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The Opening to China: A Discussion With Henry Kissinger                                                                                                                                      March 7, 2012

Operating under the direction of President Nixon, Dr. Henry Kissinger became the first high ranking American representative to visit the People’s Republic of China during his secret visit to Beijing in July 1971. It was during this visit and an additional trip in October 1971 that many meaningful breakthroughs occurred, allowing for a more normal Sino-U.S. relationship. Following Nixon’s February 1972 trip to China, decades of hostility between two historical rivals began to move towards cooperation and a more peaceful international order. In this Nixon Legacy Forum, National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger engages in conversation with famed NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw about milestones along the way towards rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China and the future of the Sino-U.S. relationship in a global context.

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Panelists

Dr. Henry Kissinger: National Security Advisor to President Nixon (1969-1975), Secretary of State (1973-1977)

Tom Brokaw (Moderator): NBC News Anchor

Timeline (With Links to Primary Documents)

1969

February 1 – Memorandum, President Nixon to Henry Kissinger, RE: Exploring possibilities of Rapprochement With China (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

August 2 – Memorandum of Conversation Between President Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Nicolae Ceausescu in Bucharest, Romania (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXIX, Eastern Europe; Easter Mediterranean, 1969–1972, Document 183)

1970

February – First Annual Report to the Congress on United States Foreign Policy (The American Presidency Project)

February 20 – Memorandum, Henry Kissinger to President Nixon, RE: Chinese at Warsaw Talks Suggest US Send High-Level Representative to Peking (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1031)

1971

February – Second Annual Report to the Congress on United States Foreign Policy (The American Presidency Project)

April 21 – Message from Premier Zhou Enlai Offering to host Henry Kissinger on a Trip to the People’s Republic of China (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1031)

April 30 – “A Conversation With Mao Tse-Tung” by Edgar Snow (LIFE Magazine)

May 10 – Message from President Nixon to Zhou Enlai Accepting Offer to Host Secret Trip of Henry Kissinger to the People’s Republic of China (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1031)

July 9 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at the Government’s Guest House (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

July 10 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at The Great Hall of the People (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

Memorandum of PM Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at the Government Guest House (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

July 11 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at the Government Guest House (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

July 14 – Memorandum, Henry Kissinger to President Nixon, RE: My Talks with Chou En-Lai (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1033)

July 15 – President Nixon Accepts Invitation to Visit the People’s Republic of China (The American Presidency Project)

October 20 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at The Great Hall of the People (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

October 21 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at The Great Hall of the People (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at The Great Hall of the People (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

October 22 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at The Great Hall of the People (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

October 23 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at the Government Guest House (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

October 26 – Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger [American Delegation] and Zhou Enlai [Chinese Delegation] in Beijing at the Government Guest House (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 851)

November 29 – Joint Statement Announcing the Date of President Nixon’s Visit to the People’s Republic of China (The American Presidency Project)

1972

February 17 – President Nixon Departure From the White House for a State Visit to the People’s Republic of China (The American Presidency Project)

March 7 – Henry Kissinger Briefs White House Staff on Trip to the People’s Republic of China (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Security Council Files, Box 1026)

 

 

Additional Sources

 

On China by Henry Kissinger

White House Years by Henry Kissinger

Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed The World by Margaret MacMillan

A Cold War Turning Point: Nixon and China, 1969-1972 by Chris Tudda