Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nixon-Kissinger Exchange on Taiwan

Some fascinating stuff is out there now. Here is an exchange that gives an interpretation of the Shanghai Communique that is wildly at variance with how that Kissinger is typically portrayed on Taiwan:

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Nixon: I noticed in the Washington daily news summary, the editorial, they made it to be critical of the fact that there was no mention of the Taiwan Independence Movement [in the Shanghai Communiqué].2 Let me ask, is the Taiwan—that source is interesting because that’s a more conservative paper. But is the Taiwan Independence Movement, is violently opposed to Chiang Kai-shek; violently opposed by the Chinese; and violently opposed to the Japanese, isn’t it? Am I wrong? Or the Japanese—

Kissinger: Well the Japanese haven’t taken a position on it, but it’s—

Nixon: What in the hell is the Taiwanese Independence Movement all about?

Kissinger: It’s not a significant movement now. It’s violently opposed by both the Chinese Governments. Chiang Kai-shek had locked up the leader of the Taiwanese Independence Movement, and he’s now in this country as an exile.3

Nixon: I know.

Kissinger: And we had major problems with Chiang Kai-shek when we let him in here.

Nixon: That’s right.

Kissinger: So—

Nixon: And with the Chinese in the PRC.

Kissinger: And with the PRC. But I noticed somebody must be feeding that because The New York Times, which never used to give a damn about Taiwan, had an editorial about that last week too.4

Nixon: On the independence movement . . .

Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: Do you think it’s out of State? Or could there be somebody pushing the Taiwan Independence Movement? That’s so goddamn—have you ever heard of the Taiwan Independence Movement?

Kissinger: No.

Haldeman: No. Not enough to matter.

Kissinger: I can’t speculate.

Nixon: But we haven’t, the other thing, I didn’t see anything in the State Department papers indicating that we ought to support the Taiwan Independence Movement.

Kissinger: Absolutely not.

Nixon: Did we?

Kissinger: No.

Nixon: There’s some kind of flap on it. Did Rogers raise that in his—

Kissinger: No. Well, they raised it at—

Nixon: At the end?

Kissinger: Well, they raised it at the end. At the end he raised it.

Nixon: He raised it at the end? What did he say—you ought to take note of this?

Kissinger: But he never raised it in the preparatory papers they gave us, never. At the end he did raise it among 500 other nit-picks.

Nixon: What 500?

Kissinger: Well, 18, 15. But in this catalog of nit-picks there was the Taiwan Independence Movement. But our formulation doesn’t even preclude, it states it has to be settled by the Chinese themselves. Naturally the Taiwanese are Chinese.

Nixon: Are Chinese.

Kissinger: If they want to secede, that’s their business.


Nixon: Well—

China, March–December 1972 849
848 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XVII
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Oval Office, Conversation No. 532–17. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the portion of the conversation printed here specifically for this volume.
2 Possible reference to Milton Viorst, “Has Anyone Asked the Taiwanese?”, Washington Evening Star, March 11, 1972, p. A–5.
3 Reference is to Peng Ming-min. See Documents 65, 91, and 178.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh! What might have been...

Nixon hated the Communists, but also, as a product of the WWII generation, he had no love for Japan and did not want to see them rise up again. It makes you think if he had had more knowledge and foresight on the Taiwanese Independence movement, he may have supported that as an alternative to the Chiangs. An independent Taiwan would likely have been a great strategy for a quasi-permanent strategic military presence that would not have to be negotiated with the CCP. A middle ground between parties. Maybe even hand over the Chiangs... hmmmm historical hindsight...

TheDalek said...

As I stated before, Kissinger should be public executed like a petty criminal he is. The same should be applied to that asshole sinophile Jimmy Carter and the rest of state department's Asian desk.

Fucking Sinophiles.

Feiren said...

What do the numbers mean here?

Well, 18, 15. But in this catalog of nit-picks there was the Taiwan Independence Movement. But our formulation doesn’t even preclude, it states it has to be settled by the Chinese themselves. Naturally the Taiwanese are Chinese.

This strongly suggests that at least Nixon was completely ignorant of the old back up arguments at State about the Taiwan issue being unresolved.

And of course that the idea of consulting the Taiwanese people on any of this was never even a question, since they were subsumed into the Chinese all along.

Anonymous said...

Amazing find. Good to know the US position on Taiwan is based on that crap.

Anonymous said...

Nixon hated the Communists, but also, as a product of the WWII generation,----

wait, what? Nixon hated communists? realy.. i saw him enjoying Maos presence..

Readin said...

wait, what? Nixon hated communists? realy.. i saw him enjoying Maos presence..


In the same way that the CPC has recently been enjoying the KMT's presence. It's not that they actually like the KMT, but they want to keep Taiwan divided against the enemy they fear more. Nixon saw good relations with the Chinese Communists as a good way to keep Communism against the Communist Russian enemy we feared more.

Divide and conquer is an effective strategy whether it is used against Communists or Taiwanese.