21. Letter From President Nixon to Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong 1

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Dr. Kissinger has reported to me fully on his most recent visit to the People’s Republic of China and especially his conversation with you.

Let me first express my appreciation for your gracious gesture of receiving Dr. Kissinger. This was evidence to the world of the major progress we have made in our relations and underscored our joint determination to continue on the path toward full normalization. I am grateful for your kind message to me which was also specified in the announcement of the meeting.

Your frank and wide-ranging discussion with Dr. Kissinger was a very positive elaboration of our own talks a year ago which I recall with great warmth. I wish to reaffirm all the basic principles that Dr. Kissinger expressed to you on my behalf. The integrity of China is a fundamental element in American foreign policy. We believe that the viability and independence of your country is in the U.S. national interest and the interest of world peace. Our international approach will reflect this view.

While our two countries will continue to have differences, it is clear from Dr. Kissinger’s talks with you and Prime Minister Chou Enlai that we increasingly share common views about the world situation. We take great satisfaction in the progress of our dialogue and the specific steps that are now being taken to accelerate the normalization of our relations.

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I think we can look back on this recent period with a genuine sense of accomplishment. Our joint task now is to continue advancing on the course we have well established. This will be the firm policy of the United States.


Richard Nixon 2
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 94, Country Files, Far East, China Exchanges, January 1–April 14, 1973. No classification marking. The President received this letter for his approval and signature under a March 8 covering memorandum from Kissinger. (Ibid.) Lord gave it to Chuang Yen, Deputy PRC Representative to the United Nations, on March 17, during a meeting at the PRC Mission to the United Nations. (Ibid.)
  2. Nixon added the following handwritten postscript: “Our common dangers and our common interests have drawn our two nations together at this critical juncture in history. I intend to do everything I can to see that nothing drives us apart during my service as President. RN