Ian Kelly

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science

First Advisor

Mary-Elizabeth Murphy

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Bernstein

Third Advisor

David Klein


Relations with China are more important than ever not even just for the United States, but the whole world. With Donald Trump as our President for now, general relations with China are on unsteady water since there is no predicting what either side might do. With the importance of Chinese relations so topical today, the base of the official U.S.-China relations would be just as important. Many people think Richard Nixon was the President who established these ties with China, but it was actually Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter had to trek through the muck set by President Nixon and Ford to establish official diplomatic ties with China. There was a lot of promises both Presidents before Carter made to the Chinese and President Carter had to work with the Chinese under those conditions. This historical event has been downplayed by the media and the American public because of the conditions Carter agreed to and the timing of this event. President Carter's intentions in the beginning were pure when it came to Chinese relations, but by the end, the intentions were tainted because of secret deals and his cabinet members. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter's intentions behind establishing official diplomatic ties with China were to help normalize the nation of China into the global community, to maintain a semi-healthy relationship with Taiwan, and to assist the United States strategically against the Soviet Union.