Resources on US-China Relations

Research Resources on U.S. – China Relations


The list consists of historical and contemporary sources relevant to researching the development of U.S.-China foreign relations.  Open-access and subscription resources are included.


Primary Sources:

·         China and the United States : from hostility to engagement, 1960-1998

Part of Digital National Security Archive, this collection pulls together more than 2,000 documents concerning the relationship between the United States and China, with an emphasis on the 1969-1998 time period. The documents include memos, cables, and studies concerning U.S. diplomatic relations with China, records concerning the U.S.-PRC security relationship, documents related to the economic and scientific association with the PRC, and intelligence estimates and studies concerning the PRC’s foreign policy objectives, military capabilities, and internal situation.

·         China: trade, politics & culture, 1793-1980

The collection “China : trade, politics & culture, 1793-1980 : sources from the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library, London” contains a wide range of materials documenting western interaction with China from the first embassy by Lord MaCartney to trade negotiations for military aircraft in the 1970s. It includes papers regarding the MaCartney and Amherst Embassies, the Opium War, Arrow War, Boxer Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion, the opening of treaty ports, the creation and running of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service and the birth of the People’s Republic, and strong collections relating to missionaries and their experiences. It contains maps, drawings and photographs, and personal accounts of life and work in China throughout the period.

·         U.K. National Archives, Kew.  Foreign Office files for China, 1949-1980

Section I, 1949-1956

Section II, 1957-1966

Section III, 1967-1980

Complete FO 371 and FCO 21 files from the National Archives, Kew. The documents combine eye-witness accounts, weekly and monthly summaries, annual reviews, reports and analyses with a synthesis of newspaper articles and conference reports, economic assessments and synopses on key events, leading personalities and all major new developments relating to China during the period.

·        Records of the National Council for United States-China Trade 1973-1983

Reproduction from the originals from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, this collection documents the formation of the National Council for United States-China Trade, its role in the development of U.S.-China trade, and the Council’s library holdings relating to China’s trade and economy. The Council is an association of U.S. business firms interested in trade with the People’s Republic of China. It was formed in 1973 with the encouragement of the U.S. Government.

·         Tiananmen Square and U.S.-China relations, 1989-1993

Reproduction of the originals from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, this digital collection reviews U.S.-China relations in the post-Cold War Era, and analyzes the significance of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, China’s human rights issues, and resumption of World Bank loans to China in July 1990.

·         U.S. intelligence and China: collection, analysis, and covert action / National Security Archive

This compilation of declassified documents concerning U.S. intelligence activities directed at both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China includes more than 2,300 documents providing new insights into aspects of intelligence operations, with the results of most of these efforts, naturally, kept highly classified. Collectively, the records cover a wide time period, a number of collection activities, and analytical products concerning the target nations’ foreign policies; military policies and forces; domestic policies; economies; science, technology and industry; and leadership. The resulting finished intelligence addressed a diversity of topics, ranging from military capabilities to domestic policies, and which was critical in helping to shape U.S. policy toward the emerging world power. This collection provides insights into all these aspects of intelligence operations, revealing U.S. concerns about its rival, China, and its ally, Taiwan.

Secondary Sources

·         Encyclopedia of Chinese-American relations

Since 1784, when the American ship Empress of China arrived in Guangzhou, Chinese-American relations have experienced advances and setbacks. As the Chinese economy rapidly expands, China assumes a more dominant position in world politics, and continued fruitful relations with the United States are a primary concern for both nations in the twenty-first century. This encyclopedia contains more than 4

·         Congressional-Executive Commission on China



The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.

·         Columbia International Affairs Online

Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is designed to be the most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 on that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, and proceedings from conferences. Each section of CIAO is updated with new material on a regular schedule. Working papers are augmented every month, as are conference proceedings. Links and resources, the schedule of events and the response files are updated weekly.

·         PAIS International

The PAIS International database contains references to more than 460,000 journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more. Newspapers and newsletters are not indexed. PAIS International includes publications from over 120 countries throughout the world.

·        U.S. Department of State US Bilateral Relations with China Factsheet