The Opening to China: What Really Happened

Sunday 17 July, 2011 at 3:26 pm Ken 0

A transcript of National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger’s first, secret meeting with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, prepared by Kissinger’s own aides.

The transcript remained classified for decades after the event, allowing Kissinger and President Richard M. Nixon to burnish their legends about the opening to China.

As you can see, in this first face-to-face meeting between top American and Chinese officials since the Communist revolution, Kissinger outlined to Zhou Enlai the terms under which Nixon would accept a North Vietnamese takeover of South Vietnam.

Nixon would agree to total withdrawal of American troops in return for release of American Prisoners of War (POWs) held by Hanoi and a ceasefire-in-place (pp. 19-20) that would leave North Vietnamese troops occupying and governing parts of the South.

The ceasefire, lasting “say 18 months or some period,” (p. 36) would provide Nixon with a “decent interval” of a year or two between his final withdrawal of American troops and Hanoi’s final takeover of the South.

Kissinger also said, “there should be respect for the Geneva Accords,” (p. 20) the 1954 agreement that divided Vietnam into North and South, but made it clear that the North could resume seeking military conquest without fear of US intervention following a “decent interval.”

“If the agreement breaks down, then it is quite possible that the people in Vietnam will fight it out,” Mr. Kissinger told the premier. “If the government is as unpopular as you seem to think, then the quicker our forces are withdrawn, the quicker it will be overthrown. And if it is overthrown after we withdraw, we will not intervene.” (pp. 35-36.)

Kissinger outlined to Zhou Enlai the terms under which Nixon would accept a North Vietnamese takeover of South Vietnam. Nixon would agree to total withdrawal of American troops in return for release of American Prisoners of War (POWs) held by Hanoi and a ceasefire-in-place (pp. 19-20) that would leave North Vietnamese troops occupying and governing parts of the South.

The ceasefire, lasting “say 18 months or some period,” (p. 36) would provide Nixon with a “decent interval” of a year or two between his final withdrawal of American troops and Hanoi’s final takeover of the South.

Kissinger also said, “there should be respect for the Geneva Accords,” (p. 20) the 1954 agreement that divided Vietnam into North and South, but made it clear that the North could resume seeking military conquest without fear of US intervention following a “decent interval.”

“If the agreement breaks down, then it is quite possible that the people in Vietnam will fight it out,” Mr. Kissinger told the premier. “If the government is as unpopular as you seem to think, then the quicker our forces are withdrawn, the quicker it will be overthrown. And if it is overthrown after we withdraw, we will not intervene.” (pp. 35-36.)

Historian Jussi Hanhimaki first brought these passages to light:
http://www.shafr.org/p…

 

 

 

 

 



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