67. Memorandum for the Record, New York, November 22, 1971, 2-2:25 p.m.1 2

[Page 1]

November 22, 1971





  • Meeting with Ambassador Huang Hua, Monday, November 22, 1971, 2:00 2:25 p.m. at the Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

When the elevator door opened on the 14th floor at 2:00 p.m. Commander Howe was greeted by Miss Wang Hai-jung, who he had met in Peking and who now was a member of the PRC delegation. Miss Tang Wen-sheng, who had acted as Chou En-lai’s interpreter, was close at hand and the two of them escorted him to a small reception room some distance down the corridor to the left. Miss Wang Hai-jung soon excused herself to inform the Ambassador and she did not return. Miss Tang and Commander Howe engaged in light repartee which she began by saying “who would have thought that we would meet again so soon and here in New York.” Among other things she mentioned that she thought New York had changed a lot but cautioned that her recollection was not precise since she had been in primary school when she left the United States. She also inquired whether Dianne Matthews had received a box left in Peking behind a door in her room which had been returned via Paris. In response to Commander Howe’s inquiry she said they didn’t know what was in the box because they hadn’t opened it. (Dianne says the package contained tea cups and that General Walters has it in hand.) During this period tea and light snacks were served.

In a few minutes the Ambassador entered and, after an exchange of pleasantries Commander Howe handed him the attached note. The Ambassador and Miss Tang read the note together with the latter translating at a few places. After very little further conversation between them, the interpreter stated that Monday night would be difficult because the Ambassador had been invited to a National Day reception for another country. Tuesday would be much better. Since they were giving a reception of their own between 7 and 9 p.m., the meeting should be set for [Page 2] 10 p.m. (It seemed obvious from the precision of their reply that they had anticipated the Tuesday time problem and had already decided on lO p.m.) Commander Howe accepted this time without further discussion except to reiterate that Tuesday was also Dr. Kissinger’s preference.

Commander Howe gave them the address of the meeting place and explained that Apartment 1B was one flight up and that someone would be at the curb to bring them to the apartment. He also indicated that Dr. Kissinger would be waiting in the apartment. Miss Tang asked how the house could be identified. Commander Howe apologized for not personally having seen the house and explained that it was not in an affluent area but had been selected primarily to insure privacy. He stated that the dwelling would be numbered and that someone would be on the lookout for them. Miss Tang seemed a little concerned about whether a familiar face would be there to meet them, so Commander Howe told her that Winston Lord would be at the entrance and would greet them as soon as their car opened. He added that Mr. Lord might not be conspicuous but that as soon as they had stopped, he would appear. This seemed to reassure her. She assumed that they should come in their own car.

The conversation then turned to lighter topics. Commander Howe stated at an early point that he knew the Ambassador was very busy and that he did not want to keep him. However, the Ambassador seemed in no mood to end the meeting. The Ambassador remarked that Commander Howe had recently been in Peking and Commander Howe noted that those who had met the Ambassador in July had had many fine things to say about him. The discussion touched on a number of topics including: Chinese hospitality toward the U.S. party during the October trip to Peking, places the U.S. party had visited in China, whether Commander Howe was located in New York or had come to New York especially that day and Dr. Kissinger’s whereabouts, the fact that Dr. Kissinger would be in California with the President during the Thanksgiving period, and that the PRC delegation had been very busy and had not had a chance to get out of Manhattan, confining their travels mostly to movement between the Hotel and the UN.

As the meeting was drawing to a close, the Ambassador asked that he be contacted if Dr. Kissinger wished to change the time for the meeting. Commander Howe assured him that this would be done, although he was confident that the time was excellent from Dr. Kissinger’s point of view and he did not foresee any reason for change. Commander Howe said that if the Ambassador needed to make a change he could use the telephone numbers Mr. Lord had given him on Sunday. The Ambassador asked if [Page 3] Commander Howe had the hotel telephone number and Commander Howe assured him that there would be no difficulty in reaching the Ambassador if necessary.

In closing, the Ambassador asked that Commander Howe convey his personal regards to Dr. Kissinger and Commander Howe said that he would and that Dr. Kissinger sent his very best regards to the Ambassador.

The Ambassador and Miss Tang then walked Commander Howe to the elevator. (Miss Tang asked that Commander Howe send her regards to Dianne Matthews.)

During the course of the meeting there was no discussion of matters of substance or relating to the President’s trip, and no indication as to who would be attending the Tuesday evening meeting.

Footnote on personalities

(As usual, the Chinese were gracious hosts and went out of their way to be pleasant and personable. Miss Tang seemed a little less vivacious than when interpreting for Chou. Ambassador Huang Hua seemed at ease and deliberately prolonged the meeting but was not as glib as some top ranking Chinese previously encountered.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, Oct 20, 1971-Dec 31, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted by Howe. The meeting was held at the Hotel Roosevelt. The note is attached but not published.
  2. NSC staff member Howe met with Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Huang Hua and agreed that Huang and President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger would meet the next evening at 10 p.m. They also discussed the visit of U.S. officials to China during the previous month.