The year from 1961 to 1972 witnessed the Sino-American relations from confrontation to détente. In order to change the state of isolation and confrontation between China and America and increase the mutual understandings between the peoples of the two countries, Cecil Thomas , Robert Scalapino and the other people held two seminars on the problems of China. And on that basis, they established the NCUSCR in June 1966. After the establishment of the committee, it introduced the situation of China to American people by seminars and the forms, which laid the foundation for the détente of Sino-American relations.
The year from 1961 to 1972 witnessed the Sino-US relations from détente to the establishment of official diplomatic relations. During this period, the National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUSCR), by actively promoting Sino–US exchanges in sports, arts and non-governmental and semi–official exchanges of visits, speeded the process of normalization of Sino-American relations. By the promotion of resisting Soviet Union, Sino-US relations during the years between 1979 and 1989 were kept well. The committee continued to promote exchanges of arts and a variety of civil and semi–official bodies between China and America. At the same time, actively promoted official exchanges between two nations, and established sustainable Sino–US educational exchanges and ‘Track Ⅱ”dialogue projects, which were conducive to further mutual understanding between officials and the public in both nations. The situation of Sino–American relations was very negative during the period between 1989 and 1999, but in order to facilitate the relationship develop normally, the NCUSCR, on one hand, furthered the Sino–US educational exchange, and on the other hand, facilitated China and America to cooperation in the fields of economics, law, military and environment, which helped the development of Sino–US relations on the basis of new mutual interests.
During the period from 1999 to 2010, the NCUSCR made four new activity aims according to the new situation of Sino–US relations. The first was to inform the policy leaders and opinion shapers. According to the aim, the committee held U.S. “Municipal Leaders Delegations” to China project, “Presidential Candidates Initiative”, “U.S.–China Congressional Communicative Group” to China plan and “China Briefings for Mid–Career Military Officers” plan. The second was to foster dialogue and cooperation on cutting edge issues. In order to realize the target, the committee firstly conducted a serious of activities on human rights problems, including the reception of China human rights delegation’s first visit to the U.S., holding the inaugural Sino–American dialogue on the rule of law and human rights meeting, and then facilitated the cooperation between U.S. and China in the economics field. The third was to develop the capacity of next generation of policy leaders. According to this target, the committee held two projects, including “U.S.–China Young Leaders Forum” and “U.S. Foreign Policy Colloquium”. The fourth was facilitating the exchange of ideas through educational exchanges and public education. In order to achieve this goal, the committee continued to support the “Scholar Orientation Program” started in 1984 until its end in 2002. The committee also carried out “the Barnett-Oksenberg Lecture on Sino-American Relations” began in 2005. Because the NCUSCR has set specific activity goals since 2000, it has had more strategic intents than ever when carrying out its exchange activities with China.
The NCUSCR has two agencies: the board of directors and presidency. Its mode of operation is staff oriented. There are two kinds of members in the NCUSCR, one is corporate members, the other is individual members. The NCUSCR is a non-profit organization, devoting to civil diplomatic activities. But with the development of times, its relationship with the American governments is closer and closer, and meantime it focuses on the national interest of the United States. Activities organized by the NCUSCR reflected the nature of the Americans transmitting its inherent values. The premise of the committee’s further activities was the development of Sino–American relations, in turn, the activities carried out by the committee also promoted the cooperation between China and the United States on the basis of mutual interests.