22. Letter From President Nixon to Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai 1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

You have my gratitude for once again receiving Dr. Kissinger and his party with extreme courtesy, thoughtfulness, and cordiality. In listening to the personal accounts of his visit to the People’s Republic of China, I recalled with warm pleasure my own journey there a year ago. Let me also take this occasion to thank you for the exquisite vase that was presented to me.

I have heard and read Dr. Kissinger’s detailed accounts of his discussions with Chairman Mao and yourself with great interest and satisfaction. It was clear to me last year during my own talks that, differences notwithstanding, our two governments have parallel views on important aspects of the international situation. These most recent conversations demonstrate that we have continued to make substantial progress. It is inevitable—even useful—that our approaches to world problems will not be identical; each country must adhere to its principles. But it is also evident that we have reached mutual understanding in many areas and that we share many principles as well. The latter, of course, found expression in the Shanghai Communiqué which was so forcefully reaffirmed in the joint announcement after Dr. Kissinger’s trip.

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The advancement in our dialogue has been accompanied by concrete progress in our bilateral relations. In my January 3 letter to you2 I noted the headway that had already been made. With he achievement of a Vietnam settlement and as a result of Dr. Kissinger’s trip, there will now be substantial acceleration in the fields of trade and exchanges. This will serve further to enrich understanding between our peoples and bring tangible benefits to both countries. We are especially pleased that Liaison Offices will be established in our two capitals. This step will not only facilitate our bilateral programs and communication but also holds important symbolic value.

The normalization of relations with the People’s Republic of China remains basic to our policy. We will pursue it with as much dedication in my second term as we did in my first. I wish to reaffirm all the undertakings that Dr. Kissinger conveyed to you, and I am writing separately to Chairman Mao in the same vein.

With my best personal wishes.


Richard Nixon 3
  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 letter from Kissinger. (Ibid.) Lord gave it to Chuang Yen, Deputy PRC Representative to the United Nations during a March 17 meeting at the PRC Mission to the United Nations. (Ibid.)
  2. Tab A, Document 1.
  3. Nixon added the following handwritten postscript: “I am convinced that our new relationship has contributed enormously to the cause of security for our two nations and to peace in the world. I look forward to working with you over the next four years toward further guaranteeing these objectives. RN