42. Messages From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, October 22, 19711 2

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October 22, 1971





The President asked about your response to his desire for private sessions with Mao and Chou and I gave him the essence of your discussions with Chou on the subject. The President asked that I wire you immediately and confirm that he was most comfortable with a meeting with both Mao and Chou together but insisted that the session include him only on the U.S. side. Haldeman informs me that if a meeting of this type is held simultaneously with both leaders then there is no requirement for a separate private session between the President and Chou En-lai. He agrees with me, however, that since you have already requested such a meeting that he will leave this issue to your judgment in light of your assessment of conditions there.

The President stated that if “anyone else” were present this would differ from the style he has established in his trips abroad and, more importantly, would raise the “Rogers problem.” There may be more to this than that simple explanation and I suspect the Sherman story in Sunday’s Post which touched upon the genesis of the Peking and Soviet initiatives was not helpful in any sense. You will recall that Sherman suggested that both trips had long been part of “your” conceptual agenda.

I hope to speak to the President this morning about the Middle [Page 2] East problem and its implications. He spent all day yesterday preparing for the TV announcement of the two Supreme Court appointments.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1035, Files for the President-China Material, China-HAK October 1971 Visit. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. No time of transmission or receipt appears on the message.
  2. Haig informed Kissinger of President’s Nixon desire to meet with Chairman of the Communist Party of China Mao Tse-tung and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai without anyone else present from the U.S. delegation.