Henry Kissinger called Japanese "treacherous sons of bitches" for wanting normal relations with China, when he was a trusted aide to president Richard Nixon, according to documents declassified on Friday.
The outburst by the national security adviser came just before Nixon met then Japanese prime minister Kakuei Tanaka at a summit in Hawaii in August 1972, according to transcripts of talks between the powerful negotiator and local and foreign officials released by the National Security Archive.
When Kissinger learned that Tanaka was to travel to China to establish diplomatic ties, he lividly reacted, "Of all the treacherous sons of bitches, the Japs take the cake."
"It's not just their indecent haste in normalizing relations with China, but they even picked National Day as their preference to go there," Kissinger said at a meeting in his hotel room with then US envoy to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker.
Kissinger was angry apparently because Japan, a key US ally, defied the foreign policy of the US, which at that time had diplomatic ties only with Taiwan.
Tanaka established diplomatic relations with China on September 29, 1972, a year after the UN expelled Taiwan in favor of China.
It was only seven years later that the US restored formal links with Beijing and severed official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Nixon however made a landmark visit to China much earlier -- in February 1972 -- to end 20 years of frosty relations between the two countries.
Kissinger's outburst against the Japanese is an example, confirmed by other documents, of his often difficult, sometimes antagonistic, relationship with Japan, a society that he had great difficulty understanding, said the National Security Archive.