Mao offered 10m women for trade with US

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 February, 2008, 12:00am

Mao Zedong proposed sending 10 million women to the United States during talks with top US envoy Henry Kissinger in 1973, according to newly released documents.

The Communist Party chairman said he believed such emigration could kick-start bilateral trade, but could also 'harm' the US with a population explosion similar to that of China, according to documents on Sino-US ties between 1973 and 1976 released by the US State Department on Tuesday.

In a long conversation that stretched past midnight at Mao's residence on February 17, 1973, he referred to the dismal trade between the two countries, saying China was a 'very poor country' and 'what we have in excess is women'.

He first suggested sending 'thousands' of women, but as an afterthought proposed '10 million', drawing laughter at the meeting, also attended by premier Zhou Enlai .

Dr Kissinger, who was president Richard Nixon's national security adviser at the time, told Mao that the US had no 'quotas' or 'tariffs' for Chinese women, drawing more laughter.

Dr Kissinger then tried to highlight to Mao the threat posed by the Soviet Union and other global concerns of the era.

But Mao dragged the talks back to the topic of Chinese women.

'Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burdens,' he said. 'Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you 10 million.'

Dr Kissinger noted that Mao was 'improving his offer'.

Mao continued: 'By doing so we can let them flood your country with disaster and impair your interests. We have too many women, and they have a way of doing things. They give birth to too many children.'

Dr Kissinger replied: 'It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.'

The two leaders then spoke briefly about the threat posed to their countries by the Soviet Union, with Mao saying he hoped Moscow would attack and be defeated.

But Mao again lamented: 'We have so many women in our country [who] don't know how to fight.'

Assistant foreign minister Wang Hairong , a granddaughter of one of Mao's cousins, then cautioned Mao that if the minutes of the conversation were made public, 'it would incur the public wrath'.

Dr Kissinger agreed with Mao that the minutes be scrapped.

But when Dr Kissinger joked that he would raise the issue at his next press conference, Mao said: 'I'm not afraid of anything. Anyway, God has sent me an invitation.'

Mao died in September 1976. China and the US established diplomatic relations in 1979.