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THE IDEA

President Nixon's decision to visit the People's Republic of China (PRC) was not one that came lightly. When he entered office, the United States had not had any formal diplomatic relations with the PRC since 1949 when the Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, won China's long civil war. These resources provide insight into the strategy and thought that went into the President's decision to completely reverse the United States' diplomatic approach to Communist China.

ORAL HISTORIES

Frank C. Carlucci, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, recounts a 1969 meeting with President Nixon during which the President suggests to Carlucci that in two years the United States will have diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

Citation: Frank C. Carlucci recorded interview by Timothy J. Naftali, 25 June 2007; Richard Nixon Oral History Project; Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Herbert G. Klein, White House Communitcations Director, talks about establishing secret communications with the People's Republic of China.

 

Citation: Herbert G. Klein recorded interview by Timothy J. Naftali and David Greenberg, 20 February 2007; Richard Nixon Oral History Project; Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

DOCUMENTS

Note from Henry Kissinger to President Nixon urging him to encourage the idea that the U.S. is "exploring possibilities of rapproachment with the Chinese," February 1, 1969

Citation: Note from Kissinger to Nixon, February 1, 1969; [Miscellaneous memoranda relating to HAK's trip to PRC] July 1971; For the President's Files - China/Vietnam Negotiations; National Security Council (NSC) Files; Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

Memo from Henry Kissinger to President Nixon titled, "Chinese at Warsaw Talks Suggest U.S. Send High-Level Representative to Peking," February 20, 1970

Citation: Memo from Kissinger to Nixon, February 20, 1970; Exchanges leading up to HAK trip to China, December 1969-July 1971; For the President's Files - China/Vietnam Negotiations; NSC Files; Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

"Message to be Delivered by General Vernon A. Walters to the Government of the People's Republic of China," June 16, 1970

Citation: "Message to be Delivered by Walters to the PRC" June 16, 1970; Exchanges leading up to HAK trip to China, December 1969-July 1971; For the President's Files - China/Vietnam Negotiations; NSC Files; Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.