Memorandum for Record: Date 10 October 1971
On my return to Paris on the morning of October 9th. I went to my Office and there received, shortly after my arrival a telephone call from Tsao saying that because of unexpected circumstances they could not keep the appointment he had made with my secretary of 1000 hours on that day. He would call me back later to let me know what time they could see me. he did so and set the appointment at 2200 of that same date.
At that time I went to the Chinese Embassy residence in Neuilly, not far from my own home. It was dark and in honor of the fact I was received at the outer gate by both Tsao and Wei. Escorted into the living room where the Ambassador joined us a minute or two later.
Ambassador Huang enquired solicitously about how I felt after the return trip, jet lag, etc. He then directed Tsao to read to me the note which is attached as appendix A. At the end of this I said that many of the questions asked me were answered in the communication that I was about to give them. The Ambassador then directed Tsao to hand me the three typewritten pages which are attached as Appendix B. These cover the arrival at Shanghai, facts concerning Hungjao airport, radio channels and frequencies etc.
I then handed to them the list (latest version) of the crew of the aircraft, the list of Dr. Kissinger’s party, I told them about the secret service agents and Cmdr. Howe and conveyed all of the points in the instructions given to me in Washington on October 8th. I then added as instructed that despite many requests Dr. Kissinger was not taking any press with him. They seemed pleased. I also expressed Dr. Kissinger’s wish if possible to have tea with John Service who was in China. They expressed surprise that he would still be there at the time of Dr. Kissinger’s visit but promised to convey this fact to Peking.
I then handed them the verbatim of Dr. Kissinger’s press conference and they seemed to be expecting it.
Ambassador Huang said that he would transmit all this to Peking as soon as possible. I commented that their desire to have the aircraft in Shanghai between 8 and 9 a.m. on October 20th would require rescheduling on our side. He then said that if they did not hear to the contrary from me they would presume that we were acceding to their request in respect to arrival time.
I had however as a first order of business handed them the announcement (or rather let them copy it) concerning the Soviet invitation to President Nixon. They made no comment and maintained appropriate oriental inscrutability when I mentioned that China was the first to know and reaffirmed Dr. Kissinger’s statements to the Prime Minister.
They said that housing as requested by us, interpreters etc. presented no problem for them and they would do as we wish.
I was then informed that they had prepared dinner for me. I said that I had already eaten but that did me no good. On the other hand the Ambassador explained that he had already eaten and would not eat. The Red perfumed wine was on hand but fortunately the “white lightening” was not. While we ate I was told that electrical current in Peking was 220 volts (for typewriters). I told them I would check to see whether the list of Dr. Kissinger’s party was in protocol sequence or not. I told them I would check to see whether we could comply with their arrival time request and also ascertain when Dr. Kissinger and party would leave China. They said everything could be worked out with the Prime Minister.
There was a good deal of soft soap directed at me. How much they regretted I was not going, that I had made and was making “historic contribution to normalization of relations between U.S. and China.” The Ambassador then said that to hide nothing from me, he had been made aware last April of the approaches I had made to the Chinese [Page 2] Military Attache. He had been informed at once, but “the time was not ripe and he had not received the necessary instructions” so that nothing had worked out then. Meantime little stuffed patties of all sorts, mixed with preserved apples and dried dates were shoveled incessantly onto my plate all washed down by a large number of random cups of jasmine tea and perfumed red wine.
The Ambassador then said that after the normalization of relations between china and the U.S. the Chinese might well open an airline directly over the route traversed by Dr. Kissinger with “their Concordes”. He then said that whenever I came to China he hope I would visit him and a further helping of soft soap was ladled onto me.
I then said I knew he was busy and took my leave with the reverse ceremony to the arrival. The Ambassador and Wei were wearing small Mao badges. Tsao was wearing none. Mao’s great picture still smiles down from the entrance hall.[Page 3]
Handed to General Walters
October 9, 1971
The Chinese side agrees to the name list of the U.S. flight crew and would like to be provided with the name list of Dr. Kissinger’s party in protocol order (including name, sex, designation and passport number). Entry visas will be issued upon arrival in Shanghai.
The Chinese side would like to know the time of arrival scheduled for Dr. Kissinger’s special plane in Shanghai and that of his departure at the conclusion of the visit. It is preferable that the arrival in Shanghai be between 0800 and 0900 on October 20th.
The U.S. flight crew is requested to wear civilian attire and not to carry weapons openly.
Banks in China normally do not accept U.S. dollars but can exchange them for foreign guests as an expediency.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, July 1971-Oct 20, 1971. No classification marking. Drafted by Walters on October 10. The meeting was held at Chen’s residence in Neuilly. Attached as Appendix A is the Chinese oral note. Appendix B is attached but not published.↩
- Military Attaché Walters gave Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Cheng the text of President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger’s press conference, during which Kissinger planned to announce President Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union.↩