63. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, November 20, 1971, 11:30 a.m.1 2

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20 November 1971


Having received instructions to seek a meeting with the Chinese on the morning of 20 November, 1971. I called Tsao on the evening before and made arrangements to see them at 1130 on Saturday the 20th. At that time I went there and was met and escorted into the Red Room in accordance with the usual ritual. The Ambassador, Wei and Tsao were present. This was my 22nd meeting with them.

I said that I had not expected to see them so soon after our last meeting but I had received two messages for them. The Ambassador replied that he also had a message for me but that as I was their guest I should transmit mine first I then read the message referring to our desire to release certain facts about the tr[ip] at the President’s press conference on the 30th of November and giving our agreement their proposed date and time of release. Then I handed the English text of the message to Tsao as instructed in your letter of transmittal.

I then read the text of Dr. Kissinger’s message to the Prime Minister in French, sentence by sentence, and Wei translated it into Chinese. I then handed it to Tsao and he read from the English text and also translated it into Chinese for the Ambassador. He made no comment other than to ask what the meaning on “regarding of effect it might have on other policies.” I replied that it meant what the text said and he nodded apparently satisfied. He then said “The Vietnamese notified you of Le Duc Tho’s illness only three days before the scheduled meeting /” I replied that that was quite correct. He nodded ruefully and grinned. Tsao then asked for clarification of some English expressions of which he was not sure and I gave it in English to him and repeated it for Wei in French to make sure that there were no misunderstandings of any part of the text.

The Ambassador then said that he had learned that the U.S. had made excellent arrangements for the Chinese delegation to the United Nations and that they were pleased. He realized that we had local difficulties such as when Mayor Lindsay had refused to welcome Mr. Pompidou, but that nothing like that had happened with the Chinese delegation.

He then instructed Tsao to hand me the text of their message after first reading it in English. (This is the first time they have ever given me a paper to keep and transmit.). I am enclosing the text of this document.

After it had been read and handed to me Ambassador Huang She then said that he believed that they had answered all of our questions and as of that moment he did not owe me any answers. They had given us their view regarding communication in New York, regarding the situation in South Asia and their agreement for the date of the announcement of President’s Nixon, and the release of the additional material on facts which we wished to make public at the President’s Press conference. I said that seemed to me that the books were on balance between us as of that time.

All of this was interspersed with floods of Jasmine tea, platefuls of chopped nuts, preserved apples and two types of little pies containing unknown chopped materials. Mai Tai (Chinese Lightening) was also brought in and using my excuse that I had to drive, I took as little as possible. I had already taken the precaution of taking a glass of olive oil before going there to coat my stomach and limit the effects of Mao’s culinary and alcoholic revenge. Avery slight fragrance of incense drifted through the Red Room (first time I have had any, but it was much less than for Dr. Kissinger.)

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The Ambassador then asked bluntly whether I also dealt with messages for the North Vietnamese. I said that I did but only transmitted and received messages. Dr. Kissinger did the talking but I was present. He laughed and said “you fight on many fronts at once.” I agreed.

We then talked about the racial situation in the United States and I mentioned casually that my Air Attache was an Abenaki Indian and that the Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in Europe Maj. Gen Davison was black as was the Ambassador Sweden. He said “You are on tbe right road.” There was more light chit chat and historical persiflage of this type and after an hour I was released to go.

My departure took place in accord with the usual ritual and ceremonia [text illegible] The Ambassador, Tsao and Wei could not have been more cordial and seemed more relaxed at any time since I have been seeing them.



  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Geopolitical Files-China, Chron, 1 September-29 December, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Walters. The meeting was held at the Chinese Embassy. Attached is the English-language version of the Chinese message, with the handwritten notation: “11/20/71.”
  2. Military Attaché Walters met with Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen in order to deliver the messages Haig had transmitted the previous day. Huang provided Walters with a Chinese written message concerning a potential meeting between Ambassador to the United Nations Huang Hua and Kissinger in New York.