tv The Presidency CSPAN March 1, 2015 8:02pm-9:41pm EST
manage that problem since they are all americans but they appear to have an allegiance, a desire, for whatever it the to move in an anti-american legion. i think we are picking up continuously a stream of important information that needs to be absorbed and somehow or another woven into our common psyche. i think you guys have been absolutely wonderful tonight. but you will have been even more wonderful for coming. thank you very much. [applause] >> coming up next on the
presidency, former national security council and state department officials from the nixon administration discussed the president's efforts to stabilize relations with china. henry kissinger's 1971 secret trip to china and richard nixon's official trip a year later. national archives and the richard nixon foundation hosted this event. >> good morning. i am the archivist of the united states. it is a pleasure to welcome you here today. a special welcome to our c-span audience joining us from around the country and around the world. today, we have the latest in an ongoing series of nixon legacy forums. when asked about his library
president and saenz said i have insisted that the nixon library and birthplace be not a monument to the career of one man but a place where visitors and scholars will be able to recall the events of the time i served as president and to measure in way the policies my administration pursued. i hope the library and birthplace will be different, a vital place of discovery and rediscovery, of investigation, of study, debate and analysis. those words will be our touchstone as we begin a major reservation at the next in library this year. except for the recently opened watergate exhibit, the every has been relatively unchanged since it opened in the summer of 1990. over the past four years to mother have been many changes in many is in the techniques and technologies. and in the volume of material now available. it will be an invigorating exercise in bringing in the 37th
president into the 21st century. today, that you legacy for him -- you see forum is 29th in the series here in. the documentation at the nixon library, regarding the opening of china, the papers and tape recordings are particularly rich. these forums are not intended to be the definitive of any subject. they are meant to be the building block of in history. they are a unique opportunity to provide first-person for current and future scholars and citizens who want to understand how the nixon policies were really made and how history really works. dean acheson named his papers "the creation."
we are at the creation of the most momentous events in the last century. the opening of china today, few events are a transformation of what he has called china's angry isolation and to restore america's relations with the world's most populous nation. america and the world were transfixed with vivid images of the week that changed the world when president nixon went to china in february 1972 and secretary of state clinton recently remembered renting a small tv set so she could watch the coverage in her room at the yell law school. she said that calling the week that went to china the week that changed the world is -- that
nixon went to china the week that change the world is an understatement to. please welcome ron walker. [applause] collects good morning, everyone. the panel is going to come out. it's my pleasure to welcome everyone along with david. it is nice to see all these lovely faces out there. those of us on the white house
staff in the 1970's remembered a young lady named captain troy is her and she was on the nse council at 18 years of age. she worked at night during the residence briefing into the next morning. she would ride your bicycle from george washington university to the white house and worked in the situation room. she went on to serve in the national security post or president ward and president reagan. in 1984, she wrote secretary of defense can't wonder's memorandum "the uses of military war." she received the department's highest civilian award for the work she did in the reagan administration. today, she is a fox news security analyst and she hosts the foxnews.com.com three. she is -- death three com 3.
she will introduce the panel. >> thank you, ron. [applause] >> ron walker is much too modest to mention it but he played an essential role in nixon's opening to china. he did advance work and was ground breaking in every way. it was the first time a rhyme time presidential trip -- the first time american people saw china in a generation and the first time a handful of americans had been into china. run isn't a part of this shout today, but if you want a real behind-the-scenes look to nixon's trip to china, you can read the book ron's wife wrote. "china calls" by ann walker.
it was five years that nixon was in office and this was considered one of the most fruitful times in american foreign-policy. the less fast the last for -- the last forum focused on how it was organized. we will have future forms and they will focus on arms control with the city at union and the it not more and the u.s. peace accord and a final forum on the lasting legacy of the nixon-kissinger error. this 1 -- ara. -- nixon-kissinger era. i want to introduce you to the gentleman who held it happen. winston lord joined the nsc
staff at the beginning of the nixon administration during he was one of henry's closest advisers and he works on every aspect of american foreign-policy. he was in and out of kissinger's office several times a day. he helped plan kissinger secret trip to china in 71. he went on to become president of the foreign relations secretary of state and u.s. ambassador to china to richard solomon was a university of michigan professor. kissinger tapped him to join the staff in september 1971. he was a senior scholar at the prestigious rant corporation and
spoke fluent mandarin and he accompanied kissinger and general hag on numerous china trips and he was in nixon's 1972 trip to china. derek held senior positions and thus date department, service and asked her to the philippines, written numerous books, and remains one of america's leading sign all adjusts. he is now the senior fellow of the ran operation. next is ambassador nicholas platt. unlike our other analysts, ambassador plat was not on the national security council staff. nick was a career foreign service officer. he was also on the nixon trip. he was the staff assistant to then secretary of state william rogers. he went on to hold senior
positions at the department of defense and after leaving government he dealt extensively with the chinese through the last 40 years. finally is admiral jonathan how who was a young commander on kissinger's staff. he was the only military officer on the staff and the only naval officer. then a lieutenant commander, he spent most of his time at sea as a submariner. he went on to a very distinguished career in the navy. became a four-star admiral. he was also present george h w bush's national security advisor. i'd like to get right to it. i want to ask each of you how you happened to be associated
with henry specifically. how did henry find you? >> i was a foreign service officer working in the pentagon in 1968. the first person that kissinger asked to join him was the head of the policy planning staff in the pentagon where i was working, a man named would help and to he asked me to go with him. i had a quick interview with kissinger so i guess i passed. the first year, i was on a mini policy planning staff. many were criticizing what he was doing and that is why i got his attention. then i became a special assistant and february 1970. >> how did henry find you, deck? >> i was recommended by the council of foreign relations. david rockefeller had arranged a
fellowship program. in 1971, i was recommended to kissinger because he was taking scholars or recommend these from the council on -- as a matter of fact, it was the second year of that program. i got a letter in the spring of 1971, before the secret trip saying that i would be welcome to join the staff for a year as an academic in that context. i was teaching the summer of 1971 at michigan in preparation for taking the years leave. i was shocked as the world was when president and send on television and announced a that kissinger had already been to china secretly. immediately, i started getting phone calls from my colleagues in the state department. boy, are you lucky. you will be in the middle of a lot of interesting things. i showed up at the end of the summer.
from that point on, i became a member of that team. it worked out well enough so that i was asked to stay beyond the first year and ended up working for kissinger and thence go crawford -- and then stroke raw for five years. >> i was thrown together with henry. when we were coordinating the papers for the next entry of, rogers asked me to pull the papers together. i had been working with the secretary and i had some idea how to do this and i had in working on china. i brought over the papers to discuss them with henry himself. henry was very anxious that we all the -- all be singing from the same sheet of music. we showed him our same -- our sheet of music to make sure it was the same as his and it was.
>> what about you? i had just finished two years of graduate school. i took kissinger's last course that he taught at harbor on -- on harvard -- at harvard on national security. i had orders to be on a submarine. i got a phone call from the navy's saying come to washington. we cap a you why. just come. and don't go back to new london right now. so i came, obviously, and that turned up to be an interview with hague and kissinger etc. i was worried about wanting to go back to submarine and started bargaining. when they finally brought me over, they said this could be two years. so for and-a-half a half years later, i got back to the navy.
i had an enjoyable experience. some professors, unbeknownst to me, were advisers on my thesis etc. and had written to kissinger and said this is somebody you ought to have. i never saw the letter. they never said anything to me at all. it was totally out of the blue. that was the reason they learn who i was. >> i would like to start off now setting the stage for the historical record. where was the united states in the 1960's? do you think now about china, it is hard to think about a time when china wasn't a central player in the world of politics and with the united states. but that was not the case in 1968. set the stage for the historic perspective of the situation.
>> here we are 2014, a world that has been totally transform since the era of the nixon initiative. we are almost half a century away of nexen making first move soon establish contact with the chinese. today, the soviet union's history. in china is approaching certainly number one in the world economy. it has emerged risen as an international force in no small measure because of the opening that president nixon and chairman mao initiated. let's go back to what the world look like when the soviet union had -- the soviet union and china had allied themselves. eurasia, from eastern europe to the pacific ocean was controlled dominated by a
hostile alliance. it was a fundamental threat to american security. and that threat persisted. it was certainly one of the motivations for the vietnam war involvement. as the 1960's progressed, there were signs of real tension between moscow and beijing. and mr. nixon who was at that point out of office and would have been unaware of these tensions, he was very much aware of the degree to which the vietnam war had undermined political support for the lyndon johnson administration. it got so bad that president johnson decided not to run for a second term. in the second half of the 60's, president nixon anticipated that he would run for office.
he made a trip through asia in 1967 and he wrote a really fascinating article in the journal foreign affairs that hinted not only the desire to get out of vietnam -- the title of the article was "asia after vietnam" -- but he hinted that it was important to draw china into the international community so this was very much in his head. he was saying, how do i construct a policy to deal with this situation? the brilliance of what he put together was he could see the tensions between the two communist states. he thought that might be the basis for splitting the alliance. and he was looking for a way to excel or eight or gain some leverage on getting out of the vietnam situation. as he prepared to run for office, he was talking publicly about he had a secret plan to
end the vietnam war. he did not mention china but there was a little more than defying on the -- more than the far -- more than gafaawifawing on the michigan side. what finally transpired, the breakthrough to improve relations with china and all that followed fundamentally transformed the political dynamic of the cold war, certainly to america's advantage. it but the soviet union on the defensive and made the position for the engagement that played out for decades, not only after mao by done sampling. >> when you are on the national security council, you are
already kissinger's assistant. did they talk to you about this? did you know that that was in nixon's mind from the beginning? >> yeah. in the first week of nixon's term, he sent a memo to kissinger saying the skin touch with the chinese. let me follow up on my deck has said. there is also the domestic scene that nixon inherited. troops in vietnam, no contact with 1/5 of the world's people, and a home, you had riots and people being disillusioned with executive power and particularly the vietnam war. so the first temples was to show
the world and the america people that we will not bogged down in vietnam, that our diplomacy could force despite incredible contests that he had inherited and break out of the mall -- the mold. he knew that any exit from vietnam would be messy and ambiguous. he thought if he opened with china, this huge country the drama and the importance of dealing with that giant who put in a messy exit from vietnam the more specifically, number one, he wanted to improve relations with the soviet union. the best way to do that was to
get their attention by going to china. number two, he wanted help in ending the vietnam war. he figured hanoi would see that it was being isolated by two patrons. he also over time -- those are his objectives. on the chinese side, they are concerned that the polar bear, their northern neighbor, they saw bresnan declare the bresnan is thought -- the bresnan doctrine. they were concerned about the soviets. they were totally isolated because of the colorful association. here is a classic case where both sides achieved their goals essentially.
within weeks of the secret trip and nixon's announcement, moscow had reached a summit meeting with nixon as well. they had been dragging their feet for years. we made major breakthroughs with the russians. it did help us put pressure on vietnam but that was a much longer operation. certainly and terms of american diplomacy, it showed that we were a major act on the world stage again. it enhanced nixon's popularity. the chinese concern got some security against the soviet union and they broke out of their isolation. then japan which had been holding back, and europe to go with normal relations, it would get into the united nations in october 71. it is a win-win situation.
>> were we selling china out? >> we were sticking straightly to the policy of supporting taiwan. i was in the china desk when the transition between johnson and nixon took place. one of my tasks was to write a history and -- a history of johnson's achievements in china policy. this was a daunting task. [laughter] but he gave me a chance to look in the files and see all of the different initiatives we had worked on, sent forward to dean ross that were then sent back.
the change that nixon came in with. we were asked by the secretary's office to brush off various initiatives we made on cultural exchange, sports and education and so on. so we sent them forward. and they disappeared. and they must have gone to the white house. we didn't have a clue what was going on. >> the state department was kept out of what was broiling out the state, at the pentagon. >> we were not privy to what nixon and kissinger and grant lord were cooking up. [laughter] >> we relied a lot on some of the background and papers that were sent to us even though they didn't know why they were sending them.
>> those of us who had read the nixon article and those of us who are sensitive to these different vibrations realized that something was up. we didn't know what it was but something was up. of course, there was a lot of intelligence and analysis going on. i spent some time doing that. particularly in the context between -- context of the clashes between china and russia . >> this was in 1969. >> we wrote our reports and the policy implications were that they were going to improve the atmosphere for china and the united states to get together. this began the period of winking that went on.
there was some very public aspects to nixon's policies. there was relaxation's of trade and travel and things like that that laid the groundwork for what was going on behind the scenes. >> let me just add that the university of michigan campus was in turmoil through the late 1960's. tremendous fear of getting drawn into another war with china is we had in the korean war period because of the vietnam conflict. so there was tremendous tension building over whether we would get involved with another conflict with china. there was an organization set up where i began my teaching career in 1966 call the u.s. committee on u.s.-china relations. the academic community was trying to find ways to avoid
another class with china. so the public mood was sort of primed for some breakthrough that would relieve that fear that tension that we would be drawn into another war with china. >> i'd like to talk about the steps leading up to -- make you talk about some of the signals being spent. you talked about the fear that the united states would drift into another war with china after the korean war. in 1969, 1970, china was one of the u.s.'s arch enemies. the world was shocked when nixon went on television in july 1971 saying that henry kissinger had just finished completed a trip to china and that nixon would go to china several months later. ? how did that get organized? we did not have?
diplomatic relations -- how did that get organized? we did not have diplomatic relations. >> first, there was the public signals that had to be sent, both so china would pick up the signals and other countries would get used to the idea that we were moving in a different direction. as has been pointed out, we relaxed trade and travel restrictions. but we did other things. the president, with a toast with the romanian out-of-state, had said "the republic of china." they did not require a response
from the chinese. we were not negotiating in public. but they could get noted by chinese leaders as well as other organizations. the other was to get touch of them. we had no direct contact besides charles de gaulle of france briefly. which ride romania which got fairly interesting for a while. we tried various channels to see which one they picked up. they settled on pakistan which was a close friend of theirs and close to us in the cold war. we had begun to condition the public and then we set up a secret channel. >> talk to me what the secret channel is. >> the president of pakistan came in and said he wanted to be the end of [indiscernible]
joe would write a message and get it to the pakistanis. an ambassador in washington would come in and see kissinger. and we would go back the same way. what was important was not only to converge on an agreement for a trip and a side was going to go on that trip -- it ended up being kissinger with great reluctance. [laughter] >> several staff members are here. that is why you are getting that jekyll -- that chuckle. >> china just wanted to talk about taiwan. we tried to get our ambassador to run down our chinese ambassador in warsaw and i did not happen. we wanted to make sure, if anyone went to china, the agenda would be much broader than the sticky issue of taiwan.
the key issue to work at a private was the agenda. once the chinese agree to a broader agenda, that is when we settled on a trip during. there was one public event that was important and that was the ping-pong diplomacy. in the beginning of 1971, we had not heard from them in two or three months so we were getting antsy. then you had the american world championship and they were invited to the mainland. it did two things. one, it told the world not to mention its own cadres and his own audience that they were going to reach out to the u.s.. secondly, it was a public answer
to our private channel. thirdly, there was a veiled fittest. if we don't engage with him, he can put pressure on us using methods, for example this ping-pong diplomacy. >> the chinese had put out their own signal. in october of 19 seven, chairman mao invited edgar snow, who has become famous for his book "red star over china." he invited edward snow to meet with him for the national parade. this is the fall of 1970. my understanding is the message didn't really get through.
the mind on all sides was so negative. and probably because of the internal turmoil in china, the cultural revolution, there may have been a period of pullback. >> there were so many signals going on. we had suggested that the warsaw talks actually be moved to the embassies. they had previously taken place for uighurs -- >> what were the warsaw talks? >> talks we had had with the chinese for decades about prisoner exchanges mainly. it was our only direct contact with the chinese during those years. they had been in advance for some reason. you had the mitzvah levitsky palace which was eminently buggable. a taxi going by could turn into the warsaw talks.
the suggestion was that we move the warsaw talks. that process actually began. but it was interrupted. i think the interruption came about as a reaction to the invasion of cambodia, which in fact put things on hold. >> we called it encouraging. >> call it as you wish. [laughter] the chinese saw it as a reason to slow down. why ask you were in the military at that time. >> i had -- i just want to underline one thing. i think there was a serious chinese concern about the russians and what was happening on their border and the buildup of almost a million troops and so forth and some clashes that were occurring. so to mao's mind and the chinese
leadership's mind, they were really concerned that this was a serious threat to them. as far as getting along with the americans, they did not feel we were territorial ambitious etc. etc. and the russians would be. this was a motivating factor. >> we think about the triangular diplomacy. we think we were running again. but what you are implying is the chinese were looking at this triangle to see if they could find in your lines. why ask right. and the u.s. was someone they could depend on more than the russian part of the triangle. >> in the mess of this, the -- said why don't we gang up on kissinger and said why don't we gang up on the chinese?
that was summer of 1969. >> when they were having tensions along the border. >> there were study memos being circulated and talked about. they were hotly debated. there was also a big argument within the community in which i was involved which discussed the question whether or not nuclear castration of china was possible by russia. >> this was back in the soviet union. several of the top criminologists told nixon you should not move toward china. it will hurt our relations with
russia. so he was being told not to move to china because it could hurt our relations. nixon knew the best way to make or break with china. >> less take a look at this triangular diplomacy. >> i don't know how explicitly this was conceived at the moment. but what emerged as the diplomacy and fold it is that we were in the favorable so-called swing position, where the russians and the soviets and the chinese started, if you like, competing for good relations with us. they had that relations between themselves. we were in a a verbal position. -- we were in a favorable
position. the strategic triangle, as it emerged out of the next and initiative, put the united states in a favorable position. it is interesting to say, well, is there a new dynamic to the situation. >> were you looking at that as this would be our opportunity to get the things we wanted and have the lines open to china. >> basically our strategy was to
make the russians anxious and nervous about our opening to china and at the same time demonstrate to the chinese that we had more actual business with moscow then we do with beijing. so the chinese were a little antsy at the same time. china would go there after the moscow summit and brief them both out of courtesy to reassure the chinese, but also to make the nerve -- to make them nervous about the amount of business we had with them. we share our views with sober to it -- soviet military strengths. >> we will talk about that in a subsequent panel, but where were the pressure points? what were we doing with the soviet union, arms control, and vietnam? >> obviously, we were in the
cold war and the russians, the soviet union was the main reason there was a cold war. at the same time, we were trying to open relations with the soviet union arms control agreements, lots of these things, all source of agreements about how we can operate in this semi-hostile world. there are a whole bunch of things that were going on to improve their relationship. i think that what is unusual or amazing when you think of 1972 you have a presidential visit to china and two months later, you have a presidential visit to russia. meetings at the highest level
agreements. success in both areas. this was an amazing buildup in the china trip. certainly the first part of it. the russians are the big providers for vietnam. they were pushing it. via gnome was a huge issue. nexen had run for presidency like all presidents do, in that war. we eventually got to 1972 and the vietnam war was not over. the agreement was at there. it was really a dynamic year. when you look back at all the different things that went on it is significant. we were providing some information once this relationship started on these trips, to let the chinese know
specifically what the russians were doing. obviously, they have their own intelligence but at least to let them know, through our satellites and other means where the alignment was. we tried to give it very accurately and honestly. >> keep going, guys. >> the guy who provided this material to the chinese, i woods it in. i was a spear carrier. but he was expanding to them -- this is all unclassified now. one other quick point about the dynamics of the summit -- we had asked the soviets throughout 1970, as we took off, haig was holding the fort. i gave them one last chance.
once again, to bring them until now we had left word to haig to call us. the idea was for haig to call us to see how this went out. i think it was hitler -- was either thailand or -- basically, he said the russians had turned us down. the russians agreed within weeks to a summit meeting after that. >> meanwhile -- >> back at the state department -- >> the campaign to get the chinese into the u.n. was gathering momentum. and the state department saluting as always was having a
massive campaign to lobby against this and in favor of taiwan. that is what also was going on. in the meantime, i was asked as head of china washington party. there were all these different currents. >> let's switch to the secret trip to china. winston, you said you are doing these various efforts initiatives to find if somebody in the chinese government -- what happened? how did kissinger get to china without the world knowing? >> it could never happen again. he was scheduled for a public trip to thailand, taiwan, and
vietnam. we had three different types of briefings. one was for a book of people going into china. there was a briefing book for those who were not going to go to china but had to know what was going on to help cover up where the hell we were. then there was a briefing book who did not know we were going to china. i was just going to sleep and kissinger would wake me up and coming to do them all again. to make a long story short i have to explain to the audience and history that kissinger was not the first person into china after 22 years. we have all heard it. kissinger admits it in his memoirs.
>> that's because kissinger thought summit might be shooting when you stepped off the plane. >> i will double that for a minute. when we got to pakistan, kissinger was going to get stuck with a stomach ache and go to a pill station. while he was supposedly there we will shave off 48-hour's to beijing. a couple of problems. cass injured or -- kissinger got a real stomach ache in india. then we get there -- by the way we interviewed a couple of pakistani doctors to make sure they can go up and take care of kissinger who was being impersonated by secret service men. he asked, you know what kissinger looks like. oh, yes. of course, it was the wrong doctor. [laughter] you been in suspense but no
american had been in there for 22 years. i was in the back of the plane with kissinger and a couple of others. as we headed into chinese airspace, i went to the front of the plane. henry was in the back. so i was the first person in china. he elbowed me aside when we got off the plane. but still. [laughter] the picture you are seeing is the first night at dinner going on the secret trip. on the american side on the lower left, you have -- henry himself, and a vietnam expert. and you have joe and i on the right-hand side. we spent 48 hours there in total secrecy. essentially examining what an agenda might look like, whether we can have a meaningful presidential trip.
we were exploring new terrain. and also short enough in announcing the trip on both sides. the chinese wanted to make it look like nixon was dying to go to china. and we wanted it to look like the chinese were dying to have him come to china. we only had a few hours left to work up every front announcement that nixon made in san clemente a little later on. a couple of amusing things on that trip, as we flew into china, you would think kissinger was about the james bond aspect of the secrecy, the geopolitical earthquake that he was about to unveil. no. he was worried that he had no shirts. his staff assistant have forgotten to pack any shirts.
john holds is about 6'2". his shirt had a label that said made in taiwan. [laughter] >> let me make one comment from the chinese point of view. what was not known, during this secret visit, there was an ally of communist china also in beijing and that was kim il-sung. we had the trouble of shuttling back and forth with the meeting with kissinger and his party and dealing with their ally north korea. the chinese leadership was really balancing off what it was trying to do with the united states against this. alliance relationships not only with north korea but with vietnam.
joe and i first flew back to pyongyang to brief kim il-sung on what happened and then they communicated to the vietnamese. they were outraged and they talked about betrayal and the communist movement. but they diplomacy associated with this initiative was very complicated. >> let's explore what was going on in china at the time. the cultural revolution. was it from their perspective -- was it only now who could do this deal? -- was only mao who could do this deal? 's>> the fact was it was an enormous political risk for both mao and for richard nixon. one could say that rick -- that nixon managed his internal
politics more successfully. there was a coed tent by the man we thought had been designated as mao's successor. we now know that -- we forget the exact day -- but after this could attempt, he got on a plane fearing arrest and the plane crashed in mongolia. >> it was october 1971. there was a very heavy police presence and we did not know why. >> we later got the intelligence reporting there were people in the chinese leadership who were strongly opposed to this and it -- to this initiative. the cap referring to -- they kept referring to mao as the b-52, the heavy bomber of their politics. mao's wife and others were
opposed to some of the developments that had brought influence to joe and li. this gets beyond the immediate story, but beginning around 1974 particularly after john lie was ill and was replaced by deng xiaoping, the so-called gang of four had some real influence in the dialogue with the u.s.. the mood turned a bit sour. one aspect to link it to the intelligence sharing the chinese became antsy that we were taking them for granted because we were trying to make them aware of the soviet threat. they tried to say to us, don't worry about us. we can take care of ourselves. and they developed a public
slogan that the soviet union was preparing to attack in the east but they were really going to attack in the west against american interests as a way to say to their own people and plot be -- and probably to us that we can take care of ourselves. >> may want to talk about the impact on other countries. >> kissinger's secret trip was in july 1971. net and did not go until 1972. what was the blowback from our allies >> -- our allies. ? >> after nixon's trip -- the japanese were particularly shops
because -- shocked because we had not told them. we were there closest allies and we had not told them. they got over it. there immediate reaction was to immediately normalize their relations with china and become the major channel to china, the travel channel to china in subsequent years. i think that the reaction of the right in the united states was very negative. >> this was the taiwan lobby. >> yes very negative. after the trip, war and christopher -- warren christopher was given the task of reporting what we had done. his car was pelted with eggs in the garage and of the things.
the blowback from the secret trip was essentially shock. >> we paid a certain price with secrecy, particularly with japan. but having said that, i think it was felt necessary because, if there have been public signals in advance, if people knew in advance henry was going to china every lobbyist, not only taiwan but everyone else would be coming in, and our allies, and we would be constrained on what we could explore with the chinese once we got there. the signal was made. we had to keep it secret. he would have to tell his
cabinet and the japanese press could get hold of it so the chinese would feel betrayed. it was a tough trade-off. it was worth it. >> i think they were shocked and concerned about it. of course, after the president's trip had occurred there were different reactions happened. vietnam was a really significant problem for us, i mean, for president nixon. he said he would end it. there were negotiations going on. >> and he had also seen the previous president, lyndon johnson, his presidency nearly destroyed by it. >> the last conversation -- we
had been talking -- or he had been, nixon, had been talking about vietnam and chinese support for it, etc. they did a diplomatic thing. nixon nailed it. so you are not going to help us with the vietnamese. he basically said, yes you and then -- yes. and then that passed. nixon said, well, at least help us won't you in reaching a negotiated solution and not try to torpedo the negotiations as your russian friends are doing etc. so we were at least trying to say please encourage them to negotiate and president's
it was left that way. the me enemies were in real shock -- vietnamese were in shock that the president of the united states had been there. they were very concerned. what did they do? this was the end of february. they launched an offensive in late april, and that caused us to respond by doing something that was very nasty in the russian standpoint. they were the main provider.
a lot more intensive bombing in response to this major campaign that they started. they were negotiating. they were not impressed. i think they felt they had a campaign in mind, and that's why we responded. the summit with the russians was already scheduled. he knew they might cancel that whole summit, which would have been a blow in many directions. the difficult decision was made, and it was contested among the they were pushing for it.
president nixon decided, we are going to do this and if it means the russian summit is canceled that's fine. minor blowback from the russians. i think they really wanted to have the summit as well on their side. the chinese complaint, but not too seriously. we are talking the things, and we've got big plans together. >> nixon did not want to go to moscow with this tremendous offenseive. secondly, he was about the only one. kissinger and others thought the russians would cancel the summit. i remember flying in a helicopter with henry up to camp david. we were bemoaning the fact that all this preparation would go
down the tubes. he said no, the russians will go ahead. with the chinese, the basic pitch was we knew they had problems with vietnam historically anyway. you don't want us to be humiliated on the way out of vietnam. tell hanoi to settle for a military settlement only. we are not willing to overthrow the saigon government. lean on your friends to be more reasonable for a military solution. you can tell them that time is on their side if they waited out. there is evidence that others did press hanoi. >> let's switch foot forward to the nixons trip. it's difficult sitting today to
understand what a profound and significant affect this had not just on the world, but the american people, chinese people. nixon's weeklong trip in february of 1972, nixon himself called the week that changed the world. even secretary clinton has said, that was an underestimation of the profound significance of it great before the trip, we were their enemies and after the trip, they were our friends. all four of you were on the trip to china. what happened? nixon sitting down with his arch enemy, who nixon has spent his entire career as an anti-communist. >> i don't with lots of presidents and summits. i've never seen anybody work as hard or as brilliantly for a summit as nixon did for this trip. he knew its significance, with a great help of the state department and military and cia
we had six big briefing books. i was in charge of orchestrating them all. nixon marked up almost every page of all six volumes. as we were flying out there, we stopped in guam and hawaii and all the way on air force one he was sending memos to the back of the plane, saying i want more information on this. we get to china and we are in the guesthouse. mao once to see nixon right away. it was very important. to my internal gratitude, henry asked me to go along with him. the secretary of state was not invited. >> i stayed with the secretary of state while he was not in that meeting. [laughter]
>> great consolation, i'm sure. >> you have a temptation when you know someone is a great historical figure to say, this guy has magnetic strength. if we were working a cocktail party any did not know who the guy was, he would still command your attention. after the hour-long meeting, we were somewhat disappointed. nixon kept trying to talk about substance and policy. you would give a brush stroke or two about the russians, taiwan japan. he would not engage the president. we thought this was a little disappointing. as we went to the next few days, we realized just how subtle mao had been, but he had gotten from one topic to another and given just enough guidance and framework for a subsequent
discussion. we really appreciated the meeting afterwards. >> was her expectation of a follow on meeting? >> yes. certainly the secretary of state would have been invited to that. very quickly, this picture is proof that i was there. at the end of the meeting, they came in with this picture and communiques about the three of us being there from the american side. nixon turned to joe and i and said, i was never there. they cut me out of the pictures and the communique. do have some 30-year-old punk there as well and he's not there, it was over-the-top. a year later, the chinese gave me that picture to prove in fact i wasn't. >> what were the rest of you doing while winston was with joe and mao zedong? >> it was interesting because
the next day i went out on a private trip to the shopping district of beijing. i saw everybody, huge crowds of people clustered around the display cases where they were showing the people's daily. that is the way people got their news, and that is the way people were informed as to what they were supposed to think. there was nixon and mao shaking hands great it was an electric moment. everybody was very quiet, but they were taking it all in. this trip was very carefully planned by the white house and the chinese to have maximum public impact on the american people.
you had a telegenic event in the morning, a telegenic event in the evening, and you did old -- diddled the work and talking in the middle of the day. the american people got nixon on the great wall, or at the opening banquets, or other things at prime time, breakfast or evening. the impact of that week was to change american attitude towards the opening to china. >> i went to double back to the public 1970 trip after the secret trip.
the chinese were a custom ring their own people to this dramatic breakthrough. we started out in small meetings. then we went to some cultural event. then we went to the summer palace and toured with ordinary chinese tourists there. they were gradually a custom ring the chinese audience to what was coming. meanwhile secretly, we were negotiating the shanghai communique. we finished most of that except for a slight exception of the taiwan issue. almost everything else we worked out then. it shows you how smart joe and i were on mao. it was a typical draft we are friends getting together, and progress.
it was a fairly ordinary diplomatic -- we gave it to joe. he comes back and almost throws it on the floor in contempt. he said, this is ridiculous great we fought each other in korea, we hate each other, and suddenly we love each other? this will make our allies suspicious, upset our domestic audiences. let's have a new kind of communique. let's agree to have differences stated on each side, in philosophy and ideology and on specific issues. when we can agree, those agreements will stand out as being more credible and the exceptions. we realized the brilliance of this idea. we had about 36 hours before we were leaving. semi-panicked, semi-exhilarated, kissinger asked me to do a redraft. we could not do the chinese position.
i stayed up until 3:00. he edited it. the chinese came back and we got the communique done on that october trip as well as important public stuff that other white house staff did to set up the public and logistic aspect of the trip. >> by the time the president had gone, the communique -- >> except for taiwan. >> john, during the president posture, you are there is a military officer. what negotiations were you having? >> it was more of the same, the threats they had from russia primarily. >> we did some of that. got to go on the great wall, etc. which speaks again to these pictures that appeared in "life" magazine, which was big then,
and so forth, the communication of all those events that a kurd. like -- occurred. like everybody else, the taiwan issue -- this was a real crisis for those of us in the staff. >> what was the situation with china? it was a naval issue. what was the significance of taiwan? we had a treaty with taiwan. >> they had the seat at the u.n., which the prc would take, etc. >> they took it as we were leaving in the november trip. we got news of the u.n. vote, which was not the greatest ending to our trip. >> exactly. but taiwan has always been a major issue for the u.s. navy. there have been a series of taiwan crises, near war in 1958
great particularly for navy people in the seventh fleet which i was associated with quite a bit, we really -- we always had the war plan, etc. etc.. how was taiwan going to work out, the chinese wanted us to remove our forces in taiwan, and if the president was willing to do that if he had a vietnam agreement. >> giving incentive for the chinese to lean on the vietnamese. >> it finally came with the formulation that everybody seemed to like, including people in taiwan and china. chinese on both sides. >> one china, two china exactly -- china. >> exactly.
they recognize there was one china. we had a defense treaty -- >> with taiwan. taiwan is the biggest trading partner with china. there's a lot going on, intercommunication. >> during that week there were three sets of talks going on. one was nixon and joe discussing the world. one was kissinger discussing the actual wording of the shanghai communique. one was rogers and his counterpart, the chinese foreign minister. that was all about what we call the nuts and bolts of the relationship. trade, travel, immigration legal issues, immigration etc. >> >> we had none of those
agreements. >> we had talked a little bit trade i remember during one of those talks the chinese were saying you are still requiring us to be fingerprinted when we go to the united states. we said no that's finished. they said no, it's not finished. roger said, you go find out. i rush out. there's a white house telephone in the great hall of the people. i call up. it's a wonderful connection white house which great to get state department operations center. ok, operations center comes on 3:00 in the morning. i say wake up whoever is responsible and find me the answer to this question, which they did. then i went back in and roger said to the chinese we do no
longer require that you be fingerprinted, but isn't it good that we have good communications now? [laughter] the nuts and bolts were being discussed. it was a popular forum because all the people who could not get into a meeting and wanted to take part came and took part. >> they're going to talk about the taiwan issue. that was a crucial thing we have to get over. [inaudible] >> it worked beautifully. >> it wasn't bugged. >> what is really significant is that on the secret trip, it's my understanding that you were there, kissinger laid out our position on taiwan and joe said fine, now we can talk about the rest of the world, and it was sort of rushed aside. and then subsequently reiterated by chairman mao his position
is, we don't need to resolve the taiwan issue right now. we can resolve it after 100 years. we may have to fight at that point, but we have many more important issues to deal with in the short run. the taiwan issue was put on the back burner. "off onto the follow through but the reality is that the cooperation was on these broader strategic issues. there was a kind of gradual letdown on the taiwan situation with the de-reocognition occurring in the carter administration. which we say, we still maintain a relationship with taiwan, we have our internal law the taiwan relations act, which says we will help them defend
themselves. i would say the layout was favorable in terms of larger strategic environment being the focus and the way the taiwan issue played out was not the sharp [indiscernible] of the long trip >> taiwan said for 20 years we won't talk to anybody except taiwan. we had this bigger agenda. the chinese were willing as long as they got principles like one china -- they were willing to put off other awkward elements. we were refusing to give them up namely diplomatic relations with taiwan or security treaty with taiwan, the fact their troops in taiwan.
people say nixon made these great concessions on chine -- on twaiwan. we were selling arms and had troops in taiwan. i think both sides were intent to move ahead on the broader issues, like in the shanghai communication in reference to the soviets. we did not give up diplomatic relations or the treaty until president carter normalized in 1979. and kissinger gave a press conference explaining the shanghai communique, he reiterated our defense commitment to taiwan. john managed on chinese soil to reaffirm. the chinese as well as the
americans showed great wisdom encourage on this issue. >> the threat this initiative elicited -- taiwan should not be underestimated great --. these are the things that were not on the radar screen. beijing sent a delegation to new york when they entered the u.n. one of their cooks was poisoned. we assumed it was an intelligence operation. in hong kong there was a publication of the shanghai communique. lo and behold, one of the key paragraphs dealing with taiwan was not included in this publication. there were games being played on both sides that reflect the sensitivity and threat of this initiative. as win was saying, it reflected the determination and courage of
the two senior leaders to follow through on this despite a lot of the unhappiness going on on the sidelines. >> the united states had been a core ally of japan, and yet japan knew nothing about -- >> japan was very upset and they went ahead immediately and had been holding up to normalize relationships. it was interesting in our discussions with the chinese when we first went there kissinger would tell joe and i about the value of the u.s.-japan alliance. if they're worried about japan world war ii themes, their best bet was let japan relax under our security efforts. in the first couple of trips joe and i rejected this and said no, you are making japan fat and happy and you ought to get rid
of this alliance. discussions can really change people's minds. over time, joe and i admitted that kissinger was right, this was good for china at least for the time being. mao in one of the subsequent meetings scolded nixon and kissinger for hurting relations with japan. he said, why don't you go to tokyo? it was an interesting change in their outlook. one last one. thanks to eighth successive presidents of both parties there has been bipartisanship on this. we have managed the taiwan-china equation extremely well. we have gone ahead with this comprehensive major, positive negative, sweet and sour relations with beijing. at the same time, taiwan has
first become an economic heavyweight, then a democracy showing the chinese like freedom as well, and they have had security with our umbrella. it is a major success story. >> some people have said, it was going to happen anyway. it wasn't because of the james bond kissinger secret trip, it wasn't because of nixon's strategic vision. what do you guys think? i'm going to ask you all the same question. wasn't going to happen anyway? >> -- was it going to happen anyway? >> i don't think so. these individuals, we owe a lot of thanks and respect for their wisdom in pursuing it. presidents differ, and nixon had
this rich background or understanding of foreign policy. he worked, he studied it, and he had his own thoughts. frankly, even the kissinger-nixon relationship was interesting to watch. they needed each other. kissinger was really and and a great thinker, etc., but nixon had a lot to add, hard questions. the two working together was a great partnership. as far as the chinese are concerned, we were lucky. mao was sick already and did not have much time left. joe and i it was a critical person. we always learn in foreign policy about the handshake would not shake his hand at a conference, so we all shook hands. i remember winston -- it was kissinger, joe and i, you and me
, and an interpreter for a dinner, but there was a wisdom there, a long view. mao himself was smart. i think we were very lucky, and then of course circumstances and other things that made this a possibility. it would not happen in all situations for sure. >> mr. diplomat? >> there's nothing inevitable about history. ultimately this would have happened, but you had to have a combination of political will and diplomatic skill. nixon and mao had the political will and they were powerful people in their own communities and their own body politics. nixon and kissinger -- joe and i
and kissinger had the tactical, political, diplomatic skill to make it happen. those kinds of constellations don't come into alignment all that often. beaver lucky -- we were lucky. >> leaders really do make a significant difference. this is totally speculative, but let's say hubert humphrey had won the 1968 election, and i have the interesting experience of leading a congressional delegation a couple years later that the co-head was hubert humphrey. i spent two weeks getting to know them. my instinct is there wasn't the strategic vision broadvision and kind of experience the richard nixon brought to his presidency. he had been eisenhower's vice president.
he knew these leaders. then he lost the 1960 election but continued to travel around the world during the 1960's, when he formulated this approach with all this personal experience. hubert humphreys' experience was much more in domestic politics. how would he have handled the situation where the great fear was that the united states would be drawn back into a conflict with china because of the vietnam war? you can say he would not have had the broader soviet element and strategic context that nixon brought to the initiative. that's totally speculative, but leaders to make a difference. >> only nixon can go to china? >> i agree with my colleagues, this is not inevitable. nixon [indiscernible] was protected because he was a
known anti-communist. his party people, some of who might have suspected or not liked what he was doing, had to be loyal although there were still holdouts who were angry whether he was there president or not. the old cliche has truth to it nixon could go to china, it would be a lot more difficult for a democrat. if humphrey had tried to do that, he would have been hammered by the republicans. nixon could quiet things down. i remember flying back, and nixon and kissinger and those who were not so enthusiastic like pat buchanan and so on, all wondered about what the reaction was going to be in the united states. we were not aware of these dramatic pictures of nixon and joe and i toasting each other on the great wall. we did not realize how popular it was.
there were some who were upset. it just shows you that even then, after the trip and we're flying back, there was concern about the impact. it showed you the political courage it took. >> let me add one brief thing. when mao and nixon had their discussion mao said to nixon, i like to deal with rightists because they follow through on what they promise. that was only some flattery or however you might want to put it -- >> i think he was sincere. clearly, balancing the soviet union was important to him. >> a few minutes left for final thoughts. final thoughts about not only the opening to china, but the significance of it. >> it was huge. in history, certainly in our relationship, and building for what we have now in terms of china is a very different
country. this was a very important, very tricky, and amazing year in which it wasn't just this. it was the work with the russians as well. vietnam was still going on, and nixon was thinking talk more about these excruciating efforts that were made to try to get them to sign up and make a treaty. i can't remember we were bombing the b-52s on christmas day in 1972. soon afterwards we had an agreement, and you can say, what happened then? in any case -- this was a very important juncture in our foreign policy, i think developing it and maturing our
approach to the world. >> i think the nixon trip was a cataclysmic, diplomatic event. what it led to was an extraordinary meeting between the chinese and american people. i was in the liaison office when we set up 14 months later. that began the meeting of chinese and americans, traders, bankers, students, we watched all these delegations come in. we put them together, and the same thing was going on in washington. it was all the nuts and bolts, really. we laid the groundwork. the breakthrough had occurred, but now these two peoples were beginning to figure out how to work with each other. those relationships have become
so huge. they really actually run the relationship. in 1989, the soviet union collapsed. >> dick? >> i think it's worth reiterating that the nixon-mao initiative was probably one of the most transformative diplomatic initiatives certainly in the 20th century. it really transformed the dynamic of international politics and great power relations. one way of looking at it from today's point of view, you had a generation of leaders on both sides that were very worldly in the sense that they had been involved in the middle of the coral bar -- cold war and a generation now is gone.
looking at the world today in 2014 we don't seem to have the experiential leaders who have that sense of international affairs. that may be unfair to leaders today, but one has to be impressed by the vision, experience, and ultimately initiative that was taken by president nixon. we can get off into mao's motivation, which was complex also. >> in addition to the u.s.-china relationship, it shook up the international landscape in ways we don't try to go into now. it was genuinely transformative. the last i make is on the evolution of u.s.-china relations. it has been the latest summits between american and chinese leaders in beijing. if you look at decade by decade, you can see how this
relationship has evolved. in the 1970's he was mostly balancing the polar bear, the soviet union. there was not real content in the state department -- there was not there because we did not have diplomatic relationships. the 1980's was spent trying to flesh out this relationship in addition to the continuing anti-soviet aspects, which was crucial. tiananmen square elevated human rights in our relationship with china, and the fall of the berlin wall and the disappearance of the soviet empire --sorting out these problems and establishing a new relationship. in 2006, the issue has been china's growing economic, diplomatic military powers, and how we relate not a rising power
, but how do you relate them to the established power and not repeat the historical examples of 11 out of 15 of these phenomena have ended in conflict. we have now the most important relationship in the world and the most complex relationship in the world. i would end on that famous headline that happens to be true. this was the week that changed the world. >> this is a profound example of the people who really did work for the men who change the world , and where the giants of american history. the significance you have had individually, collectively, and on the world, is something we should all applaud. it is so significant that i think we will ask them back to do another panel to talk about the relationship of the united states after the nixon presidency. although nixon left office in 1974, he continued to travel to
china. he continued to write about it, think about it, and expand the relationship. for now, i want to thank admiral the ambassador, and the ambassador. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> every sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern learn from leading historians about presidents and first ladies, their policies and legacies here on "the presidency." to watch our programs or check our tv schedule, go to www.c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3.
>> the c-span city store takes booktv and american history tv on the road, traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history and literary life. next week and we partner with comcast for a visit to galveston, texas. >> the opening of the suez canal in 1869, sailing ships were almost dealt a death blow. with the opening of the canal, coal-fired ships had a shorter route to the far east, to india all of those markets. sailing ships really needed to find a way to make their own living. instead of high-value cargo they started carrying lower valued car goes, coal, oil cotton etc. alyssa found her niche