For roughly 200 years prior to 1911, what is today the nation of Mongolia was contained within the territorial borders of the Empire of China. After the collapse of that empire, a group of Mongolia nationalists established a new republic in 1924, with the assistance of the Soviet Union. Mongolians affirmed their independence in a plebiscite in October 1945, but because Mongolia remained close to the Soviet Union, relations between Mongolia and the United States were slow to develop.
The United States recognized the People’s Republic of Mongolia on January 27, 1987, when the two nations established formal diplomatic relations in a joint communiqué. Prior to this, the United States had on several occasions during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter Administrations entertained the possibility of recognition, both through internal discussions and informal discussions with Mongolian representatives, without success. Although the United States had not blocked Mongolia’s 1961 entrance into the UN (the United States abstained), and had signed several multilateral treaties to which Mongolia was also a party, these acts had not constituted recognition.