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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 30, 1969


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

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    Malfatti reports on his impression of the prospects of negotiations with the Chinese in regards to establishing diplomatic relations.
    "Letter no. 429 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 CaliĆ².
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Paris, September 30, 1969.

Dear President,

I am writing to you following my letter of September 23rd in which I communicated our impressions on China's position following a meeting that Gardini had last week. These impressions were confirmed in the conversation that according to the instructions received I had on Saturday, September 27th, with the Chinese ambassador, who, as you know, has returned to Paris in recent months after two years of absence.  He is a lively and pleasant man who has already represented his country in Tirana. I intend to keep in touch with him independently of official negotiations and to take advantage of an appropriate opportunity to invite him to the Embassy.

The Chinese ambassador has no difficulty in acknowledging that the only substantial point on which we still do not agree is Taiwan.  In replying to a remark of mine, he did not hesitate to admit that the Chinese wish to address the issue of their territorial integrity and score a point that they can theoretically exploit in  the relations with the  United States (Taiwan) and the Soviet Union (Ussuri border).

Of course, I pointed out that China cannot deform the spirit of the positive gesture that we propose to make to such an extent (recognition of the Beijing government) and engage us in a political operation that Italy has nothing to do with. The Chinese Ambassador, in turn, observed that, especially if we are in a rush to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, we will have to pay a price.

Regardless of these maximalist requests and a certain verbal intransigence, the Chinese ambassador seemed eager, as I wrote at the beginning of this letter, to keep the dialogue open with Italy and was especially anxious to transmit our counter-proposal to Beijing.

Therefore, it would seem appropriate, in setting an official meeting with the Chinese, to submit our proposal; this could be modeled on the formula indicated in the letter of September 23rd with regard to the Taiwan issue.

As is clear from the official minutes of the meeting in April between us and the Chinese, the latter had asked that the Italian government make public statements on the issue of Taiwan, condemning the theory of the "two Chinas" even for the purposes of representation at the UN, something that has not been deemed advisable for now. The Canadians, for their part, have already followed up, to some extent, on the Chinese demands; this is, I think, the meaning of the statements made by Foreign Minister Sharp on September 17th. In this regard too, and in addition to the vote at the General Assembly, close contact with the Canadians is essential so that the Chinese are unable to fool us, obtaining concessions already made by the more open negotiator from the more unyielding negotiator.

I wonder, in this respect, if you do not want to take advantage of your next trip to New York to make contact with the Canadian Foreign Minister either in the United States or in Canada.

Of course, it is not a matter of who will be first, but rather of avoiding that our negotiations are complicated and weakened by the Canadian negotiations and furthermore that - as a result of the public positions taken by the government of Ottawa pursuant to specific Chinese demands – Beijing decides to conclude with the Canadians and leave us suddenly totally uncovered.

I look forward to your instructions and I kindly ask you to believe me, dear Mr. President, with sincerest regards,


Hon. Professor


Minister for Foreign Affairs



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