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Title: The China opening in perspective, c. 1961-1976
Author: Dodds, A. I.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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Typically, historians have written about the US-PRC rapprochement of 1972 as a policy that was predicated on a geopolitical balance-of-power approach and conceived, developed, and executed during the first Nixon administration (1969-72). This dissertation examines the evolution and development of US China policy during the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and suggests that Nixon's two immediate predecessors laid significant foundations for rapprochement. Although no dramatic policy changes occurred between1961 and 1963, a significant process of debate and rethinking about the People's Republic of China did take place and the desirability and necessity of a China policy departure gained increased acceptance among US policymakers during the Kennedy administration. This continued during the Johnson administration and by 1966 "revisionist" officials had persuaded the President to authorise a series of rhetorical and small changes to US policy. At the same time, political figures in Congress, the business community, and public opinion poll data indicated that the administration's efforts to reduce Sino-American tensions had wide support. A large number of policy proposals to establish contact and communication were ready for implementation once the Chinese signalled their readiness to respond the American actions. At the beginning of 1969, the time appeared to be ripe for change in the US-PRC relationship as the Vietnam peace talks began and the Cultural Revolution was toned down. The chapters on Nixon focus on the important continuities between the policies developed in the Kennedy-Johnson years and those implemented by Nixon. They outline and analyse the steps that the United States and the PCR undertook during the transitional phase of Sino-American relations between 1969 and 1971, which climaxed in Henry Kissinger's secret flight to Beijing in July 1971. Thereafter, the dissertation explains and assesses the Nixon administration's aims and objectives of the Kissinger trip, the substance and implications of the Kissinger-Zhou conversations for the short- and long-term development of US China policy and US-PRC relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available