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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XVII, China, 1969–1972

Editor:
Steven E. Phillips
General Editor:
Edward C. Keefer

United States Government Printing Office
Washington
2006

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs



Overview

The volume documents the lead up to the initial Kissinger visit to Beijing in July 1971, his next visit in October 1971, and President Nixon’s historic visit of February 1972. Through a variety of sources— telegrams, memoranda, memoranda of conversation, telephone conversations, transcripts of Presidential tape recordings, and briefing books with extensive handwritten annotation by Nixon—the volume documents how the President wanted Kissinger initially to engage the Chinese. Kissinger’s conversations in Beijing are covered in detail and the excitement that he felt during this first trip clearly comes through the official record. It is not difficult to see that Kissinger believed he had a special bond with Chinese Premier Chou En-lai. The October 1971 trip by Kissinger is also covered in detail with similar documentation. The volume contains extensive documentation on President Nixon’s February 1972 trip and the issuing of the Shanghai Communiqué. After the Nixon visit, the United States sought to regularize its contacts with the People’s Republic of China, and this process is documented in the last chapter on China that includes documentation on Kissinger’s June 1972 visit to Beijing.

Although the volume concentrates heavily on the People’s Republic of China, there is considerable documentation on U.S. relations with the Republic of China during the 1969–1972 period. There is also documentation on a government-wide reexamination of U.S.-PRC relations that served as background to the more far-reaching decisions taken in secret by Kissinger and the President.