- WASHINGTON (AP) -- Advising Chinese leaders that the Soviets were determined
to amass enough nuclear weapons to destroy their country, Henry Kissinger
secretly offered China U.S. satellite information and a hot line long before
the communist government gained American diplomatic recognition, according
to transcripts of conversations about to be released.
- "We would be prepared, at your request,
through whatever sources you wish, to give you whatever information we
have about the disposition of Soviet forces," Kissinger told Huang
Hua, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, in 1971.
- He was referring to Soviet forces deployed
during the war that year between India and Pakistan. But Kissinger offered
to share a web of intelligence in meetings with Chinese leaders, including
Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Premier Chou En-lai in November 1973. "There
is nothing we are doing with the Soviet Union that you do not know,"
Kissinger told Mao.
- According to transcripts of top-secret
talks Kissinger held as U.S. national security adviser and as secretary
of state during the Nixon and Ford administrations in the 1970s, he played
China against Russia with inventive triangular diplomacy.
- A quarter-century later, the Clinton
administration has been under fire for letting U.S. civilian companies
transfer satellite launch technology to China. Two weeks ago, a select
House committee issued a largely secret, 700-page report that the chairman,
Rep. Christopher Cox, R-California, said "found that national security
harm did occur" from not only the Clinton transfers but other Chinese
acquisitions over the past two decades.
- Kissinger in Israel on Saturday
- The transcripts of secret conversations
that may have changed history are being published by the National Security
Archive of George Washington University, for release Sunday. They were
obtained through freedom-of-information requests and other means, the private
group said. Kissinger's office said he was traveling and not available
- Interspersed in the documents are flashes
of Kissinger's celebrated wit.
- Chou told him, for instance, that China
was giving only limited support to revolutions in Latin America. "We
are still learning."
- Kissinger quipped, "I hope you don't
learn too fast."
- Tough remarks also are attributed to
- He told British Prime Minister James
Callaghan in 1974, "As everyone knows, the Soviet leaders belong to
the most unpleasant group one can deal with. Their capacity to lie on matters
of common knowledge is stupendous."
- A document from 1976 quotes Kissinger
as saying to President Ford about the Chinese leadership, "They are
cold, pragmatic bastards."
- During the 1970s, President Nixon was
pursuing a policy of detente with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. His aim
was to lessen tensions in various areas of the world, while competing actively
- At the same time, Nixon was preparing
for U.S. diplomatic recognition of China, which eventually happened under
President Carter in 1979. A secret Kissinger trip to Beijing in 1971, then
Nixon's highly publicized visit in 1972 set the course for the historic
- Briefing Chou on the Soviets on November
10, 1973, in the Great Hall of the People, Kissinger said it was in the
interests of the United States to prevent a Soviet nuclear attack on China.
- "They want us to accept the desirability
of destroying China's nuclear capability," Kissinger said, according
to a transcript of the conversation.
- Instead, he offered China secret military
cooperation with the United States, including "ideas on how to lessen
the vulnerability of your forces and how to increase the warning time"
before a Soviet attack.
- Three days later, Kissinger told the
premier, according to a transcript:
- "Any help we would give you in our
mutual interest should be in a form that is not easily recognizable. With
respect to missile launches, we have a very good system of satellites,
which give us early warning.
- "The problem is to get that to you
rapidly. We would be prepared to establish a hot line between our satellites
and Beijing by which we could transmit information to you in a matter of
minutes." Chou asked, "Through the satellites?"
- Kissinger explained the information would
go to Washington and then to Beijing in ways that "would not attract
- While Chou was interested in the proposal
and met with Kissinger several times to discuss a hot line to provide China
with strategic U.S. intelligence information, the Chinese did not respond
to the offer, William Burr wrote in a commentary on the transcripts.
- It was not until 1998 that China signed
a hot line agreement with the United States.