28. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, September 28, 1971, 5 p.m.1 2

30 Sep ‘71


I returned to Paris at 0730, 28 September 1971. My attempt to contact the Chinese by phone in the morning failed because, incredible as it may seem, there was no answer, either at the Embassy or Residence. Around noon I finally reached Wei Tung and he suggested I come at 5 p.m. This I did following my usual procedures. I was given the usual welcome in the usual sequence and the overstuffed red sofa scenario was also true to form.

Knowing their liking for beating around the bush, before getting down to turkey I mentioned that I had just arrived from the States. The Ambassador wanted to know how long it took, what kind of plane. He said he had boarded a 747 when the Chinese Ambassador to Ottawa had left Paris, but had not flown on it.

Then he asked about supersonic planes and I gave him a status report on the U.S. SST. He then asked how long it would take the Concorde to fly from Shanghai to Europe and I said 8 or 9 hours and added that I understood that the Chinese might buy 3 of the Concordes. He said they would probably buy more than that (!) but tapped me on the knee and said, “but for the domestic Chinese routes we would buy American aircraft.” I said that this, of course, would be just until they could build their own. He said, “Exactly, you understand well.” He then said that the Chinese had been building military jets when the technical assistance was withdrawn and they (presumably the Russians) thought China would stop, but it had not stopped.

Then I delivered the note re the release of the announcement on Dr. Kissinger’s interim visit and the subject of the discussions. This was translated first into French and Wei translated it into Chinese. Then Tsao copied it word for word and I proofread it with him.

This note was very cordially received and no noses appeared out of joint. The Ambassador then asked rather pointedly if my side comment on the China lobby and the bureaucracy was mine or Dr. Kissinger’s. I answered that it was an American reality and Dr. Kissinger had asked me in a general way to point it out to Ambassador Huang as I delivered the oral note.

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Then Ambassador Huang abruptly asked me if it was true that the French were not cooperating with us on the drug problem. I said that this was not true; they were cooperating, but much money was involved and therefore it was tough to do away with this traffic. He then said he had heard that in Saigon drugs were cheap and plentiful and many of our soldiers used them. I said that drugs were plentiful and cheap and some soldiers used them. Many was not the right word in the context. Examination of soldiers leaving Vietnam—and nearly two-thirds of the soldiers who had been there when President Nixon became President had left—showed that some four percent had used them. This was still far too many but less than one would have guessed from reading the newspapers. He then asked whether I felt punishment for drug merchants should be severe. I said that it was my personal view that drug peddlers should be executed. He nodded vigorous agreement.

Ambassador Huang then said that he had been very busy with Pai Hsiang Kuo, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade. The French had been putting out the red carpet for him. It was the first time a Chinese Minister had visited Western Europe.

I commented that Tsao had much copying to do and he said that Tsao was very able and in addition to English and French also spoke Vietnamese and Cambodian. I discreetly refrained from asking where he had learned them.

I then produced a large box of American chocolates and said that he had provided me with reserves and I would be shamed if I did not reciprocate. He asked if they were chocolates and I said they were, but—modest ones. He then poured me my fifth cup of jasmine tea with his own hands.

I then told him that on October 2 I would have further information for him about Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko’s call on the President and Dr. Kissinger’s non-jasmine tea with Gromyko. He then invited me with pats on the arm to a Chinese lunch on Oct 2. My heart sank at the thought of what I would have to eat, but I composed myself and tried to look grateful.

I was escorted out in accord with the usual ceremony. I noted that the Ambassador wore a very small Mao badge but that neither Tsao nor Wei wore one (both in shirt and tie). But Chairman Mao still smiled down on us at the entrance. No mention was made of current Chinese affairs.

Major General
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Walters on September 30. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy.
  2. Military Attaché Walters and Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen discussed the China Lobby in the United States, supersonic transport, and the American fight against illegal drugs.