16. Letter From the Military Attaché at the Embassy in France (Walters) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), Paris, August 9, 19711 2
9 August 1971
Herewith the latest scenario. Immediately upon receipt of your letter and verbal notes I called Mr. Wei and he offered 1530 for a meeting. I accepted. Immediately after that I called Mr. Lieu and arranged to postpone next Monday’s meeting until 11:00 a.m. (I did not mention the day over the phone—only the hour.)
At 1530 I went (on foot) to the CPR Embassy. I was received at the gate by Wei and Tsao and escorted into the living room. The Ambassador arrived almost immediately. I said I had received this morning two verbal notes for them. First I read them in French and Wei translated for the Ambassador. Then I dictated them in English to Tsao who wrote them down in English.
The Ambassador said that he would transmit them at once by swift safe means to Peking.
Re the appointment with Dr. Kissinger, he would have to get Peking’s views and would let me know.
Jasmine tea, lichee nuts and for the first time dried apricots. Further discussion of languages. Ambassador said Chinese were teaching Mandarin (Kuo Yu) in all schools as linguistic quarrels and difficulties had been an obstacle to unity for two millenia. Short language lesson for me—when I went to China I would learn easily, etc.
Near the end, the Ambassador said that he would see Dr. Kissinger on Monday at 0900. If there was any difficulty about this, Mr. Wei would call me beforehand.
I said I knew how busy the Ambassador was and was grateful for his seeing me so promptly. He said that my visits were in the interests of both our countries and therefore he was always glad to see me. I said that I did not wish to delay them and after one more cup of tea (the 4th) and two more lichee nuts, I was escorted to the door by all three.[Page 2]
Again I felt the reluctance to let me go. It seemed to me that for them to talk to an American was like talking to someone from another planet. (I feel a little bit that way about them myself). Meeting could not have been more cordial. It lasted 35 minutes.
Major General, USA
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. See Document 15 for the text of the two oral messages.↩
- Walters indicated that he had delivered the messages he had received from Haig to Chinese officials on August 8. Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen agreed to meeting with President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger on August 16.↩