7. Backchannel Message TOSIT 26 From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig), July 11, 1971, 1330Z1 2
- HENRY A. KISSINGER
- GENERAL HAIG, WHITE HOUSE
July 11, 13:30 Z
TO SIT: 26
Conversations were the most intense, important, and far reaching of my White House experience.
Principal host spent 17 hours with us, his associates another four, the latter mostly devoted to communique drafting.
- Other side first suggested meeting next summer, then fell back to Spring, finally settled on formulation of “before May 1972” which they interpret as from December onward. It is obvious they are planning a big welcome. All technical issues, including size of press corps and prior political visits, settled as President wished. Agreed time for joint announcement which I am bringing back with me is 2230 July 15, D.C. time. They were insistent on mentioning site and cast of weekend meeting.
- Talks on other subjects including one of particular concern very encouraging but too sensitive for cable. Will write report on plane.
- Please inform President that I strongly urge no further dissemination even to guest until I return. Just say I thought matter too sensitive for cable.
- Please keep everyone steady. Other side made special point about need to keep word meticulously. They will not understand even a minor leak and will consider it deliberate affront and proof of unreliability. Please keep P.R. types ignorant. A leak or even a hint is almost certain to blow everything. I cannot be too strong on this.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1031, Files for the President-China Material, Exchanges Leading up to HAK Trip to China, December 1969-July 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.↩
- Kissinger called his 17 hours of discussions with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai “the most intense, important, and far reaching of my White House experience.” He reported that the Chinese agreed to a visit by President Nixon “before May 1972,” and noted that the joint announcement of the visit was scheduled for July 15, 2230Z. Kissinger instructed Haig to inform President Nixon to keep the visit secret.↩