During his presidency, Richard Nixon made great strides in the fight against cancer, an issue which he felt was very important. In 1971 he signed the National Cancer Act, which allocated more resources to the National Cancer Institute and which is generally considered to be the first shot fired in the War on Cancer. On 9 June 1972, President Nixon sent a telegram to President Georges Pompidou of France to commend and to thank him for the work his government was also contributing to the fight against cancer. The French government had recently provided the International Agency for Research on Cancer—of which the United States was a founding member—with new facilities at Lyon in which to conduct their research.

This action on the part of the French Government is impressive evidence of its dedication to a cause in which all nations can join–the search for effective cures to the dread disease of cancer.

President Nixon then encouraged the French President to continue his support of such international collaborations in the war on cancer and reaffirmed his own commitment to such efforts and to the work being done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.