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In June 1977, Philip Handler, president of the National Academy of Sciences, led an interdisciplinary delegation of the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China to the People's Republic of China (PRC) to discuss with their Chinese counterparts the exchange program in the physical and social sciences.

Our mission to Peking had been to replace the ‘scientific tourism’ of the last two years of the exchange program with something more substantial. It may be some time before we see the fruits of this mission, since we were told that cooperative scientific ventures would have to wait for ‘normalization.’