Skip to content

September 28, 1972

Telegram 10353 from the American Embassy in Tokyo, 'Mao-Tanaka Meeting'

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

Pol 7 Japan

XR Pol 15-1 Chicom

XR Pol Chicom-Japan


Department of State TELEGRAM


Tokyo 10353



Unclassified 562


Page 01 Tokyo 10353 280544Z



Action EA-14

















RSP-01 / 072









R 280400Z SEP 72






Unclas Tokyo 10353


Subj: Mao-Tanaka Meeting


1. Japanese press has carried numerous stories on Mao-Tanaka meeting based upon briefing given by Chief Cabinet Secretary Nikaido who was present. Embassy translation of most detailed account (carried in Sept 28 Tokyo Shimbun) of give and take between Mao and Tanaka follows. Of course, this is only news report of one participant’s oral and incomplete comments on meeting.


2. Begin text:


Mao (to Premier Chou [Zhou] and Primin Tanaka) – Have you finished your quarrels? It is not good if you do not quarrel.


Tanaka – No, we are having talks amicably with Premier Chou.


Mao – Only after quarrelling do you become good friends with each other for the first time.


Tanaka – That is quite true.


Mao. Mr. Liao Cheng-chih [Liao Chengzhi] was born in Japan. Mr. Tanaka, will you please have him accompany you back?


Tanaka – Mr. Liao Cheng-chih is very famous in Japan, too. If he were to run in an Upper House election, he will be successfully elected, without fail. (Mao laughs)


Mao – I heard that Dr. Tanaka said in Hawaii, that QTE I dislike all western style food. I am going to stick strictly to Japanese style food UNQTE. How do you find the food in Peking?


Tanaka – I am being treated to magnificent dinners. The cooking is wonderful. I am enjoying fully both the Maotai wine and Chinese tea.


Mao – It is not good for your health to drink Maotai wine too much.


Tanaka – I am told that the alcoholic contents of Maotai wine is 65 percent. At any rate, I am enjoying it.


Mao – It is not 65 percent. It is 70 percent. Who gave you such misinformation?


In China, there are too many old things, and this is a problem. It is not a good thing to be bound too much by old things. When I was small, my father treated me harshly, and I used to rebel. I rebelled, asking why he treated me unkindly, when it was written even in the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism that QTE unless the parents are affectionate toward their children, the children will not show filial obedience to their parents UNQTE. By the way, it must be troublesome that there are elections in Japan.


Tanaka – So far, I have experienced eleven general elections in the past 25 years. I have also made a considerable number of road-side campaign speeches.


Mao – Please take care because making road-side speeky [sic; speeches] is not good for your health.


Tanaka – In japan, the people will not be satisfied unless you make road-side speeches. It is also so arranged that if you do not make such speeches, you will not be elected.


Mao – What is the situation in the Diet?


Tanaka – This, too, is very troublesome.


Mao – It must be quote complicated in Japan. It is no simple matter if you have to give campaign speeky [sic] on the streets.


Tanaka – I pray for your continued good health.


Mao – I am troubled by rheumatism just now, and my legs have become somewhat weak.


(After this, witty conversation continued, and the subject of the talk shifted to the books in Chairman Mao’s study. Chairman Mao chose six volumes and presented them to Tanaka.)


Tanaka – Chairman Mao, you are studying a great deal. I should also study much harder, should I not?


Mao – I like to read. I know that it is not good for my health, but I cannot go to sleep unless I read.


End text.


[Robert S.] Ingersoll


Mao had a conversation with Tanaka, carrying numerous stories from food to his childhood.

Associated People & Organizations

Associated Places

Associated Topics

Document Information


Box 2402, Subject-Numeric Files 1970-1973, Central Foreign Policy Files, National Archives and Records Administration. Obtained by Sayuri Romei.


The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.

To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].

Original Uploaded Date





Record ID



MacArthur Foundation