We describe a program aimed at characterizing the X-ray emission of high redshift QSOs. We have obtained slitless spectra of 50 high galactic latitude fields previously imaged at very high levels of sensitivity by the Einstein Observatory, generally for original goals unrelated to QSOs. Our survey, covering ∼ 17 deg2 of sky to limiting magnitude Bcont
∼ 21, has yielded ∼ 400 previously uncatalogued QSO candidates, each with sensitive new X-ray information available. About 100 of these objects, constituting a “high confidence” set of QSOs, chiefly in the redshift range 1.7 < z < 3 and thus complementary to previous samples with X-ray data, are used to derive the X-ray properties of high redshift QSOs. Even at these most sensitive available X-ray flux levels, only about 25% of the objects are positively detected in X-rays; thus extensive attention has been given to proper treatment of the upper-limit information. We find a mean optical-to-X-ray slope parameter for the sample of . Our results are combined with those of previous surveys to estimate the fraction of the diffuse X-ray background radiation due to QSOs. QSOs are capable of supplying the majority of the radiation, but the chief contribution comes from an annulus of intermediate redshift, moderate luminosity objects.