China became a hot topic when Premier Zhou Enlai was visiting the fourteen countries in Asia and Africa in 1964. During the visit, China and France established diplomatic relations and sent ambassadors to each other. This news convulsed the entire world especially the western countries. I was working for the China's Embassy in Switzerland and attached myself to some negotiation work. Therefore, I had the opportunity to discern the whole process of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France
The lengthy process of establishing diplomatic relations
Charles de Gaulles, president of France is a politician with great courage and keen insight. France at that time was in conjuncture because of the Algeria War. The rulingsgroupscast their eyes to Charles de Gaulles, the hero in the Second World War, who was buried alive and thought the only one who can rescue the political crisis of France. President Charles de Gaulles began to observe and ponder the world situation historically and further considered the growing up of new China in the east.
General Charles de Gaulles was a person who dared to take wheel and deal against the US and a person who dared say "no"to the US. That he began to have negotiations with China five year after had come to power was because of the Algeria War, in which China supported Algeria.
Edgar Faure was a radical Social Party member. He became the Premier of France twice in 1955 and 1956 and had high reputation in France. Edgar Faure had close relations with Charles de Gaulles and was a supporter of Charles de Gaulles. He had been a lawyer and familiar with law of nations. He had always been claiming to admit China and help China regain its seat in the UN.
After Edgar Faure's first visit to China, he established some friendship with the leaders both in France and China. In 1960, president Charles de Gaulles called in Edgar Faure personally and consulted on establishing relations between France and China. Edgar Faure said that though he admitted China in his book, it was not the time to establish diplomatic relations with China at that time due to the Algeria War.
In February, 1962, France and Algeria signed contract and ended the Algeria War which had lasted seven years and nine months. Then the normalization of relations between China and France came to stage.
The second visit of Edgar Faure to China trusted by Charles de Gaulles
On August 20, 1963, Edgar Faure came to Switzerland to meet Chinese Ambassador to Davos, Li Qingquan and expressed that he hoped to meet Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in Beijing while he visit China.
Ambassador Li Qingquan reported to Beijing about Edgar Faure's visit. The central government denotedt to invite Edgar Faure to China in name of Zhang Xiruo, the Chairman of Chinese Diplomatism Academy.
Edgar Faure came back to France after he received the formal invitation from Chinese Diplomatism Academy. President Gagole agreed to send Edgar Faure to visit China and informed China.
Edgar Faure and his wife came to Geneva again on September 12 and invited Li Qingquan and his wife to dinner. While in the dinner, Edgar Faure said that to deny China--so large a country-- was irrational, especially for France, also a large country in the world.
Premier Zhou presided the negotiation.
Edgar Faure came to China for the second visit as a representative of Charles de Gaulles. He arrived in Beijing on October 22,1963, and confabulated with Premier Zhou on the second day. He also had talks with the vice Premier Chen Yi later. Edgar Faure had six talks with Premier Zhou and vice Premier Chen in Beijing and Shanghai. But the talks were not always smooth, for the three schemes brought by Edgar Faure were:
Admit without condition, that is, France admits China and China agrees.
Admit with conditions, that is, France admits China and China raises conditions.
Admit in future, that is, to establish special relationship between China and France
Among the above three schemes, Edgar Faure said, President Charles de Gaulles hoped to achieve the first scheme, the other two were standbys.
Premier Zhou and Vice Premier Chen gave formal reply about the three schemes. They provided three schemes, too and let France choose:
Complete diplomatic relations, such as with Sweden and Finland. That is, France should sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan first before establishing diplomatic relations with PRC.
"Semi diplomatic relations, such as with Britain and Holland.
"Put off establishing diplomatic relations."
Premier Zhou pointed out that China hoped to establish direct and active diplomatic relations with France.
Edgar Faure expressed immediately that Charles de Gaulles would rather establish normal diplomatic relations with China than imitate Britain; neither would France accept the third scheme. Then, Edgar Faure said that they didn't want to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan so soon, it would be unhappy for France to expel the representative of Taiwan in Paris; this was a matter of courteous reception.
Premier Zhou pointed out strictly that Taiwan issue was because of the US; PRC would unalterably oppose to the "Two Chinas Theory"
Owing to Edgar Faure's stand of establishing diplomatic relations without any condition, the negotiations had for a time encounter deadlocks. Insgroupsto give Edgar Faure a chance to have further consideration, Chinese Diplomatism Academy arranged the couple to visit Inner Mongolia and Datong, a coal city in Shanxi Province.
Insgroupsto break away from the France-Taiwan relations and takesintosaccount Charles de Gaulles's difficult situation, Premier Zhou put forward three versatile and active points.
Premier Zhou said to Edgar Faure that there should include the three points in the declaration by the two government while formally establish diplomatic relations.
1. France presents formal note to PRC, admit PRC, suggest establish diplomatic relations immediately after that and send ambassadors to each other.
2. The PRC government answers the note, declaring that the PRC government is the sole legal government of Chinese people.
3. The two governments deliver the notes together, set up embassies and send ambassadors at once.
Edgar Faure was quite satisfied with such a scheme raised by Chinese government, but he said he couldn't affix to it right then, he had to go back to answer his commission to Charles de Gaulles and give reply to the Chinese government after that.
De,Bomashie came to Switzerland to visit Ambassador Li Qingquan
Soon after Edgar Faure's return to France, the director of the Foreign Minister's Office, Jaco.De Beaumarchais was sent to Switzerland to meet with Li Qingquan. His commission was kept as secret by French government. Our government had not yet inform Li of Edgar Faure's second visit to China, so Li said he should report what they had discussed to the central government and give reply later.
Soon our Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave detailed direction to Li Qingquan, saying that we should stick to the fundamental matter and be agile in the negotiation.
Listening to Premier Zhou's edification
During that time, Premier Zhou and vice Premier Chen Yi were visiting the fourteen countries in Asia and Africa. Since the negotiations with France had all along been under Premier Zhou's guidance, Deng Xiaoping asked Li Qingquan to go to Algeria to ask Premier Zhou for instructions directly. On December 26, 1963, Ambassador Li Qingquan flew to Algeria, rendered and asked instructions.
Many years later, when Ambassador Li recalled this matter, he said, Premier Zhou understood the situation quite clearly and gave some new instructions.
In the afternoon of January 2,1964,De Beaumarchais came to our embassy in Switzerland as the representative of France to have negotiations. The central government still pointed Li Qingquan as the representative.
The negotiation was fruitful. Li estimated that agreement could be reached in the next parley.
On January 6, 1964, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave instructions to Li Qingquan about the coming negotiation.
On January 9, De Beaumarchais came to the embassy as appointed before. Bomashie first hashed the scheme raised by Li on January 2, and then said that the French government thought they had reached agreement on the issue. He suggested that China and France deliver the communiqu at the same time on 12 o'lock, Paris time. But Li Qingquan said, Chinese government would announce separately.
The following was the discussion about when to deliver communiqu.shavingsreceived the instructions from the central government, LI suggested deliver communiqu January 27. De Beaumarchais agreed. By then, the agreement was reached finally. Li Qingquan submitted the report to the central government and got approval soon.
On January 27, the Chinese and French governments delivered communiqu at the same time. Thus, the whole process put across, a new leaf had been turn on about the diplomatic relations between the two large countries. China and France finally established formal diplomatic relations fifteen years after the birth of the PRC. It was a lengthy and devious way.