227. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to China (Woodcock) to Michel Oksenberg of the National Security Council Staff and the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Holbrooke)1

252. 1. I was called to the Foreign Ministry March 13 by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Wenjin, who handed me a letter dated March 12 from Premier Hua Guofeng addressed to President Carter. The text of the letter is as follows:

2. Begin text. Dear Mr. President,

I acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated February 7, 1979.2 I personally am most pleased with the success of Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping’s official good-will visit to the United States. And Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal recently paid a visit to China during which our two sides held fruitful discussions on settling outstanding claims and developing bilateral economic relations. I am convinced that the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples and the cooperation in various fields between the two governments will grow and develop even further. Both Vice-Premier Deng and I share your view that it is important for our two sides to remain in close touch on [Page 831] matters of common concern for maintaining peace and stability in the Asia–Pacific region and the world as a whole.

The recent counter-attack in self-defence which China undertook against Viet Nam was a limited action of short duration, and the previously set goals have been completely attained. Our troops will complete their withdrawal to Chinese territory within a few days. I am convinced that the action was necessary and beneficial. We are satisfied with the position which you and your government took on this incident.

I am very pleased that you, Mr. President, have accepted the invitation to visit China, and I eagerly look forward to your making the visit in the latter half of this year or at some other mutually convenient time.

I also accept with pleasure your invitation and hope to visit your country at an appropriate time in the future. Please convey my best wishes to Vice President Mondale and your other colleagues.

With best regards.

(signed) Hua Guofeng, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. End text.

3. We are pouching to the White House the original and the translation provided by the Chinese.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Oksenberg Subject File, Box 46, Meetings: 3/79. Confidential; Immediate. Woodcock was appointed Ambassador on February 27 and presented his credentials on March 7.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 212.