While the US troops fight the biggest battle on February 25, 1972, near Saigon in Vietnam, the US President Richard Nixon spent time in Peking befriending the adversary, giving care and comfort to the Enemy while Americans bled on the battlefield.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
Monday, February 21, 1972
At 7 a.m., Guam time, the President and Mrs. Nixon left Guam International Airport for Shanghai, their first stop in the People’s Republic of China. They arrived, after a 4-hour flight, at Hung Chiao (Rainbow Bridge) Airport, Shanghai, at 9 a.m., China time, where they were greeted by officials of the People’s Republic, headed by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ch’iao Kuan-hua. After refreshments and a tour of the terminal, the Presidential party again boarded the Spirit of ’76, accompanied by Vice Minister Ch’iao, Chang Wen Chen and Wang Hai-jun of the Foreign Ministry, a Chinese navigator, radio operator, and three interpreters, for the final leg of the flight to Peking.
At about 11:30 a.m., China time, the party arrived at Capital Airport near Peking. Premier Chou En-lai greeted the President and members of his party, stood with the President for the playing of the national anthems of the two countries, and accompanied the President in a review of the troops.
The Premier then accompanied the President in a motorcade to Peking, to Tiao Yu Tai (Angling Terrace), the guest house where the President and Mrs. Nixon would stay during their visit.
In the afternoon, the President met for an hour with Chairman Mao Tse-tung at the Chairman’s residence and for an hour with Premier Chou and other officials in plenary session at the Great Hall of the People.
The President and Mrs. Nixon were guests of Premier Chou at a banquet in the Great Hall of the People in the evening.
Tuesday, February 22, 1972
After a morning of staff meetings and attention to other White House business, the President met for 4 hours with Premier Chou in the Great Hall.
The First Lady visited the kitchen of the Peking Hotel, where she toured food preparation and cooking areas, and talked with cooks and helpers. She was accompanied by Mme. Lin Chia-mei, wife of Vice Premier Li Hsien Nien, Mme. Chi Peng-fei, wife of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sun Hsin-mang, head of the revolutionary committee of the hotel. During the tour, Mrs. Nixon told reporters of plans for the People’s Republic to present to the people of America two giant pandas, in appreciation for the two musk oxen which were to be given to the Peking Zoo on behalf of the people of the United States.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Nixon visited the Sununer Palace, an imperial residence and garden during the Ching Dynasty. She toured rooms used by the Empress Tzu Hsi and walked in the gardens, viewing the lake Kunming and Longevity Hill. She then went to the Peking Zoo and saw the zoo’s pandas.
In the evening, the President and First Lady attended a cultural program with Premier and Madame Chou and Chiang Ch’ing, the wife of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. They saw a performance of the ballet, “The Red Detachment of Women.”
Wednesday, February 23, 1972
The President and Premier Chou met in the afternoon for four hours of discussions at the guest house where the President was staying.
The First Lady visited the Evergreen People’s Commune on the west edge of Peking. In her hour-long tour, she visited the commune’s clinic, where she observed acupuncture treatments, second- and third-grade classrooms, a commune home, agricultural areas and greenhouses, and a dri goods store.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Nixon visited the Peking Glassware Factory and talked with workers making glass flowers and animals.
In the evening, with Premier Chou En-lai, the President and Mrs. Nixon attended a public exhibition of gymnastics, badminton, and table tennis at the Capital Gymnasium.
Thursday, February 24, 1972
The President and Mrs. Nixon, accompanied by Vice Premier Li Hsien-nien, drove 35 miles north of Peking to visit the Ba Da Ling portion of the Great Wall of China, and then the tombs of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty.
In the afternoon, the President and Premier Chou met again for three hours of discussion. The President and Mrs. Nixon later attended an informal private dinner hosted by Premier Chou in the Great Hall.
Friday, February 25, 1972
In the morning, the President and Mrs. Nixon went to the Forbidden City, the site in Peking of the residence of the emperors for some 8oo years prior to the early 20th century. They were accompanied by Marshal Yeh Chien-ying, Vice Chairman of the Military Affairs Commission.
In the afternoon, the President met again with Premier Chou for an hour.
The First Lady toured the Peking Children’s Hospital.
Marking the final evening of their Peking, stay, the President and the First Lady hosted a banquet honoring Premier Chou and other Chinese officials in the Great Hall.
Saturday, February 26, 1972
At the Peking Airport, the President and Premier Chou and other officials of the United States and the People’s Republic met in plenary session for approximately one hour.
The President and the First Lady, with Premier Chou, then boarded the Premier’s plane for the flight to Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China. From Hangzhou Airport, they drove to a guest house on West Lake, a park and recreational site. where they were to spend the night.
In the afternoon, they joined in a walking tour of Flower Fort Park and a boat tour of West Lake, stopping briefly at the Island of Three Towers Reflecting the Moon. Mrs. Nixon also visited the Temple of the Great Buddha.
They were entertained in the evening at a banquet given by the Chekiang Province Revolutionary Committee.
Sunday, February 27, 1972
With Premier Chou, the President and the First Lady flew in the Premier’s plane from Hangzhou Airport to Shanghai. From Shanghai Airport, they motorcaded to the Shanghai Industrial Exhibition, where, with Premier Chou, they toured exhibits of heavy machinery and electronic equipment, handicrafts, surgical techniques, textiles, light industry, musical instruments, toys, and arts and crafts.
Mrs. Nixon also visited the Shanghai Municipal Children’s Palace, where she watched demonstrations of dancing, gymnastics, a puppet show, theatrics, swordplay, and art by students at the center. Her guide was Chang Hong, a fifth-grade student.
In the late afternoon, the joint communique agreed upon by the President and Premier Chou was released.
In the evening, the President and First Lady were guests at a banquet in the Shanghai Exhibition Hall hosted by the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee. Premier Chou and Committee Chairman Chang Ch’un-ch’iao then accompanied the President and Mrs. Nixon to a cultural program of acrobatics in the Exhibition Hall.
Monday, February 28, 1972
Premier Chou visited with the President for an hour at the Ching Kiang guest house and then accompanied the Presidential party to the airport for official farewells before the takeoff for the return flight at 10 a.m.
Crossing the International Date Line, the Spirit of ’76 arrived at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska, at midnight on Sunday, February 27, Alaska time. The President and the First Lady spent the night at the residence of the Commanding General and left for the final leg of the flight to Washington at 9:40 a.m. on Monday, February 28, Alaska time.
The official party arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington at 9:15 p.m, E.S.T.
U.S. troops fight the biggest battle in nearly a year – HISTORY
U.S. troops clash with North Vietnamese forces in a major battle 42 miles east of Saigon, the biggest single U.S. engagement with an enemy force in nearly a year. The five-hour action around a communist bunker line resulted in four dead and 47 wounded, almost half the U.S. weekly casualties.