111. Letters From President Nixon to the Chairman of the Communist Party of China Mao Tse-tung and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, Washington, March 14, 19721 2

[Page 1]


March 10, 1972



SUBJECT: Thank-you Letters to Mao and Chou

Attached at Tabs A and B, respectively, are thank-you letters to Chairman Mao and Prime Minister Chou. They have been cleared by Ray Price.


That you sign the letters at Tabs A and B.

[Tab A]

March 14, 1972

[Page 2]

Dear Mr. Chairman,

Please accept my warm thanks, as well as those of Mrs. Nixon and all of the Americans who accompanied us, for the gracious consideration with which we were received in the People’s Republic of China. We have come away from your country with a far deeper appreciation of the beauties of its land, the qualities of its people, and the views of its government.

I especially benefitted from, and I will always remember, our conversation on the afternoon of my arrival in Peking. Your frank and wise observations, as well as your warm welcome, set the framework for the entire week which did so much to further the interests of our two great peoples. My conversations with Premier Chou En-lai were marked by the same tone of candor; they enabled both sides to clarify their views, articulate our differences; and explore common ground.

World realities brought us together after a long separation. I believe these realities will continue to shape our future. If, together, we maintain the mutual candor and comprehension that marked our discussions during my visit, we can move further down the road on which we have now embarked. There is no more important goal for our two nations and for our two peoples.


Richard Nixon

Chairman Mao Tse-tung

Peking, People’s Republic of China

[Tab B]

March 14, 1972

[Page 3]

Dear Mr. Premier,

On behalf of Mrs. Nixon, the official party, and all the other Americans who accompanied me on my visit to the People’s Republic of China, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the generous courtesy and thoughtfulness of your government, your people, and you personally. For all of us, the week in Peking, Hangchow and Shanghai was a truly memorable and historic occasion. Please extend our gratitude and thanks to the many Chinese officials who treated us with such efficiency and hospitality.

The most significant and rewarding aspect of my visit was, of course, my meetings with Chairman Mao and yourself. I believe our discussions, and the joint communique which reflects them, served as a model of candor and comprehensiveness for leaders of nations who seek to bridge a wide gulf of isolation and differences. My understanding of your country’s views was greatly enriched, and I found our discussions of the broader aspects of international affairs most rewarding. I hope that our talks also served to define the purposes and direction of American policy.

In your toast at the opening banquet you expressed the “hope that, through a frank exchange of views between our two sides to gain a clearer notion of our differences and make efforts to find common ground, a new start can be made in the relations between our two countries.” This was my purpose in travelling to your country. Together, I believe we have served that goal and, in so doing, have advanced the interests not only of our two great peoples but of all the peoples of the world.

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We both recognize that we have only marked a beginning. Before us lies the challenge of developing what we have started. This process will require mutual understanding and restraint as well as continuing candor. The United States will approach this important task in that spirit.

Chou En-lai

Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

Peking, People’s Republic of China


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 525, Country Files, Far East, PRC, Vol. III, Jan-Mar 1972. No classification marking. Kissinger’s covering memorandum, sent for action, is dated March 10 and indicates that Ray Price cleared the letters. A notation on memorandum indicates that Nixon saw it. A handwritten note from Nixon reads: “K-where an occasion justifies it-see that I write Chou from time to time.” The letters are published from copies that bear Nixon’s handwritten signature.
  2. Kissinger transmitted two letters to Nixon with the recommendation that he sign the letters.