Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016


Running for president in 1960, John F. Kennedy vowed to explore a “New Frontier” — a hybrid of challenges and opportunities that promised progress both domestically and abroad.1 In essence, Kennedy envisioned a New America not chained down by the traditions of the Republican administration before him. In many regards, Kennedy achieved what he desired: a fresh, open-minded way of approaching international issues. Though Kennedy struggled to develop a new diplomatic approach to China, he did show a willingness to compromise with the Chinese in regards to the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. Kennedy remained a “cold war warrior” throughout his presidency, but he did begin to cautiously portray himself to the communist Chinese as open to negotiation and more forward-thinking than the Eisenhower administration. This is best reflected in Kennedy’s stance on the islands of Quemoy and Matsu during the 1960 presidential debate.