The Diplomatic Revolution of 1971–1972 and Subsequent Policy

  • Wolf Mendl


The announcement on 15 July 1971 that President Nixon would visit China in the spring of 1972 surprised Tokyo. As early as January, the Japanese had been aware that something was afoot1 and they faced a dilemma: on the one hand, they had to avoid taking sides with China and running the risk of a break with the United States; on the other, they had to avoid becoming the victims of an American-Chinese understanding. None the less, they were shocked by the three minutes’ notice given to them before Nixon’s historic announcement.


Foreign Minister China Issue Peace Treaty Japanese Business Subsequent Policy 
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  1. 18.
    Cited in Eta Shinkichi, ‘Japan and China — a New Stage?’, Problems of Communism (Washington, US Information Agency), vol. XXI, no. 6, Nov—Dec 1972, pp. 7 and 9.Google Scholar
  2. 25.
    For a discussion of the historic tribute system, see Mark Mancall, ‘The Ch’ing Tribute System: an Interpretative Essay’, in J. K. Fairbank, ed., The Chinese World Order: Traditional China’s Foreign Relations ( Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1968 ).Google Scholar
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  4. 31.
    The most comprehensive treatment of the whole issue is to be found in John J. Stephan, The Kuril Islands: Russo-Japanese Frontier in the Pacific ( Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974 ).Google Scholar
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© Royal Institute of International Affairs 1978

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  • Wolf Mendl

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