The China Diary of George H. W. Bush

The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President

Edited and introduced by Jeffrey A. Engel
With a preface by George H.W. Bush
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 576
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  • Book Info
    The China Diary of George H. W. Bush
    Book Description:

    Available in print for the first time, this day-by-day diary of George H. W. Bush's life in China opens a fascinating window into one of the most formative periods of his career. As head of the United States Liaison Office in Beijing from 1974 to 1975, Bush witnessed high-level policy deliberations and daily social interactions between the two Cold War superpowers.The China Diary of George H. W. Bushoffers an intimate look at this fundamental period of international history, marks a monumental contribution to our understanding of U.S.-China relations, and sheds light on the ideals of a global president in the making.

    In compelling words, Bush reveals a thoughtful and pragmatic realism that would guide him for decades to come. He considers the crisis of Vietnam, the difficulties of détente, and tensions in the Middle East, while lamenting the global decline in American power. He formulates views on the importance of international alliances and personal diplomacy, as he struggles to form meaningful relationships with China's top leaders. With a critical eye for detail, he depicts key political figures, including Gerald Ford, Donald Rumsfeld, Deng Xiaoping, and the ever-difficult Henry Kissinger. Throughout, Bush offers impressions of China and its people, describing his explorations of Beijing by bicycle, and his experiences with Chinese food, language lessons, and Ping-Pong.

    Complete with a preface by George H. W. Bush, and an introduction and essay by Jeffrey Engel that place Bush's China experience in the broad context of his public career,The China Diary of George H. W. Bushoffers an unmediated perspective on American diplomatic history, and explores a crucial period's impact on a future commander in chief.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2961-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    George H. W. Bush
  4. INTRODUCTION: Bush’s China Diary—What You Are About to Read
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
    Jeffrey A. Engel

    This is the diary George H. W. Bush kept while in China from October 1974 until December 1975. These are his own words, dictated from the small American outpost in the heart of massive Beijing. As head of the United States Liaison Office (USLO), Bush was Washington’s chief representative in China, a crucial job that was not easily defined. The United States and the People’s Republic of China did not establish formal diplomatic relations until 1979. Washington instead placed its official Chinese embassy in the Republic of China (Taiwan) after 1949, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Communist regime...

    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
    (pp. xxvii-xxxii)
  7. CHAPTER ONE “Everybody in the United States Wants to Go to China” October 21 to November 1, 1974
    (pp. 1-48)

    This is the beginning of the Peking Diary.¹

    [Monday,] October 21, 1974. Japan Air Lines. Flight that went to Osaka, [and] Shanghai, [from] Tokyo. Just completed three days at the Tokyo Embassy with Jim and Marie Hodgson.² Extremely hospitable and generous in every way. A delightful, down-to-earth guy—plucked out of one year back at Lockheed to be a business-presence ambassador along the lines of the highly successful Bob Ingersoll.³ I think he will do well.

    My emotions are mixed about this. I read theJapan Times. I begin already to wish I had more details on American politics, the...

  8. CHAPTER TWO “Public Posture versus Private Understanding” November 2 to November 21, 1974
    (pp. 49-87)

    [Saturday, November 2, 1974.] Had lunch at home for the inspectors who are visiting at the residence.¹ Excellent, multicourse meal. Followed by a walking tour of the spectacular Forbidden City. Blanche Anderson took us first to the top of the Peking Hotel where one gets a vast sweeping view of the Forbidden City roofs giving an idea of the magnitude of the thing. The weather was delightfully warm. That evening we went to a dinner dance given by Akwei of Ghana. He apparently has been the leader in the diplomatic community for injecting a little sociability into the diplomatic community...

  9. CHAPTER THREE “We Must Not Capitulate on Matters This Fundamental” November 22, 1974, to January 15, 1975
    (pp. 88-144)

    [Friday,] November 22, [1974]. Made a call on the Laotian ambassador.¹ Interesting pro-American who is in a very tough situation, being as now they have a coalition government.² Delegations friendly to the Pathet Lao come by to see him and all is quite cordial but the strain must be enormous. We had rumors that the Chinese were sending aid to Laos through North Vietnam but he was not able to help me confirm or deny this. Very nice call on Ambassador C. J. Small of Canada.³ Bright, attractive, pleasant individual. National day reception by Boustany of Lebanon. Same deadly format....

  10. CHAPTER FOUR “Much of the World Depends on the United States” February 6 to March 9, 1975
    (pp. 145-192)

    I left Washington on Thursday, February 6, 1975, after seeing Henry Kissinger that afternoon along with Win Lord and Phil Habib.¹ Kissinger was hectic as usual, ordered people in and out of the rooms. He seems to tyrannize his staff; he’s disorganized; he shouts for paper; he yells “Lord, go get it”; then he leans back, pushes a button, “Where’s Lord, get him back in here.” Amazingly insensitive to people. Habib stands up to him. An aide comes rushing in with the paper, Kissinger drills a hole through him with his eyes, “Where was the paper.” He seems to put...

  11. Photographs
    (pp. None)
  12. CHAPTER FIVE “When It Is a Matter of Principle It Really Means Do It Their Way” March 10 to April 15, 1975
    (pp. 193-252)

    [Monday,] March 10[, 1975]. Primarily in the office. Did attend from six-to-seven the Zambian reception for Vernon Mwanga, an old UN friend.¹ The reception at the Zambian embassy was still rather deadly. Chinese on one side, black women on one side, white women on one side, white ambassadors on one side, black women on another side and then Qiao Guanhua and Mwanga and the DCM [deputy chief of mission] for Zambia and couple of Chinese in still another grouping. It seems almost impossible to break through this pattern of segregation that emerges. The diplomats were back from the diplomatic trip....

  13. CHAPTER SIX “We Do Have Principles and It Is Time We Stood Up for Them” April 16 to June 2, 1975
    (pp. 253-307)

    Wednesday the 16th [April 16, 1975]. Leave for Canton. The plane is a two-hour-and-thirty-minute flight, non-stop, Boeing 707, leaving at 9:00 a.m., getting in around 11:30 a.m. I noticed out at the airport again that people recognized me and I am amazed at that. There is no way that they should know, but some way they do. And you hear them discussing and pointing “Busher! Busher!” which is my Chinese name. The airport has a new board, and people stare at it, which flips the destinations, arrival times, etc. It is made by the Japanese and is the subject of...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN “There Is No Credit in This Work” June 3 to July 4, 1975
    (pp. 308-347)

    Tuesday, June 3[, 1975]. Lunch at the residence for some of our new security guards and communicators. The Acquavellas, the Konopiks, and our new security chief Evans Dewire.¹ Nice young people—the ones that had their wives along, both married to oriental wives—one Hawaiian, one Japanese. They seemed to be adjusted. Mo [Morin] put in a beautiful new stereo set downstairs for the residence and the music is unbelievably great here. It makes a real difference. Fills every corner of the room. Indeed the residence is looking very nice.

    Tuesday afternoon I went down to the banner shop to...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT “I Have Studied Chinese” July 5 to August 22, 1975
    (pp. 348-396)

    Saturday morning, July 5[, 1975]. Kids are about to leave. They are off to the sauna bath at Finland [the Finnish embassy] but we managed to clean up the yard. Bar and Mr. Guo doing the sweeping. Wipe off all the flags, put the supplies away, dry off all the wet beer and Coke cans. All in all, the place is back to normal. Mr. Wang is fantastic as usual. Being the head of a mission is a little frustrating. The Somalia matter—I tell them it’s all around the diplomatic community and what do we do about it, how...

  16. BUSH IN CHINA: The Making of a Global President
    (pp. 397-464)
  17. NOTES
    (pp. 465-484)
    (pp. 485-494)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 495-544)