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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 24, 1964

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN SWITZERLAND, 'CONVERSATION TRANSCRIPT OF THE FOURTH TALK FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND FRANCE'

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

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    Li Qingquan and Jacques de Beaumarchais discuss the process of normalizing relations between China and France.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Switzerland, 'Conversation Transcript of the Fourth Talk for the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and France'," January 24, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 110-01997-07, 89-92. Translated by Fan Chao. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118548
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EUROPE FRANCE JANUARY No.130

27 January, 1964

In the charge of Department of West European Affairs

Incoming Telegram of Foreign Ministry

Grade: Ultra urgent & Prior

From the transmitter-receiver in Switzerland

Foreign Ministry Incoming (64) January No. 1154

The Conversation Transcript of the Fourth Talk for the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and France

To the Foreign Ministry:

The conversation transcript of the fourth talk between Ambassador Li [Qingquan] and the French representative [Jacques] de Beaumarchais, regarding the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, is reported as follows:

Beaumarchais: The purpose of this visit is to inform you that, regarding the issue of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, our side has no more questions. Although I told you last time that I had been authorized to assume the obligations on behalf of the French government, prior to issuing the communiqué of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France I still made a report to my government and required a governmental confirmation on the agreement reached by you and me. Now I am here to inform you of the formal confirmation of my government.

And then, I would like to talk about two issues about material matters. Our country is to send advance personnel to Beijing to prepare for the founding of our embassy in three to four weeks after the issuance of the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. And I would like to know if Mr. Ambassador has received any instruction of the Chinese government about sending advance personnel to France. Our personnel, five people in total, are to arrive in Beijing in three to four weeks, namely on about 20 February [1964], after the issuance of the communiqué. Where should they live? It seems that they would have to live in a hotel in the beginning. Have you received any idea about this problem from your government?

Li: The advance personnel of the French government to Beijing are welcomed by the Chinese government. As to where they will live after their arrival, I think they could live in a hotel before the house is settled. My government has not yet made any instructions on this. Does your government have any advice?

Beaumarchais: I think they would live in a hotel in the beginning. I just mean would you please inform a hotel that our advance personnel are to arrive in Beijing during the time period from 20 February to 25 February. The exact time will be informed to you via the French Embassy in Switzerland.

Have you got any idea about your advance personnel to Paris from your government?

Li: I have not received any instructions from my government about this. I think our side is to send advance personnel to Paris to prepare for the founding of the embassy after the announcement of our diplomatic relations. But the time and the number of the personnel are not known. I shall inform you immediately after I am instructed.

Beaumarchais: Good! Thank you. I am coming here for the main purpose of informing you of the confirmation of my government on the agreement reached by you and me, and to see if your side would have any more issues to discuss.

Li: After the last talk, I have informed you of my government’s conformation in the way we had arranged in advance. Since you have arrived today, I would like to repeat again to you that my government has approved the agreement reached by us on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, including the wording of the joint communiqué, the way to announce the establishment of diplomatic relations and that our side is going to publish a statement independently after the issuance of the communiqué and has approved that both sides publish the communiqué respectively in Beijing and Paris at 11:00 Greenwich Mean time on 27 January [1964]. That the French government is going to send five advance men to Beijing to prepare for the founding of the embassy after the announcement of the establishment of the diplomatic relations is welcomed by the Chinese government. As to when our side is going to send advance personnel to Paris, I will inform your side immediately after I receive my government’s instruction.

Beaumarchais: Thank you.

(Then Beaumarchais expressed that the discussion about these two problems is over, and put up his minute book. And we began drinking tea and chatting.)

Beaumarchais: Several days ago, I met two members of the Parliamentary delegation to China, Bei-nuo-er [sic] and Bai-dang-gu-er [sic]. The latter was the member of the former Mendes-Frans cabinet, and is my friend. They asked me when China and France were to establish diplomatic relations, and I said I don’t know.

Li: The French Parliamentary delegation has arrived in Beijing. They have been well received there, and have had extensive contacts with personages of all circles.

Beaumarchais: Yes. I have read their messages. They are going to Vietnam after visiting China.

Li: It seems that Mr. Bei-nuo-er acted as a minister before?

Beaumarchais: I don’t know. In the system before General de Gaulle, there have been so many people who acted as a minister that I couldn’t remember clearly. At that time, any member of parliament could have the chance to act as a minister, so about two thirds of the members of French parliament acted as ministers, but now one who is to act as a minister has to quit the position of a parliament member. (Beaumarchais abruptly changed the topic here.) As I told you last time, our side has informed the governments of a couple of countries of the decision to establish diplomatic relations between China and France. Now there are many comments. Has Mr. Ambassador read them?

Li: I have noticed these comments, but these countries did not keep a secret as you told me. Now the contents of our talks have almost been released.

Beaumarchais: Our side did ask them to keep a secret, but they finally blurted everything out, out of sentiment. Meanwhile, you know, it is hard to keep a secret in my country and in many western countries. The western newspapers always reveal too much. But a tone of gentleness and understanding has emerged among the comments on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. Has Mr. Ambassador read yesterday’s article by Lippmann?

Li: This article is very bad.

Beaumarchais: Anyway, the tone of this article was very gentle.

Li: Some articles had mild tones, but Lippmann’s article showed that the hostile policy of the US against the Chinese people had not changed. The Americans want to interfere in everything, even the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. But he had no rights to interfere.

Beaumarchais: I think so, too.

Li: Lippmann’s article used the tone of “gentleness and understanding” as its cover, but actually provided advice for the US policy against China, attempting to creating “two Chinas,” making use of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. This is totally different from General de Gaulle’s stance of not supporting “two Chinas,” conveyed by Mr. Faure, and does not conform to the principle under which we establish our diplomatic relations. (Beaumarchais nodded) The United States is always pursuing a policy hostile to the Chinese people. In order to occupy our country’s territory, Taiwan, it has tried its best to create “two Chinas,” making so-called “two Chinas,” “one and a half Chinas,” “one China, one Taiwan,” “United Nations trusteeship,” “a referendum of the Taiwanese people,” and so on. Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, so any conspiracy of attempting to separate Taiwan from China and of creating “two Chinas” will be resolutely opposed by the 650 million Chinese people. (Beaumarchais nodded) The United States has always tried to bully others, invading and enslaving other countries. Now the United States is interfering in and opposing the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. It proved once again that the United States’ hostile policy to China has not changed. (Beaumarchais nodded in agreement) The United States not only opposes China, but also opposes you, setting things against you. You are its ally aren’t you? (Beaumarchais made an expression of surprise) When we are going to establish diplomatic relations, it turns up to interfere in and oppose this, attacking you.

I hope the friendship between the two countries will be further improved after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France (Beaumarchais nodded his agreement) and I wish for common endeavors by our two countries for the cause of world peace and justice.

Beaumarchais: Mr. Ambassador, I have learned about both the Chinese stances and the United States’ stances. And your side also has learned about the policy of General de Gaulle and his decision on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. I would like to tell you the following message, and it’s not a leakage of secret. General de Gaulle will talk about his views on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France and his expectations on this move, and to talk about his expectations on not only our mutual relations, but also the worldwide significance of this matter.

(When he was about to leave, Beaumarchais said this was his last visit to Bern, and he wished to meet Ambassador Li in Paris. Ambassador Li expressed that he also wished to meet him in Beijing).

The Embassy in Switzerland

24 January [1964]