119. Memorandum From Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), New York, April 3, 19721 2

April 3, 1972






  • My April 3 Mission to New York

Here is a brief rundown of this evening’s mission to New York which, as I phoned in to Al, was accomplished uneventfully.

At 8:30 p.m. I walked into the front entrance of the Chinese Mission from the Amsterdam Avenue side, past a single unquestioning policeman. The lobby contained eight to ten uncurious Chinese and an atmosphere of having just moved in. Miss Shih greeted me at the door and immediately escorted me into the elevator. We went to the second floor and proceeded to Room 204, a little way down the hail to the left, a modest suite.

Miss Shih served me jasmine tea, and after two sips worth of small talk on the weather and the Lincoln Center, I handed her an envelope with our message inside it. She read it carefully, with serious countenance, for about five minutes. She then impassively said that they would transmit it immediately to their Government and let us know if they had any instructions as a result of it. She had no questions or comment. She then poured me a second cup of tea.

Then (as you instructed) I made an informal comment on a personal basis along the following lines. I had been with Dr. Kissinger on all his trips and sat in on all his meetings, and I knew personally that there was no policy he believed in more than improving relations with the People’s Republic of China. This was the spirit in which we approached our relationship and one which we were prepared to apply also to North Vietnam. And this was the framework of the message I had just given her. It was also in this light that we had issued the instructions concerning the Paracel Islands contained in the message. Frankly speaking, I added, this had been a very difficult issue within our Government.

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She nodded understanding and then resumed the small talk in a relaxed fashion. For a few more minutes we discussed the varied scenery in the United States which I hoped she would get to see and the impending visit of the Chinese table tennis team. (I noted that they had managed to lose one match in Canada which was very diplomatic, and quickly added that it was friendship not competition that counted.)

When she started to pour me another cup of tea, I politely refused saying that I had to leave in order to catch the last plane back to Washington. She then escorted me down the elevator and out to the front door. We shook hands at the entrance and I walked back toward Amsterdam Avenue.

A few miscellaneous comments: The street was quiet and relatively deserted, with no one hanging around. There seems to be only one entrance, with the garage right next to it, facing on the side of Lincoln Center. Miss Shih was very friendly both before and after we did our business. I was friendly without being effusive. When I commented that there must be many empty rooms in the inn, she said that more people were coming. When I said that I hoped this included families, she said “not children.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, March 1, 1972-June 24, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at the new quarters for the PRC Mission, located near Lincoln Center. The precise time of the meeting is not indicated. The United States message that Lord delivered is printed as Document 219, Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVII.
  2. Lord met informally with Shih Yen-hua of the Chinese Mission to the UN and communicated President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger’s belief that there was “no policy he believed in more than improving relations with the People’s Republic of China.” The undated message references several points raised by the United States in the April 3 message.