154. Letter From President Ford to Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng1
Dear Mr. Premier:
Please accept my personal condolences, and those of the Government and people of the United States, on the occasion of the passing of Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
Few men in any era achieve historic greatness. Chairman Mao was one of these men. His leadership has been a decisive element in the shaping of the Chinese nation for several decades, and his works have left a deep imprint upon our civilization. He was truly a major figure of our times.
I was privileged to meet Chairman Mao during my visit to Peking in December 1975. Our discussion furthered the development of U.S. China relations along the lines that our two countries had earlier envisaged. Let me affirm now, as I did then, the determination of the United States to complete the normalization of our relations on the basis of the Shanghai Communiqué. This would be a fitting tribute to his vision, and of benefit to the peoples of our two countries.
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–1977, Box 6, China, unnumbered items (34), 9/1/76–9/29/76. No classification marking. Ford received this letter for his signature under a September 9 covering memorandum from Scowcroft. (Ibid., Presidential Country Files for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Box 14, People’s Republic of China)↩