161. Message From President Carter to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

I want to inform you that on Friday, December 15, at 9:00 p.m. Washington time, I will announce the normalization of relations between the Government of the United States and the People’s Republic of China. This is an historic moment in the relations between the American people and the Chinese people. This step has no other purpose but to promote the cause of world peace. It is a step which I believe has been long overdue and which will redound to the benefit of all nations.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the reception accorded Secretaries Blumenthal and Kreps in Moscow.2 They have reported fully to me on their conversations with you. I am gratified that we share a similar commitment to the prompt conclusion of a Strategic Arms Accord, to the expansion of trade and other relations. I hope that the meeting between our two Foreign Ministers later this month can make important progress in this direction and pave the way for a personal meeting between the two of us. There is no greater priority in my government than the strengthening of relations between our two countries.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 47, China: Normalization with PRC: Events—Aggregate Documentation: 8–12/78. Secret; Eyes Only. In the upper right-hand corner, Carter wrote, “OK. J.”
  2. Secretaries Blumenthal and Kreps met with Brezhnev on December 6, while attending the meeting of the U.S.USSR Trade and Economic Council in Moscow.