74. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, December 18, 1971, 11 a.m.1 2

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20 December 1971

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD

SUBJECT: 28th Meeting with the Chinese in Paris. 18 December 1971 1100

Almost as soon as I walked in the door of my office coming from Orly Airport and the United States I received a phone call from Tsao enquiring whether I was actually coming at 1100 that morning. I assured him that I was and it was quite obvious that they were anxious to see me.

At that time I went to the Chinese Embassy Residence in Neuilly using the usual precautions in order not to be too obvious and was received there in accordance with the usual protocolary sequence and rites. That is to say Wei at the gate and Tsao at the door and the Ambassador a few moments later in the Red Room. My heart sank as I saw the plates and forks and small glasses for Mai Tai, the Chinese fire and food about which my feelings are somewhat mitigated.

The Ambassador told me that he had seen me on television in the Azores even though he had not seen me in person for some time. I had been with President Nixon. Both Tsao and Wei added that they too had seen me. This had obviously given my prestige a somewhat needed boost.

I then read to the Ambassador the message regarding our activities during the Indo Pakistan War. He said at the end after Wei had translated this that the Social Imperialism of the Soviet Union had dropped its mask and revealed its ugly face to the whole world. He said that the Soviet Union was obviously moving to establish itself on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The threat to China was a permanent one. The Soviets had over a million camped along their border with China and they had also installed missile bases. China was not afraid. She was strong and the Chinese peoples had dug great tunnel cities under their major cities and were quite prepared to face anything that the Soviet Union might do. He noted the Soviet use of the veto to thwart the will of the overwhelming majority of the members of the United Nations. Pakistan had unquestionably been the victim of the crudest kind of aggression. He made no direct comment on the substance of our message, other than to say that he would transmit it to Peking as soon as possible.

I then handed them the preliminary plans of the building designed to house the Television Production and Transmission Center, as well as the technical date which I had received for them. The Ambassador said that all of this was too technical for him but that he was certain that the Chinese technicians would know what to do with it, particularly when they received the remaining data which we had promised them.

The Ambassador then said that in my absence Tsao and Wei had seen my Secretary Miss Ouellette and had found her most efficient, discreet and to the point.

I said that the Chinese action in releasing the American prisoners had been very well received in the United States by all. The prisoners themselves had been discreet and had said nothing that could be interpreted as hostile to China. Such actions were much appreciated by American public opinion.

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The Ambassador said that he was glad that after a period of guardedness we had come to speak frankly to one another and he appreciated this. The Ambassador then asked how I viewed the immediate future on the South Asian sub continent. I said that it was difficult to see what the immediate future would bring but it seemed to me speaking on a purely personal basis that we should find means not to be caught in such a disadvantageous position again and that we must find means to prevent aggression from being rewarded. He nodded thoughtfully but made no direct comment.

The Ambassador then turned the conversation into personal channels, Was I tired? How were the Azores? He did not probe to find out what actually went on and asked no questions of substance concerning that meeting. He said that they would be happy to get the remainder of the technical data. I replied that I had been promised that this would be sent along by courier in the next few days and that as soon as I received it I would see that it got into his hands as soon as possible. All of this with cups and cups of tea and wedge after wedge of preserved apples as well as various little pies stuffed with unmentionable unknown chopped you know whats. I was escorted out in the usual reverse sequence to my arrival.

Vernon A. Walters
Maj. Gen. U.S. Army
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President's File-China Trip, China Exchanges, Oct 20, 1971-Dec 31, 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusive; Eyes Only. Drafted by Walters on December 20. The meeting was held at Chen's residence in Neuilly.
  2. Military Attaché Walters read Chinese Ambassador to France Huang Chen the text of the U.S. message regarding U.S. activities concerning the India-Pakistan situation.