PR China, it is foreseeable that differences will become deeper in U.S. relations with several allies, especially in Asia; in other cases they will openly come to the fore.

The Jiang Jieshi[2] Regime [in Taiwan] has already strongly protested against Nixon’s policy towards the PR China.

An increase in contradictions is to be expected in U.S.-Japan relations, based on the fact that influential parts of the Japanese monopolistic bourgeoisie will see their own expansionist intentions threatened by potential arrangements between the U.S. and China.

In Australia the tendency will continue that the Labour Party leadership will finally deviate from the “American” post-war course, and a pro-British and a pro-Japanese wing will evolve.

Especially for India’s Congress Party, a process will mature to orientate oneself in foreign policy more towards the Soviet Union, what also would open up new opportunities for the struggle of the leftist forces in India.

On the side of the Mao Group, in addition to the strive for becoming important as a global power, the following objectives are pursued with Nixon’s visit:

- to attempt to strengthen its positions, in the sense of its main impact direction of a foreign policy aimed at the Soviet Union and the socialist community of states, as well as to exert pressure on the Soviet Union;

- to attempt to achieve a coordination over spheres of influence in the far eastern and southeast Asian region, in order to safeguard its own interests in Indochina as the main negotiation partner of the United States;

- to seek for opportunities to counter the close alliance between the U.S. and Japan;

- to secure certain economic interests through the development of foreign trade with the United States.

Nixon’s invitation by the PR China will seriously strain the relations of the PR China with the socialist countries, especially with its direct neighbors DRV[3] and DPRK[4]. This move has also already caused concerns, in addition to certain illusions, in several Afro-Asiatic countries.

The DRV has reacted very quickly and consequently (extraordinary sessions of the Politburo on the 16th of July already; holding information sessions for party member in the provinces on 17 and 17 July; articles in “Nhân Dhân”[5]: “The Fate of Vietnam will be decided by there Vietnamese”. - “The situation of the Nixon Clique is indeed very tragic … In this tricky situation Nixon was stuck, when he searched for a way out. But he has turned towards the wrong  addressee.”)

The DPRK has not yet reacted publicly. The Korean side just said “you have to wait and see”.

In the Albanian press so far only the Xinhua announcement was published.

It is to be expected that the Chinese leadership will attempt to counter the unavoidably upcoming negative impacts on its relations with Afro-Asiatic states by continuing with an anti-American propaganda.

3. The new development will apparently not immediately lead to a formalization of Chinese-American relations in accordance with principles of international law. However, important facts in this direction will be created.

Both sides will seek mutually acceptable paths towards the solution of the Taiwan question, the establishment of the U.N. rights of the PR China as well as of the Indochina problem. A progress in relations in the areas of trade and culture, as well as in travel to the PR China, is to be expected.

With its actions towards the United States, the Mao Group is continuing with activities begun after the IX Party Congress of the PR China in order to increase the international influence of the PR China. The foreign policy expansion of the Chinese leadership is assuming ever more a global character. Policies towards the United States are to be viewed in the context of activation of relations by the PR China with Afro-Asiatic states, the expansion of relations with several imperialist countries, the broad development of relations with some socialist countries (DPRK, DRV, Romania, and Yugoslavia) as well as the modified positions towards the United Nations and other international organizations.These activities are conducted in parallel with the rejection of the Soviet proposal to sign a mutual treaty by both countries over the renunciation of force, as well as the further delay of the border negotiations by the Mao Group.

The attempt is undertaken to strengthen the position of the United States in Europe by way of the PR China and U.S. activities.

In certain socialist countries nationalist tendencies might increase and work in favor of the imperialist and Chinese efforts to split socialist states from the USSR.

4. In the United Nations, the United States will attempt, using the context of the Nixon visit to the PR China, to get out of its long-term defensive position. Since for now several states will show restraint on major political issues, because they will wait for the results of the Nixon visit, the next session of the U.N. General Assembly might indeed convey the impression as if the U.S. will succeed in its intention [to get out of the defensive]. While emphasizing the principle of universalism, a major number of speakers will advocate for the representation of the PR China in the United Nations. Here the demand for universalism during the general debate will more than ever before be focused on China.

During the vote over the resolution on representation of the PR China in the U.N., it is possible this year already that this motion will be separated from the question of the expulsion of Jiang Jieshi. This means: The United States will allow for being outvoted on the accession of the PR China, but they will not insist on a two-thirds-majority, thus encouraging this way additional states to cast a positive vote for the PR China. With reference to the necessary universalism of the U.N., however, the U.S. will oppose the expulsion of Jiang Jieshi.   

Like in previous years, the socialist states will vote at the session of the XXVI General Assembly for the restoration of the rights of the PR China and the expulsion of Jiang Jieshi from the United Nations, as well against a separation of those two issues.

The presence of the PR China could have important effects on the work of the United Nations: Initially the PR China would successfully attempt to appoint itself as the advocate for the developing countries and thus propagate the class-struggle-denying contradictions of “Poor-Rich” and “North-South”. It would argue against an alleged hegemony of the “super-powers” in the United Nations and thus attempt through further slandering of the USSR (“plot USSR-U.S.”) to draw the developing countries on its side. This would temporarily result in new constellations of forces during votes in the United Nations. Further progress in the area of arms limitation and disarmament, as well as the strengthening of international security, could initially be made more difficult by the PR China.

It is to be expected that then several states in the United Nations would talk about universalism being achieved, although the GDR and other states have not yet acceded.  This would hamper our struggle for membership. On the other hand it cannot be excluded that an active membership of the PR China in the United Nations, where it hardly can advocate against the accession of the GDR, will also come with certain advantages for the GDR.

With regard to the further proceeding of the GDR, therefore the following has to be considered in our argumentation vis-a-vis the member states of the United Nations:

The question of representation of the PR China in the United Nations has been in fact resolved. It is only left open whether the PR China will assume its seat already this year or rather next year. The next urgent problem to be solved in order to achieve universalism, and thus an increase in effectiveness of the United Nations, is the accession of the GDR and the FRG as members to the United Nations.

5. Notes:

The development of relations between the PR China and the United States must be continuously and attentively monitored. In light of the importance of the event [Nixon visit], consultations at highest levels of party and state leaderships of the fraternal socialist countries should be held; to discuss the visit’s assessment, the reactions, and the conclusions for the further design of relations with the PR China.

Toeing the line of the XXIV Party Congress of the CPSU and the VIII Party Congress of the SED, the struggle against the policy of the Mao Group has to continue, while at the same time efforts must be undertaken towards a further normalization and development of state-to-state relations.

No space whatsoever has to be conceded in this process to the Mao Group’s policy of differentiation [between the socialist states].

A language regime will be drafted and transmitted to all international representations of the GDR, the political departments of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other organs of the GDR.

Suggestions will be drafted how the press of the GDR will continue to react.

The development of relations between the PR China and the FRG must be carefully monitored.

Appendix

Some suggestions for our further reaction to the Nixon invitation:

1. As we have done so far, the main strike of attack in our argumentation is directed against Nixon and his policy, and indirect argumentation towards the unmasking of the Nixon trip.

2. A statement by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is to be drafted in support of the 7-Point-Proposal of the Government of the RSV[6]. Must contain indirect polemics against the Nixon trip.

3. Artikel by Comrade Haben (Vietnam Committee) for “Neues Deutschland”[7]. Support for demands by RSV, DRV and the letter of Comrade Gromyko[8] (demonstrate that Nixon’s trip will be used to camouflage the continuation of the war of aggression. Who is helping Nixon to camouflage Vietnamization and who is raising false illusions, is actually helping to prolong war.)

4. Letters to the editor in “Horizont”[9], “Berliner Zeitung”[10], et cetera expressing astonishment about invitation to Nixon. - Expressing concern that visit will result in no good, since anti-Soviet positions of Nixon as well as Mao Zedong are well known. - Would it not be better, if PR China would be willing to unite in action in the anti-imperialist struggle with the Soviet Union and others socialist countries. This would help the peoples of Indochina and in the Middle East, and others, in their anti-imperialist struggle.

5. One should think about appropriateness of mandating the GDR Ambassador to seek consultations ins Beijing about purpose and objective of the PR China’s policy towards the United States (with us [in Berlin] the Ambassador of the PR China was granted consultations about the policy of the GDR vis-a-vis the FRG and West Berlin).

6. Furthermore, its is necessary to maintain permanent contacts with the Soviet comrades in Berlin, Moscow, and Beijing about concrete steps in our relations with the PR China. (Like coordination is necessary on scientific-technological cooperation, information about participations in [trade] fairs, and steps proposed above). So that the development of our state-to-state relations cannot be exploited by the PR China for its interest in a policy of differentiation [between the USSR and the GDR].

[1] Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

[2] [Chiang Kai-shek] 1887-1975. President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) 1950-1975.

[3] Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

[4] Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

[5] “The People”, official newspaper of the ruling Vietnamese Workers Party.

[6] Republic of South Vietnam.

[7] Central daily newspaper of the SED.

[8] Andrei Gromyko, 1909-1989. Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union 1957-1985.

[9] Weekly journal of the SED on international affairs.

[10] “New Germany”, daily newspaper of the SED for District of Berlin.