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149. Memorandum From the Defense Attaché in France (Walters) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

At 0830 on 19 July 1971 I called without prior announcement at the Residence of Ambassador Huang Chen in Neuilly, not far from my own home. I had left my car some distance away and arrived on foot. I was obviously expected and let in at once. I was initially received by the Ambassador’s Secretary, Mr. Wei Tung. After tea and sweets, the Ambassador arrived accompanied by his First Secretary, Tsao Kuei Sheng.

The Ambassador said he had returned from Peking the previous evening. He complimented me on my discretion in coming early to residence rather than to chancellery where “police and newspapermen were watching.” He said that he was glad to talk to a “colleague” as he, too, was a general.

The Ambassador said that Dr. Kissinger had done great work in Peking and he was a man who knew the value of discretion. I then handed him the message and the background briefing and requested that he transmit them to Prime Minister Chou En-lai with all possible speed and security.2 He said that he would do so at once.

The Ambassador then said that when Dr. Kissinger had been in Peking he had indicated that he (HAK) might come to see the Ambassador in Paris. He asked that if this were to occur, he would appreciate being advised in advance through me and I could arrange the interview. If Dr. Kissinger had questions to ask, he would appreciate being advised two or three days in advance so he could transmit these questions to P.M. Chou En-lai and thus have the answers when he saw Dr. Kissinger.

He then said that the Chinese side had a message that they wanted to get to Dr. Kissinger at once. They read this slowly in English and I wrote it down and read it back to them. It is attached herewith.3

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He said he knew I had translated for President Nixon on many occasions and knowing that my hobby was subways (this is correct), he hoped I would see the new Peking subway when I went to China.

After this demonstration of biographic expertise, more tea, extreme cordiality throughout, I was given telephone numbers 624–9002 and 624–9003 to reach them whenever I wanted. We agreed that we would each use the code name JEAN over the phone.

He again complimented me for coming to his residence rather than the chancery and said he was happy to have this direct channel of communications. He walked me to the door and reiterated that he would send what I had given him to Prime Minister Chou En-lai at once.

Faithfully

Dick

P.S. I made plain that no one in the U.S. Embassy in Paris was aware of the existence of this channel. They said they felt it was best that way. My stay at their Embassy lasted nearly an hour. Several times they made references to their industrial backwardness. This could indicate a future request for industrial know-how.

Attachment4

President Nixon expresses his warm appreciation for the courtesies that Premier Chou En-lai and the Government of the People’s Republic of China extended to Dr. Kissinger during his visit to Peking.

The President has received Dr. Kissinger’s reports of the visit and his talks with Premier Chou En-lai and other Chinese officials with great interest. He wishes to reaffirm all the understandings that were arrived at in these conversations and to assure the People’s Republic of China that the United States Government will adhere to them scrupulously. The President hopes that the People’s Republic of China will understand the bureaucratic complications that Dr. Kissinger outlined, and he reaffirms the procedures which Dr. Kissinger suggested for handling these problems.

The President has approved an interim visit to Peking prior to his own. He will send Dr. Kissinger and Ambassador Bruce in order to work out the detailed arrangements for the President’s subsequent visit to China. Within the next six weeks the United States Government will [Page 464]propose, through this channel, possible dates for both the interim visit and the President’s visit to Peking. The President warmly looks forward to his meetings with the Chinese leaders.

Dr. Kissinger wishes to add his own personal gratitude for the extremely gracious and hospitable manner in which he and his associates were received in Peking. He wishes to thank Premier Chou En-lai and all the other Chinese officials who made his journey so important and memorable.

Enclosed is a copy of Dr. Kissinger’s July 16, 1971 background briefing of the press in California which he thought would be of interest to the Premier.5 This is the only official statement that will be made by the U.S. Government on Dr. Kissinger’s visit to Peking.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.
  2. See attachment below.
  3. Attached but not printed. The message reads: “Over a period of time, a number of U.S. political figures have eagerly made requests for visits to China. Now that the announcement of July 16, 1971, has been issued, it will be difficult for the Chinese Government to further put off the consideration of these requests. In its contacts with them, the Chinese side will naturally expound its fundamental position on Sino-U.S. relations, the question of Indochina, the Far East question and the world situation, but will not mention the specific statements by Dr. Kissinger in the Peking talks.” Nixon made the announcement on the evening of July 15 (U.S. time), which was July 16 in the PRC.
  4. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the message reads: “Classified phone for hand carry by Fazio to Walters, 7/16/71.”
  5. Background briefing given by Kissinger and Ziegler on the morning of July 16 at San Clemente. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Office Files, Box 86, Country Files—East Asia, U.S. China Policy, 1969–1972)