The decision by France and the People's Republic of China (PRC) to establish diplomatic relations in late January 1964 has undergone relatively little scrutiny among scholars. Garret Martin's path-breaking article in the Winter 2008 issue of the JCWS is the most important account to date of this episode, but it focuses on the French side of the story. The account here provides a much fuller picture by drawing on declassified records of the PRC Foreign Ministry, official collections of formerly secret CCP documents, and materials from archives in former Soviet-bloc countries. These sources help illuminate two important but hitherto unknown or poorly understood aspects of Sino-French recognition in the period from August 1963 to January 1964: the French and Chinese thinking behind the decision to recognize each other, and the negotiation process itself.

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