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SHORT VIDEO PLAYING: (Kissinger and Nixon in historic 1972 China visit) RICHARD HOLBROOKE: My name is Richard Holbrooke. I'm the Chairman of Asia Society and we welcome you to a very special, indeed we hope historic, evening in the fifty year history of the Asia Society. But before I make any other remarks I want to welcome just a handful of the many very distinguished guests in the room. We have Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Chris Hill here, who many of you may have seen on television today and is on his way back to Beijing to continue the six party talks with the North Koreans. And we welcome him. We have the Consul General from New York of the People's Republic of China here in New York, Ambassador Liu. The acting ambassador in Washington from China, Ambassador Jian and Mrs. Jian and the Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations and many, many other distinguished people. This is really an important night for us. It's been in the making for well over a year. And it began with a simple vision by our great benefactor, Arthur Ross. Arthur, would you please stand for a moment? [APPLAUSE] Arthur had a shocking idea - Sino-American relations were the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Many other people have had that idea but Arthur knows how to convert an idea into a reality. So he and our President, Vishakha Desai, who will talk at the end of this program, and I met and Arthur said that he would give us a very substantial gift to start a center on US-China relations inside Asia Society and tonight we inaugurate that center. The center will conduct original research; educate Americans and the international public on China; will issue comments on critical issues and current events, distribute information on a highly upgraded website; engage key Chinese and American leaders in critical dialogue and we begin this tonight; and although it will be based here in New York we will work with all of the Asia Society centers around the world in Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, Mumbai, Manila and Melbourne. And we're in the process of talking about opening two other centers as we speak. Now I want to get to the business at hand which is quite simple. If you're gonna inaugurate a center on China, you need a fantastic director. And we've been incredibly fortunate to lure from the Journalism School of the University of California Berkeley distinguished China scholar, Orville Schell. Orville and his wife Baifeng are moving to New York or in Orville's case, back to New York to undertake this. You all know his extraordinary background. He's the author of seventeen books, wide commentator on these issues and we are blessed that he's here. And finally, how do you inaugurate a center on China. Well there's really only one way to do it and that is with the man who inaugurated the modern relationship. We are enormously pleased tonight that Henry Kissinger has taken time out of an exceptionally busy schedule. He has to leave directly from this event for Washington to meet with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tomorrow and I think you'll enjoy this event more Henry. [LAUGHTER] He is nodding sagely in the front row. But Henry has agreed to inaugurate this and we are videotaping this. We are broadcasting live to Hong Kong where Ronnie Chan is standing by with people in Hong Kong. In fact we're going to let the first question from the audience go to Hong Kong. And I only take it on your say-so that Ronnie's really with us. Can he hear us out there yet? I hope so. And we will videotape this and this will be the beginning of the archival part of our project. We've asked other American ambassadors to China to speak. President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush said they would come jointly to the stage and talk about their experiences in China. The other ambassadors, some of whom are in the room tonight. Winston Lord I've seen and there are some others. We will all be here as part of the archival part of this process. So we are enormously pleased. Henry you have got a tremendous number of your friends and admirers here and we are very grateful to you for doing this. And now before Orville and Henry Kissinger come to the stage, I want to remind you all of why we're here. Please watch the screen. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well, Henry thank you for doing this and Arthur Ross, thank you for causing this to be done. And thank you, all of you for coming. Well present with you at this week that changed the world was of course President Nixon. In certain ways it would be fair to say that you two were a somewhat unlikely couple. How did it come to pass that you could be deputized to work with him and ultimately to play the role that we just saw on the screen? HENRY KISSINGER: Well I maneuvered myself into the position. [LAUGHTER] ORVILLE SCHELL: Thank you for your frankness. HENRY KISSINGER: I, backing Nelson Rockefeller in three Presidential campaigns, against Richard Nixon. In fact I didn't, I hadn't really, I never met him - expect once to shake hands for a minute before he asked me to join him. As National Security Advisor. ORVILLE SCHELL: Were you surprised? HENRY KISSINGER: Well he was so reluctant to be turned down that the first time he talked to me, I didn't understand what he was offering me. And so a week later John Mitchell called me and said well are you taking the position or not? And I said what position? [LAUGHTER] So they asked me to come back and this time he did offer me the position and I had the arrogance of a Harvard professor to say, Mr President I have a post of twelve years. And I'd like to take a week to consult my friends. Why he didn't tell me to get lost at that point is not clear to me. But at any rate, out of that emerged I finally, after two days, came to my senses. Especially when Nelson Rockefeller told me what I should have known to begin with, that Nixon was taking a bigger chance on me than I on him. [LAUGHTER] ORVILLE SCHELL: Why do you think he wanted to take that chance? HENRY KISSINGER: He had written me once or twice before having read something I had written. It's not a question I can answer. And I never asked. ORVILLE SCHELL: Did you enjoy working with him? You were once quoted saying something to the effect that if someone had really loved Nixon he might have been a great man. HENRY KISSINGER: Nixon was an extraordinarily complicated man. With a serious knowledge of international affairs. Well read. Widely traveled. With many complexities. I don't know whether enjoyed is the right word but I managed to participate in a number of important events. And I think Nixon's courage and his vision made it possible to go in that direction. And so I had high regard for his contribution to our country and for the way he was trying to take us in the field of foreign policy. I was not personally extremely close to him. But I had high regard for him then. I have high regard for him now. ORVILLE SCHELL: And so how did the idea of trying to build this rapprochement with China come up? I mean what was the interaction between you two that first lofted this idea in the beginning of your discussions? HENRY KISSINGER: Well before we met, Nixon had written an article about the importance of relations with China. And as it happened, I had written a speech for Nelson Rockefeller which made more or less the same point. So we were in fundamental agreement about the importance of doing this. There were some, at the beginning of the administration, the first three or four months, we were so preoccupied with Vietnam and with Soviet relations. But then an event happened where the Soviet ambassador kept coming to the White House to brief me on the clashes that were taking place at the Yutsuri [PH] River. And it was not the habit of Soviet diplomats at the time to be transparent about events in which they were engaged. So I began to follow it more closely than I might have otherwise. And I knew that Nixon wanted to move in that direction but we didn't quite know how to do it and where to start. But then I invited a RAND specialist, Alan Whiting, to brief me and to explain to me what was going on. And he pointed out to me that all of these clashes were taking place close to Soviet supply depots and far from Chinese ones. So it was not probable that the Chinese had chosen the point of confrontation. And then the Soviets did a number of other things like inquiring how we would react to certain readiness measures on their part, vis-?vis China. So then Nixon and I discussed and he decided that we should move to convey to the Chinese that we were observing this and that we were willing to improve relations. And to warn the Soviets that we would not be indifferent and so we organized a speech by Elliot Richardson on that subject. And I think by Bill Rodgers, the Secretary of State. And there were a number of measures we took that today look trivial. For example one measure we took was that American tourists could buy a hundred dollars worth of Chinese goods in Hong Kong. Because at that time no trade with China was permitted at all. ORVILLE SCHELL: I remember in our passports in fact it explicitly said you could not travel to China. HENRY KISSINGER: Right. And so then we tried to find ways to communicate with China. Which turned out to be more difficult than we had imagined. Because both sides went down what turned out to be a blind alley. We were looking for some Communist interlocutor and we began to deal with Romania to pass messages to the Chinese. The Chinese didn't trust the Romanians. The Chinese tried to convey their thinking to us through Edgar Snow whom we considered a left-wing apologist for them so we didn't take it seriously. Many in the State Department, the working level of the China side was of course very much in favor of opening to China. But the high ranking foreign service officers who are mostly Soviet experts and they were very concerned about, they were smart enough to understand what we were trying to do. And at one point, George Kennan, Foy Kohler, Chet Bolan and Thompson called on the President to warn him that an opening to China might lead to a confrontation with the Soviet Union. So anyway that was the mood. Finally we found a channel via Pakistan. And from then on it moved towards the visit which as you mentioned. ORVILLE SCHELL: This was also the height of the Cold War of course. And there was a good deal of anti-Communism aloft in the land. And I wonder what was your attitude towards that kind of a crusade against Communism which was very much an animating principle in the Republican Party. What was going on in your head in terms of how you were going to deal with that question? HENRY KISSINGER: I thought that our strategic objective should be to transform the confrontation with the Soviet Union from an ideological struggle to a national struggle. And to make the Soviet Union look at the world as a nation and not a cause. And so it was part of our strategy to simultaneously improve relations with both the Soviet Union and with China. Of course we were also aware of the fact that the Soviet Union and China considered each other as rivals. So that to the extent that we could improve relations with China, we would give the Soviet Union something else to think about. But one of the dominant feelings we had and which especially the younger people on my staff, were deeply committed, we were going through the crisis in Vietnam. And that led to huge divisions in our country. And we felt that it important to demonstrate to the people and to the young people, especially, that whatever the divisions might be on Vietnam we had a vision of peace. And that we had a sense of constructing an international system. So on the one hand we of course recognized that there was a rivalry between those two countries. The purpose of our diplomacy was to discourage an attack on China. And to bring both of these countries into an international system. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well of course you also hoped that it would have some salutary effect on the war in Indochina. HENRY KISSINGER: Yes. ORVILLE SCHELL: But it didn't really work out that way did it? HENRY KISSINGER: Well I don't know how one would judge that. The way that is usually presented is that we tried to make propositions through China that they were then supposed to transmit to Hanoi. That is simply not true. Because when Richard and I were in China, we went from China to Paris for a talk with Le Doc Tho that was part of a series of talks that we had had with Le Doc Tho. Our basic strategy was to tell the Chinese our general approach to the Vietnamese question. ORVILLE SCHELL: And did the Vietnamese know at that point you had just come from China? HENRY KISSINGER: No. ORVILLE SCHELL: Hadn't told them yet? HENRY KISSINGER: We, we never told the Vietnamese anyway. I mean they learned it from the Chinese. ORVILLE SCHELL: But that's more or less what you wanted - HENRY KISSINGER: But we left Beijing at noon on Sunday. And due to the differences in time, by Monday morning we were meeting with Le Doc Tho on the previously arranged meeting that was part of a series in which we actually thought we were making some progress in the negotiation. So my point is we were concerned or we were hoping that our visit to China would contribute to a sense of isolation in Hanoi. And therefore might contribute to their willingness to settle. But it was not as simple as saying, as giving the Chinese a set of propositions which they were supposed to pass on to Hanoi. We never did it that way. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now by the time you actually got to China with President Nixon of course you were in a certain sense pretty far enough into this that if it failed there was much to be lost on the sort of domestic scene back here. Did you feel that were you on kind of shaky ground that in a certain sense the Chinese had a lot of cards in their hands that you had to, you were in a somewhat vulnerable position? HENRY KISSINGER: No. ORVILLE SCHELL: No. HENRY KISSINGER: You have to understand, in the Nixon White House, domestic politics and foreign policy were absolutely separated. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well not in Nixon's mind. HENRY KISSINGER: Not in Nixon's mind maybe. Anyway by the time we came to Beijing there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it would succeed. We had the Shanghai communiqu?nine tenths completed in the October visit; the only part that required some work, primary part that required some work, was the Taiwan issue. I don't know what Winston will say if we ask him in the question period, it never occurred to me that it could fail. And the mere fact of Nixon being there was a success. And nor could the Chinese afford to let it fail. Because they could not afford a crisis with us and a crisis with the Soviet Union. But the context was not one in which it could fail. On my first trip there were moments when we didn't quite know what was going on. Later on it turned out that what was going on was that the Korean, the North Korean President was in China and that Zhou Enlai had to go to a dinner in his honor. And so there was a gap of several hours where there were no Chinese interlocutors. But we assumed, all of my colleagues assumed and Nixon assumed and if you look at the exchange of correspondence that had occurred before, it was clear that the result of the first visit would be an invitation. And that we were on a road in which it would be very unwise for either side to blackmail the other. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now did you feel that? Did you feel that you were in a pretty much of a win-win situation? HENRY KISSINGER: We felt we were in a - it's very rare in public life that you have an opportunity to do something that is totally new. And in which there is nothing to talk about except important subjects. Usually there's a lot of details and so this was this sort of situation. Of course Nixon took a big risk in sending us in the first place. And of course if we had been sent packing or humiliated since he did it largely alone it would have been a huge political disaster. But if you looked at the exchanges that had taken place, we had come so far in getting to these exchanges that it was really not realistic to assume that the trip would fail in its fundamental purpose of setting a new course. And a lot of the details that are now being written about were of no great concern to us. It was not a bargain. ORVILLE SCHELL: In fact I have to say in reading the transcripts of many of your conversations, one of the astounding things about it is how little you actually talk about US and China. I mean you're roaming all over the world as if you were at some sort of a seminar with Mao and Zhou Enlai. HENRY KISSINGER: Well because we thought you know there were a lot of issues on claims and assets and sovereignty. And we thought we could - it could be settled later on. What needed to be settled was to establish enough confidence on both sides that they could go on the road that had not been trodden before. And so we gave what I think is a rather frank analysis of the international situation as we saw it. Zhou Enlai did substantially the same thing. And beyond that, in the very first visit that was really all that could be achieved or should have been achieved. Then we paid another visit to China which was primarily focused on drafting the communiqu?for the President's visit. That in turn pretty well assured that the visit would be a success. Now there were interludes. For example, neither side had expected, I believe neither side had expected that on my last day in China on the second visit, Taiwan would be expelled from the United Nations and China would enter the United Nations. ORVILLE SCHELL: That was a good bonus. HENRY KISSINGER: Our expectation was that this would be delayed. For a year or so. Or that some way could be found in which some compromise could emerge. So that created some furor in this country when we came back. But on the whole we moved in the conceptual direction in which we had set out. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now early on clearly you decided that you enjoyed and you felt you could constructively negotiate with Zhou Enlai in particular but you actually you know had some, quite admiring things to say about Mao. I met no one with the possible exception of Charles de Gaulle who distilled such raw, concentrated will power. He radiated an authority and a deep wisdom. Tell us about your - HENRY KISSINGER: Let me make clear. [LAUGHTER] On his - the moral conduct of his domestic policy in which I think appalling sacrifices - unforgivable sacrifices were imposed on the Chinese people. I'm speaking of him, first of all as a personality. He exuded will power. So do a lot of people who achieved dominance. He had an extraordinary ability to analyze international affairs. David Proust was with me on a very long conversation about three hours. And he's really the one who made that judgment. That he had known Adenauer and Churchill and de Gaulle and he had never seen anyone whose grasp of international affairs exceeded or even matched it. This of course we know now and partly we knew then was coupled with an approach to the rebuilding of China or the domestic situation that is from the human rights point of view absolutely unacceptable. ORVILLE SCHELL: So how do you, just to ask a kind of question that's slightly diversionary here, how do you put in to the context of the kind of negotiations you were having with Zhou and Mao and your overall view of dealing with people in a kind of practical way rather than an ideological way? Where does democracy and moralism, where do all of these things fit? How did you factor that in to what you were doing? HENRY KISSINGER: Well I think if you look at American Cold War policy, if you look at George Kennan or Acheson or the human rights element as a direct goal of American foreign policy, did not really appear in the explicit way until the 1970s. Until there was some margin. In the forties, fifties and sixties there was a great concern about the danger of nuclear war. You don't find Kennedy making big speeches about human rights in the Soviet Union. So our emphasis in those early visits was on relations between China and the United States. And we raised individual issues of hardship cases. We knew something about, mostly about Americans who were prisoners in China. But the relationship of our capacity to produce democracy in the world and our concept of foreign policy, that's one of the perennial problems of foreign policy. Sometimes we don't do enough, sometimes we do too much. And one has to look at it in terms also of a historic evolution. As Americans we have to be committed and we are committed and as a society we are committed to democratic values. But the time in which they can be implemented and the degree of influence we can have, must be related to circumstances. And when one doesn't do that, then one gets into a missionary kind of effort. That can destroy the ability to move towards peace. If one never does it, then one is in a kind of stagnation. Where to find the right balance, that's something that I do not find easy to define. But it surely was not the beginning of a relationship where John Foster Dulles had refused to shake hands with the Chinese, so that at the very beginning we engage in that dialogue. ORVILLE SCHELL: That of course raised deep questions of face which are rather profound ones particularly for Chinese. Let me ask you about Taiwan. I mean one of the things that's quite striking when you look through the history that began in 1971 down to today, is the absolutely constant sort of policy and the expressions of that policy by Chinese leaders that they're not going to compromise on Taiwan. And this is something that bedeviled you. What I want to ask you is why do you think this question is so important when you have Scotland voting to secede from Great Britain and Quebec from Canada and self-determination is sort of the flavor of the last half of the twentieth century. What do you, how do you analyze that impulse in Chinese diplomacy and thinking? HENRY KISSINGER: Of course I think you're in a better position as a student of Chinese history. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well you must have thought about it a great deal because you were up against it again and again and again. HENRY KISSINGER: Well maybe that's where the process of alienating territory from China, well it's nearly where it began but it is part of the vestige of the nineteenth century legacy. And China has been very insistent on reclaiming Hong Kong and Macao. And reclaiming Taiwan. I have experienced it as a reality of Chinese convictions. But one also has to say that we are now in 2007, thirty six years later and the two countries have managed to develop their relationship by respecting each other's principal concerns on that issue. The Chinese concern being that there's only one China. Our concern being that we want a peaceful solution. And a succession of American presidents and Chinese leaders have navigated this in a way that up to now has proved acceptable to both societies. And enabled them to develop their relationship without having Taiwan wreck the overall effort. ORVILLE SCHELL: Are you fearful that the continuing sort of stand off on this issue could come a cropper? HENRY KISSINGER: It's always a danger. I think both sides need to exercise restraint in respect to Taiwan. And one can also hope that the evolution of economic relations, of the internal structures of both countries, both societies, will make it possible to create a one China solution that respects the autonomy of Taiwan. But that is something that may have to, to wait. One has to be - one shouldn't think that confrontation will be tolerated forever. One should be careful that nobody wrecks the current restraint. And one should have one vision of how this process might lead to a solution. ORVILLE SCHELL: When you were negotiating this breakthrough of course, you were concerned about the right wing of the Republican Party. The sort of anti-Communist side of things. Did that constrain you? I mean obviously there were things you felt you couldn't talk about publicly which were better left private and secret. HENRY KISSINGER: See I'm getting to the age now where I remember only the things I want to remember! [LAUGHTER] ORVILLE SCHELL: I think you're not unique in that. HENRY KISSINGER: But we should ask Winston. I don't remember that we ever discussed, specifically, in our internal discussions at the National Security Council, I don't believe that we ever discussed how to handle the right wing of the Republican Party. We thought that that was something Nixon would have to do. After I came back I briefed some of them. But it was not my initiative. It was usually designed by the White House. And we might have been innocents, but we looked at the China negotiations in those days, that is we of the N S C staff, primarily in terms of their merits. And I don't recall any occasion where we had a meeting to discuss how the right wing would react. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well let me read you a little thing here. Our problem is - this is you speaking - "Our problem is to be clever enough to find language that will reassure the Chinese without alarming the Americans. Our problem is to be clever enough to find language which will meet your needs" -I think you're speaking to Mao or Zhou Enlai at this point - "yet does not stir up the animals so much that they gang up on Taiwan and thereby torpedo our initiative." Clearly - HENRY KISSINGER: That is what our challenge was. And of course there is such a mass of documentation now that a new form of historiography can develop. That people get one of these finders and get a sense and I don't consider this an unfair quote, it's something that we might well have said. But that was in the context of a negotiation. And to explain what the limits were beyond which we couldn't go. And didn't want to go in any event. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now I can't help wanting to ask you Henry what is it like to have been a principal in such an epic period of diplomatic history but also to have precipitated such an avalanche of scrutiny and so many books? How do you - do you read these books? HENRY KISSINGER: I never read the whole book. [LAUGHTER] ORVILLE SCHELL: You look at the index? HENRY KISSINGER: We kept more detailed records than I suppose any other administration. And we kept them close to verbatim. Because early on when I was appointed Security Advisor, I called on Dean Acheson whom I hugely admired. And he said never keep your records in the third person. Because he had never seen a memorandum of conversation written in the third person where the author lost the argument. So we tried to do our best to keep them verbatim. We thought, I thought this might be helpful to future negotiators. In those days it never occurred to me that there would be of course the internet didn't exist but the - ORVILLE SCHELL: Probably thank God from your perspective. HENRY KISSINGER: I probably wouldn't have done it but we are now in the opposite position. Where we may have produced too much material for historians. Now there's very little material for historians. Because most top policy makers knowing our fate, are writing a minimum and not very revealingly in the memoranda of conversation. That they leave to their successors. But it never occurred to me that it would reach the current point. As for the books, it really depends what the subject is ORVILLE SCHELL: Well it certainly is a rich load that you left and - HENRY KISSINGER: Well what happens, especially on the China thing is there's a school of thought that knows exactly what we should have done. And then they criticize us for not doing what they think we should have done, which we never intended to do. So that's, we were not going to China to try to solve every conceivable problem. We did not want to make a list of winners and losers in the early stages. Where we thought everything depended on establishing confidence and establishing a relationship on the basis of these two societies that had had no contact with each other. Could conduct policies that could contribute to overall stability. That was our primary objective. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now when you look back on what you accomplished, how do you know grade yourself? HENRY KISSINGER: Well I have trouble achieving objectivity. [LAUGHTER] I think we achieved essentially what we set out to do. And it has lasted for thirty six years with ups and downs in different administrations. Sometimes with attempts to alter the basic orientation or with coming back to the same conviction, that the relationship between China and the United States is central to the foreign policy of both countries and to the peace of the world. Now could we have done better as the negotiations evolved on this or that specific issue? I think China is the policy where I think what we tried to do was more or less achieved and were our successes. Not because we did it but in their way and the decisions they had to make, like establishing formal relations. Which was a major achievement and through a whole series of occasional crises, always coming back to the central compass that I, that is the achievement of a consensus that has developed in American society. That is dealing with these issues of which I think the country should be proud. It's not something that Nixon or I should claim for ourselves. ORVILLE SCHELL: I sense that when Mao and Zhou Enlai passed from the scene and then you began to have Deng Xiao Ping as your interlocutor that was a real change. I mean he was a very different person. Tell us how you reacted to him and what you felt his strengths and his weaknesses were. HENRY KISSINGER: Well I think Deng Xiao Ping first of all I believe he's one of the greatest men of the century. I mean he took a society and moved it from a specific ideological position into liberating its energies and into enabling it to fulfill goals which but for him would have been very difficult. As a personality, he was quite different from Zhou Enlai. Mao was sort of a figure hovering above the day to day contact. And Mao would speak in sort of cryptic sentences and conduct his conversations as a kind of Socratic dialogue in which he would throw out a proposition and then you'd comment and so on. Deng was focused on seemingly pragmatic problems. And seemingly raising specific issues. And he'd have a spittoon in front of him and spit into it from time to time. So he lacked the elegance of Zhou Enlai or the ____ quality of Mao. But as I began to understand him better I realized I began to understand the extraordinary design and the extraordinary capacity to go through the variations in his life of going from the top to having to work in a factory and then coming back and then being purged again. And always keeping his eye on when he came back the second time, I visited there in 1979 - ____ Deng was only Vice Premier so in terms of hierarchy he was relatively low. But it was clear that he was becoming - ORVILLE SCHELL: Well did you understand that he had people nipping at his heels from the left when you were negotiating with him? HENRY KISSINGER: I did not know it - well we had a curious relationship. The first time I saw Deng, he came here as part of Chinese delegation to the UN, to some economic conference at the UN. ORVILLE SCHELL: In '74 I think it was. HENRY KISSINGER: It was '74. And I to my shame, I didn't know who he was. And the advice I got was that he was economic advisor to the delegation. Which was headed by Chiao Kuan-hua who was foreign minister. And then Deng wouldn't leave. And since I didn't deal with economic issues all that much, I was in no hurry to see the delegation. So finally I invited him to dinner. And from the second they sat down, I knew who was heading the delegation. So then at first I thought he was, he'd replaced Zhou Enlai. But then during a visit in 1975 it was perfectly plain that there were some tensions because the foreign minister made a toast at the Great Hall of the People, which raised a number of ideological issues. And when I replied in kind the television lights were turned off so it was not - and the next morning Deng Xiao Ping invited my whole delegation to a picnic in the Fragrant Hills near Beijing. So he made it very clear where he stood. And also during President Ford's visit that happened a few months later, maybe a few weeks later. The same thing happened. Madame Mao made it, made it very plain that she was distancing herself. Deng made it very plain that he thought it very important to continue the relationship. But then six weeks later he was purged again. So he didn't come back until 1979. And I had heard from ________ the classic model of Communist development. And when Deng had what he called private banquet at which stood about seventy people, explain to me his vision which was diametrically the opposite and we were just sitting at one, there were several tables. We were sitting at one table, I was sitting with him. And I asked him a sort of political science question. How he was going to reconcile centralization and de-centralization. And then he began to talk in a very soft voice. It got very quiet in the room, everybody wanted to hear what he had to say. And he said he wound it by saying well we can't afford another mistake, because we've already made too many. And he stuck to that for all the time that I knew him. ORVILLE SCHELL: Henry, what would you have done, talking about Deng Xiao Ping, in 1989 some time in May as the students were gathering in Tiananmen Square what - do you think there was any point prior to the final denouement where there could have been a remedy that would have made things work out better, if you were Deng Xiao Ping. HENRY KISSINGER: I really don't know. One really wishes they had been. The dilemma was he thought of himself as a reformer. He was afraid of chaos all over China. But he didn't think of himself as a political reformer necessarily but even about six months before Tiananmen or whenever, I saw him in that period, it was before Tiananmen. He told me his next task would be to confine the Communist Party to more philosophical issues and not to the day to day operation of the country. So he had some ideas on which direction, how to move. But of course Tiananmen was a huge tragedy, not least for him. ORVILLE SCHELL: Do you think it set back the cause of reform in China? HENRY KISSINGER: It introduced a tenseness into the political side of the reform that might have been avoided if it could have evolved in a - but I think it was a tragedy. ORVILLE SCHELL: Now before we go to questions let me just quickly ask you some, just to maybe ruminate on the future a bit. If you were currently Secretary of State or running the National Security Council and I was the President, what would you say to me vis-?vis China? HENRY KISSINGER: What would I say to you about China? I would say we are now in a new world from this from the following points of view. When we started the relationship with China, it was a world of states. And there was a Cold War. And so there were dominant themes in international affairs and they could be viewed in terms of the power politics of historical experience. Now we're in a world in which - not everywhere but in many parts of the world - the state as it was formed in the seventeenth century is beginning to disintegrate. The nation, as it was conceived in the nineteenth century, is beginning to alter and in fact some regions like the Middle East, the relationship between state and nation was never very strong. Secondly, there are now issues that were not thought of when the relationship was created. We were not concerned with the environment as a global, international issue. ORVILLE SCHELL: You think this is a critical issue for the US and China? HENRY KISSINGER: Yes I think it's a very important issue. I think the competition for resources when you have limited supplies and growing demand, it can lead to a kind of competition, similar colonial rivalry of the nineteenth-twentieth century. But also the dominant factors that even through the Cold War, the prospect of war between countries had to at least be considered part of a strategic assessment. Today, wars between major countries are a catastrophe for everybody and have no conceivable objective. So one has to think of organizing the world without some of the pressures of historic diplomacy. And in relation to subjects that didn't used to be diplomatic issues. And in that I think China and the United States can play a key role; not an exclusive role but a key role. And when we look at non-proliferation and as I said, energy, environment and the shift of the center of gravity of the world towards the Pacific and then the ideological conflicts of the Middle East - in all of these we have to develop new patterns of thinking. And it's going to be difficult but that's what I would say to a President if he asked me. ORVILLE SCHELL: But he just did - HENRY KISSINGER: At the beginning of a term. Now it's pretty late this term to take account of all these issues. Anyway that would be my thinking. ORVILLE SCHELL: Well why don't we end our conversation here and turn to questions from the audience. And I'd like to start off with a question from our viewers in Hong Kong. And call on Larry Lau who's the Vice Chancellor of the Hong Kong Chinese University and a well known economist as well as the advisory board of the Hong Kong office. Larry, good to have you with us. Do us the honor of firing the first shot. LARRY LAU: Thank you Orville. I'm delighted to be representing the Asia Society, Hong Kong center at this event and on behalf of Hong Kong, Hong Kong center and Ronnie Chan, also my congratulations on the inauguration of the Center on US-China Relations. Having been born in China, raised in Hong Kong and having been educated and worked most of my life in the United States, I now believe in the importance of close relations to the two countries. I first visited China as an adult in 1979. And have been back many, many times since. The progress of China since then on all fronts - economic, political, social and civil liberties -- has been phenomenal. I'm confident that even greater progress will be made in the future and I'm also confident that the rise of China will be peaceful. I hope the Center will be able to educate the public on US-China issues and promote the relationship on all levels. Dr Kissinger, you were the chief architect of the US policy of engagement with China in 1972. And in the past thirty five years, you have advised many Presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush and we have seen many ups and downs in Sino Soviet I'm sorry - Sino-US relations over these years. My question is the following - if you look ahead in fifteen years we will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first opening to China. What is your vision? How do you think US - China relations will be like at that time? Thank you. ORVILLE SCHELL: In other words fifteen years from now on the fiftieth anniversary of your trip, first trip to Beijing, how do you think we can expect Sino-US relations to look? HENRY KISSINGER: Well I hope they will have been adapted to the new situation that we described before. Right now, the relationship is good and cooperative. But many of the problems that I mentioned are still before us. But I'm optimistic because I've seen now a succession of American presidents committing themselves to the importance of the relationship and to make the adjustments that were needed. And I've seen a succession of Chinese leaders who have moved in a parallel direction. So I'm basically optimistic. But of course we are now coming into a period where new types of people are getting into power on both sides. More attuned to the current technology. Less conceptual, more geared to the Internet type of cognition. And how that will be related to long term policy, on any subject, is to me a big challenge. ORVILLE SCHELL: Good. Well let's turn to questions - HENRY KISSINGER: Could we ask Winston, who was my partner in this - that I have done grave injustice to our common effort? ORVILLE SCHELL: Winston, why don't you say it? WINSTON: Just a couple of comments, Henry that was a terrific performance. As I recall, when you said the transcripts were almost verbatim, they were totally verbatim. Had to even get your jokes in there. But a couple of points, just to elaborate what you said about whether we were vulnerable when we went into China. We made it very clear in the exchanges through the Pakistanis that the agenda would go beyond Taiwan. We would refuse to go to China until they agreed that we would talk on issues beyond Taiwan which had been their traditional position. So once they had agreed to that we felt that we had enough of an agenda to go on. And secondly the reason Henry's trip was secret was precisely because we wanted to be sure of the terrain before exposing the President to a trip. Just two other quick points - on the Soviet factor within weeks of the trip to China, our relations to Moscow improved dramatically. We had a breakthrough on the Berlin agreement, on SALT negotiations and we set up our own summit with them. And in the final point on what Henry said, on the right wing, he's absolutely right. This never came into any NSC deliberations. The only time I can remember it being a factor Henry was actually flying back after the President's trip on Air Force One where you and the President were still nervous about the reaction of the conservatives in the United States. We had not realized just how dramatic an impact the television images had had and how this yearning for peace and this bigger framework that Henry had mentioned against the backdrop of the angst of Vietnam had really captured the imagination of the American people. So these are just a few scattered comments on what I thought was a fascinating dialogue. ORVILLE SCHELL: Thanks Winston. Let's have - do you have any comment Henry. HENRY KISSINGER: Maybe two comments. One to show you the level at which we were operating, Winston made sure to be within the pilot's compartment when we were flying into China. So that he could say he was the first. [LAUGHTER] Into China. And on the way back with Nixon, Pat Buchanan, who was his speech writer, wouldn't talk to me becauseso we knew a little bit about what conservative reaction might be. QUESTION: Mark _______ US Senator from Minnesota. My former father in law is John D. Rockefeller III, the founder of the Asia Society. The only time I've ever met you before is you gave the eulogy at Nelson Rockefeller's funeral. But fifteen years ago I was trying in Minnesota for two years to help a Chinese couple there get their son, who was then in China from, hadn't seen his parents in four years out of China. And my father's best friend, John Whitehead implored you guys as you left for China to intervene. And twenty four hours after you arrived, the Chinese government granted a visa for this young man to enter the United States. I want you to know I waited fifteen years to thank you. And he is now graduating from the University of Minnesota, served in the Minnesota National Guard in Iraq. He is now an American citizen. And he's now working in Shanghai. So I think it's important to note your relationship with China and the contribution you made, the relationships between our two countries have not been just historic but have been ongoing. So I thank you for that. My question is - I think, paraphrasing what you said, in the Gorbachev era the Soviet Union then, no country had ever made a successful conversion from a Communist economy to a capitalist economy. Seems to me China has made enormous strides in that direction. I wonder if you would contrast the Soviet, the former Soviet Union, Russia's difficulty in making that transition with China's success and why you think there's such a contrast there. HENRY KISSINGER: Of course China is a different society from Russia. Secondly in China there were - the Communist system had not been in power as long as it had been in Russia. And then China had the advantage of Deng Xiao Ping who had a vision and who concentrated first on economic reform. And it may also be that in China there is more self confidence in the society than there is in Russia. That if one tells the Chinese people that with great effort they can be the greatest people in the world, they tend to believe it. Because they think they are the greatest people in the world. In Russia, the feeling about the role of the nation is more ambivalent. These are some of the reasons. MAN: I'm wondering if you're still working on a work of Zhou Enlai at this point? ORVILLE SCHELL: Are you still working on a piece on Zhou Enlai, a book or something? HENRY KISSINGER: No I'm not working on anything. [LAUGHTER] I'm not writing a biography or an essay on Zhou Enlai. I've written at various times about him but I'm not working on it now. ORVILLE SCHELL: Next question. MAN: Dr Kissinger, my question to you is with the rise of India and China it looks like with India the relationship is more cooperative but with China still the definition remains unresolved. Do you know which are the areas in which you think US will confront the Chinese in the future? And are those areas still remain un-resolved or remain hidden to both US and the rest of the world? ORVILLE SCHELL: I think the question is will the relationship between India and China continue to evolve peacefully or will they resolve issues or what does the future portend? HENRY KISSINGER: Well first of all the basic principles that I mentioned before, for United States and China apply equally to India and China. I know there's the idea that one can use India to balance China. I think it'd be a grave mistake for the United States to conceive of our role in that manner. India will pursue its own policies. They represent their own way. It seems to me sensible that both countries have decided that some economic cooperation with them is highly desirable. I would also expect that in some regions, like Southeast Asia there could be elements of competition but I don't think one should now conceive international relations in the same manner it was conceived prior to World War I of the physical power of nations balancing each other. I think that is not appropriate to present circumstances. MAN: Dr Kissinger, should the US put more pressure on Beijing to use its influence on Khartoum to stop the mass killings in Darfur? And how much effort should the US in its relationship with China to stopping what's going on in Darfur. Thank you. ORVILLE SCHELL: The question is should Beijing put more pressure on Sudan to resolve the issue in Darfur. And of course it's interesting that President Hu Jintao is shortly going to arrive in Khartoum and then make a tour of Africa. HENRY KISSINGER: You know I don't like the phraseology that one hears all the time. Where the United States is asked to bring pressure all over the world to induce outcomes that it considers desirable. The situation in Darfur is obviously a huge violation of human rights. At the same time, China is engaged in the effort that I've described earlier of acquiring resources for its economy. If that effort goes on in purely competitive terms around the world then tensions between the national interests and global interest will develop more and more. So I think that the attitude of China towards Sudan, or Sudan type situations in the future will be affected in part, and our attitude, by the ability to create some common approach to the energy issue. At the same time I think China should understand that it's, that if it conducts relations with such flagrant violations of our views on human rights as Darfur, without regard for our sensitivities, it's bound to affect our relationship. MAN: Dr Kissinger, what would you advise both countries as to how to forestall an arms race? As part of that question, do you regard it as a legitimate objective of China to essentially equalize its arms strength with our own? HENRY KISSINGER: Well in unconstrained arms situations, countries will look to defend their national security as they see it. I look at this test in space. Of course it's a new dimension of the arms race and therefore should concern us from that point-of-view. But one could also look at it from this point-of-view; if China were to go the route of the Soviet Union and amass long range missiles by the thousands that will be a part of the arms race that is traditional and it will create enormous anxiety and create the same pattern that existed in the relations with the Soviet Union. This is a sort of discriminating form of strategic arms race that does not by itself threaten millions of people. And therefore may show a way of linking diplomacy and strategy but also of impelling a new look at arms control discussions. But I think it's a new dimension with different premises of the arms race than we've seen before. ORVILLE SCHELL: I think we have time for one more question. Unfortunately we have to go. Well listen I want to thank you Henry for kicking off the new Center here at the Asia Society and thank you all for coming. [APPLAUSE] Thank you Henry that was very nice. VISHAKHA DESAI: As you can imagine we could have gone on all night but I wanted to make sure that Dr Kissinger who had promised that he has to get out of here, I'm only doing this for you sir. To make sure that we close the evening on time. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen my name is Vishakha Desai, I have the honor of being the President of this institution and I have the honor of thanking all of you for being here. I'm very proud to say that thirty five years ago when this relationship began, clearly Dr Kissinger was there but this institution was a key player as early as in the mid-seventies with the founding of China Council in promoting better understanding of China in this country. And we're really proud that with the support of Arthur Ross, we now can actually reaffirm our commitment to bettering and making sure that this relationship stays on track. I'm thrilled that all of you are here. We look forward to seeing all of you at many more programs. Not only on US - China relationship but also on many, many other activities that this institution offers throughout Asia Pacific region and on many aspects of Asia Pacific from arts and culture to policy and business as well as K-12 education. Thank you for joining us and have a good evening. Thank you.