On July 15, 1971, Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had accepted the PRC’s invitation for him visit China.
President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 ended twenty-five years of isolation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He viewed his trip as the first step in a long process of contact between the United States and the PRC. Further, he believed it would reduce tension between the United States, the PRC, and the Soviet Union.
The President’s trip to China required a tremendous amount of planning. Part of this effort involved matters of protocol and etiquette, such as the use of chopsticks.
Image: Transcript of Speech President Nixon Gave Announcing Upcoming Trip to China. 7/15/1971.
More on Ping Pong Diplomacy: Nixon’s Trip to China on the Presidential Timeline.
Lou Hoover in China
While living in China on June 17, 1900, the Chinese army joined the Boxer Rebellion and attacked the city of Tientsin. The Hoovers and other foreigners found themselves under siege until June 23.
Lou was fearless, writing her friend, “you should have been here, at the most interesting siege and bombardment of the age.”
-from the Hoover Library
Double Happy Birthdays to George and Barbara Bush!
George Bush celebrates his 89th birthday today, June 12; Barbara Bush’s 88th birthday was on Saturday, June 8. This First Couple has been married for 68 years. President and Mrs. Bush will celebrate their birthdays with family and friends in Kennebunkport, Maine.
If you are around College Station, Texas today, you can celebrate at the Bush Presidential Library with free Blue Bell ice cream, birthday cake, and refreshments in the Rotunda from 11am to 3pm CT.
-from the Bush Library
Lou Henry Hoover’s Report on the Boxer Rebellion
In this letter, Lou Henry Hoover chides college friend Evelyn Wight Allen for her failure to come to China in time for the Boxer Rebellion in June, 1900. The Hoovers — along with 800 European and American citizens — had suffered through a 45 day siege by 30,000 Boxers who had surrounded Tientsin. After an international relief force drove off the Boxers, Mrs. Hoover found time to write an extraordinary letter in which she proudly compared their ordeal with the experiences of Kimberly and Mafeking, two English settlements that had been surrounded for several months during the recent Boer War in South Africa.
Boxer Rebellion observations by future First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover, 08/08/1900
Announcing a Controversial Trip to the People’s Republic of China
On July 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced to the nation that the People’s Republic of China had invited him to visit China, and he had accepted. He also stated that Henry Kissinger, Assistant for National Security Affairs, had made a secret trip to Peking in order to plan for the visit. His announcement resulted in strong public reactions for and against the President’s planned trip.
Here’s a copy of Nixon’s official announcement in both English and Chinese.
Among Xi’an’s Terracotta Army
On this day in 1984, President Reagan became the second U.S. President to visit the People’s Republic of China since the Communist shift of power. 4/26/84
In this photo, Ronald and Nancy Reagan stand among the terracotta figures in Xi’an China. 4/29/84
-from the Reagan Library
Cutest Head of State Gift - EVER
The United States received two giant pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, from the People’s Republic of China in April, 1972. The pandas were given as a token of friendship in response to President Nixon’s goodwill trip to China.
First Lady Pat Nixon officially accepted the fuzzy goodwill ambassadors at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. She had been charmed by the pandas she had seen in China and declared at the welcoming ceremony, “I think ‘panda-monium’ is going to break out at the zoo.”
Pat was right, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were the top attractions at the zoo until their deaths in in the 1990s.
Here, Ling-Ling munches on her snack on her first day in the new Panda House at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. 4/16/1972. Noms.