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October 21, 1970

Embassy of the GDR in the PR China, 'Note about a Conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua on 14 September at the Send-Off Dinner for the new Ambassador of the PR China in the GDR in the Embassy of the GDR in Beijing'

Embassy of the GDR in the PR China

Beijing, 21 October 1970




about a Conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua

on 14 September at the Send-Off Dinner

for the new Ambassador of the PR China in the GDR

in the Embassy of the GDR in Beijing





During his pointedly friendly greeting, Qiao Guanhua immediately apologized to me that, because of another urgent commitment, he will have to leave the dinner early. However, he wanted in any case at least drop by briefly to greet me, express thanks for the invitation and have at least a chance to talk with me for a while.


At our most recent meeting in the Foreign Ministry, he had not told me much about the treaty between the Soviet Union und West Germany[1]. Now materials would have appeared in “Renmin Ribao” and in “Xinhua”, which outline the Chinese position in detail.


I replied to him that those publications extremely alienate and disappoint me. The Chinese side would exactly know the GDR position on this treaty from published documents of the GDR and our personal conversations. Under the disguise of a “defense” of the GDR, our positions get simply ignored and disregarded.


Qiao interrupted immediately and stated, he can already know what I am going to continue to say on this subject. He would like to suggest to change the topic for today’s evening and its special occasion. He only wanted to add one thing: He has read in a DPA[2] commentary that the PR China is afraid of this treaty. Laughingly he asked me whether I do believe such as well: that China is afraid of this treaty.


I replied I do no think the PR China is afraid of this treaty, because there is no reason at all for the PR China to be afraid of it. I am believing something different: Under the disguise of “support” for the GDR, one actually wants to exploit the complicated issues of our struggle[3] for attacks on the Soviet Union instead of actually supporting the GDR.


Qiao interrupted again, he would know our opinion and we could return to that topic later at another occasion. We just should be aware of one thing: Articles are “words, just words!” Actions are much more important. Such an action, for instance, would be the sending of an Ambassador of the PRC to the GDR - what is demonstrating the support of the PRC for the GDR. I responded: If the delegation of an ambassador is a criterion for support, then the GDR has always supported the PRC - because we have an ambassador here.


Eventually Qiao asked me very urgently to use my influence so that the delegated ambassador will be accredited [in Berlin] as soon as possible, in order for him to have the opportunity to hold a reception on the 1st of October at the occasion of the Chinese National Holiday. (Apparently there was some concern on the Chinese side, the anti-Soviet articles might have a negative impact on the timing of the accreditation of the Chinese Ambassador, and maybe this was the main purpose of his [Qiao’s] brief visit).


I replied I will forward his request to Berlin. Qiao said good bye, again in a pointedly friendly manner.


At the dinner, which Qiao had hosted for the newly arrived Ambassador from Hungary on 15 September 1970, he explained to him (apparently so that he would forward this to me) that he [Qiao[] was extremely sorry that he had to leave the dinner at the GDR Embassy early, and he was unable to stay until the end because of an extremely urgent commitment.  


Signed [Gustav] Hertzfeldt




1. [GDR] Foreign Ministry, [Foreign Minister] Comrade [Oskar] Fischer

2. Foreign Ministry, Comrade [Kurt] Schneidewind [Far Eastern Department]

3. [SED] Central Committee, Comrade [Paul] Markowski [International Relations Department]

4. Foreign Ministry, Central Information Unit

5. Embassy Beijing


[1] The ‘Moscow Treaty’ of 12 August 1970.

[2] Deutsche Presseagentur, a West German news agency since 1949.

[3] The then GDR quest for global diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state.

Hertzfeldt describes a conversation between himself and Qiao Guanhua, in which they discuss East Germany's concerns with current Sino-East German relations, and the timeline for accrediting the delegated ambassador of the PRC to the GDR.

Document Information


PA AA, C 1364/74. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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