The Week that Changed the World, Part I

Uploaded by NixonFoundation on 20.10.2010

My name is Clayton Doobie,
and it's my privilege to be
from the USC US China institute.
And it's a big week here at USC.
On Friday, we are
going to be inaugurating C.
L. Max Nikias as the
eleventh President of the University.
While he was Provost,
Max Nikias established the
USC US China Institute expressly
to focus on the US
China relationship in all
its dimensions, how it was
changing, why it mattered,
and to look at critical trends in contemporary China.
This focus on China remains
a strategic priority here at USC.
Unfortunately, President Nikias has
another commitment and can't be
with us today, but he asked
that I extend to you his
warmest of welcomes.
And it's of course my pleasure to do just that.
Thank you all for
coming to today's symposium.
We're going to be looking back
at what went into making the
week that changed the world,
that week in February 1972
when President Nixon traveled to China.
We are extremely fortunate to have
a distinguished panel to speak on that subject.
After that, we're going to
look at US-China relations
in the context of China's
rising global influence.
Thirty-eight years ago, Richard Nixon stepped off a plane in Beijing.
He extended his hand to Premier Zhou Enlai.
And this ushered in a new
age in US-China relations.
It signaled the beginning of big, big changes.
Reconfiguring the US-China
relationship had been on
Nixon's mind for quite some time.
He wrote about it in 1967,
a year before
he was elected President of the United States.
In an article in Foreign Affairs
he said, "We simply
cannot afford to leave China
forever outside the family of nations.
There to nurture its fantasies,
cherish its hates, and threaten
its neighbors."
He was determined to change that.
Now, the behind-the-scenes diplomacy began in
late 1970 with both the
Chinese and Americans working through Pakistani representatives.
Both sides subsequently seized on
the opportunity, the opening that
presented itself with the
ping pong tournament in Tokyo
that led to a chance
encounter between the Chinese
team and one member of the American team.
It was our privilege to earlier
host here at USC Zhuang Zedong,
the member of the Chinese
team who extended his friendship
to Glen Cowan, the southern Californian
table tennis player, on that bus.
You know, of course, that the
American team traveled to
China in April 1971.
At that time, President Nixon
spoke quite clearly that
he hoped in some capacity to get to China.
Not long after after that, President
Nixon dispatched his Secretary
of State, Henry Kissinger, to China,
setting in motion the events
that we are going to be talking about today.
After that July meeting,
between Secretary Kissinger and
Prime Minister Zhou En Lai, it
was agreed that President Nixon would go to China.
But how?
How would he go?
How was this possible?
That journey didn't just happen.
As you know, we did not have diplomatic relations.
That's why the opening was so important.
And so that meant there was...we
didn't have the usual infrastructure
upon which to draw to prepare for such a visit.
The task of making this
trip possible and making
it successful fell to his
staff, most importantly
the three gentlemen that we're
honored to have with us
today as part of
this first panel, they're going
to be telling you about the
bureaucratic and cultural divides
that had to be bridged, the
work that was necessary to
orchestrate this important summit.
Where would they go?
With whom would they speak?
On what subjects?
Who would travel with them?
How would news be disseminated?
All of these things had to
be worked out in meticulous detail.
And even after working
all of this out in great
detail, the staff had
to be prepared to make last minute adjustments.
Because things, as they often do in China, change.
You're going to be hearing about all of that.
Once again, today's symposium is divided into two parts.
The first part features those who
helped to make, helped to
bring about the week that changed the world.
And then the second part features six
scholars who are going to
be speaking on US-China
relations, on China's place
in its region, as
well as China's place in its world.
A lot of people have
worked hard to make this event possible.
I'd like to highlight the contribution
made by Venus Saensradi of
the US China Institute, and also
the contribution made by Anthony
Curtis of the Nixon Foundation.
Without these two individuals, we wouldn't
be here at this moment.
This event, though, would not
be possible were it not
for the vision, the energy, the
imagination of Mr.
Sandy Quinn, President of the Nixon Foundation.
It's a great pleasure to welcome
Sandy back to USC,
he 's a Trojan,
back to USC, and
to invite him to introduce our distinguished panel.
Thank you, Clay. I'm with the Richard Nixon Foundation. Which is located on the magnificent thirteen
acre campus of the Richard
Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda.
How many of you have ever
gone down to Yorba Linda
and visited The Nixon Library?
Come over here one second.
I gotta... Only staff members.
Well, that's good.
Fortunately my staff.
But I know it's an hour away.
It's an experience you should
all put on your calendar while
you're here at SC.
The foundation's role is to
enrich, to communicate, to
spread the word about
Richard Nixon's magnificent, extraordinary
contributions as the thirty-
seventh President of the United States.
It's a lot more than resignation.
It's a lot more really than the opening of China.
It has immense, imaginative
initiatives in the broad
spectrum of domestic affairs and
foreign affairs beyond just China,
including Russia and elsewhere.
But we have
embarked this year and
next on a very aggressive
series of Nixon legacy
forums and this symposium is
one of those, where we want
to bring the eye witnesses, indeed
the participants, the creators,
the architects, the people
who were with the President at
the incredible moments of
his administration when great
policies and great steps
were taken, none more significant
of course than that of
the opening of China.
We have two panels today.
One is from our friends
at the Nixon Center, which is
a Washington, DC based
think-tank, and we
have three of their respected, distinguished
scholars, two of
whom - and perhaps all
three - have served in the
White House or in State
Department staffs of Presidents.
And then the First Family, the
one you're going to hear now,
is made up of those who
went to China on that
very first historic trip with President Nixon.
And these are people who were
at his side, who helped
make the arrangements in advance and the
people who were in Beijing,
Peking making those arrangements, were
there, indeed, before the President
was, they communicated with
the White House on a
daily basis about what was
going on and what steps should be taken. Getting direction from Bob Haldeman and the President himself.
And they're represented here today as well. I'd like to introduce them, the first of whom is Colonel Jack Brennan. Jack, if you would take
your seat.
He was a distinguished, Vietnam veteran. He was a, I can't say
he was, because Marines it's is.
So, he is a
Marine, he was the
military aid to the
President and was with
him not only just during that
trip, but on some
of the most important car rides
and meetings, where it was
just the President and the Colonel.
He'll tell you about
that in a minute. The second is Larry Higby.
The second is a member
of the board of the Nixon Foundation.
He had a distinguished business
career following his work
at the White House where he was
assistant to Bob Haldeman
and the Assistant White House Chief of Staff to accompany the President and was as involved as anyone in
the making of that trip, and
the end result of the success
and the Shanghai, Thank you
for coming, Larry.
Our moderator is Dwight Chapin.
Oh, I've got to say one thing though about Larry and a little bit apologetically.
He is a Bruin, you should know that.
However he's a Bruin
by education, but by tuition he's SC.
We have him because he's got two kids here.
So there's really respect here.
Because that is what counts.
Now another Trojan, Dwight Chapin, is our moderator.
Dwight started with President
Nixon in 1962, when
he ran for Governor of California.
He was a field representative.
He's from the San Fernando valley,
as I am.
He was involved as
a personal aide, assistant to
President Nixon throughout the campaigns,
and went to the White House with him. Was also right outside his
door, working as
a senior White House aide.
He was on the
other end of the phone when Ron
Walker and the people who
were in Beijing making the arrangements called in for direction.
So it's an honor
to have him, it's an honor
to have all three of them, all
old and close friends of mine.
Thank you for coming.
Thank you Sandy.
Thank you Sandy.
Well we're here to talk
about how President Nixon
changed the modern world, you're
going to have your panel a little
later that gets into the subsidy
side of this historic
trip and what it opened up
and the consequences that are being dealt with today.
But we're really here to
kind of give you a little
bit of an insight into the
inside story as to how all of this got started.
And as Sandy clearly said,
Jack Brennan who was very,
very close to President Nixon
and who served as the military aide on the trip.
Larry, again to remind you was, at this point, was the assistant to Bob Haldeman. Haldeman was Chief of Staff to President Nixon and as Haldeman was to Nixon, Larry was to Haldeman.
And then my role was that
I was the kind of
the acting chief of protocol. I was in charge of the logistics side
of this trip.
And it was a very historic time in our lives.
Larry is going to lead
off here and give you
a little background as to
the state of the world
and the thinking when we first
learned that we were going to be going to China.
Thank you Dwight.
For those of you who don't
remember, we had this thing called the Vietnam War.
And back during that time
of the Nixon administration, it dominated any
policy discussion, foreign or
domestic, that took place in
the United States or among world powers.
So you had a situation in
which we were trying to solve
a war, trying to create a
peace, and simultaneously trying to
deal with the Cold War nation in
Russia, and a nation
that basically we didn't know in China.
750 million people
that were largely at that point in time cut off from the world.
In addition to that, you have
to remember that Russia and China
were not particularly good friends.
Indeed, there have been border squabbles
back and forth for them for a long time.
Finally, Nixon was worried that
if in fact we were to
bomb North Vietnam, both China
and Russia, most certainly Russia,
would very likely come down and
enter the war in a more formal way.
So we had a number of
tensions going on in the
world at that time, and
a nation that was largely cut
off from any kind
of modern communication or information
that the rest of the world was joining.
When he looked at the opportunity, he
saw the opportunity to counterbalance
Russia and some of its
influence by becoming closer to China.
But it had to be very delicately
handled because China also had
relations with Vietnam at that
point in time, and you couldn't undo that.
So we begin down this very
delicate path of trying
to not only end the
Vietnam War, calm down
Russia, but also bring
China into the modern
The thing that I remember and
the first time I ever knew
that we were doing anything like this,
and I saw the CIA briefing
papers every morning, so this
was something that was known by only about five or six people,
was Henry wandered into my office at the White House.
Henry who?
Henry who?
Henry Kissinger, I'm sorry.
He wandered in.
He was the National Security Adviser
to the President. On, I think,
a Thursday or a Friday afternoon,
going off on the next round of peace negotiations, peace
talks we were supposed to have in Vietnam. And we talked for a while cause Haldeman was on the phone and then he sort of said "I may be doing a little additional traveling."
That's all he said, went in, and saw Bob.
And after he was done, he
came out of the Chief of Staff's
office and I was called in
by Haldeman, and that's when
he told me for the first
time, Henry is
not just going to Vietnam, he's going to China. Clay was absolutely right when he implied that to call this Ping
Pong Diplomacy is a misnomer. It was at least a five year, structure, reasons to get to the point where finally, there was an
implied invitation
for a high level representative to
come to China to make arrangements
for a trip of the President.
This culminated, this build-up culminated in the world's
most famous upset stomach.
When Dr. Kissinger was in Pakistan, in a meeting with President Yayakan, who had been one of the two contacts with the
People's Republic of China.
He conveniently got, first, exhausted, as what was reported to the press, he was exhausted and had
to go to Camp David to rest. Resting for a day. They had such a plan going on, they had planned a dinner and then the dinner was
only planned so that, they could cancel it.
And then they had a
big motorcade going up.
In fact, Henry was just hundreds of yards away from the Presidential palace in an old cottage, whisked away at three o' clock in the morning to a Pakistani airplane.
Flown into China.
No one knew.
There was no communication for two days.
This is -- and the press thought, well, he's sick.
And on July 11,
he came out of after
two days of discussions with primarily Zhou Enlai.
Premier Zhou Enlai.
He came back into
Pakistan and the "Eureka" means he sent a cable.
We had no communications.
He sent a cable to his assistant, which was General Haig.
We're all down here in San Clemente at the time.
General Haig said, "I got
a message from -- a
cable from Dr. Kissinger."
And the President said, "What did it say?"
It said "Eureka," which meant everything's set.
You're welcome.
I should say that this is an anxious time.
Why anxious?
Because, in effect, we
could have what could have been an incredible embarrassment.
Mao Tse Tung could have said,
"The American President chooses
to come here, but those running dogs are not allowed."
You know, it could have been just an embarrassment.
A terrible embarrassment.
But there was also worry that, you know,
suppose they decided to hold Henry Kissinger hostage.
And there were a lot of suggestions.
That would have helped in some way.
They should send more Secret Service with him.
And finally someone who's smart enough
said, "Look, if the Chinese want
to do anything while Henry's there, they're going to do it.
We don't have enough Secret Service to worry about it."
So, he went in with a very small party and just a couple of aides.
He returned, and if you'll recall, he returned to San Clemente.
The President had over the
weekend flown out to San
Clemente to the western White House.
And Henry Kissinger returned
there, immediately went in to see the President.
Frankly nobody...hardly anybody on
the White House staff knew anything
except that Henry was getting back from Vietnam.
There was some negotiation and some consultation.
And then the President, without
saying why, said that
he requested time on NBC
to address the nation on a very important matter.
What that meant... White House correspondent
Tom Gerald in Los Angeles, California.
"Good evening.
President Nixon tonight has flown
from his home at San Clemente
to a television studio here in
Los Angeles to deliver what
the White House terms a major statement.
The President this week has been
conferring extensively with Secretary
of State William Rogers and Mr.
Nixon's National Security Adviser Henry
Kissinger, leading to speculation
that tonight's subject will be in the area of foreign policy.
Here now is the President of
the United States with what
the White House terms a major statement." "Good evening. I have requested this television time
tonight to announce a
major development in our efforts
to build a lasting peace in the world.
As I have pointed out on a
number of occasions over the
past three years, there can
be no stable and enduring
peace without the participation
of the People's Republic of China and its 750 million people. That is why, I have undertaken initiatives in several areas, to open the door, for more normal relations between our two countries.
In pursuance of that goal
I sent Dr. Kissinger, my assistant
for National Security Affairs to
Peking during his recent
world tour for the
purpose of having talks with Premier Zhou Enlai.
The announcement I shall now
read is being issued simultaneously in
Peking and in the United States:
Premier Zhou Enlai and Doctor
Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's assistant
for National Security Affairs, held
talks in Peking from
July 9 to 11, 1971.
Knowing of President Nixon's expressed
desire to visit the
People's Republic of China,
Premier Zhou Enlai, on behalf
of the government of the People's
Republic of China, has extended
an invitation to President Nixon
to visit China at an
appropriate date before May 1972."
Released, the world was surprised and the press were flabbergasted.
So much so that one of
the all-knowing hosts
stared into the cameras
like a frightened deer and had nothing to say.
Just complete, complete shock.
This is the next day's edition
of the New York Times, and although
it tells about, look at the part that Dwight has circled.
The action is not expressive, old friends.
That referred, of course, to Taiwan.
All of the negotiations through our
secret channels, for almost
always, the Chinese response was,
"We may have communications
to speak about Taiwan."
Nothing else.
And then finally when they agreed
to speak with something other
than Taiwan, Taiwan being primary,
then things progressed.
So what's interesting is that
no one knows that this was going to happen.
Larry being an exception.
Two or three other people.
The announcement was made in
Burbank, California and then
the question became how in the world are we going to do this?
What is involved?
We did not know anything about going to China.
We had to try to figure this out.
So there were players at the White House.
The President in charge of everything.
It's a very important point.
The President was the architect of this trip.
Kissinger -- he was part of the construction group.
He was the builder.
But there were several people intricately involved in the trip.
Henry and Hague and the
NSC contributors worked on
the substance, Bob Haldeman was
in charge of all the arrangements,
and that's who I reported to.
And then we ended up
with two men in
the PRC, Ron Walker,
and then our dear friend Tim
Elborn, who is deceased, but was a Trojan-
he was a fraternity brother of
mine and Sandy's here at USC.
Dr. Kissinger went over as
reported out in July of 1971.Then
we put together a
trip, that I'm gonna talk a little bit more about in a few minutes.
That went back in October of
'71, there were around nine of us on that trip.
And then we went back
again for the, the second time for me.
Third time for several of
the people in January of 1972 with General Haig.
There was a lot going on on
these trips, as you'll probably
hear in the next panel in terms
of trying to get a communique
put together, and it was
not successfully put together until
the last, until the end
of the actual presidential trip.
Yeah, almost all the trips
are really prearranged by a president, and you're going through formalities.
We still had no agreement on
the communique after the second,
after Haig's visit in January
of 1972.
So clearly, this was an
even more dicey activity that
had a lot of substance still to be resolved.
You heard the lawyer, you probably have
heard the lawyer story, don't ask
a question you don't know the answer to.
Well, in this case
it's don't go out and
visit a country, unless you know
where you're going to end up before you complete that trip.
You want to say something?
Just that my memory in Shanghai was the
last moments Dr. Kissinger
had a makeshift office and
everybody was scurrying around with last minute wording of the Shanghai communique.
This is literally minutes before it was going to be issued.
So, when this trip started out,
now keep in mind, nobody knew that this was going to happen.
So the President originally, originally he
said there will be no press that go on this trip.
Yeah, he loved the press.
There will be no press on this trip.
Then he came to the position
that he would take a military
jet star that he had never been on.
Yeah, he'd never flown in one of those.
Which holds 13 people.
He had no idea how small they were,
but that was what he was going to do.
And then events started happening.
What started happening was that
in the media every...this whole thing started just building.
And it's a very important
part of understanding this whole thing.
It just got bigger and bigger.
And the media contributed
to this, I mean, the historians, you name it.
Everybody started getting into the act.
Week after week on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and so forth.
We didn't have the
24/7 channels, or they would have been into orgasms.
In any case, we ended
up with 354 roughly going
on this trip, which was the official
party: the press, the military,
Secret Service staff, and others.
So, we had to
take Air Force One, a couple
of other other planes, and the logistics
were quite complex, particularly
because we did not
know the infrastructure which Clay referred to in China.
We were really quite ignorant on that side.
Well, just a simple question like, How
do you land at an airport in China?
So, being Americans, being
Americans we, I should
point out we were, had set
up a room down in the bomb shelter of the White House.
And I had been President Nixon's appointment secretary.
I was relieved of both duties
and assigned full-time getting this trip put together.
So we sat down and had
the Boeing people come from Seattle.
And we put together a huge binder.
And this binder solved all
issues because we're Americans, we can solve anything.
And we came up
with the idea that in
order to service the radio,
television and so forth
community, we would get
a 747 decked out with satellite dishes and everything.
And we did diagrams showing
how the 747 was divided
into various studios for
audio, for video production, and so forth.
And all we would have to
do is get this thing
built in Seattle, fly it over, and land and it
would solve all of the communications issues.
Well, we went over in
October on Henry's trip, Henry
Kissinger's trip, and we
presented this document and of course everybody nodded.
We didn't get any
comments back about yes, no, or maybe, or whatever.
And they read the plan.
The interesting thing is, we
got no answers, we left,
we kept asking them what was
going on with this particular concept,
and it was when
we went back with General Haig
in January and we had
landed and they wanted to show us something.
And they took us over to
a part of the airport, where
they had constructed a building
that was just basically in
the dimensions with the same
size studios and so forth,
that we had in the book for the 747.
They had put it
all there and built the building out of brick.
And the idea, of course,
being that in order to
save face for their country
and so forth, there was no
way they were going to take
our idea and use it as we had presented it.
But we did end up with
the facility at the airport,
and it was the way that
the press were serviced when they were in country.
Some of you
are from China, many of you have visited China.
All of you saw China as
being presented in the Olympics as
the model city that you see here.
However, when we saw it,
this is a 1972 version
of a snow plow.
The very first morning I
walked out from, all of
us did, walked out to see,
wow what an incredible place
we're at, and it had snowed the night before.
And the streets, the main streets
in Peking, then, covered
with snow and suddenly you
see hundreds, maybe more.
Ten thousand.
Of people, well the
whole street in front of
us, hundreds with just makeshift brooms.
That was the snow plow, cleaning
the streets, and that's where they started in 1972.
So, we got
ourselves organized at the
White House, as I mentioned,
we had kind of a headquarters down in the bomb shelter.
By the way, unless you understand
the bomb shelter, this bomb shelter
was really built in President Roosevelt's time.
Yeah, it would not stop any bombs.
It wouldn't stop any bombs.
It's where I slept if I had to work late at the White House.
It's just the only extra room there is in the White House.
It always impressed everybody to say we were in the bomb shelter, but there we would, we had...
There was no giant secret room down there like you see in the movies.
It's a basement.
That's right.
Well, maybe things have changed.
Things have changed.
We had NSC representatives,
the military aides, Secret Service,
CIA would come in for briefings.
Some State Department people started
coming over, and that's a
part you can get into with the next panel.
State Department was really not
into a lot of
the planning on this trip, although,
as we got closer, we
started getting documents and so forth from them.
The President again leading everything.
Dr. Kissinger and Bob Haldeman.
I've got to emphasize our good
friend Bob Haldeman, because he
really held the
reigns on this very closely
and was incredibly demanding of all of us on the trip.
Tim Elbourne and Ron Walker,
Ron Walker being a very special friend of ours
who, by the way, is the
Chairman of the Richard Nixon
Foundation in Yorba Linda.
But they, Ron and Tim
were in country, and I
would talk to them every day, twice a day.
Morning and night, we would converse.
For the first 2 or 3
weeks that they were in
country, they would have to drive out to the airport.
And there was this new thing called a satellite suitcase.
And we would use this
satellite suitcase to communicate back and forth.
And one of the
key elements of the
trip is that if you
are making a presidential trip in
the United States, all of the details are worked out.
Everything is known.
In this particular situation we would
ask the Chinese, you know,
what we were going to be doing
let's say on day three or
day two, and we would get these blank stares.
In fact, the joke used to
be something like they would
bring the group another tangerine or something.
Have another tangerine.
Yeah, have another tangerine but they
would never get an answer as
to, you know, what was happening.
So that was a very frustrating
part of trying to put
this trip together, was trying to get the Chinese to commit.
Of course, they're trying to understand the needs.
They've never gone through anything like this before.
Another thing that's kind of
interesting is that we
would be given, or I
should say I was given because it would usually come to me.
I was the one making the
contacts back and
forth to Ron and Tim, for the most part.
I mean, others came on to the conference calls.
But we would be told of
certain things to mention that
were kind of pieces of
information that Dr. Kissinger
or the President was trying to
get the Chinese leaders to focus on.
And the importance of that is
that everything we were doing
was being obviously noted
and listened to by the
PRC, and so if
we made some comment about, "it
would be great if Premier Zhou
would do X, Y or
Z," while I
was really talking to Ron,
it was a message that
was being noted by the Chinese,
so we used that vehicle a
lot in order to try to get certain points across.
The Chinese had
limousines that were manufactured
by the Russians and airplanes
manufactured by the Russians,
because they did not have the infrastructure to do it.
And we used their car
and we used their airplane.
We used their airplane
to fly from Beijing to Hangzhou.
Which was unheard of.
We always, always had to fly on Air Force One.
We always had to use it to this day, near or far.
An awful lot of it is
a requirement that the President stay in communication with the Congress.
So even on this plane we
had to bring our own communications package to put it on it.
But no one, especially CIA
who knew how their pilots
were, their briefs said
don't ever let the President on a Soviet plane.
Yeah, the Secret Service was beside themselves.
Beside themselves.
And then what happened, just to jump to another thing.
In May, President Nixon went to Moscow.
And when we got to Russia
to plan that trip, there was
no way they were going
to have us bring in
our own limousines and airplanes...We
had to use the Russian cars and
the Russian planes there, because there
was no way that we were gonna do that in China and not do it Russia.
So it had...this had consequences.
Huge fight.
Yeah, I think it was interesting.
We took a little side thing
here to try and make you understand that this trip
was more than just an opening of something.
Everything we did had symbolism,
and everything we did was part
of trying to be able
to communicate the message from
China to the world about what we were trying to get done.
And it took several forms.
First of all, we gave planned television
and print coverage across the boards.
There were usually two news cycles back then.
There was an a.m. cycle, the
morning shows, and an
evening cycle, which lasted half
an hour, sometimes an hour, which were the evening news shows.
And those were the only two times
you could really communicate with the
American public when they were
on a news basis.
So we planned every headline out
to the best we could: what the
picture would say, how it
would reinforce the headline, what
we hoped the caption would be
if we were really controlling the message,
and what the quote was we
wanted to have that came out of that particular event.
Do we...?
I think...let's go to the next one.
All right.
These are some examples of this.
First of all, the trip to the
Great Wall was in the
morning in China, but it
was in the evening in the
United States, and actually was
broadcast live right from the Great Wall.
So America got to experience
exactly what was going on over there.
The Shanghai Communique was the same thing.
We did it in the morning, because
we wanted it to be the evening news.
We wanted to get the largest possible audience that we could for that event.
We used Mrs. Nixon in another way.
She'd go out often in the
late afternoon, because that would
hit the morning shows in the
United States and present
a different image, often a
much more image about what
the Chinese people were like, what
the customs were like, what the
culture was like, what it
was like to go to a school in China back then.
So, we were trying to make
sure we presented the broadest possible
picture of China and
the American people got
to come along and help and
actually discover what we were
discovering on a daily basis.
And the Chinese government was so
impressed with the fact that we
could transmit instantaneously these images
throughout the world, that at
the end of the trip they said,
"don't take that equipment
down, we just want to buy it," and they bought it all.
The other thing though, I think
you have to realize beyond that,
is the fact that this was
equally as important for China, and why was that?
Because for most of the
world, this was the
first insight that the
world had into what China
was like and what was going on there.
So they wanted their coverage to be good also.
They wanted to show people in
the West, different parts of the
world, what was going on there in their country.
So it was very important to them, too.
I would like to
mention to add what Larry
has said, it was
not insignificant that whenever you saw Mrs. Nixon
she was in a red coat.
And it was part of the strategy, it was part of the contrast.
It may seem very rinkydink, but it spoke volumes.
So, we had the national media.
We had the media players.
As the world unfolded later on,
there were the media who went
to China, and those who did not go.
And so it was a real
distinction among the media
in the United States to be part of this.
Huge investments by the media
companies, in terms of
sending their correspondents or writers on the trip.
Equipment and camera people.
Equipment and everything.
No 24/7 news channels, as Larry has mentioned.
You know we had the three major ones.
We had a dedicated program.
Larry mentions the news coverage on
the Great Wall, which was in the morning in China.
At home here, it was
like an hour and a
half, two hour specials, every network,
PBS, you name it.
You could not get away from this trip.
The morning shows, for example,
had Mrs. Nixon, as Dwight described,
looking at the tiny panda
bears, which was going to
be their gift, their official gift
to the United States, which wound
up in the Washington Zoo, as a matter of fact.
Now we're going to see a piece of video here in a minute.
Here's Helen Thomas that you people have probably heard about.
She just resigned from the White House, the AP.
Here's Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, Walter Cronkite.
Over here is Eric Sevareid,
Tom Jarrell, who you saw earlier.
This thing was laced with the
movers and shakers of the media world.
Including the executives who
wanted to go just to say they'd been there.
Not reporters at all.
All of a sudden.
Presidents of the networks.
A lot of people went down to reporter level.
So this picture is from Hangzhou.
This piece of video footage
from Hangzhou where the President
had his picture taken with all the media.
And there's Walter Cronkite right over there.
Here's Helen Thomas, Barbara Walters,
and they got...Here's Teddy White, who wrote the famous book.
This is Ollie Atkins, our White House photographer, getting everybody organized.
And all of a sudden, lo
and behold, who arrives but President
Nixon, Ron Ziegler, the Press Secretary.
And so they had this picture taken.
And then, as the
President was wont to
do, once he got
this picture done, you're going
to see him turn around and
he starts talking to the
assembled media.
And the thing

putting this clip together the other
day, I thought it was very
interesting, because Helen Thomas has lasted so many years.
You'll see, if you look carefully, she's the only one writing.
I mean, which is... She'll
start writing the minute the President starts talking here.
We don't hear him because we don't have audio with this.
Is that Ron Ziegler was SC?
Ron Ziegler was SC.
Would you tell in writing?
Dan Rather?
Dan Rather.
So that's enough of that.
This is a key point.
Well, I think what probably
most people don't understand is the
tremendous amount of work that
the President spent, and the preparation he did.
And he did it basically in three things.
First of all it was the State Department and all the things they were contributing.
Secondly, the CIA and the
things they were contributing in
terms of briefing, an awful lot
of that had come from third parties
because basically we didn't have
anything going on in China at that point in time.
China was really a sealed-off area of the world.
And third, from just individual people
who had lived in China or who
had traveled in China that would
come in and spend time with
him really trying to help
him understand what was going on.
He spent hours, had
these giant briefing books from
everybody that we went through
trying to get up to speed on what China was.
And why was that important?
Because every gesture and everything
that the President does in
China, in a country like that, has deep meaning.
And he thought about what
it was like when he got
out of that plane and what
he wanted to stand for, whether
or not he wanted to shake somebody's
hand, whether or not
he he would react the first time he met Mao.
All these kinds of things he had spent hours thinking through.
And if you go back and look at
his notes, you can see
over and over again what that was like.
Before I go to the next
one, I just want to point out
that I was looking at a
piece of video the other day
by a British broadcaster who had
the notes that he had gotten
from the archives, and he
was ridiculing the fact that
Nixon had written down all
of these things that he was going to do in complete detail.
And he mentioned that
as a sign of weakness or
Nixon being frightened by what he was going into.
He missed the thing entirely.
The was preparation,
preparation, preparation.
He would think it through.
He would know what he was going to do.
That was how he worked,
and that was why he was so exceptional.
We've got a couple of pictures now of what it was like on Air Force One.
This is actually a picture of Dwight here on Air Force One.
Over here you can see Ron Ziegler, the Press Secretary.
John Scowen, who worked actually
in the Kennedy administration, who was
one of the key figures on this trip.
This is a picture of Dwight,
myself, and Bob Haldeman, also on the same trip.
The trip actually took several days.
But we first flew to Hawaii, overnight in Hawaii.
Then we flew to
Guam and overnight in Guam.
Then we flew into Shanghai, picked
up pilots and translators in
Shanghai, and then flew
to Beijing, or as it
was known then, Peking and so it was a multi-day trip.
But every single detail had
to be gone over over and over and over again.
You can see we both have our red pencils out here.
This is Haldeman changing the schedule again and
probably as he usually was,
sort of sitting there like trying because we can't quite keep up.
That must mean he was mad.
Yeah, we can't quite keep up with him.
It was interesting.
When we took off from
Andrews Air Force base, we
actually had the broadcast tuned
in to what the networks were covering of the takeoff.
And we all clapped when we
took off and then when
we took off from China, we all clapped even louder because
it had been a very long,
very tough and exhausting trip.
Dr. Kissinger is on the
left there and then next to
him by the window is Winston
Lord who later became Ambassador to China.
And I'll point out these briefing books.
These are little books.
There were big books and little
books so that they were produced
by the State Department that we
could carry that had all of our schedules and itinerary.
This is in the cabin of, the Presidential
Cabin on Air Force One and
he's with, you can't see it very well,
Secretary of State Rogers is
on the trip, and the assistant
to the President Dr. Henry Kissinger.
I briefed him just before we
got off the plane in Peking, Beijing
and the significant thing was
the handshake as you'll see in just a minute.
And to go back to
1954 our then Secretary
of State John Forester Dulles, excuse
me, yeah, Dulles, Dulles Airport in
Washington D.C., refused to shake hands with Zhou Enlai.
Zhou Enlai considered it an insult for all those years.
President Nixon wanted to rectify
this and said the importance of
the handshake, keep every one
else back and make sure that he knows that I really want to shake hands with him and to rectify anything that happened in the past. We're starting again. This is the official arrival in Peking. As Larry said, we
stopped first in Shanghai
and had to get a navigator
and two interpreters to fly in.
This is the arrival ceremony, and
notice they are incredibly tall
Chinese military, all exactly
the same height and of course they had 750 million people to choose from
so they could probably do that.
These and, what else is
very significant here, no civilian
population almost anywhere we
went in the world, actually those seeking out foreign aid.
There were thousands and thousands
of people cheering and so
when I saw this I said
maybe they don't like us.
What is this about?
No one at the airport to greet us.
It was actually, it was
a sunny day, week when we
arrived, but when we started into
Beijing, and it's about an hour trip in,
it kept getting more and more
gray, what we start getting is
this ominous sort of a trip
and we kept waiting for crowds
and there were no crowds and on
all of our cars, they had
curtains on the sides so we couldn't see out.
Well, after a while I started getting curious.
I pulled the curtain back and looked a little bit.
And people were staring.
They all had to stay five or
six blocks back from the
main room, from the main
route, but they were staring out
and peering out behind their
houses to see what was going on.
Because you would have thought nobody
lived in Peking if you looked at the route we were going into.
But in fact, there were people
staring everywhere, wondering what was going on.
Remember, no communication.
Wondering why they weren't allowed to ride their bicycles that day.
No communication, no newspapers available to them. So they had no knowledge of what was happening.
So we arrived at the guest cottage, the official
guest cottage where President Nixon was going to be staying.
And in typical Chinese
style, they had a kind
of a welcoming period of tea.
Here's Zhou Enlai, the President and Mrs. Nixon.
This is Brent Scowcroft, Bob Haldeman, Henry Kissinger.
We were all sitting kind of
in a semicircle, here
I am, but this is a very important man.
Notice there are a lot of pictures of Dwight.
This, this gentleman here
was Ambassador Hong Su,
who became the ambassador to
the United States. He happened to be my counterpart and a terrific person. Here's Rosemary Woods, the President's Secretary. This is the meeting that President Nixon had with Chairman Mao. That happened ... Same day.
Same day.
So we had the arrival,
we went to the guest cottage,
we had our tea, and then
everybody was given time off.
The President went to his quarters to relax. A few minutes later, Ambassador Hong Su, who
came to me.
He said, "Premier Zhou is here". I went. Premier Zhou said, "I need to find the President, we're going to go see the Chairman." So this was completely unexpected. It was not on an itinerary, nothing. We had to be flexible. Haldeman went in, to President
Nixon, he said get
Dr. Kissinger, he did
not say get Secretary of State Rogers.
And it was Nixon, Kissinger
and Winston Lord with the
President who went to
this meeting and so this
is rather, this is the first
time that the President
met Chairman Mao.
Right and it's sort of interesting
you notice that Nixon and Kissinger
arrive together but there's a
person in between Joe and the Chairman.
This young lady was the
translator, the Chairman
at that time was very tough
for even the best translators didn't
often understand what he was
saying because of the
condition of his health, and
it turned out Kissinger was so
surprised he went like this
because she'd actually taken
courses from Kissinger at Harvard.
And I think she's Jien Ching's niece.
Most issues.
This is the guest palace, this
entrance right here is where
Zhou En Lai came to get Nixon to go see Mao.
So this is the guest cottage that we were in.
Now we're still on the first day.
We're going to go from
here, we've got a
motorcade late afternoon and
went over for the first meeting
with Premier Zhou En Lai.
And this is the first preliminary
session, some footage there.
The President, Dr. Kissinger,
John Holdridge and Zhou En Lai.
John Holdridge is a China expert from the State Department.
There's Premier Zhou.
And then from here, we went
to the first welcoming banquet and
one of the big memories from
this is that they start playing all
this American music like "Home
on the Range," so you've got
this Chinese orchestra playing "Home
on the Range," but it was a wonderful banquet.
There, they're toasting. And they
played "God Bless America," and here
they're toasting with the most
vile liquor you could ever have.
It's called Mao Tai,
not Mai Tai, Mao, and it
smelled like formaldehyde and many
of us became recovering alcoholics by the second day.
We can't drink that. I took
a bottle of this stuff back, brought it back home.
And we would have people
over for dinner or something and
I would pour a little bit
into a plate and it
would burn for like an hour and half.
This is the picture
from the Great Wall, and remember the
American public got to take this trip with us.
And it was quite an interesting trip.
If you think
about it, this is one of these symbols of China.
Old China and China today.
And to see an
American President walking on
that wall was really quite something.
Also probably for those of
us who are really inside - politicos
if you barely see this guy
back here, this is
the great conservative Pat Buchanan
walking on the wall and acting
like a little kid; he was so excited to be there.
He went so fast I
thought it was Deng Xiaoping next to him.
Here's some pictures of President on the Wall.
And before that, you
saw some of the houses we went
by on the way out to the Wall.
Very, very special moment and
a unique moment I think anybody
who's ever had the privilege of
going to China will be
very impressed with what's there.
We put this in
here because this was the
ever present staged children.
Wherever we went, there were
these staged children dressed
in colorful clothes doing all
of these little kinds of games and so forth.
Remember everyone else is in a gray mouse suit.
And what makes this particularly
significant is that Ted
Koppell on ABC, he was
the ABC correspondent on
the trip did a
piece on the staging
of these little kids at
the Ming Tombs, which Nixon left
after he went to the Great
Wall, and so that
evening, when the next
time that President Nixon met
with Zhou Enlai,
Zhou Enlai apologized to the
President for the staging
of this stuff; they were horrified.
So the other thing
that it proves, they were really
tracking what was going
on with the US media and how this was being covered.
Because they knew immediately, that this had happened.
The next thing here,
I mean, despite the fact
that the trip had probably been declared
a success, the real purpose
of going was to normalize relations.
That was going to be very difficult
to do if we didn't have
the communique to clearly express
how the two countries' relationship would
begin to take place on a going-forward basis.
So, we finally got, literally the
last day, I would say
a couple of hours before we
were leaving, everybody was still running around
the Shanghai communique and the essence of
the whole problem was, what's going
to happen with Taiwan versus mainland China.
And in shorthand what we
really agreed was agree to
disagree, going forward but we would continue to improve our relationship and make this really a lasting, a lasting event. Not just an event as we moved ahead. The Chinese were very straight forward in their negotiation, unlike most other countries that we had experienced.
And Joe and I said you list
what you agree and disagree and we'll list what we agree and disagree.
That and we start from
there, and say and we agree
to disagree on the problem of Taiwan.
And this is Shanghai. This is the departure from PRC and I'm in uniform which is significant only because the last Americans to leave China in
1949 was the Marine Delegation from Peking.
As a matter of fact, I was
asked to not come back
in uniform, I suggested that
I not wear a uniform but Marines sometimes are defiant.
We left Shanghai
and then no ceremony here, the
ceremony is when you leave the capital city of a country.
You notice we came in to Shanghai, the arrival ceremonies
in Peking, vice versa. So we left, with certainly a sense of accomplishment, very tired, and knowing that we
were a little part of history and
then here we are coming
back into the United States on
Air Force One.
We landed at Andrews
Air Force Base in prime time
on television thanks to
these guys and a great
picture is, it was February in Washington, and very cold.
And all of the welcoming crowds
were inside this huge hangar
, and we taxied Air
Force One into the hangar and,
one of the great pictures I've ever
seen is a, a photographer took
a picture over the pilot's shoulder
through the cockpit onto the
welcoming people who were met by
Vice President Agnew, which was
a little bit, he was
very much a pro Taiwan,
anti trip guy, which is one of the major reasons
this was kept so secret; not
from Vice President Agnew but
from the conservatives in America
who could lobby the Congress to squelch the whole thing.
Bill Buckleys, who is a conservative columnist and leader of the conservatives.
Agnew himself who was denouncing. So it had to be secret or it would never have been pulled off. This
is four years later at
this time I was Civilian Chief
of Staff to the former president.
He had left office two years
before this, but remained a
huge friend of China until he died.
And then the Chinese approached
me through Hangzhou, who was then
in Washington, and said that
President Nixon is welcome to
return to China, and they
proudly said that we
will send a Boeing 707 for
him to pick you guys up.
They had started purchasing
707s, so we went
to China, this was
almost four years to the
day and I was
privileged to be included in this small group
to meet Chairman Mao, and Clay asked if I would give a little impression.
As a matter of fact, as you
can tell when I don't pronounce my Rs, I am not from SC.
My Alma Mater is
a small college and it's called Providence College.
And to Providence College, I
gave all of the junk I collected around the world.
And online you can
find, I did contemporaneous notes, especially on this trip,
any of you who are interested, all that's stuff there, you can find it online.
In my contemporaneous notes of this,
I described from the time they met us, same thing.
The foreign minister came to
my room and said, Chairman Mao
would like to meet with President Nixon and he wants you to come because you're loyal. Chinese are very into loyalty.
You were with President Nixon when he was President, as were many, many other people.
Now it's just you, on and on and on.
So my impression of Chairman
Mao as I wrote in my
notes was I was
shocked by the guttural
groans that emanated from him.
Just like as if someone had a stroke.
And I said in my notes.
And of course, I knew he had
a different dialect; he was from
Pyongyang province, and so the interpreters...
If this is the Hunan dialect,
then cavemen were eloquent
because it was just,
you know, grunting, and then, and
then the cute little interpreter
would say, "Chairman Mao says" and
then she'd go on and on and on and I said, "Yeah.
In order to underscore
the significance of this
trip, several years ago an
opera was created on Nixon in China.
This year, that opera is
opening on February the
second in the New York Met.
It's going to be quite a
show, they're going to have
something like 11 different
productions of this and on
February 12th, it's going to
be seen in 1,500 movie
theaters in 46 countries, so
the significance of that
is being underscored by this opera.
So, we believe
that this was probably the
most significant Presidential journey
in the history of American diplomacy
and we do believe
that this trip changed the
world and your next panel will
help confirm that
and that's the end of
our presentation. We have a
couple of minutes for questions
if you would like to
ask us any.
We only have a couple of minutes for your questions. So if you have a question, please raise your hand and please make it a short question. Mr. Lesser. My question is what is the role of the Secretary of State Rogers in all of this? You mentioned him a couple of times but did he play any role in the planning or the execution... He clearly
played a role in the execution
of the trip, and the State Department
was very much involved.
I think Kissinger and Nixon
had a very close day-to-day working
relationship and the proximity,
the fact that Mr. Kissinger
was assistant to the President,
was in the White House, made it very convenient for them to confer quite often. But he clearly was part of it too.
There was a lot of discussion about him
being the representative to go and
make the arrangements on
the secret trip and the
conclusion was that he was
way too visible. Had anyone seen him, bingo immediately. When they finally picked Kissinger,
they also thought about Ellsworth Bunker and for the same reason said well we should discount him.
And when they said Kissinger, you, he didn't particularly want to go.
He loved being next to the President and seeing him every morning.
There was another major difference that I
would point out and that is,
that Kissinger was staffed
and would take orders and go do them.
Bill Rogers didn't look at
himself that way properly so
he was the Secretary of State and he had a whole different mentality of how he would have come at it.
One more. Anybody? If not,
I have a sea story. There's a question. It seems it was a very significant presidential journey. Significant in what respect? Can you actually pin down what is the complete outcome that you think is significant? A lot of that will come up in the subsequent discussion. Let Larry hit it.
Well, I think basically
it opened the world to China
and opened China to the world.
I think it changed the path of China.
I think it started to open up China
and I think you've seen China on a path for the last 40 years really. It's very different than the path they had pursued 40 years before that. I think people in all countries
around the world react to China differently now than
they did forty years ago.
So that was the fundamental change.
I think there was another change though that a lot of people forget about.
It really set in the
process, even though it
took some time after that, the necessary elements to finally end the Vietnam War. And if
you were living during that period of time and wrestling with that every day in the White House and in Washington, as we were, that was probably as equally significant and equally as important. Thank you very much folks.