In 1973, Henry Kissinger was engaged in a discussion of trade with Mao Zedong when the chairman abruptly changed the subject by saying, “We (China) don’t have much. What we have in excess is women. So if you want them we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands.”
Kissinger sidestepped this bizarre offer and changed the subject, but Mao later returned to the subject by jokingly asking, “Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you 10 million.”
This time Kissinger diplomatically replied, “It is such a novel proposition. We will have to study it.”
Other Chinese officials in the room pointed out that Mao’s attitudes towards women would cause quite a stir if the press got their hands on these quotes, so Mao apologized to his female interpreter and talked Kissinger into having the comments removed from the records of the meeting.
[by Ethan Trex]