The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (2015)
Bush found out that China still wanted a powerful America, even in Asia, in that the powers-that-be in the Chinese government wanted the U.S. to be a powerful distraction to the USSR. Bush believed that the U.S. needed to be visible in Asia, but not pushy, muscular, or domineering. Bush violated the instructions given to his predecessor to avoid interacting with the Chinese. Bush intermingled with Chinese diplomats and government officials, cheerfully making the rounds. At the time, Secretary of State + National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger couldn't have disagreed more with Bush's approach towards the Chinese. George and Barbara Bush eschewed the official U.S. Government vehicle, choosing instead to get around by bicycle as often as possible.
Bush discovered that China bent only when it chose to bend. China saw history, even reality itself, very much differently than Western nations. After the Fall of Saigon, Bush watched various nations from the Pacific Rim call on Beijing, just in case the U.S. pulled out of their region. Bush was convinced that the U.S. needed to remain engaged and relevant in the world, which required constant vigilance.
Bush asserted that the U.S. would never know ahead of time which relatively insignificant nation(s) would all of a sudden become critically important, whether regionally or globally. Kissinger returned to China in October 1975 in order to prepare for President Ford's visit later that year. Bush saw Mao Tse-Tung twice in 1975, first with Kissinger, then with Ford; Mao told Ford that he would hate to see Bush leave China as U.S. Envoy.
Ronald Reagan was on the ascendancy, with more-and-more Republicans identifying themselves as Reagan (formerly Goldwater) Conservatives. The Reagan Conservatives could accept Ford as President, but not with Rockefeller in tow. Ford realized that the antagonism the Reagan Conservatives had towards the liberal wing of the party would only increase as time went by.
Rockefeller agreed to no longer be Ford's Vice-President in 1976. Rumsfeld would be Secretary of Defense, and Dick Cheney would serve as Chief of Staff. Brent Scowcroft would head the National Security Agency, replacing Kissinger. Elliott Richardson would be the new SecCommerce, and William Colby would be out as Director of the CIA. On
1 November 1975, Bush was flabbergasted to learn, in a telegram from Kissinger, that Ford wanted him to be the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA was in disarray, and to complicate matters more for Bush, the Church Committee was investigating the intelligence agency.
Plenty in D.C. saw Rumsfeld advancing his bona fides for a future Vice-Presidency by positioning himself as SecDef, while marooning Bush in the CIA. According to Cheney, it was Ford that had Bush going to the CIA instead of being named SecCommerce . . . still, Rumsfeld was the main beneficiary. If true, Bush being moved to the CIA was almost certain to make Kissinger happy, in that Kissinger was now "only" Secretary of State, and Kissinger liked Bush. That mattered to Kissinger because the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency had to interact, and Kissinger wanted someone he knew and trusted as Director of the CIA.