Nixon's Decision and the Press
"No one can look at Asia and take 750 million Chinese out of it and say you can have a policy in the Pacific that will succeed in preventing war without having the Chinese a part of it." -Nixon during Oval Office Conference
At first, Nixon was more than willing to share his ideas of relations with China. However, as skepticism from the public increased, Nixon became increasingly secretive, forcing the press to follow Pat Nixon's tour of China while he talked to Mao.
The White House
When headlines of Nixon’s decision to visit China popped up in newspapers, the public was astounded. Who would be crazy enough to request relations with communists? But there were many reasons for diplomatic relations with China.
February 29, 1972
RN: Looking in the future, of course, speaks in terms of our common interests and, uh, normalization of relations, uh, and, uh, our common interests in, uh, starting to build this long process of, of, of better relations between the two countries.
Now, let me get down to some cold turkey. Uh, what brought us together? Uh, some rather naïve, uh, reporters have indicated that uh, observers, have indicated that what brought us together is that, uh, well mainly, both China and the United States, the People’s Republic of China and the United States realized that we really didn’t have a, uh, that really that despite our philosophies we really weren’t all that far apart, and that if we’d just get to know each other better-that, uh, everything would be a lot better with each other. Not true at all. Getting to know each other better will reduce the possibility of miscalculation and that we have established, because we do have an understanding. And I know them, and they know me. And, I hope that would be true of whoever happens to be sitting in this office in the future. That means that there will be talking and rather than having that, that, uh, inevitable road, uh, of suspicion and miscalculation, which could lead to war. A miscalculation which, incidentally, led to their intervention in Korea, which might have been avoided had there been this kind of contact at that time.
January 26, 1972
RN: We will discuss a lot of things. We will discuss their role in the Pacific and our role in the Pacific. We will disagree on a lot of things. But the most important thing about that visit is that it occurs, and that the Chinese and the United States will have begun a process of, shall we say, getting to know each other. Now, this is not said in any sense of sentimentality. There are many people who-who have looked at the China visit and and interpreted it exactly the wrong way. Uh, they say “oh, this is great-the- now the United States and China, really never had any difference
RN: --everything’s going to be settled.” It’s not that. Uh, no one in this world knows how great the gulf is between their philosophy and ours, their interests and ours. Uh, but also no one in this world, I think, knows better than I do, how imperative it is to see that great nations that have enormous differences, uh, where you’ve got the nuclear thing hanging in the balance, have got to find ways to, you know, talk, get along
January 26, 1972
RN: Uh, we do believe that by starting the long process of some sort of contact, there will--I will say, obviously, it will not come to recognition on our part—
RN: --because it cannot, since we still recognize Taiwan and will continue to honor our treaty commitments. They know this will not come out. What may come out of it will be, uh, however, uh, uh, some method of communication in the future, uh, some contact in the future, uh, and perhaps reducing the chance in the immediate future of a confrontation between the United States and the PRC in Asia, such as we had in Korea, and such as we had indirectly in Vietnam. And looking further in the future, uh, when they become a super power, a nuclear super power, uh, to be in a position that at that time, uh, we will have such relations with them that, uh, we, uh, can discuss differences and, and not inevitably have a clash. Now, also, no one can look at Asia, uh, and take 750 million Chinese out of it and say you can have any policy in the Pacific that will succeed in preventing war without having the Chinese a part of it. It’s just as coldblooded as that.
February 29, 1972
RN: It was not our common beliefs which brought us together. But our, frankly, our common interests and our common hopes. What are those common interests? One is the interests that both us have in maintaining our integrity and our independence. And second is the hope that each of us has to try to build a structure of peace in the Pacific, and going beyond that, in the world. And, uh, and on that point that means that despite a total gulf, a gulf that will continue to exist as long as their communist, and as long as we’re basically a free country, a total gulf in beliefs that people of different faiths, of different beliefs, have got to find a way to live together in this world. And, to, in the case of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, and the most populous nation in the world, if we, uh, do not find a way to, uh, despite our differences to have discussions, we are on a collision course years ahead, which would be very, very serious. If we do find a way to have discussions as we have started in this instance, there is a better chance that we will not have that collision course years ahead