87. Memorandum for the Record, Paris, February 17, 1972, 5 p.m.1 2

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Subject: 43rd Meeting with the Chinese in Paris, 17 February 1972, 1800

I went to the Chinese Embassy in Neuilly at the appointed time and was greeted as usual by Tsao and Wei. The Ambassador was not present and they apologized for this. I brought them a large box of candy as a New Year present and they were pleased.

Tsao said that the President was on his way to China and there was much coverage in the press. He was disappointed that I did not go. I said that I shared his disappointment, perhaps to a greater degree. But I hoped to visit China, maybe after I retired. He said that I would always be welcome as I had been a “shadow Ambassador”. He mentioned that he was 51 and Wei said he was 31 and they would greet me whenever I came.

Tsao then said that President Nixon had been attacked on both sides for his decision to open the dialogue with China. On the right by “Fascist militarist” elements and on the left by pro-Soviet intellectuals and so-called leftists who were really not leftists at all. I replied that Mr. Nixon was a man who had been much attacked but was not swayed by such attacks from doing what he thought was right. If he was attacked by extremists it was not to our or their advantage.

Tsao then asked whether our relations with West Germany were not better this year than last year, especially since the meeting between the President and Chancellor Brandt. I said that as far as I knew our relations with the Federal Republic were good both last year and this year. This did not mean that we agreed on every single question, but we accepted that our friends might not always agree with us. Personally, I felt we were not hostile to better relations in Europe. We just did not want the Soviets to take over Europe. If they did, it would be bad for us and bad for the Chinese.

Wei then said he had seen on French television the night before “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” and said that we were allies at that time. He asked whether I did not fear a resurrection of Japanese militarism. I said I personally did not for two reasons: First, the Japanese had discovered that they could achieve far more prosperity from work than [Page 2] from war and secondly, a new generation had grown up that was quite different from the old Samurai spirit. Young Japanese wanted cars, travel, vacations—not territorial expansion. Surprisingly, they both nodded.

I then judged we had had sufficient small talk and read our message replying to their somewhat harsh reactions on Vietnam. Tsao smiled and said, “Perhaps you think we got too excited.” I smiled and said, “Perhaps.” He promised to transmit it at once and with many “Happy New Years” I left.

Major General, USA Defense Attache
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File-China Trip, China Exchanges, January 1-February 29, 1972. No classification marking. The meeting was held at Chen’s residence in Neuilly.
  2. Military Attaché Walters’s meeting with the Chinese covered President Nixon’s departure to China, Nixon’s pursuit of an open dialogue with China, and U.S.-West German relations.