Then-President Nixon told Chinese leaders in 1972 that he intended to normalize relations with Peking during his second term if re-elected that November, State Department officials said yesterday.

The officials, who have had access to memoranda of Nixon's discussions with Prime Minister Chou En-lai in February, 1972, described the statements as expressions of intention rather than binding agreements. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance has said, and the State Department reiterated officially yesterday, that no "secret agreements" between the United States and China have been found in the review of Nixon administration documents.

The Shanghai communique at the end of Nixon's visit to China described normalization of relations as in the best interests of both the Chinese and American people as well as in the interest of peace. But no timetable was given.

One result of the rapproachement begun by Nixon was teh establishment of the National Council for U.S.-China Trade. The group's president, Christopher Phillips, resigned from a U.S. diplomatic post to set up the organization promoting trade with China.

After visiting Vance at the State Department yesterday, Phillips said the Secretary of State gave him "a very strong endorsement" of the continued operation of the trade council. Phillips said his group wished to obtain Carter administration views on its work because it was formed "as a result of government initiative" four years ago.

Huang Chen, head of the Chinese liaison office in Washington, also called on Vance yesterday. State Department spokesman Hodding Carter III said the purpose was to brief the Chinese on the recent U.S.-Soviet negotiations in Moscow regarding strategic arms.