YORBA LINDA, Calif., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Just-declassified sections from the audio diary of Richard Nixon's chief-of-staff HR Haldeman provide fascinating new details into the behind-the-scenes strategies and personalities during negotiations that would lead to nuclear treaties and a historic new relationship with China.
Some of the more colorful information involves China, such as Americans' desperate struggle to stay sober at a Chinese banquet as they tried to keep up with toast after toast with top communists.
Nixon was faced with placating Taiwan as the country courted Mao. Haldeman's diaries detail the tension that was building between national security adviser Henry Kissinger — who was a key player behind Nixon's historic China trip — and Secretary of State William Rogers, who was largely ignored by the administration regarding China. The men clashed as they tried to draft a communique about Taiwan that would satisfy China and American conservatives.
"Henry said that we now have a massive problem, because he took Rogers' alterations in and the PRC really blew up," Haldeman said. "Poor Henry's had to struggle with that situation now."
The selections offer a trove of evidence for some historians who have long believed that America's relationship with China was improving just as connections with Europe were cooling.
"We were sharing more" with the Chinese "than we were sharing, not only with our allies in the region, but also with Europe and other allies around the world — and that's shocking," said Nixon expert Luke Nichter, a history professor at Texas A&M University.
Haldeman, who died in 1993, served 18 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in 1975.