MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD:
MEETING WITH THE CHINESE ON OCTOBER 14th 1971
I had called Wei on the morning of the 14th of October to tell him that I had the list in protocolary order. After consultation he asked me to go to the usual location at the Chinese Embassy residence at 6.p.m. I agreed and went there at that time.
I was received by Tsao alone. He explained that the Ambassador and Wei were unavoidably detained by important matters. I said that I understood and what I had was purely a technical answer. I then gave them the list of Dr. Kissinger’s party in protocolary order which I had received from Washington. He took note of it and said he thought it fulfilled all of their requirements.
Fortified by Jasmine tea and preserved apples we then passed on to more trivial matters. He told me that inasmuch as we were alone he would like me to know how happy he was to have this opportunity to know me and to become friends. He had graduated from St. John’s university in China which had been run by Americans and was happy to resume contact with them. He said frankly that if and when diplomatic relations were resumed between China and the U.S. He hoped that he would be assigned to the U.S. I told him that from the point of language he was certainly fully qualified. He said that he tried hard to keep abreast of U.S. matters. Each week he read the Christian Science Monitor and the Economist as he felt that they were the two best sources of information. He was less kind to Time, Newsweek but surprisingly had a relatively kind word for U.S. News and World Report saying that their interviews were often very informative. He said that he found the New York Times and Washington Post full of news but less dispassionate that the Christian Science Monitor and the Economist.
He then told me that he was something of a foreign expert, particularly as he had been born in Shanghai and had contact with foreigners for a long time. He said that he also spoke Russian, Japanese and German. We spoke and his Japanese and Russian are as bad as mine and his German is much worse. To console him I said that he also spoke really difficult languages like Vietnamese and Cambodian. He nodded appreciatively.
He then apologized again for the fact that the Ambassador was not there, and I added that inasmuch as what I had to transmit was purely technical and not substantive I had not expected the Ambassador to be present. Again he nodded [Page 2] appreciatively. I had got him off the face hook. He said that enjoyed talking to me. I was open and frank and very different from what he had expected. He hoped that we would continue to be in touch. I too said how much I enjoyed the talks with him (In which I do most of the talking. They want it that way and I am not averse to setting the record stright in a very low key about the U.S.).
With profuse expressions of mutual esteem, I took my leave.
- 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.↩
- Military Attaché Walters gave interpreter Tsao the names of President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger’s entourage for his upcoming visit to China. Tsao, in turn, discussed his admiration for the United States, especially its print media.↩