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Hale Boggs and Gerald Ford, "Impressions of the New China: Joint Report to the U.S. House of Representatives," August 3, 1972

Boggs (Democrat) was the Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives and Ford (Republican) was the Minority Leader of the House. They visited China from June 23 to July 7, 1972. A House resolution on August 3, 1972 authorized the printing of their report as a House document.
August 3, 1972


Speaker, House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C.


Transmitted herewith is a report of our recent journey to the People's Republic of China.

Nearly one quarter of all mankind is Chinese. Together, our popu­lations tot a l more than 1 billion individuals. Yet, over nearly 25 years, we risked potentially dangerous misunderstandings as our nations became ever more isolated one from the other.

As both governments have now recognized, it is in the interest of our peoples and in the interest of international peace for us to learn to live together in peace and mutual respect.

We harbor no illusions that the path to that relationship will be easily or quickly traveled. There are many fundamental dIfferences between our socIeties. Nevertheless, our visit reminded us again that people the world over share a common desire for friendship.

We hope tha t the observations contained in this r epor t may be of interest to our colleagues and to the public at large and, in particular, that our journey will contribute in a small way to a normalization of U.S. relations wi th China.

Majority Leader.

Minority Leader.


Our visit to the People's Republic of China, in behalf of the House of Representatives, was undertaken a t the invitation of the quasi­governmental Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) and with the encouragement of President Nixon. It was only the third visit to China by elected American officials in nearly a quarter century, preceded only by the President in February this year and by Senators Mansfield and Scott in late April and early May.

Our mission had two principal objectives: first, to learn as much as possible about China - its leaders, its people, its economy, its interna­tional and domestic objectives for the President and the House of Representatives; second, to contribute to bet ter relations between our two countries, an objective not only mutually advantageous to the Chinese and American peoples, but also contributory to the relaxation of tensions throughout Asia and the world.

We have reported in detail to the President both verbally and in writing. This report to our colleagues is an elaboration of our report to him.

We do not pose as experts on China, or on Sino-American relations. All that we report must be evaluated in light of the views of others in and out of government who have devoted themselves to a study of China. We recognize as well as anyone that in a mere ten days in the vastness of China, we could do little more than become aware of the enormous amount of information and understanding we lack about that land.

We are reminded of the blind men who sought to learn about an elephant, each coming away with a very different impression, and none with a complete account. In orde r to enhance the usefulness of our report, then, we have prepar ed this report jointly, assembling and comparing our recollections together as we traveled and worked to­ gether on thi s remarkable journey.

Click here to download the pdf version of the complete report.