Historic First

An 18-member delegation of leaders of American organizations active in public education about world affairs visited China for 18 days in October 1975. Sponsored by the National Committee and led by Cyrus Vance, vice chairman of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations and chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, it was the first American delegation of its kind to visit the People’s Republic.

The delegation spent a week in the capital and held extended conversations focusing on international affairs with senior Chinese officials, including Acting Foreign Minister Han Nianlong, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade Yao Yilin, and Chairman of Xinhua News Agency Zhu Muchi. George H.W. Bush, then the chief of the United States Liaison Office in Beijing, joined the delegation for its meeting with then Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, receiving his first introduction to the senior leader.

From Beijing the group traveled to the Daqing oilfield complex, Harbin, Nanjing, Yangzhou, Wuxi, and Shanghai.

Upon their return, several members of the delegation published articles, participated in panels and symposia, and gave lectures on their China experience.