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Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China United States Letter Implementing Understandings on Educational Exchange, Agriculture, and Space as Part of the Agreement on Science and Technology.

January 31, 1979

Dear Mr. Minister:

With reference to the Agreement Between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China on Cooperation in Science and Technology, signed in Washington today, it is the understanding of the Government of the United States of America that existing understandings in the fields of education, agriculture and space will become a part of the formal specific accords to be concluded in those fields under Article 5 of the Agreement.

Attached as annexes to this letter are the Understanding on the Exchange of Students and Scholars reached in Washington in October 1978, the Understanding on Agricultural Exchange reached in Beijing in November 1978, and the Understanding on Cooperation in Space Technology reached in Washington in December 1978.

If the Government of the People's Republic of China confirms this understanding and the texts of the understandings annexed hereto, this letter and the letter of confirmation of the People's Republic of China will constitute an agreement relating to these fields between our two governments.



Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy

[His Excellency Fang Yi, Minister in Charge, The State Scientific and Technological Commission, Beijing]


An understanding on educational exchanges between the United States and China was reached in Washington, D.C. in October 1978 during discussions between the Chinese education delegation headed by Dr. Chou Pei-yuan, Acting Chairman of the PRC Science and Technology Association, and the U.S. education delegation headed by Dr. Richard C. Atkinson, Director of the National Science Foundation, as follows:

1. Both sides agreed they would pursue a program of educational exchange in accordance with and in implementation of the spirit of the Shanghai Communiqué;

2. There will be a two-way scientific and scholarly exchange which will provide mutual benefit to both countries;

3. The exchanges will include students, graduate students and visiting scholars for programs of research and study in each country;

4. The two sides exchanged lists of fields in which its students and scholars

are interested and lists of institutions where they wish to work. Each side will use its best efforts to fulfill the requests of the other for study and research opportunities. Each side will expeditiously grant visas for such exchanges in accordance with its laws and regulations;

5. The sending side will pay the costs associated with its participants;

6. Both sides may take full advantage of any scholarships which may be offered;

7. Each side will be responsible for the implementation of the program in its territory, including responsibility for providing advice to the other side and relevant information and materials about the universities and research institutions concerned;

8. The two sides agreed that the students and scholars sent by both sides should observe the laws and regulations and respect the customs of the receiving country;

9. The Chinese side indicated it wishes to send a total of 500 to 700 students and scholars in the academic year 1978-1979. The United States side indicated it wishes to send 10 students in its national program in January 1979 and 50 students in its national program by September 1979 as well as such other numbers as the Chinese side is able to receive. Both sides agree to use their best efforts to implement such programs;

10. To set each year the number of students and scholars to be exchanged and to discuss the progress of the program of exchanges, the two sides will meet when necessary. Consultations on important matters may also be held by the governments of the two countries. In addition, both sides will encourage direct contacts between the universities, research institutions, and scholars of their respective countries;

11. Both sides believe that the discussions mark a good beginning and have opened up the prospect of broadened opportunities for exchanges between the two countries in the fields of science, technology and education as relations between them improve. Both sides also believe that such exchanges are conducive to the promotion of friendship and understanding between their two peoples.


During a visit to China of a delegation led by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Robert Bergland in November 1978, discussions were held with Chinese officials which resulted in understandings concerning US-PRC agricultural exchange. It was agreed that it would be of mutual benefit to promote cooperation in agricultural technology, economic information, science and education, and trade in agricultural products, and that contacts between organizations and institutions of all types in these fields should be facilitated.

It was noted that study groups had already been exchanged in the fields of science and research, farm machinery, citrus fruits, wheat and vegetables. It was agreed that areas in which further exchanges should occur would include germ plasm (seed research and selection), biological control of pests, livestock and veterinary science, and agricultural education and research management methods. It was also agreed that, within the next two or three years, cooperation would be carried out in the fields of forestry, agricultural engineering, improvement of grasslands and management of pasturelands, cultivation of fruit trees, medicinal plants, and the application of remote sensing and computer technology to agriculture. Such cooperation would include mutual visits of, and joint research by, students, scientists and technicians.

The U.S. side agreed to facilitate contacts between officials of the People's Republic of China and U.S. manufacturers of agricultural equipment and supplies. Each side expressed its interest in the statistical methods of agricultural economics and experience in agricultural management of the other side. It was agreed also that, through the cooperator program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, further discussions should be held regarding the products and technology best suited to conditions in China and that USDA teams would begin visiting China in early 1979. Reciprocal scientific teams from the PRC will also begin U.S. study visits in 1979.

It was agreed that the development of agricultural trade between the two countries was in the mutual interest and that its prospects were bright.

It was agreed that when study teams or technical trainees are exchanged on a one-for-one basis, the host country would pay in-country costs; and that when the exchange is not reciprocal, the sending country will pay all costs.


During a visit to the United States in November and December 1978 by a delegation headed by Dr. Jen Hsin-min, Director of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, an understanding in principle was reached with a delegation headed by Dr. Robert A. Frosch, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, on U.S.-Chinese cooperation in the peaceful utilization of space technology.

This understanding includes:

1. Cooperation in the development of the civil broadcasting and communications system of the PRC. The PRC intends, under suitable conditions, to purchase a U.S. satellite broadcasting and communications system, including the associated ground receiving and distribution equipment. The space portion of the system will be launched by NASA and placed in geostationary orbit by a U.S. contractor, with continued operation to be carried out by China; and

2. The intended purchase, under suitable conditions, by the PRC of a U.S. ground station capable of receiving earth resources information from the NASA Landsat remote sensing satellites, including the Landsat now under development.

It was also agreed that, through further discussions and correspondence, both sides would develop the details of the understanding described above and consider other fields of civil space cooperation which could be of mutual interest and benefit.

Note: Mr. Press and Vice Premier Fang signed the letters of understanding at the ceremony in the East Room at the White House prior to the signing of the science and technology agreement by the President and the Vice Premier.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China United States Letter Implementing Understandings on Educational Exchange, Agriculture, and Space as Part of the Agreement on Science and Technology. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248791

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