Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | 5:30 PM EST - 7:30 PM EST

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP |, New York, NY

On February 27,1972, the United States and China issued the Shanghai Communiqué, a document that set the stage for the normalization of relations between two countries that had been estranged for the prior 23 years. The joint statement was negotiated by President Richard Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai the last afternoon of President Nixon’s week-long trip to China. The Communiqué changed the strategic landscape and has served as the foundation for U.S.-China relations since that time.

On February 21, 2017, in New York City, the National Committee commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Communiqué. Former United States Ambassadors to China Winston Lord (who accompanied President Richard Nixon in 1972) and Stapleton Roy discussed the Communiqué’s role then and now in enabling the United States and the People’s Republic of China to manage the world’s most important bilateral relationship. National Committee President Stephen A. Orlins moderated the discussion.  

Ambassador Winston Lord

Ambassador Winston Lord currently serves as chairman emeritus of the International Rescue Committee, the largest non-sectarian organization that both helps refugees abroad and resettles them in the United States. The IRC operates in some 40 countries and 25 American cities. Lord has had a long career of bipartisan service in the U.S. government and the private sector.

For 45 years Ambassador Lord has been at the center of U.S.-China relations. As special assistant to the National Security Advisor he accompanied Henry Kissinger on his secret visit to China and President Nixon on his historic opening in the early 1970’s, as well as subsequent trips by President Ford and Dr. Kissinger. From 1985 to 1989 he served as Ambassador to China under Presidents Reagan and Bush. From 1993 to 1997 he was assistant secretary of state in charge of all East Asian Policy, including China, under President Clinton.

Ambassador Lord was the State Department director of policy planning 1973-1977. He served in a variety of assignments in the Defense Department and the Foreign Service in the 1960’s.

Between governmental posts Ambassador Lord has headed and helped direct a variety of private organizations related to international affairs. He was president of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1977 to 1985. In the early 1990s he was chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy and chairman of the Carnegie Endowment National Commission on America and the New World.

Ambassador Lord earned a B.A. from Yale (Magna Cum Laude) and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (first in the class). He has received several honorary degrees, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Defense Department’s Outstanding Performance Award. Ambassador Lord has appeared on all major media networks and his writings include articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time and Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Lord is also a former director of the National Committee.

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy retired from the Foreign Service in January 2001 after a career spanning 45 years with the U.S. Department of State. A fluent Chinese speaker, Ambassador Roy spent much of his career in East Asia, where his assignments included Bangkok (twice), Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing (twice), Singapore, and Jakarta. He also specialized in Soviet affairs and served in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. Ambassador Roy served as ambassador three times: in Singapore (1984-86), the People’s Republic of China (1991-95), and Indonesia (1996-99). In 1996, he was promoted to the rank of career ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service. Ambassador Roy’s final post with the State Department was as assistant secretary for Intelligence and Research. In 2001 he received Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Service.

In January 2001, Ambassador Roy joined Kissinger Associates, Inc., a strategic consulting firm, as managing director. For several years he was director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; he is now director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program. Ambassador Roy is also a director of the National Committee.

Ambassador Roy was born in Nanjing, China of American educational missionary parents. In 1956, he graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where he majored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He did post-graduate study on Mongolian language, history, and culture at the University of Washington, attended the U.S. Army Advanced Russian Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and is a distinguished graduate of the National War College and member of its National Hall of Fame.