Solomon played a key role in “Ping Pong Diplomacy;” leading to President Nixon’s opening of China

The Nixon Foundation mourns the loss of Richard H. Solomon, a distinguished diplomat who helped open China to the world. He died March 13 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

During the important exchanges that resulted in President Nixon’s opening of China, Dick, as a member of the National Security Council, had the critical role as RN’s representative to the Chinese ping-pong team during their American tour in April 1972. With Dick’s help, the team was well received in the U.S. and the visit served as an important part of Nixon’s China strategy.

He continued to organize Chinese exchanges and programs as the National Security Council’s Senior Staff Member for Asian Affairs, until leaving in 1976 to head the political science department at RAND Corporation.

From there Dick’s assignments in government included Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (1989-1992), Director of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State (1986-1989), and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines (1992-1993).

He served as President of the U.S. Institute of Peace from 1993 to 2012. With his leadership and support, USIP partnered with the Nixon Foundation to commemorate the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s historic trip to China. The 2012 conference was covered internationally and included keynotes from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Dr. Henry Kissinger.

In recent years, Dick was a key contributor to the Foundation’s Nixon Legacy Forum series, where served as a panelist on the forums: Richard Nixon as Cold War Strategist and The Opening to China.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my good friend Dick Solomon. He was a man truly dedicated to bringing peace to the world and serving his country. To all of us from the Nixon years, he was beloved member of our family and we will miss him dearly,” said Ron Walker, chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Anne and the Solomon family.”

Dick was a regular attendee at the Nixon White House Policy Planning Staff Reunion each fall in Washington, D.C., including last November.