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Zhang Ham Zhi, Interpreter, Chinese Foreign Ministry, on:
alerting Chou En-lai to General Haig’s treatment

Zhang Ham Zh We called Beijing and let the foreign office talk to Premier Cho about what was happening in Shanghai and in Hangzhou. And Premier Cho immediately called back and asked for a report of all the details, ever since we left Beijing. And our leaders reported to Chou En-lai what happened. When Chou En-lai intervened they reported everything. And then Chou En-lai said, "This is a very serious thing; you should have reported earlier." Premier Cho said, "I will report to Chairman Mao Tse-tung immediately." We just sat there in the big hall waiting for all the news from Beijing. We didn't really sleep any of that whole night almost, waiting for Beijing to come back. And then by probably four-o-clock in the morning, news came to say that Chairman Mao Tse-tung was very upset about what happened in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Chairman Mao thinks it was all wrong that General Haig and his group should be treated that way. So to compensate all the losses that have already been made, Chairman Mao personally gave instructions for the top Shanghai leaders, who were in Beijing, to fly back to Shanghai immediately, before General Haig arrived at Shanghai airport and give a big welcome to him. That's first. And second, Chairman Mao said, he understands that the Americans like Chinese candies, so before the American group leaves each of them should be given a gift of five kilos of Chinese candies. And Shanghai should get these candies ready for the Americans to take back at the airport. In the end that was a happy solution.


Q: And what happened at the airport the next day? Could you describe the atmosphere?

Oh that was like Alice In Wonderland. When General Haig and his group left Hangzhou, they really left in pretty low spirit. They thought that people in Shanghai and Hangzhou were not really warm enough for the forthcoming visit of President Nixon. But we couldn't have told them what would happen. We thought we would just let them see the change. So the first thing they found that had changed was when they got to the Hangzhou airport. The same group of people who welcomed them to Hangzhou with a solemn face, all changed. There was a bright broad smile on everybody's face, and everybody patted General Haig's shoulders and said, oh welcome to China again, and it was a great pleasure to have you here. You know, things all changed. Like the sun all of a sudden came out. And General Haig, of course, didn't know what that was all about. Why were they so serious yesterday and why are they so happy today, you know? He said goodbye and we got onboard, and then we flew to Shanghai.

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