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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 30, 1969

LETTER NO. 428 FROM FRANCO MARIA MALFATTI TO ALDO MORO

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    Malfatti reports his observations of the Chinese ambassador, who displayed a strong position against the Soviet Union and Taiwan.
    "Letter no. 428 from Franco Maria Malfatti to Aldo Moro," September 30, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Historical Archive of the Italian Foreign Ministry. Obtained by Enrico Fardella and translated by Joe Caliò. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116470
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Paris, September 30, 1969

Dear Mr. President,

in a separate letter I had reported my impressions about the prospects of negotiations with the Chinese as a result of a meeting I had with the Chinese ambassador this Saturday, September 27th. Since the conversation touched on other issues of general interest, I will summarize here some of the observations of my interlocutor that seemed particularly interesting to me.

The Chinese ambassador had harsh words for the Soviet Union. He told me that the USSR was a conservative nation, concerned with jealously managing its own wealth without heeding the problems and needs of other nations, showing  no respect for their independence or sovereignty, as was the case in Czechoslovakia.

He also told me that the government of Moscow continues to practice, albeit with new words and seemingly disparate topics, the same imperialist policy of the tsars.

Moving to the United States, the Chinese ambassador used more moderate terms. He affirmed, of course, that the Taiwan issue remains a serious obstacle to the normalization of relations between the two countries, but he pointed out that there is an ancient and traditional friendship between the Chinese and American peoples. He even added that a century before, the United States' policy in China was very different from that of the other "imperialist" powers. We know very well what the historical value of these simplistic statements about the friendship of peoples is. However, if their historical value is modest, their political meaning is not negligible. The words of the Chinese ambassador confirmed once more that in the face of the danger of a conflict with the Soviet Union, China seeks political space, wishes to make new friends or at least neutralize old enemies and is ready to review some of its positions. This stance may affect our negotiations.

Believe me, Mr President, with sincerest regards,[signed]

Hon. Professor

Aldo MORO

Minister for Foreign Affairs

ROME

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