Under the National Committee’s auspices, a delegation of 17 young American political leaders – young persons serving in elected positions at the state or local level, or leaders of political organizations – visited the People’s Republic of China in May 1977. Assembled with the cooperation of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, it was the first such visit of its kind.
Thomas P. O’Neill III, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, served as the delegation’s leader. R. Spencer Oliver, staff director of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and former national president of the Young Democrats, and Audrey Rowe-Colom, chairwoman of the National Women’s Caucus and director of women’s activities at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, were deputy leaders. Neil Goldschmidt, future governor of Oregon, Sidney Barthelemy, future mayor of New Orleans, and Carol Bellamy, future New York City council president, and head of the Peace Corps and UNICEF, were also members of the group.
In China, the delegation members were the guests of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, which arranged a full schedule of meetings and seminars with Chinese officials. In Beijing, among other activities, was a discussion with Vice Premier Li Xiannian, covering subjects ranging from U.S.-China relations to Chinese developmental priorities, and with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Haizheng, on China’s foreign policy. The itinerary also included stops in Beijing, Hohhot (and the Mongolian grasslands to the north), Changsha, Wushi, and Shanghai.