The initial decision on the part of the United States to normalize Sino-American relations was based upon perceptions of the Soviet Union as a mutual threat to both countries. The two chief American architects of improved relations with the PRC, President Richard Nixon and his national security affairs advisor Henry Kissinger, have both referred to this strategic imperative as the motive behind their efforts to establish a cooperative relationship with China during 1969–1972. President Nixon wrote in the New York Times on October 11, 1982:

The key factor that brought us together ten years ago was our common concern with the Soviet threat, and our recognition that we had a better chance of containing that threat if we replaced hostility with cooperation between Peking and Washington. This overriding strategic concern dominated our dialogue, and our relationship, during the first decade. 1