Content from the Brookings-Tsinghua Public Policy Center is now archived. Since October 1, 2020, Brookings has maintained a limited partnership with Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management that is intended to facilitate jointly organized dialogues, meetings, and/or events.
Few people know that Winston Lord was one of only three American attendees at the historic Beijing summit between President Nixon and Chairman Mao in February 1972. Although Lord sat alongside his boss, Henry Kissinger, his presence was kept a secret within the administration for fear of embarrassing Secretary of State William Rogers.
The episode symbolizes the quiet but essential role that Lord played throughout Kissinger’s tenure in government. Serving first as Kissinger’s deputy in the White House and then as director of the Policy Planning Staff in Kissinger’s State Department, Lord was instrumental to an astounding array of U.S. foreign policy feats: from the SALT Agreement to limit the arms race with the Soviet Union, to negotiations with the North Vietnamese that nearly ended the conflict and earned Kissinger a Nobel Peace Prize, to the invention of shuttle diplomacy as a means of halting the Yom Kippur War.
On October 11, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted Ambassador Lord for the launch of his new book, “Kissinger on Kissinger: Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy, and Leadership” (St. Martin’s Press, 2019). In conversation with Strobe Talbott—a distinguished fellow at Brookings who served as deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration—Lord shared highlights from the project and insights from his years of working with Kissinger. After the discussion, a Q&A session followed.