Kissinger: Their interest is 100 percent political. There was no emphasis at all on the economic side. Even as we arrived at the airport, one of them commented to me, "We are being overwhelmed with your businessmen. In due time we'll do business, but in our own time."
Remember, these are men of ideological purity. Chou En-lai joined the Communist Party in France in 1920, long before there was a Chinese Communist Party. This generation didn't fight for 50 years and go on the Long March for trade.
Mr Shultz: In Marxist theory, economics is paramount and all else is superstructure.
Kissinger: In Marxist practice, politics is paramount.
Mr Shultz: Then this is ideological impurity.
Kissinger: What I am saying is that they are not interested in trade for trade's sake. I am not saying they are not interested in getting things done.
Another thing struck me: When you have read the formalism of old China, it is remarkable to see the absence of hierarchy, for example, in the personal relationship between Chou and his interpreter. There was an easy personal relationship unlike what you would see in any Western official counterpart.
.....They are concerned with the Soviet military buildup on their border......
Whenever I mentioned chinese history to them, they emphasised what was new. But we were given a special tour of the Forbidden City by their chief archaeologist. Their grace and style did not give you a sense of an enormous break in continuity. At the same time, you get a mystical sense of their revolution as a tremendous emotional experience. Mao is right. It is hard to see how the next generation will feel and act the same way.
Mr Peterson: Well,Henry, it's good to have a reason to congratulate you for something other than your presumed sexual exploits.
Kissinger: You know I believe in the linkage theory!
White House Memorandum. 19th July 1971